Just Me

Just Me
Look,I'm just sayin'

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

living with hstory

 The other day when I was writing my blog about Pocahontas it came to me how much history I was with and didn't even know it. I knew her as Miss Pokey and had heard her name was Poncahontas. I was always just a little suspicious of that. That is because I had heard the story of Poncahontas and John Smith growing up. It just seemed unlikely that this lady would have the same name. I mean those were different tribes and in a different place. How would they have known about Pocahontas ? Guess I figured Indians wouldn't know history. Isn't it crazy how we think sometimes ? I mean really, why shouldn't they have known about her. Was Miss Pokey named in honor of her ? I really doubt that although I suppose it is possible. Her family name is Pharoah. There are quite a few in that family and stretch back in time quite a ways. Anyway I was just thinking about all that history and we weren't told much about it in school. I do remember studying just a little bit about the Algonquin Indians. There were many different tribes in that group. Why we were studying that particular group and not the ones on Long Island I couldn't say, I expect that is what was in the text books. McGraw-Hill probably didn't know about the Montauks or Shinnecocks. Now that we have " common core " I wonder what Indians they teach about ? Oh that's right, they are Native Americans now. I just wonder how you can be native to America when America didn't exist until the Europeans began calling it that. Shouldn't they be the indigenous peoples ? Even then the Europeans called them Indians figuring they were in the west indies ! Maybe they would rather be called by their tribal designation. You know like I am a Montaukett. Wouldn't that be like saying I am a Frenchman or a Spaniard ?
 This isn't the first time I have had this thought about local history. It is amazing to me how little is taught in school in that regard. I have thought that a course of instruction should be included in every elementary school in that regard. I think by teaching the children a basic history of their town it would inspire some interest. I'm certain the kids would enjoy telling bits of history they learned from their grandparents or other " old " people they know. I do think it would also encourage them to preserve whatever history they can and not be so quick to tear things down. America has always been a tear down and replace society. Well, we are a very young nation in that regard. I've been to Europe and a lot of it is old, dusty and ancient looking. The reason is a simple one, because it is. They don't tear buildings down  as readily as we do. Their buildings are hundreds of years old. It's true a great deal of them are made of stone and more durable materials than the wood we traditionally build with. It wasn't until the early part of the 1900's that we started using steel. That's only a little over a hundred years ago. Despite all the modern materials we employ these days I seriously doubt any will survive for centuries ! Many stone buildings in Europe have done just that and are still occupied.
 I was a member of the Greensboro historical society for a few years. There is much history here, as elsewhere. As time goes by much of it is forgotten. The old place names lose their meaning. Fields and farms are transformed over time. Even the river changes. Was a time when steamboats came up the river, all the way to Greensboro. There is nothing left of that today except an old hotel. That hotel sits there going to pieces , unoccupied. The cost of maintaining it just too great. I can see it being torn down in the not too distant future. Greensboro was a thriving community back in the day. I admit that I just don't have the ambition or desire to compile a course of study for the schoolchildren here in Greensboro. I do believe it would be of benefit were someone to take on that challenge. I wish I had been told more about local history when I was growing up. The best place for that is in school because the kids do have to listen. When the old folks were talking I wasn't supposed to be listening. I'm certain they were telling many stories that would have been of interest. I lived at the edge of Northwest woods as a child. I had no idea Northwest was once a town and a seaport ! It was right there in my backyard and no one bothered to tell me. I had ancestors buried there and wasn't told that either. So much I wasn't told about. I'm certain there are many fascinating tales to be told about Greensboro. Someone should assemble a " book " about this stuff and teach it to the children. Local history should be a required course of instruction.