me in the Land of Lincoln

me in the Land of Lincoln
my alleged work face

my work desk

my work desk
my junky work desk where I do my research at the office

Saturday, August 16, 2008


This is my final blog entry for my internship experience. I will do an update when I return in February since that will be an extension of the internship. I have truly enjoyed myself. I wouldn't mind returning there every once in a while. I learned that I really enjoy doing research and presenting it for others to learn from. So I guess I will start taking the path towards historian. Of course, with a few letters attached. Ok, Dr. Camesha Scruggs, PhD. sounds quite nice. Enough daydreaming. On with the blog.

Monday - Started my final day in Springfield. I went to my last staff meeting. It was kind of sad. I sat through the meeting and started remembering everyone and how I changed throughout this experience. The walks through the park and talking to the rangers and maintenance. Spending time in the visitor center with the volunteers. Talking with Nikia via messenger. A daily "rambling report" with Tim. All of my devices at my work desk along with my workstation. After work events with the rangers. I really will miss everyone. They have made my life richer. I went to my desk and started packing things into a box. All of my research notes, post it notes, and other stuff at my desk. I went around and delivered the last of my thank you notes. I came back to my office to my completed site bulletin. I finished my presentation packets so they could be fedexed out. I ordered another debit/credit card. My boss called me into his office. He gave me a gift bag full of Lincoln home goods. I went to lunch with Nikia. My boss gave me a goodbye hug. I turned in my keys and left the Beedle house/office for the last time. I walked slowly from my office through the site on my way home. I had to remember that I will be back in February. Josh and I went to the mall to find a suit. I have to admit, he was a helpful guy. We did laundry. I came home to pack luggage and things to ship home. Sam came over and helped. I realized that I was actually leaving in a few hours to go to DC for the rest of the week.

Tuesday - Sam took me to the airport. He stayed with me until I had to go through security and get on the plane. Made it to St. Louis for a 3 hour layover. I got on my plane and headed to DC and finally made it. Brandon, a friend of mine from home was there to pick me up. Since I still needed a suit, we headed straight for the mall. The first suit he found fit perfectly and was in the price range I wanted. We left the mall and he showed me his place. We talked about old times. He took me to my hotel and I checked in. The hotel was beautiful! My room mate came and we walked to our intro dinner. The restaurant was cozy. Enjoyed the ambiance. Met the other interns. We were concerned about presentation order for the next day. We finally walked back to the hotel. I caught up with Kevin, a friend from home who went to the same church I did as a kid. We went for drinks and karaoke. Enjoyed it! It was like old times. we drove around and sang at the top of our lungs through DC. I finally made it back and settled in for the night.

Wednesday - Rocking the fly suit, took the metro to the National Park Service headquarters. We got settled and started the day. Went through introductions and started doing our presentations. I was afraid that I didn't follow the format. Everyone in the room got a presentation packet. I have to admit, I did an awesome job on the presentation. I got a lot of good and positive feedback. We went to lunch and networked with various folks that work with the National Park Service. We went to the Frederick Douglass home. It was great to see the home of another great American. There was a contrast between his home and Lincoln's, of course. Another NPS historic home to add to my photo collection. We arrived back at the office and went back to the hotel. I settled in because I was beat.

Thursday - Day 2 of the workshop. We spoke with employees of NPS. They told us of the career options within the organization. A small career day of sorts. We walked over to the Smithsonian.We walked into the museum of the American Indian. The building was beautiful! We had lunch at the museum. I ate my first buffalo burger. I may see this as another meat option. We had a personal tour by the head curator and an intern. The interpretive staff were Native American. They gave a personalized aspect to the tour, which was different from someone who simply researched and recited information. After our tour, I hung out with a few of the interns. we browsed an outdoor black bookstore. It was truly exciting. We took the metro back to the hotel to prepare for the farewell dinner. The Indian restaurant had some great nan and lycees. I have expanded my culinary horizons this year. I will have to do that more when I return back to Houston. After the restaurant, we decided to go out and explore the city for a while. A few of us went to a bar/club. Enjoyed a few drinks and danced the night away at the club in the back. We made it back to the hotel and settled in for a nap before our last day together as a group.

