Welcome to the Wakefield Doctrine (the theory of clarks, scotts and rogers)
Hey, this being the week of remembering the fun of the old days of writing for the Doctrine, to wit, the spontaneous, single thought or sentence or idea which amounts to the push of the sled down the icy street.*
So I was just researching the famous ‘Bread and Roses Strike’ (Lawrence Ma 1912) for ‘Almira‘. (Non-Spoiler Alert!!: Almira Gulch, at the time of the Strike was 16 year old, not yet married and therefore was Almira Ristani, not only witnessed the Strike, but become involved in it on a very personal level. Hint: she tried to send her younger brothers off to relatives during the ill-fated ‘Children Affair’, which, as I’ve come to learn, sort of marks the nadir of the Strike.) Anyway. I was reading a book on the strike and the author wrote,
“Many (Historians) have also come across the saying, “The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.”
I’d not come across that expression before, and, like in the early Doctrine days, I was all, ‘damn, what a great way to say it’
Anyway. There it is. Our public past is of the record, engraved in the collective memory of family and friends, communities and cultures. While it is a given that the rise of commercials for genealogy websites and companies that offer to help you discover your past (or, at least, the cast of that ‘longest running of plays’), is pretty much a rogerian thing, it nevertheless represents a need we all share. Especially nowadays among all, in response to an increasingly institutionalized present to seek out one’s personal past. Of course, our tour guide for a trip like this is surely suspect. These tour guides not only are not professional or otherwise trained, rather are amateurs who happen to seem like nice and well-meaning enough that we think, yeah, sure…. lets go explore my past history for the last (fill in years since born), why not?
“...the past is a foreign country: they do things differently.”
Gotta get back to work!
(Now! if only Kristi and them at Finish the Sentence Friday did a sentence fragment that has to do with our personal history, I’m golden.)
*when I was young…. lol wait, wait!! hear me out!! winter? we had sleds then, these wooden things with metal skids and pointed (metal!) ends that you twisted (the metal!!) rails to steer… anyway, there was one street, Penguin Ave (I know! I have trouble remembering appointments coming up this weekend, but you want to know the name of a street that I didn’t live on when I was 10 years old? I totally got it covered!!) anyway, it was steep and ended in an intersection with a cross street, Potowomut Rd. The town workers used to ‘forget’ to sand the street, for at least a day after a snowstorm, so as not to wreck the excellent sledding. Now that’s a common occurrence nowadays, isn’t it?