VIEWPOINTS McFADDIN-WARD HOUSE
September 2013 Vol. 29/No. 4
Traditions shaped McFaddins’ lifestyles BY JUDY LINSLEY The twentieth century brought rapid and radical change for the world. The McFaddins and Wards could find stability in these uncertain, sometimes unsettling times through their traditions. Tradition remained integral to the most important events of their lives and provided a comfortable continuity; what Ida McFaddin had learned from her mother, she passed on to her daughter Mamie McFaddin Ward. One of the family’s most deeplyrooted traditions was of hospitality to guests, the antecedents for which came both from the Caldwell family’s practice of high Victorian etiquette and from the McFaddins’ adherence to the frontier code of welcoming strangers. Ida and Mamie made elaborate preparations for visits from family and friends, planning numerous large events — parties and outings — yet never forgot small details.
In addition to being spotlessly clean, guest bedrooms were supplied with thoughtful little extras, such as a basket of fruit, reading material, and a water carafe and drinking glass on the bedside table. Ida planned and ordered meals at the McFaddin home. The most formal dinners were served á la Russe, or in the Russian style. The butler or maid brought in the food and served each diner individually, leaving no large dishes on the table. Dining á la Russe demanded considerable skill and strength on the part of the domestic employees. Ida’s granddaughter Rosine McFaddin Wilson remembered the heavy platters “trembling from the strain on the butler’s arm as he extended the tray between the high-backed chairs.” In what seems odd today but was common in the 1920s and 1930s, the thoughtful hostess offered cigarettes
Like many other parents, Ida and W.P.H. McFaddin had their children photographed in christening gowns; this one of Mamie McFaddin Ward was made in late 1894 or early 1895.
FROM JUNIOR INTERPRETER TO COLLEGE GRADUATE: See TRADITIONS, page 8
ONE YOUNG MAN DOES IT ALL AND INSPIRES US ALONG THE WAY BY BECKY FERTITTA
To say Harold Booker has been a busy young man during his life would be an understatement. Harold has Harold Booker and Becky Fertitta celebrate his always been at the ready, eager to take part and willing to take on new graduation from Morehouse College.
challenges. Never satisfied with participating in one or two important activities, he has wanted to do it all, and by my estimation, he really has. Even so, at the young age of 21, there is so much more to come for this incredible young man. So who is Harold Booker? Harold is one of “ours,” as I like to say — a special young man whom we have
See BOOKER, page 10
-- Director’s Desk --
IT’S ALWAYS SOMETHING By ALLEN LEA “It’s always something.” I say that at least once a week. Anyone who works with a historic house museum or artifacts that are over 100 years old knows the continuous upkeep and care involved is critical to ensure they are around for generations to come. Taking care of a museum involves much more than the general public realizes. Care of historic properties and buildings are done at a snail’s pace; nothing happens overnight. Throughout the past few years, the McFaddin-Ward House has undergone multiple restoration and preservation projects. So far this year, we have witnessed the restoration and painting of the carriage house exterior, the building of a new wood and garden-loop wire fence around the carriage house, a major overhaul to the victory garden, and planting of offspring from our historic live oaks, William and Rachel, around the museum to replace fallen trees. This has all taken place at the same time as tours, camps, lectures, conferences and a program, proving that museum life goes on in the midst of the chaos. Our next venture will be repainting some of the museum exterior and two interior rooms: the master bedroom and the neighboring green bedroom. Collaboration among museum departments is essential for projects like this to run smoothly, but fortunately, as if on autopilot, staff and volunteers carry on with their duties. The collec-
The master bedroom will soon be repainted, just a small part of the ongoing routine maintenance required of the museum. tions department will remove all artifacts from the rooms, while keeping detailed reports for moving each and every object. The education department must create new signage so that while the painting is taking place, visitors can see what the rooms look like fully furnished. Docents will adjust their normal tour path and edit their tour text accordingly. I feel quite certain that any museum — or business for that matter — would be fortunate to retain the staff and volunteer corps that our museum has. Everyone here cares immensely, not only about the museum and its collection, but also the community and one another. Like a family, everyone
Viewpoints awarded Press Club honors Viewpoints, the McFaddin-Ward House Museum newsletter, won first-place honors in this year’s Press Club of Southeast Texas Excellence in Media contest. The Press Club’s annual contest recognizes the best examples of journalism in Southeast Texas. Experts in media from across the United States judge entries submitted by area journalists, broadcasters and public relations experts. The museum staff is thrilled to have received such an honor. “We greatly appreciate this achievement, and I would like to congratulate all the staff involved with the
production and publication of the newsletter,” Director Allen Lea said after hearing of the award. “We are very proud of the publication. Though it has evolved greatly from its first issue in 1985, I am pleased with its quality and how well it helps spread the word about all the good things the museum offers to the public.” To be added to the Viewpoints mailing list, contact Sandy Rostrom at (409) 8321906. The museum’s website now also updates its “news” section with recent articles, providing a link to a digital copy of the newsletter.
