I recently met with a book publisher; not one that is about to hand me a check for my own memoirs, not yet, at least; I was in her office to discuss a project I am working on for an organization here in Las Vegas. This particular project is with the Southern Nevada Women’s History Project and I took on the role as coordinator for their third book. Each of the books chooses 100 women in Nevada history that have made an impact in some way, be it small or large. I was there to discuss this particular project, but when I shared with her all the other things I am doing, she asked me, “Do you have trouble remembering which hat you are wearing?”
Fair question as the litany of my current list of projects and jobs is daunting. I responded that at least all of the things I’m doing are intertwined.
I may be busy but they are all such worthy projects I just can't say no.
In addition to the SNWHP book, I sit on the Board of Directors for an organization I volunteered for years ago: Women of Diversity. This organization produces documentary videos on women in history and just started a new arm of the organization – The Nevada Women’s Virtual Center, a website that links together women’s organizations throughout Nevada as well as to educate the public about women’s contribution through the use of digital media.
It’s not just the role of women in history that I promote. I am the self-appointed historian of a the Las Vegas Media Group. I met the members of this group back in 2001 and until the last few years I was a “sometime” participant. Since I became a professional historian, both of American and Nevada history, I have spent a lot more time getting to know the members who are themselves history makers. Don’t let the name of the organization fool you (it does a lot of people), it’s not a PR firm. This group originated with retired members of the media: news reporters, photographers and the like. Since its start in 1999 it has embraced an open-door policy – inviting anyone from the general public that has an interest in Nevada history. Today the group is comprised of Las Vegas legends, dignitaries, entertainers, media members, and the like. I could name names, I tell ‘ya; I get to sit among these amazing people every month.
I call myself their historian because I am busy trying to document their life and career histories as they were the ones either writing, photographing or making Las Vegas history as it happened. Before my arrival on the scene too many of the members had already passed on and it is my goal to gather as many of the stories before we lose too many more.
These are all my wage-free jobs. I still have to find time to earn a paycheck. That’s where my role as college professor comes in. I am lucky to have the opportunity to share my love of history with students who are my captive audience three hours a week. I take it to heart to try and get them excited about history and through a lot of effort it works – on most of them. One of my favorite assignments is to make them write their own history. For the weeks that I have them they are to journal about their day to day activities. It’s my method to help them understand how even their own history is important and will be informative and enlightening to them someday.
Yes, I wear many hats but I wouldn’t have it any other way. And, when it's my turn to retire I will turn in my historian's hat for one of the red ones I see so many old ladies wearing (http://www.redhatsociety.com/)! Just let me get all this work done first!
If any readers can contribute in any way to any of the above projects, I would love to hear from them. Do you know a Nevadan that should be recognized, whose story deserves to be told? If so, please contact me at the mail address found on my profile.