Friday - Another day of workshops. Today was a round table discussion session. Even though the tables were set up in a rectangle. :) Today's topic was about careers outside of National Park Service with people who once worked for or were associated with the National Park Service. Every opportunity was available, from museum curator to adjunct professor, the possibilities seem endless. I met Bob Stanton, first African American and former National Park Service Director. He told us that we have a responsibility to tell the truth. I agreed with that statement wholeheartedly. We discussed that we also have to recruit other brilliant folks like us to do this internship. I was motivated to come back to TSU and try to find a few. We left the workshop and went to lunch at Ceiba, a Latin American restaurant. Then we went to the Newseuem. The entrance was a display of daily newspapers from every state. The museum covered every aspect of the news from radio, print, television, and the internet. There were so many things to see. An FBI 100 year exhibit, a portion of the Berlin Wall, and the news antenna from one the 9/11 twin towers were just a few of the things to see. The entire museum was a great experience. Not to mention, a great view of the capitol building from the 6th floor terrace. Everyone went their separate ways. Corri and I went to dinner and then I headed back to my room to pack and prepare for my flight back home.

Saturday - Got up extra early. Brandon took me to the airport. Just a sweetie pie. Went through the whole ordeal of security. Arrived at my gate just in time to board. Sat next to a couple who said that they should have gotten the first class upgrade when they were checking in. I actually thought about it, but didn't have the extra $100 on me. I plugged myself into my cell phone, listened to Kayne West's "homecoming", read my Essence magazine, and enjoyed my flight to St. Louis. I got off the plane to CNN reporting that Bernie Mac died. I returned calls and texts during my layover. Finally got on the plane headed to Dallas I was so excited! I was on my way back home, or at least to my home state. I finally arrived at DFW. Went shopping and did lunch with my mom, sis, and aunt Diann. Enjoyed it! Finally came home and crashed!

Sunday - Went to Zion, my real home church. My best friend Kevin showed up. It was if we were kids again. I chatted with my senior pastor. He told me, "stay with the ship". That was all the inspiration I needed. I got lots of love from my senior first lady. It was as if they were all proud of me. I got to see people I haven't seen in years. It was kind of like a homecoming. I hung out with a couple of friends. It was a great start to a week of rest

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Week 9

I am going to have to do a little adjusting. This place has grown on me. I can see myself occasionally coming back to visit. Actually, I will try in February for the bicentennial. Lincoln kind of has that effect on me; not the "fear of five dollar bills" (a fear that I would not want to see a five dollar bill after spending an entire summer around the Abraham Lincoln home) that I predicted that I would have. Ok, enough rambling. Here's the blog.

Monday - More corrections to my manuscript. I got an interesting call from the Lincoln Public Library. The local collection called to tell me that they found a new article. This article talked about a woman who worked for the Lincolns in Springfield. Mind you, I have spent hours reviewing microfilm looking for newspaper articles. Needless to say, I was excited to find this one. This woman brought my grand total of researched hired girls to 18. I went over and got the copy of the article. There was also another article that confirmed one of my previous hired help that I had researched. A good day overall. Added the information. Went home, settled in and prepared for the next day.

