My sister is a “social studies” teacher for middle school kids. Her favorite subject is American History. Especially things like colonial American trade and whether we might, in fact, fit in with the Daughters of the Mayflower crowd.
Her classroom is amazing. It’s like a little museum full of antiques and memorabilia. Things that many kids born in the age of Amazon and Facebook have no real frame of reference for.
We moved around a lot as kids and I vaguely remember learning the history of several mid-West states, which probably had a lot to do with taking my Gramma Elsie to see old log cabins and historic houses when she came to visit us.
Gramma was inevitably a challenge for the tour guides, wanting to know who made the quilts and what varieties of corn were growing in the garden.
(These did not seem to be things in the scripts!)
I learned a lot of history by reading.
I read everything I could get my hands on.
Lately, I’ve learned that, while I loved all those stories — especially the Broadway play, 1776 — there were other folks telling those stories in different ways.
Leon Uris’ Exodus is a good example.
One of the questions I learned to ask, rather late in my education, is “Whose voice is missing?”
It turns out that the answer to that question, historically, has often, sadly, been most of the voices.
There are lots of good people who’ve been working on that for a while.
(We’re going to zig a bit here for a moment to add in a bit of personal history and then wind up back where we are…)
I had knee surgery six times in nine years.
As a hobby, I don’t recommend it!
All things considered, I’m doing pretty well these days. I had a great surgeon, fabulous physical therapists, a Qigong master I cherish, a very helpful recliner chair and lots and lots of bone broth. Along with some new help from learning to paint, but that’s a story for another day.
One of those knees, though, still has a habit of buckling unexpectedly every now and then which causes me to fall down.
Falling down is not on the list of approved activities for people who’ve had knee replacements.
My surgeon yells when I fall down and wants me to do odd things like quit traveling.
We made a deal. I use a walking stick. One of those sporty looking ones that looks like I might spend my spare time hiking up Stone Mountain, but don’t.
The really cool thing is that it’s collapsible which is great for flying and also for granddaughters who like to make it their size and “play Grammy”.
The walking stick has led to another staple in my wardrobe.
A denim vest. (Well, it used to be a jacket but a good pair of fabric shears took care of that!)
It has lots of pockets. There’s room for everything from wallet and lip gloss and phone to tape measures and dog treats.
All of which means I don’t need a purse and, therefore, have an actual hand left over for car doors and other useful things, like shopping.
Why am I telling you all this?
Well, the denim vest also has lots of room for pins and buttons and purple ribbons and other statement sorts of jewelry.
One lapel has been empty for about a year now. It’s the one where my Bernie Sanders button lived for a long time. And, if we’re being honest, taking it off was hard. It took a while.
Last night, though, we made some new history in Georgia. Stacey Abrams won the Democratic nomination for governor with about 76% of the vote. Stacey Abrams is a black woman from rural South Georgia who worked hard for her education and experience. More importantly, she believes in things like health care access and education. She believes in the future for all of Georgia.
This morning I got online (More miracles of modern science!) and ordered a couple of Stacey Abrams buttons. It will take a few days for them to get here, but I suspect Bernie is quite comfortable with my new choice for his spot on my denim vest.
While I was at it, I ordered a couple of T-shirts, too. They’ll probably have paint spatters before too long but they could use a bit more color.
Our kids — all of them — are growing up in this world. We’ve got some more history to make!