the Marathon Man

The Washington Post article by Christopher Ingraham (June 13th, 2014) says everything “There tend to be museums within the U.S. than you’ll find Starbucks and McDonald’s – combined.” Quite accurately we feel of museums essential cultural and educational institutions; however, they’re also quiet superstars from the entertainment industry. According to The American Alliance of Museums (AAM), craigs list 800 million live visits annually, their attendance exceeds that surrounding all amusement parks and major sports entertainment combined. But America’s museums less difficult more than popular and numerous; these are cultural and educational gems that play a huge role. They are community elders that tell the stories of our own American neighborhoods. Mamie Bittner with The Institute of Museum and Library Studies (IMLS) stated within the Washington Post article:

“Many these institutions, specially in small towns and rural areas, are historical societies and history museums. We are fond of our history – for a very grassroots level we care to the histories of our own towns, villages and counties,”

The story of how I stumbled on visit and admire numerous small museums begins nearly eight years back when I faced a scary scenario. Diagnosed with prostate kind of cancer my doctor’s instructions were clear and blunt. “We caught this thing very early; lose a few pounds but by year’s end look after this.” Taking care of this meant either a surgical procedure or radiation. He was certain that either procedure can be sufficient; nevertheless, I was scared as hell. When you hear that diagnosis, “you have cancer”, one thousand things race via your mind at the same time, yet somehow the world stops simultaneously. What are the therapies… I have to analyze each treatment… I have to investigate surgeons… let’s say I don’t help it become… what are the results to my spouse… what are the results to my loved ones… I want this thing beyond me… how will you research these things… I want this done prior to end in the year… why me… why don’t you me. My mind was racing, racing, racing. Who do I tell? When do I actually tell them? Should I say to them? My mind was only racing, racing, racing.

It was June 2010. I was 54 yrs . old, a professor, husband and father. Earlier that year my partner had been hospitalized for 34 days. Should I tell my lady? Would this aggravate her condition? She had been worried about being unemployed. Do I tell her? Our three sons were all in senior high school and doing reasonably well; the oldest would start college inside fall. Out of worry would my oldest boy forgo his athletic scholarship to remain home in reference to his ailing parents? Even if he did head to college, if he knew I was battling cancer how could this affect him academically? Who should I tell? Do I tell my boys? Do I tell everyone? Do I tell no person?

I once heard somewhere that “we mature and become our parents.” How factual that is. Although it didn’t afflict me back then, I’d seen this example play out before in 1969; I was 12. One day my father asked me into the future with him to his doctor. This was strange; he never asked about to visit a doctor with him before. We went along to St. Nicholas Park, Mount Morris Park, Central Park, baseball games, museums and supermarkets. On Sundays we walked to newsstands to purchase the New York Times and Daily News. Afterwards we’d return home and eat big southern style Sunday breakfasts – smothered chicken, smothered pork chops, grits, gravy and biscuits, never rolls – always biscuits. We did a good deal, but he never mentioned to head to a doctor with him. I should have known that something was up, but I didn’t.

The doctor’s appointment occurred on an early evening. The office was on the first floor associated with an apartment building and yes it was dark outside. I sat within the waiting area while my father met privately together with the doctor. That day his doctor told him he previously six months to reside in. My dad a tall, quiet, dignified WWII vet said nothing. We went home and that he acted as though nothing had happened. He kept everything to himself. Yet twenty-one years later, and following his doctor were dead, my pops was still alive. He told not a soul this frightening secret rather than those years. Finally, in 1990 he spoke with me in what had happened on that day made use of in 1969. When I asked him why he hadn’t said anything he previously a classic answer, “Hell, I wasn’t gonna die to only to make the physician look good.” To this day I still have no idea if he ever told other people.

In 2010, 41 years after dad was told he’d six months to reside and said not even attempt to the family, I became my father – absent the courage and dignity in the WWII vet. Initially I told not a soul. I did however pay attention to my doctor’s advice and began power-walking aggressively to shed the weight. I weighed 308 pounds. This was the start of a journey. Little did I know it would transform my health, my figure and to a terrific degree my soul.

I elected for just a robotic prostatectomy as treatment. Recognizing that I can be hospitalized for several days I was forced to say something to my lady. Every married man understands that disappearing for several days without telling your partner is a guaranteed death sentence; cancer is merely potentially lethal. We sat documented on the lounge sofa on the Sunday around 7pm. It was the evening before I’d be admitted for the hospital. This scenario gave her not much time to place the matter; I had being at the hospital early the following day. As I had feared, she eradicated and started to cry so that as soon I uttered the term cancer. We agreed not to ever tell our sons; the two of us thought it may cause them to worry.

Fortunately the operation was obviously a success. Neither chemotherapy nor radiation was required. Several months later I resumed my power-walking. Over time a routine evolved. I prefer walking outdoors in parks (no matter what temperature) to treadmills and tracks, mornings are superior to evenings, warmups last 5 – 7 minutes, weekday walks last 45 – 50 minutes, weekend sessions work for a minimum of 90 minutes and lastly, nearly all sessions end with 7- 8 minutes of stretching. I walk four times per week during cold months and four to five times each week during warm months, I also found an extremely reliable partner, music on the 70s, 80s and 90s. My partner also gets along fabulously by having an ancient Sony Walkman. Who knows, perhaps this partner is my subconscious whispering to remind me of prodigal youth.

While I do not claim for being a very religious person, being outdoors in parks (which can be after all tiny forests) sweating, breathing and one of many general splendor of God’s nature may be a spiritual event. The cancer has now been gone for up to eight years. Over that point 70 pounds have melted away and my diabetes has recently disappeared, or with the very least be well controlled. Along the way I started enter races; I power-walk but compete against runners. Half marathons (13.1 miles) and 10Ks (6.2 miles) are my top picks. Being somewhat vain, before entering my first race I checked the times in the runners to generate sure I would not finish last. At first I entered local races. Later a colleague, who is usually a runner, said about the Philadelphia “Love Marathon” which I competed in. This lead me to analyze races in other locations. Now, I happen to be participate I races. However, journeying to cities and then participate in just one race seemed hardly for being an efficient using time and travel. I needed another activity to go with the racing. This is how I developed an interest in small museums.

I had some knowledge about researching museums. Years ago I had begun exploring museums as field trip venues for high school graduation students. At the time I supervised a university program that provided various activities for at-risk school students. The American Alliance of Museums (AAM) provided an incredible deal of information for the program. Later, as I did start to look for museums within the cities and towns I could be racing in, AAM as well as some other museum related organizations such as The Institute of Museum and Library Service (IMLS) and Museums with the World (MOW) are getting to be valuable resources. One undeniable fact that immediately became clear is the fact that America will be the undisputed museum capitol with the world. According to MOW there was an estimated 55,000 museums in 202 countries in 2014. IMLS, (a U.S. agency) states you will discover 35,144 active museums inside United States alone. Assuming these data are accurate, over 63% in the world’s museums are positioned in America. The IMLS 2012-16 Strategic Plan indicates “There tend to be more than 4.5 billion objects locked in public trust by museums, libraries, archives along with other institutions inside the U.S.”

My articles attempt to capture some from the fascinating stories, color, history, myths and life that happen to be the marrow of America’s small museums. I hope you will join me. Coming soon wax, warships as well as a poet named Wadsworth.