Right now, it is tough to be doing much in the way of posts – it’s like trying to hold a conversation while facing a hurricane! The next few days will be focused on regional, state and federal elections and of course the BIG ONE.
I’d rather speak on some reflections on my blog – knowing full well that no one is going to read them! (until later when the dust settles!)
One thing that has struck me is what I will amateurishly call, ‘The Singularity Syndrome’. (Some reader with more time on their hands probably knows the technical name for it.)
Basically it goes like this: Since no one else in the fast majority of media are bringing up what you are saying, therefore you are ‘crazy’.
Boy times do change!
Back just a few years ago, being unique and having strong convictions that bucked the system was absolutely celebrated in literature and in the Press.
What we are seeing now is the ‘people are sheep’ attitude which is quite a surprise – social norms are expected by a mediocre populace and anyone who steps out of bounds must be a fringe group, a cult or just plain crazy.
This is extremely difficult especially when it comes to Newburyport. Once our city was the fifth most important population center in the country – now it is a backwater.
Most of our history is lost in the pile of old documents and crumbling books lodged in the Custom House research library, the Historical Society’s files and the Library’s archives.
Our national importance is buried in that heap!
The good thing about being an amateur historian is the ability to synthesize records into a cohesive storyline. Most historians are ‘specialized’ or forced by the discipline of their field to strain at every detail. And often the ‘details’ end up causing them to lose their way.
Amateurs whether in the scientific field or in historical studies have an ability to take the high points and concentrate on a central theme. Amateur historians and scientists have served an important place in the advancement of mankind’s knowledge.
In digging around in the old records, others including me have found many important truths about our city that past historians have simply failed to concentrate into answers.
Why are we called Clipper City when other communities built larger clippers and more ships than we did?
Why was silversmithing and in particular Towle so important to Newburyport and the nation?
Why did the entire country at its birth look toward our city as being so important economically and politically?
Why did we ‘fall from grace’ so quickly and were literally written out of American history?
Why did our fortunes change for the better so dramatically in the seventies in the last century?
How did a city that was bare of trees in the early 19th century become the foliage-covered garden that we recognize today?
Why did masonry in particular brick play such a central role in our city and shape how our city looks?
Why was Newburyport one of the most dangerous depots along the Underground Railroad?
How did a city known for its port, privateering, rum production and smuggling end up becoming a rather staid industrial center by the turn of the twentieth century?
All of these questions can be answered by archeological and historical research – and it takes time to dig it out. And it is urgent that we do so. If we fail to link the past with our present and future – we will eventually lose it all. Believe me, the Children of the Now with their ‘people are sheep’ attitude will see to it if we don’t step up to the plate.
With my limited resources, I am hoping with my website, www.ppreservationist.com, to not necessarily lead the way but provide enough information to point the way to Newburyport’s brighter future.