History teacher travels the world


History teacher Marjorie DeNeal travels the United States. Photo provided.

Kelee Mills, Staff Writer

History teacher Marjorie DeNeal has traveled all over the United States. She has seen many different historical monuments as part of her travels. 

“I have been to 44 of the 50 states. I am missing Hawaii, Alaska, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and California,” DeNeal said. 

Even though DeNeal is a history teacher, she enjoys learning more and seeing the history of the U.S. Her husband even travels with her. 

“I have always loved history since I was small; I am glad my husband puts up with me,” DeNeal said. 

DeNeal has been to several National Parks as well as historical monuments.

“I have visited Yellowstone National Park, Washington D.C., Shiloh National Park, Gettysburg National Battlefield, Acadia National Park, Oregon Trail Ruts, Rocky Mountain National Park, and Boston,” DeNeal said. 

DeNeal tries to learn more about history as she travels and tries to share her experiences with her students about what is in the U.S. 

“I have visited over a dozen battlefields and my husband, and I try to visit places linked to Presidents,” DeNeal said. “We have visited places associated with Lincoln, Grant, Jefferson, T. Roosevelt, Taft, Garfield, McKinley, Polk, Coolidge, JFK, John Adams and John Q. Adams,” 

It’s hard for DeNeal to pick her absolute favorite places that she has been to and seen, but she has a top list of her favorite places. 

“My top four favorite places that I have visited are Yellowstone, Maine, Washington D.C., and Boston,” DeNeal said. 

She and her husband are currently planning a trip for this summer. 

“We are going to the new National Park, New River Gorge in West Virginia, then going to visit Richmond for the first time,” DeNeal said. “I will get to see Yorktown and Jamestown, both important colonial places. I will also get to visit the Battle of Bull Run, Appomattox Courthouse and the Petersburg National Battlefield. We will also go to Washington D.C. and Arlington,” 

DeNeal is also planning a trip to get some items for her room and for the students to see when they have her in a history class. 

“I am planning on visiting the Vietnam and Korean Memorials and taking rubbings of the men from Saline County to display in my room,” DeNeal said. “I will also be visiting the graves of several Saline County heroes at Arlington National Cemetery.” 

DeNeal has two children, and it can be hard at times, but they also enjoy the trips.

“Adding kids to vacations definitely changed everything. We didn’t slow down (much) but adjusted the times we were at places and what places we visited,” DeNeal said. “Both kids love to hike and fish. Ellie is in full history mode. She listens to ranger tours and even asks questions.” 

There is always room for adjustments and improvements. 

“Our ranger tour at Shiloh Battlefield when Jasper was one was horrendous,” DeNeal said. “He was in his hiking pack and he was so tired, hot and crying. We learned sometimes we just had to throw in the towel, but most of the time the kids have been awesome. Both of my kids have been to over 20 states.” 

She has also found ways for her children to get involved in learning about history. 

“Junior Ranger programs at National Parks are a great way to get kids involved,” DeNeal said. 

When traveling, there is always the potential for the unexpected.

“Craziest things to happen on our trips have been we saw a police chase in Washington D.C., we misjudged the snow on Mt. Washburn in Wyoming and hiked on eight foot snow drifts, we tent camped in the Grand Tetons with warning signs everywhere about a mama grizzly and cubs, and we once accidentally joined a Fourth of July parade pulling our camper going the wrong way in South Dakota,” DeNeal said. 

DeNeal’s experiences have provided her with information that can help others. . 

“Tips for those planning 10-14 day trips would be to do tons of research,” DeNeal said. “My husband and I researched for 6-12 months in advance. We watch YouTube and other videos on tourism, lodging, and food. We want to try local food if at all possible. (It’s also good to) talk to anyone that has done it before.”

In spite of all her travels, DeNeal still has some places that she really wants to visit.

“My bucket list trip was to Washington state and the three National Parks there– Mt. Rainier, Olympic, and North Cascades,” DeNeal said. “We went there last summer for our 15th anniversary. I guess my new bucket list is visiting Yosemite National Park or Glacier National Park.”