Archive for Thursday, May 17, 2007

Eclectic interests abound

May 17, 2007

From a spot in his back yard, Mark Bureman points to a large bend in the Missouri River.

"A hundred fifty years ago, people would have watched with excitement to see the 10 to 20 steamboats coming around that bend every week," Bureman said Wednesday.

Inside the house on Elm Street in Leavenwoth, built circa 1910, yellowed press clippings announce the German surrender in World War II, a picture of Bureman dressed as a 1850s storekeeper sits atop a wood-carved piano and an old baseball glove bearing the insignia of former Chicago White Sox second baseman Nelson "Nellie" Fox is tucked away in a nearby cabinet drawer.

"This is the exact glove I had when I was 10 years old," Bureman said. "I found it in a garage sale. And it's signed by my favorite player. : Fox never struck out, and he always hit over .300."

Bureman's eclectic tastes may seem peculiar at first, but they show his interest in a great number of topics.

"There's a story in everything and everybody," Bureman said. "I've always been interested in ordinary people's history.

"My father was stationed as a Marine at Pearl Harbor when it was bombed, so I grew up with a lot of stories. I think I just like stories. When you were 10 years old, talking to your grandfather's 80-year-old friend, who said, 'I remember the days when people would ride into town without cars or anything.' Today, I realize that I'm that way with my grandkids.

"For me history's an everyday thing."

The former director of the Carroll Mansion in Leavenworth now develops and presents programs for adults and children at Union Station in Kansas City. Before that he worked at Missouri Town, a living history of the 1850s at Fort Osage. Among other things, Bureman has helped with tours of the Leavenworth County Courthouse and is an avid Mark Twain impersonator.

"With the white linen suit and everything," he said.

NAME: Mark Bureman

ADDRESS: 203 Elm St., Leavenworth

OCCUPATION: Museum educator Science City at Union Station

FAMILY: Linda, wife; Robin, son; Leslie, daughter; Jennifer, daughter; Kyle, 16, grandson; Elliott, 11, grandson; Amanda, 10, granddaughter; Miriam, 10, granddaughter; Jasmine, 5, granddaughter

HOW LONG HAVE YOU LIVED IN THE AREA AND WHAT BROUGHT YOU HERE? "Since 1999; the job in Leavenworth."

WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT LEAVENWORTH COUNTY? "The history and the scenery."

WHAT DO YOU DO FOR FUN? "Play the piano. I used to enjoy listening to Royals games. I still listen, but I'm not sure I enjoy it."

WHAT MIGHT SURPRISE PEOPLE ABOUT YOU? "I collect odd things."

WHAT'S THE BEST ADVICE YOU'VE EVER RECEIVED? "Don't be afraid to take chances."

WHAT CLUBS OR ORGANIZATIONS DO YOU BELONG TO? "I used to belong to the Lions Club:and I belong to various museum associations, but I'm not much of a joiner."

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