A Grey Roots Summer Student’s Experience
For those of you that don’t know me, my name is Eric van Trigt and, as I write this, I am just about to complete my employment as a summer student in the maintenance department. Technically my title is Heritage Village Maintenance Assistant, but I really prefer to just be called the Handyman.
Now this is my second summer here at Grey Roots, and I can honestly say there is never a dull moment here. There are countless projects which need to be done. You make a list and before you realize it, more has been added to the list. To give people reading this a better idea of some of the duties that the Handyman does, I’ll dive right in.
Once the Village is open for the summer, I have limited time in the morning to do my jobs using modern day tools (it is after-all a Heritage Village and there were no weed eaters back then). The Village opens at 11 a.m., and I start at 8 a.m., so that means that I have three hours to do modern day work, which means using the tractor or lawn equipment, etc. Once I see the first person in the Village, I stop doing whatever it is I am doing. Of course there are some days where I have to use modern day equipment for longer period of time, but usually I try and stop so visitors get an authentic heritage experience. Last summer, some of the big jobs which were completed during my summer employment included: the Farmhouse porch, painting of the Farmhouse, the bottom of the barn (the pens, the stalls, etc.), the hole with the barrel under the old pump, chinking of the Log Cabin, and a lot of grass cutting and trimming. This summer, some of the big projects which were completed, or in the midst of completion, were: construction of the bottom floor of the barn, painting of the porch and spindles at the Farmhouse, walkway clearing at the Village entrance, installing brand new gates at the Village entrance and by the Bluewater Garage, helping or assisting with the new Logo Sculpture, and once again a lot of grass cutting and trimming.
As with the first summer, the beginning of the summer started with winter exhibit take down and installation of the summer blockbuster exhibit. This year, I thought that the summer exhibit was much easier to install than last year’s exhibit. We moved the Saints and Sinners exhibit from one room to the other to make room for the Extreme Deep exhibit.
Another summer here at Grey Roots is coming to an end, and I must say, I am sad that I am leaving. A lot of kids hate their job, but here I am getting up every morning with an urge to work. Working here wasn’t actually work, it was fun, educational and rewarding. There is just something extremely satisfying seeing all the work that you have done, and I must say we have done a lot. I look at all the work I have done, and even though I may not be back, some of my work here will endure. It is sort of like my legacy, people come in and see gorgeous gates, or look into the barn, and I can proudly say that I was there to build them. I don’t really want to recommend this job to anyone because I want it again, but to be fair, I would tell people that working here at Grey Roots has been the best thing I have ever done in my short 21 years of life.
Durk Devries’ Percheron Horses visit the Barn at Moreston Summer Opening 2014
Lower level of the Barn at Moreston Heritage Village