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June 9, 2009 / howardmestas

CHICAGO HISTORY MUSEUM

CHICACO 1833

CHICACO 1833

Monday morning brought us to the Chicago History Museum, but not after our first adventure with the Chicago Subway. Although it was still a subway, it was much less creepier and much more efficient than the disaster we encountered in Philadelphia.

The morning started with a brilliant presentation by Sarah Marcus who managed to put the settlement and development of Chicago into a perspective that even a stupid caveman could easily understand. The way she was able to take us from a sandbar alongside a lake devoid of European contamination; to a modern American City (and everything in between) in less than two hours was nothing less than remarkable. Perhaps I was able to follow her so well because I have spent considerable time on the Encyclopedia of Chicago page in preparation for this trip, a website in which she was a considerable contributor. Still, it was like watching the city of Chicago unfold like a time lapse image put into fast forward motion. It was an enjoyable presentation; plus I learned to navigate the website in ways I was unfamiliar with.

Later, Heidi Moisan showed us many innovative lesson plans on how to teach with primary sources. Although her ideas focused mainly on Chicago’s labor conflicts, her ideas about how to involve group participation and understanding through reading and use of symbols could be adjusted to include any topic. Her presentation on http://www.greatchicagostories.org and how to teach using the website was incredible. I felt envious of Chicago school teachers and the valuable materials that are at their fingertips and in their neighborhoods. I wished there could be such a resource for the labor and immigrant history for Pueblo, Colorado. That history is there to be studied and celebrated; unfortunately that bottle of pride has been on ice and uncorked far too long. I believe that not only the students, but the Southern Colorado populace in general could benefit from such a resource.

After the museum, I joined a small group of warriors who managed to make it to the “Holy Shrine” of Wrigley Field. This was a pilgrimage that was long overdue since I have been a faithful (but hopeless) Cubs fan for as long as I can remember. When I was a kid I would wait by the roadside on many days for my brother Roger (who was also my legal guardian) to return from work as laborer at the Allen Coal Mine near Trinidad. The first question he would ask was, “Did the Cubs win today?” Ernie Banks was his hero, and Roger was mine. As the great Harry Caray would say; big brother, “This Bud’s For You.”

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4 Comments

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  1. Delphine Grayson / Jun 10 2009 3:36 am

    Hello,

    Did you get Harry Caray’s autograph? We have all kinds of Rockies stuff. We go to see the Rockies at least 10 or more games a year depending on how busy we are during the summer. Wasn’t Don Baylor a Cubs coach a couple of years ago? He is at the Rockies now as the batting coach.

    • howardmestas / Jun 12 2009 4:15 am

      You should have gone to Wrigley with us. Long day, but well worth it.

  2. Jonathan Rees / Jun 9 2009 12:53 pm

    Howard:

    How did you get to be a Cubs fan?

    • howardmestas / Jun 10 2009 1:39 am

      Because my older brother was an Ernie Banks fanatic. Later, when I was about 18, cable TV first arrived in Trinidad (my hometown) and the only outside channel was WGN Chicago which broadcasted all the Cubs games. I later met Harry Caray and got 3 autographed baseballs at an exhibition game vs the Rockies at Mile High. But really, my brother was a maniac since before we ever had a television when I was in my early teens (we were very poor).

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