involved with the McFaddin-Ward House has individual interests that intertwine to make the museum a better place for all. There has only been one day in the last five years that, while driving to work, I thought to myself, “I have nothing urgent to do at work today.” It took about thirty seconds from the time I stepped through the office door to know I was wrong. I learned my lesson then and have never said it since; my new motto is, “Okay, what’s next?”
McFaddin-Ward House to host eleventh conference BY ARLENE CHRISTIANSEN At the McFaddin-Ward House, we have always taken pride in the work we do, the programs we offer and the books we publish. We continually work to offer our audiences better, more engaging tours, whether through ongoing docent enrichment programs or our successful junior interpreter program, which gives teenagers the opportunity to learn about the house, the family and Beaumont history, in order to provide visitors with interesting and informative tours. One program we are particularly proud of is our conference series. The series received an Award of Merit and in 1997, a Certificate of Commendation by the American Association for State and Local History. The range of conference topics has pretty much run the gamut; the first four were academic in content and covered consumer culture and trends in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. These conferences were held when the McFaddin-Ward House was still a new museum, and the staff was eager to share research on popular trends and their relevance to the time periods. 1987 — “American Homes in Transition 1890-1930” 1988 — “Consumer Culture in the American Home 1890-1930” Publication: “Consumer Culture in the American Home 18901930” 1989 — “Life at Home 1890-1930” Publication: “American Home Life 1890-1930” 1990 — “The Arts and the American Home 1890-1930” Publication: “The Arts and the American Home 1890-1930”
The next three conferences dealt with the actual running of historic house museums and all of the related issues. They were more “nuts and bolts,” down-to-earth, “let’s get it done” endeavors. We held the first of these when our carriage house restoration was complete, and it opened to the public; we were also dealing with the major restoration of the main house roof. The conferences were a great way to provide other museums with real “live” examples of major projects, including both progress and problems.
Curator Sam Daleo coats a leather couch in the collection with Klucel, a water-soluble cellulose ether used to strengthen and stabilize materials. This process, which conserves artifacts, is one of the topics that will be presented at “Conservation Savvy: From Expert to DIY.”
