Or “Why I love local history “
Pretend for a moment, you were a crew foreman for 10 years.
Then a new job takes you out-of-state.
25 years later you step back into your old position at the same company and realize things have really gone down hill in the time you ‘ve been gone.
There are new faces on the crew. People are padding their time cards, leaving work early to go road drinking…and worse, most of the crew think this is normal.
What do you have that the rest of them don’t have?
Hang on to that word…perspective. I’ll come back to it in a minute.
Last weekend I grabbed a Mcguffey Reader off my shelf published in 1833.
Not a reprint but an original addition. Back in 2007 I was doing some research on a local history project and bought several old books on E-bay on a lark. This was one of those old books. I noticed for the first time, the name Sarah Ann Strawn dated 1838 in the inside cover.
Just for fun, I did some checking on the Internet to see if she was mentioned anywhere at all.
I hit a gold mine.
I found her mentioned several times.
I’m not going to give you too many details of her life just yet.. 🙂 but I will tell you this…Between Sarah Ann, her husband Will and her mother-in-law, there is enough raw material to write a whole new Little House on the Prairie series….anyone want to help me????
Getting back to Sarah…
Sarah Ann marries when she is just 17. Her and her husband Will owned a hotel that entertained this young man on several occasions:
I wondered what it was about their story that stirred me so?
Was it just the thrill of discovery?
A lust for knowledge?
It wasn’t until yesterday that I was finally able to connect the dots and put a name to my inner angst.
Their story gives me Perspective.
When I read about Sarah’s mother in law with 7 sons carving out a livelihood in 1831, dealing with Indians on the rampage murdering neighbors it gives me perspective on how good I have it.
When I read about harsh midwest Winter storms dumping 2 feet of snow and ice and young families trying to keep warm in a 24 by 16 ft log cabin and all they had to eat was corn dodgers, salted pork and coffee it gives perspective on how comfortable I have it.
When I read about how a families meager salt supply runs low so a mom is forced to let her 15 yr old son and his 7-year-old brother travel 90 miles with 3 yoke of ox to get salt in the dead of winter, it gives perspective on worry and anxiety.
When I read about an economic bubble popping in our nation in 1837 which plunges our country into 5 years of extreme deprivation, it brings perspective in these uncertain economic times.
Found a quote on history that also speaks to me:
“The writers of history seldom give more than the rise and fall of nations, biographies of great men, kings and princes, and but little or nothing of the common people – a matter of far more importance, and more interesting.
To know the intelligence, opinions, tastes, amusements, method and means of living, routine of every day life, the hopes and fears, which swayed and controlled a people, would be far more interesting than the life of a prince socially far removed from and having no feelings in common with the masses”
So what do you think?
What would you do if the electrical grid were to go down for a month?
What if we experienced the popping of another economic bubble and all the wage earners in your home were suddenly out of work…long term?
It really does come down to our perspective. (attitude)
As always, thanks for taking the time to read my stuff. (I originally wrote this on my original heart to heart blog that is currently off line. A couple of you may remember it.) DM