Megan Maurer ’19 said she wanted to show me her town, and for her, there is no ambiguity about what that possessive means.
It’s not an adoption or a grafting; it’s not the love of a college student for the location of the beloved institution. Megan was born and raised here, can point out her kindergarten, has younger siblings in the high schools, has childhood memories as overlay on every street of the downtown.
We met at the HarborMarket, its winter location in the Rhode Theater building. The Irish band was playing ballads on the stairs, and the vendors were smiling brightly and offering a surprisingly large variety of locally grown food in January. I got some tea as we made a circuit, had our picture taken with market manager Curzio Caravati, and then went for a walk downtown.
It was not cold by Wisconsin standards, so we walked and chatted about Carthage and Kenosha. She told me that she had not considered going to school “at home” until the final decision point came and she realized that the large state university she had planned to attend would feel so impersonal compared to Carthage. She says the individual attention of dedicated faculty members to her in her two majors of communication and public relations has been the most valuable part of her college education. She has not ever regretted her choice.
As we turned the corner toward the Civil War Museum, Megan pointed out a lawn that had been a central location for valuable Pokemon creatures during the brief craze of the game Pokemon Go a couple of years ago. I remembered chasing a few Pokemon myself with our older child at Carleton College in 2016, being fascinated by the “overlay” on the smartphone screen that revealed another world occupying the same space as the “real” and present world we could see normally.
I realized that the lawn we were crossing was the summer location of HarborMarket, and I had a vision of the small children chasing giant soap bubbles, which had delighted me so in July. It was almost the same effect as the Pokemon overlay.
During our visit to the Civil War Museum, I had the same consciousness of different realities occupying the same space. In the museum movie, the re-enacted scenes of men leaving their families and troops mustering to fight in the South were filmed in modern Wisconsin, in the same spaces where the events happened over 150 years ago. Megan and I found we had also experienced education and cultural awareness of the same event (the Civil War) very differently, both by generation and by region. It made for an interesting conversation, and an interesting subject of study for a communication major!
I will never have the depth and layering of memory and historical understanding in Kenosha that Megan already has at 20, but I hope my understanding will grow quickly with time spent here. Thanks to the generous welcome of people like Megan, I’ve made a good start.
See for yourself
Kenosha HarborMarket — Winter Location
Rhode Center for the Arts, 514 56th St.
Civil War Museum
5400 First Ave.
Civil War Museum website
Be a tour guide
Your turn! Want to show Cameron Swallow your favorite part of Kenosha? Be a tour guide.