postcards from st. louis

I jumped at the chance to be a chaperone on Molly’s class trip to St. Louis yesterday, trusting that this good bunch of kids would be fairly easy to keep track of and always appreciative of “bonus” time with one of my children. It was a great opportunity to practice matching faces with the names that Molly frequently mentions and get to know the kids just a little better… although this was a pretty action-packed trip!

We started with a visit to the City Museum — my first visit but Molly’s third or fourth. I was really impressed with the creative reuse of an old (shoelace, from what I hear) factory and the repurposing of many industrial parts — wheels, typesetting plates, gears, and much more — as decoration. The place is basically a huge jungle gym for kids and certainly allowed our crew to let off steam (literally… the bus had a new aroma by the time everyone had re-boarded!).

Molly & buddies

Molly & buddies

I accompanied the kids into “the cave,” which culminated in a 10-story slide. This view from the top reminded me of one of the early scenes in “Divergent,” when the main character jumps from the top of a building into a dark abyss.

Our "Divergent" moment at the City Museum

Our “Divergent” moment at the City Museum

Our group ventured next to the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis. I had been to the Old Cathedral by the riverfront but never before visited what is commonly called the New Cathedral downtown. We were given a thorough tour of this impressive Catholic church, which seats 1,200 and holds 41 million mosaics — an art-filled space which was worked on by father-son mosaicists for 76 years, if I recall correctly the docent’s words.

Next up was the Arch — another site our fam has visited, but not for about five years. We had little time there, really just enough to ride the tram to the top and snap a few photos then take the preteens’ requisite tour of the gift shops.

Me & my girl at the Arch

Me & my girl at the Arch

Our final stop was Union Station’s food court, where we grabbed a bite to eat, listened to the serenades of the fudge-making vendor, and corralled all the kids for a few group photos.

7th graders at Union Station

7th graders at Union Station

You’d think all this activity would result in a tired and quiet trip home. You would be wrong. One kid napped, but all the rest were as wound up as they could be! Three hours of happy chatter, movie-watching, and snack-munching later, we pulled up to the school in the throes of a rainstorm. And so thankful Molly and I are for great schoolmates, excellent teachers, safe and happy days.

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