How long have you been a member of the historical society?
I’ve been a member of the Coffee County Historical Society for around 10 years. I joined when society president Evans Baird asked Norm, my husband, and me to be a guide at the old spring house during the society’s tour of historic downtown Manchester buildings and sights.
When did you find your passion for history?
Although I am not particularly interested in military and political history, I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t fascinated by old objects and their stories. The history that intrigues me is domestic: learning about things and people in their everyday lives. As a young reader, I was drawn to historical fiction, such as Anne of Green Gables, The Little House books and the Little Women series. I still am.
Given the choice, I’ll choose to read historical fiction and non-fiction rather than contemporary works.
I am far more interested in how people cooked supper during the American Revolution than how they fought the battles of the Revolution.
The history of women, children and marginalized populations is often left out of history books and classes, but the stories of these people are what I love. For example, A Thousand Years Over a Hot Stove: a History of American Women Told through Food, Recipes and Remembrances, by Laura Schenone, helps fill in the gaps that may be in American history textbooks. Literally knowing what someone cooked for supper and how they cooked it is a window into the lives of those women and their families.
Why is history important?
For so many reasons. For one, looking at the history of our parents and grandparents helps us to understand and love them more, because we have a glimpse of their challenges and successes. Additionally, recognizing patterns of behaviors, both good and bad, can help us learn from others’ mistakes. Admittedly, this is hard to do as a society, but it is worth the effort.
What is your favorite part of being a member of the historical society?
As a retired reference and youth services librarian, I love helping people find out things, like who their grandparents were, where they lived and what they did for work.