Just Me

Just Me
Look,I'm just sayin'

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Polishing up the past

 I read with some interest of an anthropological study that is being conducted. You might think, what is he talking about now. Only nerds and scholars ( one and the same ) would be interested in such a thing. Normally I would agree with that assessment. The difference here is I may be part of the study.  Anthropology is the study of various aspects of humans within societies of the past and present. I never thought of myself as part of a society of the past. That just sounds wrong. Like I'm some relic left over from the past ? It goes beyond that, it also includes those I played with as a child, went to school with and the place I lived. Now there is this anthropologist that wishes to study that ? Oh my, that is a bit of a wake up call.
 I wonder what the purpose of this study is. What is it that this person wishes to learn ? Then, having learned that, to what purpose ? Is it to become a footnote in some history book ? Is that the purpose, to establish that footnote. Surely this study is nothing more than a passing interest. Perhaps it is fodder for a thesis. Nothing more than a long dissertation for the attainment of a degree. Those that lived that dissertation were not issued degrees. They were just the subjects and in a small way I am in that group. I'm not certain I like that.
 So what is the subject of this study ? As I understand it this anthropologist wishes to talk to those peoples that once inhabited an area of my hometown known as Freetown. That strikes me as funny for a simple reason. When I was growing up there in the late 50's and throughout the 60's it wasn't a place you ever heard of. Oh, my grandmother may have mentioned it in passing but it was not in common usage. In fact, the only thing I ever heard about " Freetown " was it was a place you didn't want to live. The only folks living there were the displaced Indians ( native Americans today ) and the Black folks. It was a sort of " project " back in the old days. Think government housing, although the government didn't provide the house, just the land. Folks living there were looked down upon. You don't need to be an anthropologist to understand that. The how and why of it is fairly obvious.
 Now it is my understanding that Freetown has gained in popularity since the days I lived in the area. I understand it is an area of civic pride and prominence. The name was somehow resurrected ! I expect that had something to do with commerce. Freetown was initially formed to aid in that endeavor. The land those folks were displaced from was far more valuable than the area called Freetown. Freetown, just the name implies the nature of the inhabitants. May not be politically correct today to say so, but just who is free ? And the land was donated to the town by a wealthy family. There was a benefit to them, of that I'm also certain.
 Putting all that aside though I wonder just who this anthropologist intends to interview. I seriously doubt if there are any left that have first hand knowledge of Freetown when it was really Freetown and not an exclusive neighborhood. The area covered by Freetown is even debated about by its' current residents. Ask me and I'll tell you one thing, ask my sister she will tell you another. To those of you reading this that understand, it is an area between " round swamp " and the " hook. " It extended from the Three Mile Harbor road to Springs Fireplace road. The " settlement " house was at its' core, later called the neighborhood house. At one time a clinic for the poor folks existed in that building, sometimes in 1930s', although that could be argued. Some claim the neighborhood house is in " round swamp. " It is on the border in my estimation.
 Anthropology is the study of societies as well as people. The society that existed in Freetown no longer exists. I have serious doubts that anyone alive today lived in that society. Freetown was absorbed into the larger community. I'm sure that happened for financial reason as well. There was an area a little further outside of town that was the Freetown of my youth, although it wasn't called such. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that is where the descendants of the original settlers of Freetown relocated. Personally I don't think there is anything new to learn here. It is the same story that has been repeated all across the world. Perhaps the only change is those folks, the ones that would have lived in Freetown and similar areas, are now spread throughout the community. They are housed in " low income " housing projects and state sponsored housing. The concept is the same. Confine those of lesser " social status " to areas that do not intrude upon the ones of " status. " The only difference being the availability of real estate. Now we confine people to " projects " that are remarkably similar to the poorhouse concept. State sponsored housing.
 I do wish I was there to speak with this anthropologist. I think it would be interesting to hear what he or she has to say. I wonder what preconceived notions exist. I expect, depending upon the age of this person that what I had to say would shock them. I'm not known for political correctness, although I do attempt to remain civil in my discourse. I hope I get to read the final paper. Should be good for a laugh or two. I just am trying to figure out how you intend to interview the dead. Of course I think a lot of anthropology is based upon supposition. I'm certain that wouldn't set well with the interviewer either. Well, we tend to polish up the past don't we ? Don't want it to sound too bad. Well, unless that works to our advantage somehow that is.