Tuesday - Today was TV interview day. I was going to be on a show titled, "Pamela Speaks". After a few wardrobe changes, I finally decided on a dress shirt and silk skirt. I wanted to look professional as well as diva. I went into work and Marie, the admin assistant for the Student Conservation Association came into my office. I knew she was coming, but I thought it was going to be in the afternoon. She brought gifts for me and Josh, tshirts and maple syrup from New Hampshire. I thought that was very sweet of her. Josh mentioned to her that I was doing an interview. I didn't really think anything of it. I knew that I would mention them. So, I went home to try to find a SCA logo to put on me somewhere. I was already wearing my National Park Service badge. I went to my welcome kit. I found a croc ornament. It happened to fit within my buttonhole on my dress shirt. I felt like I was a walking billboard. I left the office with entourage (Josh, Marie, and her husband) in tow and walked from the Lincoln home to the Old State Capital. I get there and my PR guy is filming. Just great! But he made me feel comfortable and it was nice to see him. Dick Hart is also there as a part of the taping as well. So, I had a support staff. The interview went well. I talked about my research and how I think it would impact the community. Marie said that she was proud and that I have to get that information back to the home office so they can know about it. After the interview, I went to lunch the host of the show and my PR guy. It was very pleasant. Nice conversation about everything from religion to the stereotype of historians. She mentioned that she wanted to take my research and develop it into a one act play to present to the community. I was a little surprised by that. We exchanged business cards and parted ways. I finally went back to my office. I talked with my boss, Tim and I got overwhelmed for a moment. Interviews, meetings, etc. was a little much for me. I consider myself to be person who doesn't want to be in the spotlight. I like to provide support behind the scenes. I thought I was supposed to just do the research, write a manuscript, and go home. So, I voiced my concern to my PR guy. I know that he has a job to promote my work. But, I just want to do the work and present it for the greater good; not have a lecture circuit, books, and a bobble head doll. Nor do I want to become possessive and refuse to relinquish or release my research for anyone to gain from it. Which is why I think I want to do public history or a start research consulting firm. I shall see what the future holds. Tonight was the weekly flag lowering ceremony at Lincoln's tomb. Me and my entourage went out there. The weather starts to look a little unpleasant. Next thing I know, there is a small dirt storm and a heavy downpour. It was just horrible. I just knew that everyone would have to find shelter inside the tomb. After a few minutes, it finally subsided. The ceremony started a little later than usual. At the end of the ceremony, the flag that has flown over the tomb is raffled off and given away. Marie was the lucky recipient. I think that really was a memorable part of her trip to visit us in Springfield. We went to dinner afterwards. We talked about career opportunities within the organization. After this long day, I finally made it home, settled in and prepared myself for the next day.

Wednesday - I got into work a little early. Susan, the curator gives special tours for the park employees called "behind the rail", which lets us actually touch the artifacts. After donning the special government issued white gloves, we were able to go through the house. It was great to be able to touch things that Abraham Lincoln owned. For example, to actually touch the desk that he used in the house to write was an experience that I will never forget. I also had a chance to see my boss Tim work in his capacity as a historian. He gave a tour to a group of young people who were visiting and preparing for a debate contest. It was nice to see and makes me really want to consider public history. I went back to my office, worked on the manuscript and the power point presentation that I had to give to the park rangers on Thursday. I finally went home, settled in and prepared myself for the next day.

Thursday - I gave my power point presentation to the park rangers. They appreciated my work. they also gave me suggestions for my presentation. I considered this to be my rough draft, or dry run for my DC presentation the following week. After my presentation, my boss tells everyone that I will be going to DC. He also tells them that I will be coming back in February to do a lecture for the bicentennial events at the Lincoln home. I was shocked! Once again, I thought I was supposed to just do the research, write a manuscript and go home. Obviously, not the case. So, I will be back in Springfield to celebrate the bicentennial. I am excited! I came back to the office and made changes per the suggestions from the rangers. I added a few lines to my manuscript. I finally left the office. I was walking home and realized that I would be leaving the site in a few days. I started to realize that I was going to come back as a different person than when I left to come here. I went home, settled in, and prepared myself for the next day.

