Monday, April 8, 2013

April's A-to-the-Zizzle: H

H is for History.

In this crazy world we live in, some of us are more interested in the past than the present.  Seriously, who wants to hear more about how any day now North Korea will attempt to fire a weapon at the U.S. (only to have it shot down into the ocean before it gets even remotely near us, by the way)?  Not me.

I started college as an English major.  I love stories, I love reading, I love writing.  English seemed like a natural choice for me.  I soon discovered, however, that with each new English course I took, my love for it dwindled a bit more.  Such a disappointment.  There were exceptions, like American Literature and English Literature.  I could take those courses over and over.  Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, anyone? Anyhoo, from that I switched to Education because deep down I've always known I wanted to be a teacher,  no matter the subject.  After one semester I decided to take a "break" which turned into six years.

When I returned to college in 2010 I picked up with the Education major, but deciding to go ahead and get the prerequisite courses over with, I scheduled two History courses and a Political Science.  I LOVED those three classes.  I never missed a day.  I showed up every day, excited to hear what the professors were going to share.  The stories captivated me, the people enthralled me.  After rambling to my husband for the seven millionth time that semester, he said, "Why aren't you a History major?  You obviously love it."  I stared at him for a moment, then the little lightbulb came on and I realized Hubs is a genius.  After spending a few days   letting it marinate, I realized Hubs was absolutely right, and felt like a moron for not figuring it out myself.  I went  to the university and changed my major.  I have never had a single moment of regret or uncertainty since.  History is my niche.

Think about it.  Studying History can take you anywhere in the world, to any time period, or any specific
singular moment that had great significance.  You can find hundreds of books on a single topic, such as the JFK assassination, or a single war, or even a single battle.  You can find dozens of books on a single significant person.  You can learn what made people who they were, you can read about why people made the decisions they made, why someone took that extra step that made them greater than the average person.

My favorite History topics are Colonial American, the American Revolution, World War II and British History.  I'm always amazed that while I cherish American history so deeply, it is such a considerably short period of time when compared to most other nations.  When I was in England and France, it repeatedly struck me that many of the homes and buildings we saw were centuries older than my own country.  Such a bizarre realization to have.

I've been driving Hubs crazy with the construction on my new home office, because before the room was even framed up I had already purchased replicas of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, various paintings of the American Revolution and famous historical characters, a Lincoln bust and other historical knickknacks to decorate my office with.  I just couldn't help myself.  I'm obsessed.   I also drive Hubs crazy whenever we watch anything with historical references because I'm always like, "That didn't happen like that.  That's not right.  No, he didn't say that."  Don't even get me started on Disney films...

My hope is to someday be a professor that, while lecturing students taking prerequisite courses, one of the stories I tell will captivate a student so much that he or she realizes their own love for History.  I've been so fortunate to have several professors who are so enthusiastic about what they teach that it's contagious.  They make you want to learn more.

Moral of the story?  Find something, anything historical that interests you, and study it.  Read about it.  Check out multiple books about it to get different viewpoints.  Talk about it with others.  And for God's sake, please don't believe everything you see in "historical" films.  It still pains me to let my children watch Pocahontas.  She married John Rolfe, not John Smith, Walt!

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