Check in early and stay late during OnMilwaukee.com's "Hotel Week" sponsored by VISIT Milwaukee. The next seven days will be packed with stories about historic area hotels, reviews, famous guests, food and drink, overnights with kids and more. Find out what it's like to be a tourist in this town. (Chocolate on your pillow not included.)
Last spring, I was selected as The Pfister Hotel’s sixth Pfister Narrator. Prior to me, local writers Stacie Williams, Julie Ferris, Ed Makowski, Dasha Kelly and Jenna Kashou held the post.
The role of the narrator is to spend time in the hotel, talking to guests about what brings them to the hotel and documenting their stories via The Pfister’s blog. But it included much more than that, too.
Over the past 10 months, I have heard some amazing stories, including one about a couple who decided to wed at the age of 90 and two women who blew me away with their heartbreaking honesty and their shoe collection.
In November, the six-month narratorship was extended for a full year. Although this is a lot to take on because of my unwavering commitments to my family and OnMilwaukee.com, I was honored and thrilled to keep going.
And I just wasn't ready to let go.
One of the most rewarding aspects of the job has been working with and becoming friends with the artist-in-residence, Stephanie Barenz. From the moment I saw her beautiful work – laden with Milwaukee imagery, particularly the clock tower which I can see from my yard – I knew we had a connection.
Stephanie and I have collaborated in many ways during the year. I have learned so much about visual storytelling through Stephanie and also caught a bad case of wanderlust from all of her paintings and tales from faraway places. (I do have a trip to Indianapolis on deck for this year, but that's not quite remedy-enough for the road trip blues.)
Stephanie and I also created a collection of greeting cards and hosted a storytelling event that had nine Milwaukee artists compete with stories about art. Anja Sieger won this event.
I wrote companion copy for most of the paintings she has completed this year and The Pfister has funded a book of her paintings and my writings. She painted my "life story" as a thank you for the writing, and the piece completely blows me away. I have lost sleep wondering where I will hang this in my house – it doesn't seem I have a wall that will do it justice.
As I watch Stephanie finish up her last painting, and my favorite Lobby Bar bartender moved on, I sense it is almost time for me go, too. I have six weeks left, but I am already feeling nostalgia. I have visualized myself removing "Pfister Narrator" from my Facebook profile and actually teared up. (Geez, somebody knock me over the head with my laptop, mmmkay? Oh wait, it's a Macbook Air, too light. Shoot.)
But aside from my friendship with Stephanie and so many other Pfister employees, the greatest gift from this role has been realizing how much I love Milwaukee history.
I have always considered myself more of a pop culture enthusiast with a mild interest in history, but within the past year, I have felt closer to and hungrier for the past than ever. I always knew I had that gene in there somewhere, my father had a doctorate in American history, but it took a gaggle of decades for it to fester, I guess.
I’m certainly not about to rival Milwaukee historian John Gurda, or my coworker Bobby Tanzilo for that matter, but I am on this path now, too, thanks to spending so much time in the opulent, historic Pfister Hotel.
On, Milwaukee – past, present and future.
1 comment about this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Molly Snyder
Published March 26, 2015
Sean Henninger, who owned Times Square Pizza / Atomic Chocolate in Walker's Point, opened Redbar's kitchen and developed the menu. This was unexpected for Henninger, who was scouting locations to reopen his pizza and chocolate place when co-owner Carrie Wisniewski offered him the chance to create food for Redbar.
Published March 24, 2015
For many people, the reality of living in Milwaukee is bleak due to racial inequality and issues of social justice. And yet, the city teems with people dedicated to improving circumstances every single day. Here are 15 individuals who don't always get the recognition they deserve, but continue to work toward a better future Milwaukee - for themselves, for their families and for residents whom they've never met.
Published March 22, 2015
Anja Notanja Sieger left her suburban home at 9:50 a.m. on Thursday morning and started the journey to fulfill her longtime goal of walking from Franklin to Downtown Milwaukee. She did it, in part, in conjunction with 88Nine Radio Milwaukee's upcoming Transportation Circus. But she made the 15-mile hike for other reasons, too.
Published March 21, 2015
Located on the banks of the Wisconsin River, Spring Green is small in population (about 1,600 people) but grand in reputation. And located only two hours from Milwaukee, it's a viable and enjoyable weekend getaway.
Published March 21, 2015
Laura Rehorst's miniature food sculpture jewelry - a teensy taco, a bitsy burger - are so accurately detailed and freaking cute they might make you squeal in a way that's usually reserved for baby monkeys.
Published March 20, 2015
Last Saturday was a 50-something degree day that was perfect for biking, grilling, the St. Patrick's parade and, apparently, confessing your sins at a busy intersection wearing nothing but tighty-whities.
Published March 19, 2015
According to an employee of the Starbucks at 17980 W. Bluemound Road, CEO Howard Schultz is scheduled to visit the store and hold a meeting for employees only at the Humphrey Scottish Rite Masonic Center, 790 N. Van Buren St., on Wednesday, April 1.
Published March 19, 2015
It's not easy to create a perfect plate of nachos - the chips can easily become soggy or overloaded with too many ingredients. Hence, a great plate of nachos is arguably an art form. Here are five great plates in Milwaukee.
Published March 18, 2015
Signs are important. They often lure us, or don't lure us, into businesses. Here are some great Milwaukee signs and chime in with your favorites.
Published March 15, 2015
Craig Yanek spent two years creating King Tut and his chariot for a display in the Milwaukee Public Museum's "Crossroads of Civilization" exhibit, which opens Sunday.