By Dorothy Knight Burchett
Sweetheart and I were out with some friends last week. As we were talking, some of them mentioned a bit of local history. Actually, they just asked me if I remembered a certain business that had been located in the area and was no longer there. Since I just moved to the area seven years ago, when Sweetheart and I got married, I couldn’t fully appreciate what they were saying. They had to fill me in on what had happened in the past first. It made a big difference in understanding for me.
Now, I can’t say that I’m a big history enthusiast. In fact, when I was little, Mom used to tell me stories about my ancestors and their lives before they immigrated to the United States. I didn’t care. All I cared about was that I lived in the United States now. Trouble is, whether I liked it or not, they paved the way for me to live the life I live now—and I like the life I live now.
When my oldest son was five years old, I used to tell him stories about my mother when she was little—stories she had told me when I was growing up. His grandma had just passed away and he couldn’t hear the stories enough. For several months, he would ask me to tell him one of the stories before he went to bed. I got tired of telling the same stories over and over.
The fact is the stories weren’t all that positive. In fact, they were a bit naughty. In her adult life she did some things that weren’t very nice, too, but she was my mother and I loved her. And, I’m proud of some of the things she did, as well. I’ve even done some things in my lifetime that I’m ashamed of—that I wish I hadn’t done. I think the good has outweighed the bad, though.
Recently, my granddaughter told me why university students where she works don’t want to celebrate Columbus Day. She told me some derogatory information that I hadn’t heard before. It had me rather floored. I didn’t know how to respond, because, in spite of what he might have done, he did discover America, or, at least, put it on the map. I’m glad he did, because I like living here.
Then, I discovered, by way of talk radio, that the derogatory information had been disseminated by an enemy, or at least someone who didn’t like him. It’s like a liberal politician writing the biography of a conservative, or vice versa. And, what if Columbus did some things that we think are bad? It seems we sometimes judge historical figures by today’s standards. They could be the very reason we have evolved to our present social principles.
Fact is nobody is perfect and the bigger decisions a person has to make, the more likely s/he is to make mistakes—and the more he/she is open to scrutiny. If we take away the foundation that our forefathers and foremothers laid, we’re liable to fall. I have heard it said that “He who ignores history is doomed to repeat it.” There are some things I wouldn’t want to repeat.
Nobody is perfect, so how can we expect perfection in others—be it police officer, politician, department head, or even, the President of the United States?
I’m not famous and I doubt if anyone will ever erect a statue of me, but, if someone does, I hope no one knocks it down.
Dorothy has recently published a book, “Miles and Miracles”, and it can be purchased on Amazon and Kindle, and is now available at 512 Main in Knox, PA. Her email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org