Wednesday, December 3, 2008
What's It All About?
My favorite toys when I was growing up were the Johnny West action figures (of course, we called them "dolls" back then, lol). I spent a lot of hours making up all kinds of stories and acting them out with the Johnny West figures and the Barbies. The Barbies, whether they liked it or not, always had to be pioneer women, not fashion models; the Johnny West figures NEVER were transported to the 20th century! Even then, I had a passionate interest in what I think is now called "social history" -- how people lived in times past.
I never outgrew that passion. My favorite books are historical fiction, mainly about the 19th century, along with the occasional non-fiction book about some historical topic. My favorite family vacation was when we went to Fort Boonesborough in Kentucky, where they have displays of what the cabins probably looked like when people first lived in the fort and demonstrations of the skills people had to have to survive. My favorite hobbies are hiking through the woods, or sewing, or knitting, or something similar that my great-great-great-grandmothers probably did as a daily chore.
Lately I've found myself looking at things around me with that "history eye" again. When I'm hanging out clothes on the line, I think about what it must have been like for a pioneer woman to try to do her laundry without a washing machine. When I walk past the black walnuts crushed in the parking lot at work, I think about the pioneers who probably picked up and cracked out every black walnut they could find for a mid-winter's treat. Even a gloomy, cloudy morning makes me think about how very dark it must have been inside a cabin with only one window, or maybe none at all.
So that's what this blog is about. Sometimes we'll ask the question "What must it have been like?" Sometimes we'll tell the story, "Here's what it was like." Along the way, I hope we can stir that passion for things historical in a few more folks.