Granny, Off Her Rocker

Posted by on Dec 11, 2015

Today one of the greatest iconic Milwaukee grade school field trip destinations is unveiled dusted up for a new generation. I speak, order of course, of the Milwaukee Public Museum’s Streets of Old Milwaukee.

To say that one of the requirements to really call oneself a person of substance when it concerns the minutiae of Milwaukee trivia is to have visited the Streets of Old Milwaukee is sort of like saying frozen custard is just okay. That is, ampoule it is a severe understatement. The Streets (do I sound real “street” when I say that?) have been undergoing something of a facelift. There have been additions and improvements made. Which is sort of a funny thing to think about when you realize that the life sized walkable diorama is trying to approximate oldie timey things in Milwaukee. But I’m as excited as anyone to see the revisionist approach to making an old thing be a better sort of old.

So it was with the greatest of thrills that I recently had the supreme pleasure of meeting the grand dame of the Streets of Old Milwaukee as she made the first of several appearances for holiday storytelling in the Pfister’s Pop-Up Gallery. I’m speaking of none other than Granny.


Granny…storyteller, look raconteur, rocker.

For those of you who have visited the Streets of Old Milwaukee you’ll immediately know who I’m talking about. She’s the grey-haired lady who rocks the shawl while she rocks in her rocking chair. Day in, and day out. In fact, that’s all I every thought she was capable of doing. Rocking. Over, and over, and over.

You can understand my surprise when I found that Granny does much more than just rock. She tells stories. She’s able to crack a joke. And Granny is even getting the hang of that new fangled thing called social media.

“I have my own Twitter,” said Granny as we chatted after her recent holiday storytelling set. “I thought it was a Tinder, but I understand that’s something quite different.” Yes, Granny, those are certainly horses of a different color but your Twitter handle @MPMgranny is something that the whole family can enjoy.

Granny is tickled about the changes that have occurred in the reimagining of her forever home. “The street has never looked so good. And I should know. I’ve lived there a loooooooooonnnnngggg time.” Granny let me know that there were plenty of new surprises for visitors, including a fresh entrance right through a trolley, some touch ups to the General Store, and even an interactive app for smart phone users (the way Granny talks tech, she seems to have audited some computer classes since she’s gotten off her rocker).

“My neighbor Miss Kitty is still there,” Granny said with an eye roll. “She’s up to something…I just can’t put my finger on it.”

I complemented Granny on how superb she looked and she twinkled as she shared her secret. “Oh, stars! I’ve had a trip to the spa. I love it.”

I hope Granny stays off her rocker long enough for another spa treatment. There’s always room at the Pfister’s Well Spa for one of the all time greats.

Follow me on Twitter @jonathantwest for more smart remarks and snappy retorts.


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