What do Walt Whitman, Shakespeare and George Hormel have in common? George Hormel stated that he gained an appreciation for poetry and the writing of Shakespeare during his coming of age period in Chicago. He doesn’t specifically mention Whitman, but since Whitman is considered a latter-day successor to Shakespeare (according to poetryfoundation.org), I feel George might have found his writing enjoyable on a cold evening spent by the fireplace. Whitman grew up in Brooklyn and received limited formal education. His occupational pursuits during his lifetime included printer, schoolteacher, reporter, and editor. He evidently explored a variety of life paths, much like George Hormel did.
Why do I bring this up? At the next installment of History Happy Hour on Monday, October 8, guests will enjoy a “Dialogue with Walt Whitman” Presented by Regional Historian, Author, and Actor Terry Mesch, Director Pepin County Historical Society. Mesch will present a monologue using Walt Whitman’s own words to give listeners a unique perspective into the world of the famous author and poet.
I recently found a poem describing the wide array of activities the YWCA of 1942 was a part of and feel excerpts from it are still relevant to the Hormel Historic Home mission today.
“Listen, my friends, and you shall hear
Our problems classed as real and queer.
They’ll make you know without a doubt
Some of the things the ‘Y’ is about.
Who comes to the ‘Y’, did you say?
Home makers, board women, maidens gay,
Industrial girls, business girls, too
All stand ready their bit to do.
Banquets and breakfast, hikes and roasts,
Are some of the times of which we boast.
Clubs, classes, Red Cross, too
Are a few of the other things we do.
Visitors come from East to West
To sleep or wait or simply rest.
They likewise come from South and North
To be informed ‘ere venturing forth.
And so each day the ‘Y’ meets the needs
of girls and women of various creeds.
It’s filled a big place for many years through,
Which prove that you need the ‘Y’ and the ‘Y’ needs you.”
The poetry of Walt Whitman, which has been described as being “influenced by the long cadences and rhetorical strategies of Biblical poetry” is sure to inspire more than the verses above, but I hope the ode to the YWCA gives you insight into the past and present functions of the Hormel Historic Home.
MONDAY, Oct. 8 – History Happy Hour
“Dialogue with Walt Whitman” Presented by Regional Historian, Author, and Actor Terry Mesch, Director Pepin County Historical Society.
Social at 5:30 p.m. Presentation at 6:00 p.m.
Light snacks included ~ Cash bar available
Free for members of the HHH, Mower County Historical Society and Friends of the Library
Saturday, Oct. 13 – Kids’ Music in Motion
Enjoy the music of Todd Mention while engaging in interactive activities led by SarahLynn Zavoral.
10 a.m. Doors open; 10:30 a.m. Music
$2 per child ages 2-12; FREE for History for Half Pints Members
Saturday, Oct. 13 – Musician Master Class
12:30 -1:30 p.m. FREE
Public is invited to hear Peggy Reich, professional pianist, discuss the Romantic age of music with the help of student performers.
Monday, Oct. 15 – Community Presentation sponsored by Peer Power Partners, Community Against Bullying and the Hormel Historic Home
6:30-7:30 p.m. –FREE
David Flood, Motivational Speaker will present "How to Model Behavior with Young People to Keep Them Connected, Safe, Engaged and Included"
Hormel Historic Home
208 4th Ave. NW
Austin, MN 55912