Monday, July 25, 2011

Meet Ross Ariola

Name. Ross Ariola

What is your job at the Mark Twain House & Museum? Tour guide.

Where are you from? Western Connecticut

Where did you go to school? I am still working on it.

What is the most memorable question you have ever been asked on tour? Who the heck is Sam Clemens? And what kind of person was he in private?

What is your favorite room in the house? The billiard room is my favorite. Second is the library. “The library is where my girls and I can be children together.”

Why did you decide to work at the Mark Twain House? I wanted to have a job that made myself and others happy.

What is your favorite Mark Twain Book? Huckleberry Finn and his autobiography.

How did you become interested in Mark Twain? There are a few ingredients which made me interested in Twain. The first was my initial studies of American history and seeing how much he appears in it. Second was my re-reading of Tom and Huck a few years ago. And the final ingredient was a tour I took with Grace a couple years ago.

What is the strangest fact that you know about Mark Twain? Well there are a few that I always remember. One is the fact that his two of his best friends were a preacher and a robber baron. Another is that he predicted his own time of death during Halley’s comet. "Now here are these two unaccountable freaks; they came in together, they must go out together." But the strangest fact is that there is so much to learn about the man, that people make a career learning about his life.

How long have you been giving tours here? I have been here for about two years.

What makes you come back the following year? I keep coming back because of all the people. The employees, guests, and the Clemens’s make it a special, happy place. And, “You cannot enter it without being moved.”“The average American loves his family. If he has any love left over, he generally selects Mark Twain.”-Edison

What do you hope to see happen to the house in the future? I would like to see the Mahogany room, 2nd floor hallway bath, and the Artist friends room restored.

Do you have a favorite tour story? I like the story of his and Livy’s courtship. But with Twain, you can’t just hear one story. I have different favorites depending on the group.

Have you ever received a question you have yet to find the answer to? Yes. But I can’t think of one off hand.

What do you think is the biggest misconception about Mr. Twain? I think the biggest misconception is that some people think he was a racist. Another misconception is that he was only about Tom, Huck, and the Mississippi.

Do you like Mark Twain more having worked here? Yes, and I think he would have
actually liked the tour guides here, Unlike how he felt about tour guides elsewhere.

Other Thoughts.  I believe he would have liked how the museum is today. He loved this house and management has once again allowed him to be center stage. “I can’t stand the sound of anyone else’s voice but my own.” He would have loved to see that we still love his family and are keeping their happy years alive. One of my favorite quotes is, “The trouble isn’t that there are too many fools, but that lightning isn’t distributed right.” I also like, “Just once I would like to see a Wagner opera done in pantomime.” However, I could go on and on with quotes.


Chad Yantorno said...

Ross, you sound like a great tour guide. I need to plan a day when you can give me a tour. Looking forward to it.
-Chad Y.

Allison Flint said...

Hi Ross,
we had a tour with you this spring and you were a wealth of information - I just wish we could have had a longer visit to pick your brain a bit more. I'm reading Life on the Mississippi this summer - it's amazing!

Anonymous said...

Ross, I'll bring my family to be toured by you anytime. Be well, old friend.