Today's first stop for M's class -- Union Station in DC. Weather warmer than it has been, excitement level likely very high. I woke up early, feeling in sync with M. They were to leave school by 5:00 a.m. and took a school bus to Union Station, where they took Amtrak on to Penn Station. With all their luggage and the number of people going, I suspect it was easier, and quicker, and cheaper, to just have one of the drivers drop them off, then to handle the metro subway as well. I'm sure that some of these 7th and 8th graders haven't ridden on an actual train before. Oh, sure, a few attended M's birthday party years ago, on an excursion train, but this is different. It feels of commerce and city and commuters. At least, I imagined it that way for her, there near The Capitol building, bright and early on a Tuesday morning, ready to ride all the way into New York City itself.
I kept checking my computer clock, is it 12:35 p.m. yet, it's 9 minutes away, is it on time, was there ice on the tracks? I'm really glad that they are going this week, and hadn't gone last week with the icier weather. "Arrive @ Penn Station as 12:35 p.m."
M was happy and eager to join in the classwork last night there at their school. The sleepover turned into classroom time, also. Too much preparation time lost with 6.5 days out of school, lol. Teacher Mo had called last week to check with M, how was her preparations coming along, did she have questions, did *I* have questions.
M stayed calling and making arrangements, and back up plans, and trying to finish up her paragraphs on specific areas of study. Who to interview in person and in New York City, was a pain. M was so excited for Larry Kirwan, but that's by e-mail, dance teacher, Ma, offered her parents but they live in New Jersey, local friends of mine have Irish immigrant friends, who live HERE, Irish Arts center in NYC wasn't holding any piping or bodhran classes they could watch, and Siobhan, in a strong brogue, told M she'd be happy to be interviewed but would be on vacation, recommending someone who never did call. Finally, M called the "ethnic" restaurant they'll be visiting, hmm, tomorrow. The guy said around 6pmish or so, there will be many Irish immigrants there who could be interviewed. Or, during the day, "the lady at thebar" is Irish, and it was confirmed day and time. M laughed, "we're interviewing the lady at the bar." Well, Larry Kirwan is quite an expert, even on Sirius radio Saturday mornings (I couldn't seem to download the free 3-day trial), but restaurant/pubs were social gathering spots. This could be a "real" interview:) No seisiuns during the day, either, I helped M check on that one. Hornpipe magazine (ZandB is now has a byline there!), showed Dempsey's in NYCity holding seisiuns on Tuesday evenings, i.e., where musicians gather just for the fun of playing with and learning from each other. Fay's shoes is too far away from where they will need to be. Finally, M found a Timothy O'Sullivan who has some fantastic photographic work, seemingly had been a photographer during the Civil War even, at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Hmmm. Well, she can use her free tickets now:) Irish step dance teacher, Ma, had won them and passed them along to M, as Ma can't use them. http://www.metmuseum.org/home.asp Artwork such as celtic visual arts such as knotwork and animal symbolism show up in various places (much in fabric arts), but apparently not in musueums so much, that we could locate, in NYC.)
Enroute there last night, her two partners specific to Irish immigration, boys Cr and A, had called M's cell phone, just to be sure. Borrowing my blush as she never did find hers (even if I know she may not even get to wearing it), printed copy of the free Met pass (good for 6), taking her digital camera with reformatted space, a tape recorder from Bampbob (she kept his test singing segment!), a signed medical form (inhaler) I almost lost....... M tried to remember names, is Daniel Joseph (last name) my grandfather, or his father? Um, both, honey, and I think only his brother, William, also came through Ellis Island, a quick review of everyone else. M plopped down her things, and was greeted with hugs. Then, kiss, hug, have a good time, I left M with others. Many were huddled in conversations or around a computer, the smell of fresh popcorn in the air. I'd prepared dinner for M, she started eating it, but was just too nervous.
This morning I see M's mini water pistol she so wanted to bring to the sleepover. Ah, so perhaps that'll be her item left behind. There's always something.
I had made myself a fax copy of the "New York City Itinerary" chart that the students were given. Mo planned to e-mail a more finalized version to parents. Eh, it's fine, Mo:) I keep thinking, okay, M is here now, M is there now........ after checking in at their place, they get lunch. Oops. "Lunch Brown Bag From Home." This packed lunch from home was not listed on the packing list sent to parents. M must not have noticed that previously, either, and I suspect others missed it as well. LOL. Others will have to share their lunches, or M has money and can buy something. Both Grandma (my mom) and I added snacks for her. Adding packed lunch to items left behind!
I checked the mass schedule for St. Patrick's Cathedral. M didn't wish to miss Shrove Tuesday at our church, with pancakes, syrup (not "real" syrup), and good sausages, with colored beads of purple, gold, and green, and a talent show she is sometimes in. I can't imagine attending it tonight without her, but I did sneak into her bag a necklace of jingle bells, some purple, some gold, and some green :) Very Mardi-Gras, perhaps she'll see it. After hearing more of the importance of St. Patrick, and the original and current St. Patrick's Cathedral, M hoped that A and Cr would "let" her attend a short mass while they visited. Mo and I agreed, the group SHOULD, for proper study, but it's up to them. Ah, well, none is during the afternoon hours when they visited. It's an amazing Cathedral, really, beautiful and intricate, an architectural wonder not even counting the stained glass windows, and the bells ring so beautifully at nighttime, also, not far off of Broadway. St. Patricks's Cathedral, New York City has a nice blurb, or go to Archdiocese of New York - St. Patrick's Cathedral, the official website. (IIRC, my other post includes a link to the area of The Tenement Museum that mentions the Cathedral and it's importance to the Irish immigrants.)
M's mini-group, chaperoned by Mo's friend, Susan ("with dreadlocks," also visited Five Points neighborhood today. I had not heard of Five Points previous to her study of Irish Immigration in New York City. Apparently, this neighborhood was a lively slum, tenement housing with many cramped quarters, residents included many Irish. It was also where (one of the?) original garmet districts was, nor too surprising to hear as many Irish immigrants worked in that field, including children sometimes pulled from schools to work in cloth mills as their fingers were smaller and more nimble. I don't, however, really know if there's a connection between any garment district and Irish seamstresses and cloth mills or not.
Check out this site, Five Points , and take the tour under "what is five points" and "who lived there." It's an interesting historical and social summary, and includes archeological links for those inclined. Update: Found an interesting one-pager (come on you can read one page) article on Five Points neighborhood -- New York City Walking Tours - Z Travel and Leisure I never knew this place existed, yet the newly-retired history teacher in the "after dance class" get together knew exactly where I meant. It seems to have been quite the place in its time; I may need to rent the movie!
I imagine they've finished dinner by now, or will shortly. Here, the sun has gone and nighttime is upon us. Hmmm, I should mapquest their address and see just where geographically they are staying. Have they changed yet into their nice outfits, are they in Broadway, waiting in line to enter the Neil Simon Theater? All the lights and signs and busyness of Times Square surrounding them? Hairspray is on for tonight! :) M's been wanting to see that for a couple years now. I told her I wanted her to be able to buy a program if she wanted to. I imagine her laughing and having a great time, excited for the show, excited to show off a touch from the couple short trips she's had there.
I have no doubt that she'll sleep soundly tonight! She's growing up. I'm so proud of her and excited for her. For all of them.