1992 — “Cadillacs, Calisthenics, and Carriage Houses: Running the American Home” 1995 — “Historic House Museums: Issues and Operations” 1998 – “Historic House Museums: Issues and Operations II” Publication taken from these conferences: “Interpreting Historic House Museums” Next, we held two symposiums on interpretation and how best to present your museum, both well-received topics. “Telling the Story,” presented in 2001, focused on the interpretation of the house and family; “Who Else Lived Here,” the 2007 conference, was about others — people, animals, or perhaps even ghosts — who might not be main characters in a museum’s story but who nevertheless play significant roles. The 2007 conference was especially notable because the keynote speaker, Jim Vaughn from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, first discussed findings from the Kykuit Conference, which called for museums to develop a survival strategy to respond to declining attendance. Partly in response to the Kykuit Conference, our latest offering, “Teaching the Past to Ensure a Future,” held in 2010, focused on ways museums can remain relevant, given changing demographics and non-
traditional audiences who do not necessarily think of “home” and “family” in traditional terms. This conference was also a popular one. “Conservation Savvy: From Expert to DIY” is the eleventh conference that McFaddin-Ward House will offer to museum professionals nationwide. Due to the popular subject matter of this conference, we are broadening our horizons and opening up the registration to antique dealers, conservators and the general public, as well as museum professionals — in short, anyone who is interested in conserving collections, whether furniture, textiles, paper, art and paintings, structures, and digitization of archives and photographs. We will even cover disaster prevention in one of the sessions. Our speakers will address the ins and outs of conservation and how to decide if a project is “do-it-yourself” or if it is time to call in an expert. We have lined up eight speakers, all experts in their fields, to share information on common conservation conundrums. The McFaddin-Ward House Museum feels that cooperation is essential to success. To make the conference more affordable to museums and to the general public, the Mamie McFaddin Ward Heritage Foundation has underwritten much of the cost. For more details on the conference, visit our website. This is a conference not to be missed, and we look forward to seeing you there.
Internship prepares students for careers in museums This summer, the museum hosted Arthur Garrison and Kayla Ross, two interns with wide ranges of expertise. They came to gain museum exposure and experience and, at the same time, provide us needed assistance with projects, events and exhibits. Arthur came to us with two degrees in history and is currently working on an MA in museum studies; Kayla’s degree in history included a semester studying abroad in England. Together, they generated two exciting new exhibits for the museum. The McFaddin-Ward House Museum
internship program provides college students with on-the-job museum experience; interns learn the inner workings of a museum, from collections management to educational outreach. One requirement is to research a topic related to the McFaddin family and curate an exhibit on the subject. They present their research to the public at the opening of the exhibit, which remains on display for several months. Arthur’s exhibit, “World War I: Home and Away,” spotlights the McFaddins’ contri-
butions to the war, both in Southeast Texas and elsewhere. Kayla’s project, “Edwardian Opulence: Lavish Living in the 1910s,” takes a look at the wealthy lifestyles of the McFaddins and compares it to the lives of European aristocrats, such as those on the popular television show “Downton Abbey.” Both exhibits will be on display through December 2013. To learn more about the internship or the presentation and exhibit, contact the museum at (409) 832-1906.
By ARTHUR GARRISON As I wrap up my summer internship at the McFaddinWard House Museum, I cannot believe that I was given this great opportunity to be a part of such a unique staff. I have learned valuable museum skills from just about everyone here, including writing press releases, updating collections files with Publisher and Past Perfect, and creating exhibits based on historical research. I am sure that these skills and my countless other enjoyable experiences in Beaumont will help me achieve my goals after I receive my master’s degree in museum studies from the University of Oklahoma next spring. The best part of my internship at the McFaddin-Ward House was being allowed to participate in researching and designing an exhibit, knowing that the information collected would be used to bring history to life for many visitors. In my opinion, this is what museums are for, and McFaddin-Ward House accomplishes this task quite well. Part of my job was to create a two-part exhibit focusing on the McFaddin family’s service during the First World War.
Arthur Garrison conducts inventory in the dining room, one of many tasks assigned during his internship. Such an exhibit may seem a bit strange for a house museum; however, I felt that constructing it would challenge me and also allow the museum to share a less widely-known piece of Beaumont’s history with the public. The project gave me onthe-job experience working
with budgets, managing my time and collaborating with staff. This experience will help me achieve my ultimate goal of working for one of the many military museums across the country. As I complete my internship, I would like to thank the
Board of Directors and the museum staff, as well as the many docents and patrons with whom I have crossed paths over the summer. Each has taught me many things that will make me not only a better museum professional but also a better person.
