Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A Memorable History

In my time working here, I have discovered just how little I know of this town. It is my privilege, however, to be able to research everything about the town that raised me--for my own amusement and for the amusement of our readers.

Each flip of a historical page sends me into a nostalgic frenzy--nostalgia for time and time lost. Nostalgia for time I have never truly known but long to know dearly. That idealism that sweeps you away and makes cranky elderlies on their porches shout about how much time has damned us all.

And as bad as things really are now, we all know we will be the next to don those porches and shout at younger generations. Time moves without us, sometimes.

History is a funny thing. Some of our history is written by eyewitnesses, and most of our history is written by those who consider themselves professional researchers. But all history really is, is a collection of memories. And however misleading, slanted or true any of it may be, it shapes our understanding of what we see now. A town is not just a town. It's a home to many before us.

I see the recovered film reels, parched for color and fraying at the ends, all with men and women who look kind of like us but with clothing beyond our time. The furniture is garnished with distracting patterns, but I can see the dust forming already that lingers in today's junkyards. Warehouses we regard as abandoned were once something to someone, but their age still shows--an even deeper history to which I am yet privy.

And if the walls could talk downtown they might tell us something more true. Perhaps that our haunted history is less than ghostly, or that the color of paint someone along the way used was a mockery to the craftsmanship of the men who built it. If everything I am learning now is false, or just a bit biased, I would rather accept it than anything else.

This town's history is full of large tragedies and small-town triumphs. So through all the shouting across the office, the phones ringing off the hook and the numerous tasks I am asked to complete throughout the day, I stop and take a moment and think about this town. There is a summer of history waiting for me to explore. Next stop will be a proper trip downtown, where the history comes alive.

If only that gaudy, yellow party supplies store would move farther out of the Square, then I could go back to properly enjoying it as it once was--a town of memories looking toward the future. (Because who needs contemporary progression, when indie kids are grasping at everything their parents refuted?)

2 comments:

  1. I too live in a small town much like the one you're describing. History is just that..history. But, I love to watch it come to life through memories and photographs passed down through the generations.This is great :) Keep writing

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