Monday, August 15, 2011

Loving History

Think, for a moment, about your high school history classes. Did you enjoy them?

I can't imagine the millions of students who journeyed through the twelve grades of public school with me would be any different than I was in finding history classes to be the dullest, driest events in their academic career. History seemed to be something to be endured. There was nothing compelling (let alone endearing) about history class.

"Don't know much about history" could have been lyrics to the theme song for such students. And it's a shame. It took me several years of detoxing to rid myself of the shudders over history class.

But then a funny thing happened: I started falling in love with history. Not history class. History.

It was the stories that did it--stories of heroes and stories of people no one knew about or even cared about. Stories, in particular, of members of my family and that of my husband--stories of everyday people who may have found themselves in extraordinary circumstances for a moment or maybe a lifetime. It's been fascinating to have the door opened to the inner workings of lives of our ancestors.

Just yesterday, a friend came up to talk to me after church. "What's that you're writing?" she asked, noting my occasional status messages on Facebook with links to my blog. Usually including a picture of a family member, those thumbnail illustrations caught her eye and she wondered who those people were.

We got to talking about genealogy. Someone in her husband's family had done research and discovered that her husband was related to Amelia Earhart, "and other famous people--like presidents," she told me. How fun to discover those facts!

Even if I never unearth a link to a famous person, though, I love to finger the threads of my family's stories. Each family member has his or her own story, and it is so precious to bring those tales to life again.

In photo, above right: Amelia Earhart standing in front of the Lookheed Electra in which she disappeared in July, 1937. Photo, courtesy Wikipedia, now in the public domain.

1 comment:

  1. Didn't care for history in school - ditto. "Stories about people no one knew about" - double ditto! I'd love to see a bit of genealogy incorporated into history classes - not so much for the "me-centrism" as to make history come alive and to get kids hooked on the thrill of the hunt!


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