Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Junior Role-Players

As the school year starts back up, we’ve said goodbye to the Junior Role-players at Strawbery Banke. I will definitely miss them. During the summer SBM runs all kinds of summer camps: half day camp for the littles, craft-centered camps for the 8 to 12, and role-player camps for the older kids. They get to try out all the history, all the clothes, and what it is like to be in character out on the grounds of the museum. I have tons of good stories to tell you about this year’s juniors, but first, a memory.

When I worked at SBM while I was in college I befriended a junior role player. He had been involved in the museum a lot longer that I had and knew more about the history and about roleplaying. At the end of my first season I was given the christmas program assignment of the most boring house on the grounds. The Puritan/Protestant winter house has no decorations because they did not celebrate Christmas. We could not have a real fire, the kitchen where I sat had a string of red christmas lights buried in the ash in the fireplace. I was assigned to tell stories to my two “step-children”, two poor juniors who had to sit with me in that dreary house. Cory, the boy assigned to play Jack Wheelwright, step-son to Martha Wheelwright (my character) was such a good sport. We made our own fun, told stories all evening long.

The next summer Cory volunteered a couple times a week, usually in the library, and if i was working he would stop by to visit.We talked about everything. We both loved history, hated high school, and had a theatrical disposition that got us in trouble one day. I forget whether it was early spring or late fall, either way the sun was setting before closing, so the flood-lights came on in front of the house where I was stationed. There had been very few visitors before Cory had shown up, so it did not take long while we were chatting for us to discover a musical we both loved. I don’t remember if it was Les Miserables, or Little Mermaid (probably Little Mermaid.) Soon we were both singing and showing off in the flood-lights. We were not all that different in age, he was almost through high school, I had completed two years of college. I remember getting in trouble for that one!

Sometimes we joked, Cory and I, that one day he would go in for a job interview at the Smithsonian and I would be the one conducting the interview. I hope, wherever Cory ended up he is doing well.

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