Natural leaders in history social studies groups remember facts and tell great stories. Past President of CCSS, Greg Spielman, is that kind of leader. Some men would hesitate to take five women clubbing and ghost hunting in Boston after 9:00 p.m., but not Greg. He rose to the challenge. The way to a woman’s heart is through bread. So he took us to the Omni Hotel, and began wowing us with his fun facts.
“Right here is where Parker House rolls began.” he said as we walked into the hotel out of a light rain. He and Sandra ran through the streets, while the other four of us took a cab. They beat us. He ran his hands through his wet crew cut to dry it out. We thought for sure he had made these stories.
“In fact, Malcolm X was a bus boy here in the 1940s.”
“Nooooo.” Five women disputed him.
“Right Greg, you’ve mixed up your facts somewhere. Malcolm X? This doesn’t seem like his style.”
“It gets better. Ho Chi Minh was one of the pastry chefs making famous Parker House rolls.”
You are pushing it, Greg. Really?” You could cut the disbelief with a pastry knife. Two famous people working in one restaurant? Not at the same time, of course.
“John Kennedy loved this place. In fact this is where he made his first public speech. He was at his grandpa’s birthday party. You know his grandpa, John F. “Honey” Fitzgerald, Irish-American Mayor of Boston? Of course, you do. So anyway, guess where John F. Kennedy proposed to Jackie Bouvier?
“Not here at Parker Restaurant?”
Yep, and there’s more. Ever heard of Boston Cream Pie? … Right here.
What five women couldn’t resist stories of love and power and Boston Cream pie and Parker House rolls? We followed him, turning right into a magnificent hallway into the “Last Hurrah Bar.” The Omni Hotel on 60 School Street is “America’s longest continuously operating hotel,” Greg quoted the fact sheet before we knew there was one. He had it memorized.
We sat around a couple of tables on comfortable chairs. Michelle ordered a kahlúa cream drink for dessert at the Last Hurrah Bar. That sounded good to me, too. If you are more literary than I am you’ve probably read Edwin O’Connor’s 1956 Pulitzer-Prize winning novel called The Last Hurrah about federal penitentiary inmate, MA governor and U.S. Congressman, James Michael Curley.
How has Greg had time to learn all this stuff? How does he remember it after he learned it? Those questions have answers. After he gets back to CA, he will return to Boston with a group of way more high school kids than I would know how to handle in Boston. He will tell them these fun stories, without the kahlúa cream, of course. Have fun Greg. I know your travel group will!