The History Echo
History makes noise. It reverberates off any hard surface and muffles slowly into soft ones. You may not recognize it at first, but when you know it, the reflection of sound is unmistakable. From the paint colors on walls to the repetitive discussion of states rights versus federal control, history is constantly whispering into our ears even if we do not choose to listen.
The first time I saw factory-made slip wares, I had no doubt in my mind they were all from the 1960s to early 70s. Who would decorate in oranges, yellow, bright blue and brown all on one vessel? Ignoring the fact that I was not alive to see shag carpeting in regular use, I was completely wrong. The ware was not actually 20th century at all. The colorful vessels were common in the 1780’s through the 19th century*. It does seem, however, that the color palate reached across time to whisper in the ear of the 1970’s.
Not too long ago it was thought that early American houses were painted with muted colors. Soft yellows and cremes. Perhaps that is part of the reason why I mistook the ceramics for being from another time. After more current research was conducted, it is now known that at least some early American’s preferred brightly colored homes.
Artifacts, decoration, and even wall color pale in comparison to the conversations and arguments we repeat over the decades.
I have a healthy dose of reverence for the founders of our country. I admire those who wrote the document that created an entire high court to protect it. My respect isn’t that a number of people came together and forged a document out of universal agreement. My appreciation for the constitution is in part because many involved in the writing of it did not whole heartedly agree. They compromised: a lot. From how we discuss the framers, you would not know of their months searching for semi-acceptable trades in ideology. As a society, we have often given those who bickered during the Federal Convention traits of the Borg, a collective hive mind all signing with the same hand.
The signers had many differing ideologies that could have deterred them from bringing this country to fruition. Among the big arguments was the debate on centralized government control versus local control. In recent years, states seem to be directly challenging certain federal laws a good amount. Not just one ideology is using this to their advantage. Between marijuana and abortion, it’s clear we have not resolved the issue of centralized control in 225 years. On top of that, the Supreme Court often straddles the line between the two ideologies. The court has at times taken either stance depending on the issue at hand. Even recently, they have voted for affirmative action while striking down DOMA.
There are so many examples of history’s loud and soft echoes that it does indeed fill rooms of books, journal articles and theses. It’s worth learning to recognize all of it’s sounds.
|Decorating Colors||Colonial and Post Colonial Wall Paint||~1700 CE – ~1800 CE||1970’s Color & Style||~1970 CE – ~1979 CE||Plenty of websites advise in how to paint a historic home.|
|Concrete||Roman Concrete||~100 BCE – ~1400 CE||Modern Concrete and Portland Cement||~1700 – present||Recent discoveries about Roman Concrete might help today’s society.|
|Gear Mechanism||Antikythera Mechanism||~1st Centruy BCE||Mainspring driven clock and Gear Watches||~1400 – present|
|Antiestablishment Subcultures||Bohemianism||~1850 CE to ~1879 CE||Beat Generation||~1950 CE – ~1960 CE||Perhaps each generation has this. From dadaism to hippies to punk.|
I will try to add any other things that seem anachronistic, history on repeat or simply that which is reminiscent of another time. Please feel free to send me any thoughts you have.
*Photo Credit and date information of factory made slipware: 2012 Maryland Archaeological Conservation Lab. Electronic Document, http://www.jefpat.org/diagnostic/Post-Colonial%20Ceramics/DiptWares/index-dippedwares.htm.