9/25/2006

So Much for History

I love history. I imbibe the past through historical novels ( claiming their exceptional research), museums, history sites, movies - you get it.

Recently I had an epiphany and I am standing back and re-evaluating my inclination to soak in the past through all these various lenses.

As I lifted the receiver I checked the caller ID. It read "California" and the number. Is that supposed to narrow the field? My daughter lives in CA, Jim's family is spread from San Diego to San Francisco, and I do have friends living there.

"Ellouise" She did not have to say her name. I recognized her voice immediately and when I heard it a flood of memories washed over me and I was right back in the 1970s when we worked together for the women artists movement.

She came to the DC area often in those days and when she did she sometimes stayed with us. Her visits were always a delightful pleasure and a challenge. An outstanding artist, this women is an unusual person who who enjoys challenging the status quo. She is never dull.

"I am writing a book about the history of the women artists movement and I want to include information about the Coalition." She was calling to confirm some facts and when she told me what she had written down I said,
" you've got it wrong. "
" What do you mean? That's how it was when I got involved."
"Maybe so, but the Coalition was started at least six years before that and you are leaving out much of the early history."
"Oh.

Now what to do? Dig around in the basement for the real facts or just let it alone. History irrevocably changed by omission.

Is that how it is with much of the history that is written down thirty, forty years after the fact. And then what about history re-digested after millenia.

So much for the absolutes in history.

Storyteller truth, right?