I’m really excited about the 2013-2014 year for the Lansing Historical Society. I am again serving as the society’s vice president, which means that one of my duties is arranging programming for the upcoming year.
Last year, all the monthly programs that I set up were related to our World War II theme for the year. It was wonderful to see so many new faces at the meetings and it was so interesting to hear firsthand accounts of wartime experiences from people who lived through it. We had a great lineup of speakers that covered the war from many different perspectives. I learned a lot throughout the year and I hope that others did as well.
This year we are not going with a theme, but hosting a variety of speakers and program topics that we hope will interest residents of Lansing and the surrounding communities.
Our new year kicks off at 6 p.m. Monday in the Community Room of the Lansing Public Library, 2750 Indiana Ave., with our first speaker, Steven Burse, who is the manager of the Munster Centennials vintage base ball team. It was two words in the early days. Burse will talk about vintage base ball and some of the rules and customs of American’s pastime as it was played in the 19th century. I’m looking forward to this program for a number of reasons.
First, I am a huge baseball fan — and if you know me or read my columns, you might know that I am a die-hard Chicago Cubs fan. I have never been to a Bears, Blackhawks or Bulls game in person (although those are things I’ve added to my bucket list), but I make a number of trips to Wrigley Field every year. I love the sport and I love the history of the game. If you’ve never seen Ken Burns’ documentary on baseball, look it up and watch a bit of the series. I could sit and watch it for hours. It’s 18 hours of more than a century of baseball.
Next, I have attended a couple of vintage base ball games and it’s such a fun atmosphere. It’s a great family outing and it’s free. I’ve never seen the Munster Centennials play, but did get out to Portage to see a couple games played by the Iron Diamonds. If you want to learn a little more about how the game was played long ago and about some of the current teams that play vintage base ball around the country, go to www.vbba.org, the site for the Vintage Base Ball Association.
Lastly, I have written on the topic of vintage base ball in the past, which included interviewing Burse. He definitely has a passion for the game and a desire to bring this bit of living history to people in the region.
And not long after Burse’s program, there will be an opportunity to see him and his team in action as I am working on organizing a vintage base ball game to be played during Lansing Autumn Fest. More details to come on that.
At the Oct. 28 meeting, local author Cynthia Ogorek will do a presentation on the Lincoln Highway as it turns 100 and on Nov. 25, a girls’ choir from Hobart High School called Wolffgang, will perform holiday tunes and old classics for the opening of the Festival of Lights Christmas tree exhibit.
I hope to see more new faces at our meetings this year as our society works to preserve our past and make more people aware of it.