By Jill Barrow
Last October I failed retirement! But, in a good way…
I was honored to be asked to assume the duties of Interim Executive Director of The Historic Waco Foundation. Since then I have been getting the question more and more often — “What does Historic Waco do?
One thing Historic Waco is known for doing is maintaining four historic homes (McCulloch House, Earle-Napier-Kinnard House, East Terrace and Fort House) and interpreting Waco’s history through them to visitors. Will we continue telling the history of Waco through these homes? Yes! In fact, these fine homes will be open to the public more often.
East Terrace and Earle-Napier-Kinnard will become our main stage through which to share the cultural history of Waco. Even though the homes were built in the late 1800’s, they were occupied until the mid-1900’s. By changing the collections within the homes, we can interpret different decades of Waco history, and share the cultural history of more than just the small period of time we currently interpret. We will have one house focusing on one decade and the other on a different time period. And we will change the interpretation every year or two. This will allow us to share the stories of all the diverse cultures in Waco, and not just the history of the original families of these homes. The houses will become a backdrop or stage for presenting Waco’s cultural history. You can visit the houses again and again and have a different experience.
East Terrace will also become the site of our large temporary exhibits. Being able to have these exhibits on the first floor will make them accessible to all. Earle-Napier-Kinnard will have a community space, where community group can display items and share stories of their culture and history.
We need the public to visit the homes, and plan on offering McCulloch as a rental facility. The downstairs parlor and dining room are perfect for small weddings and meetings. This house has a working kitchen and dressing areas, and all of the rentable areas are on the first floor, making this house very accessible. Just imagine sitting in the parlor where Mrs. McCulloch taught piano or entertained guests. McCulloch House will still be open as a house museum for visitors to see how the Caldwells and their 5 children lived in a two-room cabin, and the McCullochs built the fine two story adjacent structure to house their 10 children.
The homes are part of the answer to the question, “What does Historic Waco do?” but there is more…and that’s where you come in!
Historic Waco is the storyteller of Waco history. That is what our answer should be. Our mission is to preserve and to present the history of Waco – and that means that we interpret the history of Waco through artifacts and stories. When the Waco Indians settled this area, they told stories about their life here, and left an oral history along with the archeological data. George Barnard opened his Indian trading post in 1844 and left a fascinating history in his record books – records that tell the story of people and objects sold and traded. Neil McLennan shared stories of the beauty of this area and enticed others to come settle here. Jacob de Cordova and George B. Erath shared their vision of a new town called Waco through stories of what was offered here. The families who built and lived in the four homes Historic Waco maintains, the Forts, the McCullochs, the Earles, the Napiers and Kinnards, and the Manns, all left stories of their lives in those homes through their letters and journals.
Storytelling and education go hand in hand. Historic Waco is expanding its educational programs to include monthly Family Fundays held at the historic houses. The themes of the monthly Family Fundays relate to the month and to the history of the house. We have wonderful programs to offer schools and their students. There are different themes for the school programs; medicine, games, holidays, etiquette, transportation and migration, architecture, and the good ole days! Teachers can also check out traveling trucks to use in their classrooms. Adults can come to our fall and spring lectures. Families can join in the fun and festivities of our Texas Independence Day Celebration on March 2, on the grounds of East Terrace, or visit with Santa and see our homes all decked out for Christmas the second weekend of December.
Because Historic Waco is more than just four historic homes, we must continue sharing this city’s history. We need volunteers, sponsors and others who want to step up and assist us with this challenge. Preserving history and story-telling can be difficult in this modern world, but it is imperative that we do so. We need people who are passionate about all aspects of the cultural history of Waco and who are willing to share the stories.
Can we count on you to join us as we change to be able to tell the story of Waco, past and present? If so, contact us! We will put you to work!
Jill Barrow is currently the Interim Executive Director of Historic Waco. She has served as the director of the Ollie Mae Moen Discovery Center, and as the Director of Education for the Mayborn Museum. She “retired” in June after teaching science for 10 years at Rapoport Academy Middle School on the Quinn campus.
The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
By Jaja Chen
How do we respond following fears and experiences of bombings in our capitol – Austin, Texas?
When seeing recent news stories like these, many fears can arise for the safety of our friends, family members, peers, and our city. Amidst the fears and hearing about traumatic events, how do we continue thriving in our Wacotown?