Friday - I came into my office. Printed up a quick summary of my research. I had a meeting with a Nikki from an organization named "Looking for Lincoln". This organization has signs all over the state that tells stories about Lincoln that children that understand and learn from them. The meeting went well. We discussed making another wayside sign that talks about the hired girls. Also, she was going to add the information to a production reenacting Lincoln's farewell address in Springfield. Once again, surprised that my research is being used in so many different ways. I left that meeting and went out into the site. I had park rangers telling me that they were already using my information in the tours and the response has been great. That made my day. Today was a lunch meeting with Tim, Katharyn Harris (library mom) and Dick Hart. We met up at a downtown restaurant. I have to admit, I will miss that part of Springfield. I will have to take time to discover the non-franchise, locally owned restaurants in Houston when I return. I enjoyed my lunch. I gave my "mom" a thank you note. She appreciated the thought. I got back to my office. Josh and I decided that we should visit New Salem before I leave. New Salem is the town that Abraham Lincoln lived in before he came to Springfield. We went out there in the heat of the day. It was an entire area that was recreated to look the way it did when Lincoln was there. That seems to be a fascination with historic sites. Ok, the whole purpose would be the better term. Historical accuracy is the professional term. This site is a state operated site, which received budget cuts through laying off, or firing seasonal employees. It is sad that the site has to suffer due to the whims of a state's government. One would think that the Lincoln sites would remain open in anticipation of the bicentennial. or be staffed to the max because it is summer travel season. I would think that these sites impact tourism and the local economies. Maybe I'm wrong. Anyhow, this is a couple of miles of log cabins, farmland, and roads that are set to look like 1830's central Illinois. The scenery was beautiful. I realized that I was not prepared for this visit. Not to mention, out of shape. Motivation to do better. Get more exercise so I can feel and look better. By the end of the visit, I felt gross and my feet were sunburned. I didn't think that was possible for me. Lesson learned: get sunscreen. We left the park and returned home. I ran straight for my shower to get all of the humid nastiness off of me. I was invited to go to hear a friend play downtown that night. I left my house and walked downtown. I made it in enough time to catch the last set. It was truly a joy to watch. I sat at the table with Mr. Lockhart, the glass maker I met last Friday. After the set, I sat and talked with the band. I walked home, settled in and prepared myself to enjoy my weekend.

Saturday - I finally woke up and did my usual Saturday morning ritual. HGTV and Food Network. Nikia and I went to lunch. I went back into my office to start working on my presentation packets for DC. I wanted to make sure that the people attending the workshop next week would have something to remember my research and internship by. My plan was to finally check out the mass transit system and go to the mall. I needed a suit for my presentation that I would be giving next week. I went to the ATM to get cash so I can get change for the bus. I got the cash and the receipt, not the card. I didn't realize until I got on the bus that I didn't have my card. By then, it was too late. I went ahead and rode the bus out to the mall. Of course, Springfield's mass transit is not like Dallas or Houston. Then again, there really is no need to have several buses and light rail. It was a nice break outside of my apartment. I finally made it back downtown. I went home for a few minutes to grab a blanket. This was the night that the movie in the park was rescheduled to. The attendance was sparse. Then again, the night before, a movie night in the park event was done at a bigger park with 3,000 people coming to watch the "wizard of oz" on an outdoor screen. That was fine with me. I finally saw "the bee movie". It was a cute movie. After the movie, I walked home, settled in and went to bed.

Sunday - My final worship service. I was a little saddened. I'd started to feel at home and it was time to go. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the FOH. But this was like my summer home. If I come back, I also want to visit other churches. Especially the historic African American ones. No matter where I go, I have to find my center. Churches are historically known as a cultural center. Churches held an important place in the Civil Rights movement, for example. This was the place where community meetings were held and to get information or instruction on the plan of action like marches and boycotts. Sorry, had a history nerd moment for a minute. But for me, it is a spiritual center that I have to have. I came home and started to pack. My goal is to only take one suitcase when I leave Springfield headed to DC. I refuse to give airlines extra money for luggage. I finally settled in, and prepared myself for my last day in Springfield, Illinois.