Yep, I know it's just me on this dirt road. But I can't seem to shake the greetings I've used with all our faithful Coffee Cups & Camisoles readers over the years. So, just smile and keep reading when you see my old greeting.
What's been happening on your street this week?
On my dirt road, I've been busy planning my next story ideas, preparing taxes, and chatting with my son about science and Skyping my daughter in Ireland. As usual, I've been delving into historical research, and as I've researched my family history farther and farther back through the generations, it's stretched me to the Revolutionary War period. This week I've been reading through original documents about war pensions, battle testimonies, and hospital notes.
There simply is no way to romanticize dysentery, typhoid, consumption, or smallpox.
However, I grow nostalgic and amazed when I think of the fortitude of our ancestors. Their gumption was amazing. Yet, centuries having passed, we get the benefit of seeing their lives in context of our national history toward freedom.
Every time I discover an ancestor who fought for freedom, preached freedom, died for freedom--whether for religious freedom or upon the battlefield--I am shocked these stories weren't passed down in sacred retelling. For instance, I discovered a Revolutionary War headstone memorializing my husband's 5th great-grandfather. It rested in a sleepy cemetery in the same county he grew up in, placed there 100 years beforehand. Yet no one in the family knew this. Sigh...
So why? Why didn't these stories get passed on? Often two reasons. Pain, being the first. Second, their stories seemed ordinary to them, and the feeling of being the present allows people to believe they couldn't possibly forget. But the truth is that pain impacts everyone, and the truth we pass on about how to become overcomers impacts the freedom of generations to come. And the truth is that we are all a people who forget. Without words and stories to help us remember how to preserve the truth of lessons learned--we forget and remain caught in the wrongs and chains that fetter our people for generations. I'm sure this brave ancestor was glad to have survived the battle of Long Island. But as I read about hospitals, perhaps little did he know that his next battle was surviving the conditions there. There are horrors our ancestors wanted to forget about slavery, war, and disease, but what were the truths to be preserved to prevent a repeat of history?
If there's anything worth romanticizing from our past, it's our lessons of victory, perservance, forgiveness, and love. So, as I think about what stories I might write about this era after the Revolution, I'm brainstorming what it might have been like on America's frontier after the war. I can't wait to see what characters might arise!
What are your favorite 18th century authors and stories or movies?
Have most of you traveled through Virginia, Pennsylvania, or Kentucky where many of these patriots lived?
What time or place would you transport to see if you could? I'd transport to a Revolutionary field hospital--but only for a day--with some hand sanitizer! Lol.