Self-care following traumatic events that we hear about, witness, or personally experience can help us to lean into emotions and our community, as opposed to isolating ourselves. Trauma is anything that is a shock to one’s mind, body, soul, and/or spirit. Traumatic events leave us with many questions and thoughts of “Why?”
Three self-care responses in the face of traumatic events that we cannot comprehend include:
1.) Pay attention to how trauma is impacting you – Notice how you respond physically in your body as you listen to or read news articles about traumatic events that occur-not just to people around the nation or world-but also amongst racial/ethnic or diverse groups in which you identify with. Secondary trauma can occur when we hear about or witness a traumatic event, even if the event was heard through a news article.
2.) Process with a trustworthy individual – Whether that is a friend, family member, mentor, or colleague, find someone you trust and can connect with to share about your experiences and responses to trauma. This may even mean reaching out to a confidential hotline* first before speaking with someone you know in person. Connect with loved ones who may be feeling the same way as you or who may have been impacted by the same or similar events. At times, taking care of yourself can also mean doing your own processing work with a therapist prior to sharing about what happened to others around you.
3.) Demonstrate self-compassion to yourself – We must recognize that trauma has a ripple effect. Our communities are impacted by trauma. Simply paying attention to how you feel in response to trauma is an act of self-compassion. And connecting with others to see how they are doing helps demonstrate empathy and compassion. You are not alone. As we experience the full array of emotions in response to traumatic events, kindness and grace for ourselves in the process of healing helps us to mindfully press in to self-care as opposed to judgment, isolation, or over-identification with unpleasant emotions – to the point of unhealthy coping.
For many of us, the experience of traumatic events-either direct or indirect-may lead us to reach out to a licensed mental health professional to work through the emotions, thoughts, and physical impacts of traumatic events in our lives. Trauma can impact our physical health as our bodies store can traumatic memories physically. Reach out to someone today -whether that is a friend, safe family member, or peer to enhance your self-care and to help our community to thrive.
Jaja Chen, LMSW, CDWF-Candidate, is private practice therapist in Waco through Enrichment Training & Counseling Solutions specializing in trauma and difficult life transitions. As an EMDR Trained Therapist, Jaja’s passion is walking alongside individuals whom are healing from PTSD, secondary trauma, and burnout. Jaja can be contacted via email at Jaja@enrichmenttcs.com or via webpage at http://enrichmenttcs.com/meet-jaja-chen/
*If you are currently experiencing a mental health crisis in response to traumatic events, dial 911. If you are experiencing hopelessness or suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The service is available to everyone. The deaf and hard of hearing can contact the Lifeline via TTY at 1-800-799-4889. All calls are confidential.
Read Locally Waco is a project to promote literacy in Waco. Throughout the semester we will post stories that use sight words our children are learning in Waco ISD. You can print these stories and lists of words to use with your children or with other children in your life. This week’s story uses words from the First Grade Sight Word List. For a printable version of this story and word list, click here: Rosie Likes to Drive Around.
Rosie Likes to Drive Around
Rosie likes to drive around. Robert likes to walk.
For weeks she drove right by him. Then, one day she stopped to talk.
“You are very boring!” Rosie stopped and said that day.
Said Robert to Miss Rosie, “Well, you don’t have to stay.”
“Every day you walk and walk. You go so very slow.
Why don’t you drive a car like me? That’s all I want to know.”
“If you really want to know me, all you have to do is ask.
You never stop to talk to me; you always drive right past.”
So, Rosie stopped her yellow car, and parked it on the street.
She took her sneakers from the trunk, and put them on her feet.
As she and Robert walked along, he showed her many things…
He showed her where he liked to play and pushed her on his swing.
They said “Hello” to Mrs. Jones and patted her dog Chico.
They waved to June and Christopher and their new baby, Rico.
They bought a sno-cone from a truck and each of them ate half.
“Your lips are blue!” “Your lips are blue!” They both said with a laugh.
When they walked back to Rosie’s car, the moon was big and bright.
They had walked and walked and walked and walked till day had turned to night.
Rosie likes to drive around. Robert likes to walk.
Now she never drives right by him. She always stops to talk.
First Grade Sight Words Used in this Story
This Act Locally Waco blog post is by Ashley Bean Thornton, she has lived in Waco almost 20 years now. Far longer than she ever lived anywhere else. She likes to walk. If you see her out walking, honk and wave and say “hi!”