I drew a vital word for my family from the can. History. Spend more than five minutes with my father sometime and you’ll know why. He loves the stuff. I don’t think “buff” is a strong enough word for his addiction to it, even though he was called that in book once. Hey, how many other people do you know with a historical marker on their home? Ok, it’s not a real one, but then again, that in it’s self is the perfect marriage between my fathers passion for history and pension for humor.
Growing up history wasn’t really a subject in school, rather a way of life. While most the kids in school left that and other studies in school for the summer, we saw out fair share of civil war battlefields, forts, museums and every other farm house that somehow shaped the nation that my folks could think of. For their anniversary a few years back, my siblings and I were photographed on top of a cannon, a playful reminder of our vacations.
My dad is to this day the smartest man I ever met, and can do all the smart guy stuff, name all the presidents, list the states and their capitols, and tell you who did what, where and why in almost any town you’re driving through at the moment. He loves sharing his knowledge, which has its interesting moments, but unwittingly he shared much more than that with me, the love of history.
My love of history isn’t a love of dates, facts and figures, although I can rattle off dates, places and set lists of more than quite a few Grateful Dead shows. Living history is what amazes me, the fact that these facts and figures are actually people, who lived actual lives and did actual things. And for me, the amazing part of this kind of history is that is never ends. We’re living some one’s history right this moment. Our whole lives are just that, history.
Today I had to discuss a piece of my history that I really didn’t want to, but I did because I know the strange relationship between history and the future. How what happens in the past, can affect the decisions and our choices in the future. How will we ever fully appreciate our future until we can fully appreciate our history?
So what do I photograph to capture the work history? Some have called my parents house “a musueum” so sure I could drag out my dad’s Civil War rifles or the books upon books he has about the subject, but instead I choose the things that make up the history we are living. The first letter Bob ever sent me, which I always kept. The bottle caps in the bowl on my coffee table. The cook book my mother has had for years. Some of my grandmother’s photographs she kept in a little album.
This is the history I love, the history I would love to live over again.