All throughout childhood I was under the impression that everyone thinks in pictures.
As I grew older, I learned that most people are not as visual as I am. When something happens they don’t record it with a series of images in their minds, and they certainly don’t turn in papers with cartoons up and down the margins.
Most students are probably capable of listening without simotaniously sketching the professor behind his or her podium.
Whenever I hear stories, I visualize them happening.
If a friend is telling me a story, I imagine every intricate detail of the setting and the characters. Its like making a movie in my head.
If I don’t know these things based on content, I simply make them up.
I think this must be the reason I was always so interested in history.
Even in high school during lectures I would hear about an event, and I would visualize the story. There were real people, who were likable, who had families, and values and beliefs. They had fears, and hopes and dreams, and they interacted with one another. And they were characters in this greater story. They fought in the American revolution, they snuck alcohol down from Canada during prohibition, and they stood up for civil rights in the 1960’s.
The human story is absolutely intreaging.
But History is really quite paradoxical.
(Or I should say, the progress of history is really quite paradoxical.)
Even though Barak Obama is our president, simotaniously, racial tensions and boundaries chop up our public school systems, our cities, and our neighborhoods.
While on this side of the world we are concerned with the newest iphone, on the other side of the globe people are dying from starvation.
Human history is so expansive, it seems impossible to fully comprehend every subplot to the larger story.
But I love it.
When I first came to WT, I was a social work major.
For one of the introduction classes, I had to put in 15 hours of community service in a semester. I chose to work at a local nursing home, shadowing and helping the on-site social worker.
One of my first jobs was to go get to know the residents of the nursing home.
So I would go sit with the elderly and just talk to them.
Though I learned a lot about social work during my hours there, I feel I learned much more by listening to those people’s stories.
Some of them lived through WWII and were so poor their parents made clothes for them using burlap sacks.
Others were living on farms during the dust bowl, and they described the black sky, and the barren fields.
One man even fought in the second world war, and after bringing him coffee every day I’d earned the right to hear about his platoon’s involvment overseas.
Those were real people.
And real stories.
So, now I’m a history major seeking certification to teach high school.
I’ve only just begun my junior year, so I’ve only scraped the surface of the WT history department, but so far I like what I see.
Hopefully, after two more years hanging around the fourth floor of Old Main I’ll leave this place not only with the knowledge of the human story and how to write about it, but I’ll leave here and contribute to it.
And in the mean time, I’m sorry about all the drawing in class.