Tuesday, May 5, 2020

JSL's Side of the Story

James Sankey Lindsey

On the back of the
above photograph is written:

Born on this day ~ May 5, 1846 ~ 164 years ago
~ Happy 164th Birthday Great Grandfather ~
After a turbulent life, may you
Rest In Peace ~ April 10, 1921

Dayton National Cemetery


From The Guest Book
By Sarah Blake
Below the pattern, the great sweeping pages, the wars drummed out and fought, are the questions: What if? What happened? How? Beware the vast magisterial history unrolling a carpet across time: this followed by this, leading inevitably to that. The march of history, the teleology. Nothing is inevitable; everything is tangential, particular -- human.

. . . History is in us. Our history lives in us. Lean low and listen, that's your job. Not that they had lived . . . But how. . . .

History is sometimes made by heroes, but is also always made by us. We, the people, who stumble around, who block or help the hero out of loyalty, stubbornness, faith, or fear. . . . The people at the edge of the photographs. The people watching. The crowd. You. . . .

So know yourselves first . . . Then look back and account. (44)

. . . What the study of history had taught her, clearly, after years and years, was that she might pull up the single moments from the darkness where they lay centuries old, she might point to a spot in time, a line in a diary, the particular shredding of a blue ribbon used to tie a shoe, she might string these together and say, Here is what happened.

And history would sit back on her heels and laugh and laugh.

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