MY INTERNSHIP TAUGHT ME EVERYTHING ABOUT MUSEUM WORK By KAYLA ROSS As one of this year’s summer interns, I was thrilled to be able to experience many different facets of the museum in such a short time. From curating an exhibit to assisting with educational outreach planning, I feel that I am now prepared for almost any job in the museum field. For as long as I can remember, I have always loved museums; and when I realized I could make a career out of something I was so passionate about, I chose history as my college major and never strayed from the choice. In August, I graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University with a degree in History and a minor in Anthropology, and I look forward to what the future will hold. This summer’s internship project included designing an exhibit that is now displayed in the museum visitor center. The exhibit, “Edwardian Opulence: Living Lavishly in the 1910s,” was initially inspired by my love of the PBS series, “Downton Abbey.” With the renewed interest in the Edwardian Era since the series began, and more interest in the story of the Titanic with the 100-year anniversary of its sinking in 2012, I thought it would be interesting to compare the more famous lifestyles of the era to those of the McFaddins. I became interested in comparing the lavish lifestyles of wealthy southern families, like the McFaddins, to those of British nobility. I found that though there were some differences, there was no lack of elegance and opulence in either setting. My exhibit spotlights the
objects that demonstrate the extravagance of life in the 1910s, before World War I brought great changes. I have enjoyed the project and learning to use the resources at the McFaddinWard House to conduct research, as well as my many other experiences during my time at the museum. I assisted with inventory of the clothing collection, which turned out to be a real education for me. Learning how museums catalog artifacts and experiencing firsthand the great attention given to care and detail provided me with invaluable on-the-job collections management experience. The experience was also wonderful because I was able to see up close what amazing works of art the clothes were back during the early 1900s. It was absolutely mind-boggling to think that some of the pieces were over 100 years old. While I was here, I also got the chance to visit other museums and historic houses in the area. It was great to see other venues and see how they compare with one another. One of my favorite experiences at the museum was to help with one of the museum’s free movie night events. These events are a lot of fun, because they allow the public the chance to see older films on the big screen. Movie nights are related to the museum’s themes, this year’s being “traditions.” The community loves these movies, and so do we — sometimes people even dress up for them. My experience at the McFaddin-Ward House has given me the opportunity to learn a great deal about the career field I plan to pursue. After I finish my time here, I
While conducting inventory of the museum’s reserve collection, Kayla Ross assesses the early-1900s dress selection as part of her research for “Edwardian Opulence.” plan to continue doing internships at museums and search for a position with another museum. I hope to learn as much as possible before I begin my master’s degree in museum studies. My internship has taught me so much that I now have no reservations about my ability to be successful in almost any position in the museum field. I feel really lucky to have been given
the opportunity to work with the amazing people at the McFaddin-Ward House. Not only are they dedicated to the mission of the museum, but they are helpful, supportive, and a lot of fun to work with. I have learned a great deal from every person and thank them for making my first experience in the museum field such an incredible one.
PASSING ON TRADITIONS The museum education department planned a three-day summer camp to highlight the year’s interpretive theme, “Tried and True: Traditions of a Southeast Texas Family.” The camp, which was open to eight- to twelve-year-olds, focused on traditions ranging from writing to entertainment. Campers participated in a variety of activities — planning a party, setting a table, creating a journal — and worked together to write and star in an old-fashioned radio show. Other activities taught them about
telegraphy and handwritten correspondence (life before email, text messages, and other technology); they were even assigned a pen pal.
