Wednesday 22 July 2009

Past and Present Evils

From the time we are children, until our teen years, we are told not to do impolite, rude, or improper things. Our elders are appalled by the TV we watch, the music we listen to, and the language we use. So it begins, the belief that the past was not as socially corrupt as the present.

Yesterday I began working in a 154 year old house, or "the mansion" as I refer to it. This house is gigantic; with three fireplaces, more bedrooms than I cared to count, and bathrooms all over the place, you could easily get lost. Every time period left behind one artifact or another there, including photo albums, almanacs, even fan mail to an artist who lived there. While scrubbing the residue of years past off the hardwood floor, I wonder in awe about how much this house has seen: grandeur parties in the roaring 20's, the evils of slavery before the turn of the century, and probably the most comfortable lifestyle in town during the Great Depression.

Just being there makes the past more real. The last 154 years are no longer simply fictional scenarios described by history books... They were lived through, lived in - just as that house was - by people not so different from you and I. Being there, and realizing this, assures me that past decades were no less corrupt, no less evil, than our present day.

No comments: