About a Blogger: History is My Story

To be present, then and now

When people visit my house, one of the first things they say is, “Wow. You’ve got a lot of pictures!” They are right; I have photographs of people, mostly my family, on every piece of furniture that will hold them. They are my history.

These pictures are a combination of old, sepia photos of my ancestors and photographs of my immediate family. I put them together – both old and new – in a variety of frames. I enjoy looking at these pictures.

I believe it is important to learn about our history, as individuals and as a human race. Yet, we tend to make “history” the bad guy; some believe it is a collection of our mistakes. But, it is also a map that tells us how we got to where are today.

I appreciate what Cicero said about history:

“History is the witness that testifies to the passing of time; it illumines reality, vitalizes memory, provides guidance in daily life and brings us tidings of antiquity.” ~ Cicero

My favorite part of this quote is that history “illumines reality.” I like the idea that history gives light to our lives.

History that encourages inspirational stories

One of my favorite bloggers who gives light to my life is Hilary of Positive Letters…Inspirational Stories. I don’t know if she would actually call herself a history writer, but she’s taught me a lot about history.

In her posts she will often begin talking about a common everyday item – a garden, a type of food, a street name – and then introduce a different topic. She weaves these topics together so we see how their histories fit like a puzzle. I love how she does this!

Among other things, her posts have taught me that:

The first chess piece of a Bishop was made of Walrus ivory and was found in Scotland.

The history of socks is related to both the Romans and comedy.

Postal boxes have a very interesting history.

There really is something called cricket ball squash.

The fascinating development of the alphabet and words – one of my favorites! I loved how she ended this one with the following summary:

“As you can see our Alphabet developed and became mixed and more refined as the lexicographers worked their magic over time. The humans spread language, mixed roots and allowed through regional differences, their nomadic wanderings, their exploration to see ‘what lay over the ocean’, this magnificent legacy that we have today which is WORDS. A way to describe our life, remember past lives through writings and stories from millennia ago, and to converse, post and journal our way with words for our readers.”

Very appropriate for those of us who live by words:~)

Hilary is my favorite historian, mainly because she doesn’t just talk about “timeline” history. She talks about the history of everyday things and best of all; she makes her history lessons FUN.

I think Hilary would agree with Dr. Carl Sagan, since he said:

“You have to know the past to understand the present.”

Thank you Hilary! My present is always enriched by you teaching me about the past:~)

42 comments on “About a Blogger: History is My Story

  1. Hilary is awesome, isn’t she? I can’t skip a single word. Her posts are packed with the most interesting information and she relates it all to the present so beautifully. Thanks for spotlighting her!
    .-= Betsy Wuebker´s last blog ..Family Brunch al Fresco =-.

    • Sara says:

      @ Betsy — I really agree about Hilary. I love visiting her site and she provides the most amazing information about things. I have learned so much history from her and had fun reading about it!

  2. Hi Sara,

    I’m a fan of Hilary, too. Her posts are filled with SO much information. I like the post she recently did about maps, and even the one she did about bats she made fascinating even though those critters freak me out.

    I like the Carl Sagan quote you included since it reminds me how we are what we are today because of our yesterdays.
    .-= Barbara Swafford´s last blog ..S*%$+#@*.!*)& B(*!$@& =-.

    • Sara says:

      @ Barbara — Hilary is special and she’s taught me a lot. I also admire her for the care-taking she does with her mom. I imagine that’s difficult at times emotionally, especially when it’s your parent.

      I missed the one about bats. I’ll have to go look for it. Bats used to terrify me, too. Then we spent a week at some park in NC. The ranger had a movie about the park that she showed at night in one of the rooms. Somehow, a bat got in because there was a moth flying into the light of movie projector. She told us he’d fly close to us but would not hurt or even land on us. It was weird, you would feel him fly by your hair, but he never bothered anyone in a very crowded room…except for the poor moth:~)

  3. Hilary says:

    Hi Sara .. that was a surprise AND A HUGE HONOUR .. gosh how amazing .. now I see why and how you were trawling through past posts and you sure did find a good mix! I wondered how cricket balls had come up .. there are two bat ones at least!

    I’m just so delighted to read your post, read Betsy’s and Barbara’s comments and your replies .. I have to say I really can’t quite believe it ..

    In fact I don’t know what to say .. not often I’m quietened!!

    Just extremely flattered – because I can read they all come from the heart & they’ve gone to my heart strings .. I’m almost crying here – I really appreciate this .. I am so grateful .. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU .. and all my readers – because I love what I do ..and you all give me such great comments and such great feedback .. what more could a girl want .. oh yes a few years off the old birthday!