Jenny in the skies of Texas By SAM DALEO On April 6, 1917, the U.S. declared war on Germany and officially entered World War I. American forces were not fully engaged in the war until the spring offensive of 1918, however. Also in the spring of 1918, President Woodrow Wilson issued the first of two executive orders creating the Army Air Service. These events soon impacted Carroll Ward, Mamie McFaddin’s future husband. Carroll entered the Army Air Service (the exact date is unknown) and began primary flight training as a combat pilot. It is unclear where this took place, but possibly at Kelly Field in San Antonio, as the majority of American pilots in World War I learned to fly there. Many candidates completing primary training at Kelly went on to Ellington Field in Houston to begin advanced flight training. It was at Ellington Field that Carroll was discharged from Training Squadron N of the Army Air Service on March 12, 1919. We do know that the airplane Carroll flew during this period was the Curtiss JN-4 twoseat biplane. The “Jenny,” as it was called by its crews, was America’s most famous and significant World War I airplane and the primary trainer aircraft of the Army Air Service. Over 7,000 were used to train 95% of all American and Canadian pilots. The Jenny was a traditionally-designed biplane of the period, possessing a 44-foot unequal span, staggered wing arrangement. Ailerons were placed only on the upper wings and were operated using a wheel-type control system. The single, 90 HP Curtiss OX-5 eight-cylinder inline engine was located in the nose of the slim 27-foot fuselage and propelled the Jenny to a top speed of 75 MPH and a service
ceiling of 6,500 feet. The fuselage also contained two inline cockpits, one in the front for the student, one in the rear for the instructor. Both cockpits were open-air, with only a small windscreen at the front for protection. A “tail-dragger,” the JN-4 was outfitted with a two-wheeled undercarriage in front and a wooden skid in back, under the tail unit. She was reliable, easy to fly, and loved by pilots and instructors alike. The Jenny was built by the Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company, which was the largest aircraft manufacturer in the world during WW1. Curtiss employed 21,000 workers at its plants in Buffalo and Hammondsport, New York, and produced 10,000 aircrafts and 15,000 aircraft engines during the war. For this achievement, company founder Glenn H. Curtiss is remembered today as the founder of the American aircraft industry. Curtiss began as a manufacturer of motorcycles, competing with such firms as HarleyDavidson and Indian, but by 1911, motorcycle manufacturing at the company had given way to aircraft. The Curtiss Company became a direct competitor of aircraft manufacturers both in the U.S. and around the world, including the Wright brothers. On July 5, 1929 the Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company and Wright Aeronautical merged to create the Curtiss-Wright Corporation, a leader in the aerospace industry to this day. The Jenny was certainly one of the Curtiss Company’s early successes, and its story did not end with Armistice Day. The Barnstorming era, from 1919 until the late 1920’s, found the Jenny thrilling spectators at traveling aerial pageants and shows throughout the U.S. Even before Carroll Ward sat in his first Jenny, the plane had received some noto-
Cadet Carroll Ward, above, poses next to his Jenny biplane during training in the Army Air Service, ca. 1918. Jenny aircraft, left, sit in formation at Ellington Field, 1918. The Jenny was reliable, easy to fly, and loved by pilots and instructors alike.
riety when it was “recruited” by General Pershing to assist his 1916 “punitive expedition” to Mexico in pursuit of Pancho Villa. Luckily for Carroll, the war ended before he actually saw combat. His time in the Army Air Service, however, may have made a positive impression on
Ida and W.P.H. McFaddin, Mamie’s parents. Until this time, they had disapproved of him because he had a “wild” reputation. On May 21, 1919, a little over two months after his discharge, he and Mamie were married in the parlor of the McFaddin home.
Traditions Continued from page 1 after dinner to her guests. (At that time, there were only a few brands of cigarettes, and no choice as to variety, such as filter or menthol.) Ida and Mamie even purchased specially-designed Dresden cigarette servers that matched their extensive Dresden dinner service. Today, of course, it would probably be considered more important for a hostess to consider non-smoking guests’ interests. In contrast, other McFaddin family meal traditions were much less structured and dignified. Wilson recalled that the dining room often rang with lively discussions (sometimes even arguments) and uproarious laughter. After the meal ended, the adults retired to the library, where the women sat and chatted and the men stretched out on the floor for a short snooze. Tradition always accompanied the momentous occasions of birth and death. Ida and W.P.H. McFaddin had their children christened as babies, and their grandchildren were baptized as well, often photographed wearing long white christening gowns. Names followed family customs; McFaddin and Caldwell men were often given three first names, and one son usually received his maternal grandfather’s name.
