Living With and In History

I have never wanted to make history other than the obvious family history that is inevitable if you marry and have children, which I have. Being famous appears onerous and susceptible to Boldface Names or Page Six and that does not appeal.

But I enjoy history and am currently reading Jared Diamond’s, “Guns, Germs and Steel”, a book that tries, quite plausibly in my opinion, to make sense of how and why civilization developed the way it did.

I was a teenager within ten years of Holden Caulfield. Salinger’s understanding of the rigidity of the era as seen through Holden’s eyes is not that different from my own view of that time. I was taught never to go into New York City without wearing a tie. Today, personal behavior is hardly restrained at all and yet society’s rigidity is hardly different. Today, the rigidity is far closer to the mindset of Orwell’s “Animal Farm” making the 1950’s and 60’s appear benign.

I look at my antiques with pleasure, however. Imagine the Victorians who were living with some of what they could only have thought were “dated” pieces of furniture. Imagine the pride of possession when the items were first delivered and that they still render pride from people like me. These thoughts have a kind of musical quality that I can’t quite put my finger on.

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