    It’s a funny old world .. how things all tie together .. Chris commented that he knows I’m writing for my mother and uncle .. but he said I was writing for me – & how true that is .. and I’d have difficulty stopping ..

    Gosh – you are so kind and I am so so grateful!

    Much love to you all and thoughts and a hug – big one! .. and .. and … and .. well I’d better stop this self-flagellation and toddle off for the night .. so I can dream of beautiful comments .. I’m staggered!!!! — bye bye bye .. Hilary xxxxxxooooooxxoxoxoxoxoxoxox!!!!
    .-= Hilary´s last blog ..Ever Thought of a Map as an Encyclopedia? =-.

    • Sara says:

      @ Hilary — You are so welcome. You deserve the spotlight. No one makes history as much fun as you do:~) I loved the post about cricket ball squash, especially since my daughter and her husband are great fans of cricket. I’ve tried to watch the game of cricket and it is definitely and an acquired taste:~)

      I’ve read through the comments at your site and you have a wonderful group of “followers.” I know you will not be quiet for long…thank goodness. I imagine we all wonder what you will tackle next:~)

      Hugs back at you and have a wonderful weekend!

  4. Patricia says:

    Sara a beautiful post honoring your history and pictures, good words by others and including Hilary in that opinion.

    Bravo
    And now I get to follow Hilary’s gush of joy and quieting – a very fine historian indeed! and a lovely writer.

    She did a guest post on biking architect about the construction of castles and it is still getting a number of reads and has been commented on in person quite a bit too.

    Thank you for sharing these thoughts and ideas with us – Jolly Good!
    .-= Patricia´s last blog ..WISE WORDS =-.

    • Sara says:

      @ Patricia — It’s fun to be a member of Hilary’s fan club, isn’t it? You learn so much about different things. I don’t I read the post you mentioned. I would probably like it as I’m a big cycling fan, but as a viewer not a participant:~)

  5. Talon says:

    The photos are amazing, Sara. I have an entire wall of my house dedicated to family photos and every time someone comes to visit they spent time there and learn about my family and my husband’s family and our family. It’s fun to add to it, too, and know that one day those photos will tell stories to relatives I’ll never ever meet.

    It sounds like Hilary makes history come alive and that’s really a wonderful thing because who we were (in our heritage and our ancestry and our history of humankind) is who we are.
    .-= Talon´s last blog ..It’s the minute details =-.

    • Sara says:

      @ Talon — I imagine that you would have a wall of pictures:~) It’s fun to watch people study pictures in your house,isn’t it? I know when I visit other people’s house, I love to see their photographs of family. It’s gives me a sense of who they are.

      I agree with you about photos telling stories about our relatives and also the progression of a family’s life and history.

      Hilary is a wonderful history writer. She writes about interesting and varied topics. You are right that she makes history come alive:~)

  6. Kelvin Kao says:

    Thanks for introducing me to this awesome blog! If only history is taught more like this in school…

    There are many things and terminology that don’t seem to make any sense now, but if you look at the history and every they came from, they would suddenly make sense again. I like it when that happens.
    .-= Kelvin Kao´s last blog ..I am Famous! Well, Not Really… =-.

    • Sara says:

      @ Kelvin — Now, this is great…another convert to Hilary. Keep visiting her site. You will be amazed at what you learn.

      I agree that history helps us make sense of things in our lives, especially since we repeat it so often:~)

      BTW I loved your post, “I am famous! Well, Not Really.” You have a wonderful sense of humor and adventure!

  7. Joy says:

    Sara,
    What a beauty filled tribute to Hilary!
    And to history…I agree that “history” of all kinds may have a bad rap…history in school is whined about as being boring and not applicable, history of products is viewed by some to be frivolous detail, and history within personal life is something we are often told to shed so it doesn’t weigh us down.
    As you said, I believe that history is important because we may pick out patterns, use our own history and that of others to encourage us to keep moving forward or to change, we can see our internal patterns and pathways we choose and use that as a map. I can look back at my own life and see how each particular experience has been woven together to make the beautiful tapestry that I call my own….
    Thank you for sharing beauty:)
    .-= Joy´s last blog ..Wednesday Wisdom: Reflections to my Inner Child =-.

    • Sara says:

      @ Joy — I really like these words that you wrote, “I believe that history is important because we may pick out patterns, use our own history and that of others to encourage us to keep moving forward or to change, we can see our internal patterns and pathways we choose and use that as a map.” I think you make a good point about using our own personal history to make change.

      It’s interesting that Hilary’s most current post as I write this is, “Ever Thought of a Map as an Encyclopedia.” I suppose this is true of our lives, as well. Our history is our map of where we’ve been and what we’ve learned.