Death invoked a number of traditions, some quite complicated. Knowing for certain how to show proper respect for the deceased was reassuring to the bereaved and took away the need for difficult decisions. Etiquette books delineated a specific dress code for mourners: a woman dressed all in black for a year and a half after losing a husband; one year for a parent or child; six months for a sibling. Then followed a state of half-mourning, and she could wear lavender, gray or white. Men wore a black armband. Many mourners ordered blackbordered stationery, and some even had their jewelry reset in jet. During the mourning period, the bereaved could attend church and small social functions but nothing large or frivolous, such as a ball. After Ida died in March of 1950, Mamie stayed out of the social loop for well over a year. On November 7, 1951 she wrote in her journal, “wanted to go to concert with Carroll but could not do it — can’t be in crowds after losing Mother.” Her niece Rosine Wilson recalled that Mamie attended her wedding in 1951 but would not go to the reception. Both the Caldwell and McFaddin families observed the custom of placing the deceased in a bedroom for visitation, fully dressed, a ritual dating from a time before funeral homes with special viewing rooms
Curator of Interpretation and Education Judy Linsley explains that the family sent out black-bordered cards after Ida McFaddin’s mother, Mary O'Bannon Smith Caldwell, passed away in 1927.
were available. On a lighter note, Aggie sports traditions came to the McFaddin home when Carroll Ward married Mamie in 1919. Carroll especially loved football, having been a star player at Texas A&M College (now University) from 1908-1910, and he remained an ardent supporter. Texas A&M is famous for school spirit and tradition. Carroll and Mamie usually attended the A&M-Texas University game on Thanksgiving Day, and on rare occasions when they could not be there in person, they listened to it on the radio. Mamie recorded the final score each year in her diary. Even ever-changing fashion operated within social restraints. Dresses could be long or short, hat styles large or small, but a properly-clothed woman left her home wearing a skirt or dress, not pants, and always with her hat and gloves. “I never saw my mother without a hat and her gloves when she left the house,” Mamie once said. Ida and Mamie shopped for new styles well ahead of the season. They also had that season’s clothing brought down from storage on the third floor. A flurry of activity followed to make the clothes ready for wearing. A seamstress came by to let seams in or out, raise or lower hems. Then the ladies returned to town to the Fashion or White House to find any needed accessories to complete their wardrobe. Their careful seasonal planning always guaranteed that they had the proper ensemble. As a child, Mamie learned how to shop from her mother. “I don’t think Mother ever shopped without me,” Mamie recalled. “From the time I was a little bitty girl, she said she wanted to teach me how to buy good things — that one good thing would outlast five cheap things.” When Mamie was young, Ida had most of her clothing made by Madame Dunlevy in Cincinnati. On her way to visit family in Huntington, West Virginia, Ida would stop in Cincinnati and choose style and fabric; then on her way back to Beaumont, would stop in for her final fitting. Mamie recalled that Madame Dunlevy “sent them one dress in a box. They were really works of art.” For the McFaddins, “Tried and True” was much more than just a cliché; it described their way of life. Tradition, handed down through generations, provided comforting parameters. From birth to death and all the phases between, tradition kept their world intact.
