Ever since fourth grade I've held a fascination with history. To me reading about George Washington or the Pilgrims was much more interesting than reading the adventures of The Hardy Boys. I was fortunate enough during by school days that I had history teachers that made the subject interesting in the way they would lecture about it. It just wouldn't be the teachers up there reciting facts from a book for us to take notes with, but there was a real passion in their voices, drawing kids into a discussion about the topic we were on. That inspired me enough to want to go to school and become a history teacher myself. Unfortunately I never completed that task, but I still love history. I love watching documentaries on anything historical, I always learn something new.
Where I used to work we used to have an old WWII vet come in and just shoot the breeze, there often would be a war story in there someplace. I always asked the guy to maybe write these stories down for people to remember as he was a bachelor and only a few close relatives, but he never did and when he passed away about a decade ago, those stories died with him. That's a shame.
It's not only the "known" history that intrigues me, but local history too. I've often gone into a town library and see if there are any books about the local history and more often than not there is something, usually a book compiled by locals of family history. It's just interesting to see where some families came from, many of the stories are similar in nature, either farmers or merchants, but these are the people that most likely saw the beginnings of some small town, so in that sense they are pioneers but won't get anything written about them in a junior high textbook.
I've also been delving into my own family history, more to put demons to rest than anything else I suppose as most of the relatives I know or knew, just aren't/weren't a desirable lot. But digging through all this I've come up with some people I can be proud of, people who weren't well known historical figures but none the less, did their part in forming the era in which they lived. A good share of the others just ordinary folks who worked hard, and in some cases settled virgin homesteads, much like a lot of other people from the United States. Have had people fight in wars, some losing their lives in the process, a few that went on to find success in the athletic arena on the national and world stage, then of course there are those blacksheep members that were probably discussed in hushed tones in front of kids for generations.
A part of me has always envied those people from long ago and I wonder when they lived, did they know they were actually witnessing something historical that would be studied for generations to come. Probably not as some kid 200 years from now could be studying the events of today with maybe a kind of awe but we think of nothing more than an everyday occurence.
History, even with all it's death, tyranny, destruction, plagues, pestilence, wars, and strict social class systems, wouldn't it have been a great time to live.