Change. It happens whether we want it to or not. Sometimes change is good. Sometimes it’s changing for the sake of change. That rarely ends well. Now, I’m not talking about other people changing things and me not liking them. Not at all. I’m talking about changes that happened without my consent.
History. noun, plural histories.
1. the branch of knowledge dealing with past events.
2. a continuous, systematic narrative of past events as relating to a particular people, country, period, person, etc., usually written as a chronological account; chronicle:
a history of France; a medical history of the patient.
3. the aggregate of past events.
I liked some of the history classes in school. Some. I was obsessed with the Holocaust and Anne Frank in high school. I ordered additional information from Encyclopedia Britannica so I could understand what happened and how it happened. After high school, I was bored because I was working a part time job in the evening and was stuck at home during the day. So I would get up early on my days off, take the ex to work then use the truck to spend an hour or so at the local library. I researched the kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby and knew Richard Bruno Hauptmann didn’t do it. Five years or so later, I saw that Anne Lindbergh had officially apologized to the Hauptmann family for the shoddy investigation. About 60 years too late. But I digress.
After that, life took twists and turns and I didn’t get to do a lot of research history wise. I lived vicariously through my friend living in D.C. at the time. She would tell me about her study time on the grounds of Mount Vernon and the latest museum she’d visited. A few years later, she played tour guide to me and the hubby. I haven’t been back and am itching to go.
Starting in about 2009, our vacations became history-oriented. Boston, Philadelphia, Gettysburg, Valley Forge, Colorado mining history. We’re able to find some type of interesting local history wherever we go. Fast forward to 2014 and a trip to Newport, Rhode Island. I knew the island was a popular summer tourist destination. What I didn’t know was the rich history of the state. We took a short history tour and within an hour, the basic outline for For Honor or Love was floating through my head. Since that trip, and thanks to AMC’s show Turn: Washington’s Spies and Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical Hamilton: An American Musical, I have become immersed in Revolutionary era history.
After Boston, a copy of both the Declaration and Constitution have hung on our walls. There are now copies hanging in my classroom. I was stoked to find out I’d be teaching Social Studies and have way too much fun relaying bits of obscure history to my students. I’ve learned more about Benedict Arnold than I thought there was to know and am pretty darn impressed and appalled by some of the things our founders did in order to make the break from Britain.
How does all this tie in to changes happening without my consent? Well, it’s like this. I would have said (and still am to a degree but am working to change that) politically ignorant. I had no clue what really went into the decision to break away from King George III other than the oft quoted ‘No Taxation without Representation’. I’m still not as fluent in politics as I would like, but I’m beginning to see the patterns and think deeper about the issues than I once did. Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t become knowledgeable enough to even begin a debate with someone who has studied or worked in government for any length of time, but there’s an interest in the process that wasn’t there before.
I know that it was all the historical research and understanding of the past issues our nation as faced that has brought about this change in thinking. A more deeper rooted desire to make a difference in my community, the country, and maybe the world. My stories are one way I can do that. They can offer someone a few hours respite from reality. Give them a bit of hope that things can get better. Show them that hard work can indeed pay off in the end. Being involved in my community and school is another way.
Will I ever be one of those people who quits their job to go protest? Probably not. I’m a bit too rooted in the reality of paying my bills on time and not draining my savings in the process for that to happen. Will I contact my local, state, and national representatives? Have in the past and will continue to do so. I will make an effort to again vote in every election and not just the presidential ones. I will also to continue to research the past in an effort to bring some of the untold, brilliant stories into the present.
It is true what they say…If you forget about the past, you are forever doomed to repeat it.