COLLECTIONS CORNER: LOVE, MADNESS AND SECRETS KEPT By MICHELLE CATE This graceful porcelain amphora-shaped urn displayed in the McFaddin-Ward House parlor is a great example of Rococo Revival decorative art. The piece sits to the right of the fireplace on a marble table top. The chairs in the parlor are in the Louis XV style, so this urn suits the room in style as well as color, with its tones of pink and gold with highlights of blue. It is hand-painted with the classical mythological figures of Venus and her son Cupid. They appear to be putting their doe-eyed heads together to plot whom they should target next with his inescapable arrow of love. Their background is a flowering forest and on the other side of the piece, a classical ruin. The urn is marked “Sèvres” with interlocking L’s on its lid and signed by the artist “R. Petit” on the front. I could find no information on “R. Petit” except for other examples that were signed with the same name. What I did find was that after 1830, there were no major porcelain manufacturers left in Paris, except for the Jacob Petit factory on the outskirts of Fontainebleau. Some pieces accredited to Jacob Petit were strikingly similar to that which we have here. Do “R.Petit” and “Jacob Petit” have some relation? Je ne sais pas. My research was inconclusive. Sometimes we find that a piece can make us ask more questions than it gives us answers, but that is also what keeps the research so interesting. The porcelain is mounted with metal rococo arms that look a lot like gold “ormolu,” a beautiful metal alloy. The French perfected ormolu in the mid-1700s. The ormolu gilding process used powdered gold in an amalgam with mercury that drove many gilders literally mad before the age of 40. No true ormolu was produced in France after around 1830 because legislation had outlawed the use of mercury, but the term is still sometimes used to refer to any kind of gold-like gilt. We may sigh with relief, since this piece dates roughly 1850-1900 and so must have been gilt-bronzed through other means. The delicate clusters of grapes hang from the intriguing gilt arms; on second glance into the eyes of Venus and Cupid, I imagine they are looking at me with that slyness that means they know something I don’t know.
An example of Rococo Revival decorative art, this urn provides a nice accent for the well-adorned parlor, designed to impress guests with style and refinement. Venus and Cupid gaze out as if they have a secret to keep.
Harold Booker, in 2008, getting into the spirit of the museum’s Harvest Hoedown event.
Booker Continued from page 1 known and loved since he began at the museum as a junior interpreter back in 2005. Harold comes from what he calls a “very large, blended family,” and when asked about his siblings, remarks that there are “too many to count if we’re including step-siblings.” “It took a village to raise me,” he quips, and those of us who have known Harold all these years humbly feel that we are a small part of that village. During Harold’s seventh-grade year at Odom Middle School, he toured the McFaddin-Ward House for the first time. The experience included interaction with one of the junior interpreters; he was hooked from that point forward. He admits that he “had always loved history and it was something to do,” and that the museum piqued his interest. We laugh that he needed something more to do, even as a seventh grader. Harold was in high school before I realized just how busy he kept himself. When I recently asked about his activities in middle school, he rattled off a list that would make the most involved volunteer’s head swim. Most of his “things to do” continued throughout his middle- and high-
school years: choir — both school and church — Bible Club, Teen Court, Mock Trial, Varsity Soccer, NAACP, National Honor Society, Junior Statesman of America, and Top Teens. While at Odom Academy, Harold participated in the Pegasus Program, which allowed him to complete high school early. In his junior year, he entered the Texas Academy of Leadership in Humanities at Lamar University, “a highly selective, early college entrance program for gifted and talented students.” Harold thrived in this program, which is one of only two residential programs for high school students recognized by the Texas State Legislature. When he graduated from the program at age 19, he had already earned two years of college credit. Harold’s plan was to finish his degree at Morehouse College in Atlanta, and he made that dream a reality. His goal of attending the college had started in third grade, when he heard Al Price, state representative, community leader and Morehouse graduate, speak about the school. Morehouse is the only all-male historically black institution of higher learning in the U.S. Harold was attracted to the college as a place for “movers and shakers” and leaders; and remembering Price’s words, knew it was the perfect place for him. He took on Morehouse and
graduated with his Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs in just two years, recently returning home for a short time to celebrate his accomplishments and to rest (we hope). Harold maintained his busy schedule while in Atlanta and participated in not only the world-famous Morehouse College Glee Club, but also the College Republicans, Chinese Club, Political Science Association, Business Association, Environmental Club and, of course, the Texas Club. So what comes next for this outstanding young man? There will likely be more school, as his aim is to obtain a master’s degree in either Public Affairs or Business Administration; and he would like to stay in Texas to do it. He admits that he has not ruled out settling in Beaumont nor a career in politics, and we can see that his options are as open and varied as his interests. Harold has shown that taking part is good and important — it not only opens doors for you, it makes you a person who can be taken seriously. We know that no matter which path he chooses, Harold will be a success. He has proven it to everyone, from the village of family members who raised him, to his mentors and teachers along the way, Harold wants to do it all, and indeed he can.
