Date: Thu, May 13, 2010 at 6:20 AM
From today's newspaper. I guess it's better to be in an editorial than the police blotter.
History slipping out of fashion
This article has been read 71 times.
Life goes on, but never in quite the same way. Once, people lived close together, at first for protection, then for convenience. Then we started moving out into the countryside, where our neighbors were farther away but still seen often and cared about. We started to watch a lot of TV. Then we got computers, and all of a sudden, we had no time to spend with neighbors, or to volunteer at the fire department or to join service clubs.
Once, when we had fewer distractions, historical societies had many members and large crowds attended open meetings and lectures. But local history has slipped out of fashion and out of the consciousness of a generation wrapped up in online shopping and social networking. Those who still care about the societies are old and getting older and will soon be gone.
Jefferson College Historical Society in Canonsburg was chartered in 1966 and publishes a fine periodical on local history, the Jefferson College Times. Its editor, James T. Herron Jr., in an editorial in this month's issue, recalled early meetings: "There were speakers, Williamsburg movies, show-and-tells and music presentations. The room would be packed for music presentations, with people standing in the hallway.
"That was a third of a century ago, a greatly different time .... There are few left who were active in the early days of the society, and the more recent generation has not replaced them."
It is sad enough that the service clubs and other organizations that keep people in touch with each other - face to face - are withering away, but especially so with those dedicated to preserving local history. A community that has a clear idea of where it came from has a much better chance to determine where it is going.
That might not mean much to a generation that relies on GPS units.