I came to the Latimer House for the first time on a school trip in the Second Grade, in 2009. Since I was a kid, I’ve had a passion for history. I would go to the library and pick up books on random topics. People always ask me “how are you so good at history?” I just laugh and tell them I read. I knew Thomas Edison invented the lightbulb but I learned during the school trip that it was Lewis Latimer who improved on the carbon filament. I also learned that Latimer worked with Alexander Graham Bell on securing a patent for the telephone. I remember being so captivated by this new information and it has stuck with me since.
I was accepted into the Summer Youth Employment Program, which is a program that provides work for teenagers and young adults. I recognized the Latimer House on the list, so ended up applying and I got the job! I remembered that trip I went on in the Second Grade and relived memories of seeing the posters, the lamps, and Latimer’s old chairs.
Working at the Latimer House has been a new experience for me. I met many new people and learned new things. I’ve learned to be more communicative and have also given many guided tours. Before I gave my very first tour, I had to practice everyday until I got everything right. I would walk around giving tours to nobody, talking to the air, preparing. I was so nervous during my first public tour but ended up enjoying it. I enjoyed seeing people learning new information. Not only did I give tours but I also got the chance to work with kids. There were kids as young as 5 working on robotics and I was just baffled. I really got along with the kids and they seemed to really like me.
I also learned new information about Lewis Latimer that I did not know before. I never knew that Latimer invented so many things and how he loved to write and paint. He also helped his community and immigrants when he retired. I felt a personal connection with Latimer’s story because my parents are immigrants from Afghanistan. When they came to America, they did not know English and they had to learn the language. Latimer taught ESL (English as a Second Language) classes and from hearing stories my parents told me, English is not an easy language to learn. Lewis Latimer worked hard helping immigrants and that is something I appreciate. Working at the Latimer House has been a new adventure and it is something I will definitely remember.
—- Latimer House 2017 Summer Intern Elias Masumi