Viewpoints from the Visitor Center By BECKY FERTITTA As I write this edition of “Viewpoints from the Visitor Center,” I feel that summer has really flown by. Maybe that is because I spent the entire month of July with some of the most incredible young people anywhere. That is what I have done. At the end of June, 2012, 13 teenagers had just graduated from our junior interpreter program. Each and every one was excited and eager to volunteer, and I wanted to put them right to work. Unfortunately, we schedule our volunteers a month in advance, so making numerous changes would have been a logistical nightmare. But that planted a seed in my brain: in 2013, why not schedule JIs to give July tours? I held on to that thought for many months, and at the right time, started recruiting them to work. By the middle of June, I knew I could pull it off. Now, at the end of what I’ve nicknamed the “Junior Interpreter Bonanza,” I couldn’t be more pleased with the result. Twenty-one of the 25 active JIs on our roster gave tours and
Junior Interpreter Joseph Trahan, left, enjoys giving tours, and it shows. Junior Interpreter Tyrese Boone, below, shows the sleeping porch to guests.
worked multiple times, logging in 195.75 hours of volunteer time. The total number of visitors during July was record-setting — 500 — and over 100 were children. I have polled several of the JIs, and they believe we should repeat the “Junior Interpreter Bonanza” in 2014. I’m certainly game. It’s been a real treat to spend time with this fine group of young people. If they are in charge of the world when they grow up, we are in good hands.
GOODBYE TO A DEAR FRIEND By BECKY FERTITTA The McFaddin-Ward House lost a dear friend recently, a friend who will always be remembered for her devotion to the museum, as well as to her friends and family. Gay Mallett was a nurturing and loving woman who always had room in her heart; I met her just after I lost my mother, and she helped to fill a void in my life. Her eyes always sparkled when she spoke of her children, whom she adored. But more importantly, Gay’s six children adored her just as much. Delightful, charming and full of fun, Gay was nonetheless a hard worker who took responsibility very seriously. She spent many years as a leader of the museum’s Volunteer Service Council, serving as president in 2006. Health problems kept Gay from being as active a volunteer as she
Gay Mallett, pictured left, enjoying a volunteer “Pot Luck” dinner on July 16 with Ledia Miller, Janie Trussell and Dianne Duperier. would have liked, but she still supported the museum in her own special way. My last visit with Gay was at a recent volunteer gathering. I am so thankful that I, as well
as all her museum friends, had that opportunity. We miss you, dear Gay, but “heaven gained a beautiful angel” on Sunday, July 28, 2013.
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Vol. 29, No. 4 September 2013 Published quarterly for volunteers of the McFaddin-Ward House and others interested in cultural and educational aspects of the museum. (409) 832-1906, office (409) 832-2134, visitor center www.mcfaddin-ward.org 2013 Press Club of Southeast Texas Excellence in Media Award winner for Best Newsletter
Volunteer Calendar Saturday, August 31 Junior Interpreter Guide Day 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, September 2 Labor Day Staff Holiday Friday, October 25 VSC General Meeting and Bus Trip Time TBA Monday, November 11 MWH Book Club Noon Lecture Hall Wednesday, December 4 Volunteer Christmas Preview Visitor Center 10 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.
Events Calendar Thursday, September 12 Buildings of Texas Lecture and Book Signing 6:30 p.m. Lecture Hall
Sunday, November 10 Holiday Photo Opportunity Noon-3 p.m. Visitor Center
Saturday, September 28 Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day Live! Free Tours start at 10:30 a.m. Visitor Center Tuesday-Saturday, November 5-9 Free Tours for Mamie McFaddin-Ward’s 118th Birthday Call for Reservations Lecture Hall Thursday-Saturday November 7-9 Conservation Savvy: From Expert to DIY Conference Visit website at www.mcfaddin-ward.org to register MCM Eleganté Hotel
Thursday, October 24 Movie Night: “Bride of Frankenstein” 6:30 p.m. Lecture Hall