      Thanks for sharing, Joy…I always enjoy your visits:~)

  8. I have found blogging to be a very educational activity and now you’ve added to my store of knowledge.
    .-= Rinkly Report´s last blog ..6/16/10 =-.

    • Sara says:

      @ Rinkly Report — I agree that blogging can be very educational…in many ways. I think it’s very fortunate that computers and technology have come to the point that we can communicate via blogs and share with each other.

      Certainly, Hilary’s blog adds to my knowledge of the world, just as other bloggers share with me their own unique perspectives of their worlds:~)

      Thank you for visiting:~)

  9. Tony Single says:

    The spirit is willing but the hour is late, and I feel my eyeballs will drop out of my skull and clunk on the keyboard like heavy ball bearings if I don’t get me to a bed soon… so I shall have to check out Hilary’s site tomorrow.

    Even in my brain’s addled state those post teasers have me intrigued; they seem like they’d be right up my alley. Still, curiosity will have to wait and be sated tomorrow.

    In the meantime, imagine if you will a photo of me slumped like a corpse on the keyboard. This is not my preferred method of sleeping, I promise you, but my long suffering wife gets so tired of having to drag my sorry carcass to bed! Poor Cassy! 😛

    • Sara says:

      @ Tony — Heavens forbid…don’t lose your eyeballs!!!

      Yes, you will like many of Hilary’s posts and learn interesting things. I’ve a feeling you and Hilary would share the enjoyment of the humor of history:~)

      In the meantime, GO TO BED:~)

  10. I love Hilary’s posts too!! I have shared links with various people as I dig through her archives when time allows. I studied history in college and believe that Hilary could be a fabulous teacher or work in a museum if she wanted as she brings history to life and puts it in a wonderful context so that it is easily obtainable. I look forward to hot summer days and time to really go through all that she has posted and I have missed. What a wonderful tribute Sara!
    .-= The Exception´s last blog ..Believe it or not, It’s just me =-.

  11. What a lovely tribute to a fellow blogger. I love when affection and admiration come through about someone with whom our relationship is mostly virtual. It reminds me that we have the practical tools and the emotional capacity to connect in very real though not physical ways.

    I have not had a chance to familiarize myself with Hilary but have definitely seen her smiling avatar.

    • Sara says:

      @ Belinda — I know it is strange how we can become virtual “friends” with each other, even though we probably will never meet each other in person.

      I love these words, “It reminds me that we have the practical tools and the emotional capacity to connect in very real though not physical ways.”I think this is so true.

      When you can, stop by and visit Hilary. You’ll have fun and learn something at the same time:~)

  12. Hilary says:

    @Patricia .. you are a star .. thanks so much .. I can’t believe it! Glad the castle construction has gone down well ..

    @Talon .. many thanks .. as you so rightly say – history is where we’ve come from

    @Kelvin .. glad you enjoyed the blog .. certainly I’m enjoying the history learning so much more this way!

    @Joy – many thanks .. I like your thought .. that we’re making our own map of our own experiences and how they make up the tapestry of our life

    @Rinkly Report .. thanks for popping over to my blog – it’ll be good to see you back

    @Tony .. no please don’t lose your eyeballs .. you could look at the Stirling Castle Skeletons – who are they? post! .. six hundred years’ time .. investigative teams will be able to put you all back together like Humpty Dumpty!! Cassy – don’t let him try it please! Looking forward to seeing you when you’re fresh! Hope you’re sleeping tight …

    @The Exception .. wonderful that you’ve been over to my blog & scoured around!! That’s an amazing compliment .. thank you!! History teacher – me – now who would have believed it! Museum worker .. that too .. But now many years later – I’d agree .. but sometimes we find things out late in life! Thank you …

    @Belinda .. I know I recognise avatars and names .. and think I must get myself organised to pop over and visit .. Thanks for your thoughts .. your comment about the virtual relationship is interesting isn’t it – I do feel I ‘know’ quite a few bloggers .. yet of course – it’s just our words, our replies, our stories we’re telling .. Hope to meet you fairly soon ..

    Thank you everyone .. I am just so pleased and happy!! Made my life such fun! Hilary
    .-= Hilary´s last blog ..Ever Thought of a Map as an Encyclopedia? =-.

  13. Hilary says:

    Hi Sara .. honestly I’m just so chuffed .. pluffed up like a little (or not so) bird – showing my feathers to all and sundry?! Thanks so much .. and I too wonder what I’ll do next .. trouble is I say I’ll be doing this & then something else comes along and the input changes! Oh well .. makes us all have fun .. Just so pleased everyone seems to enjoy it .. that’s the most important thing.

    Re the pictures – which I never got to mention in my ‘gushing’ response as Patricia so succinctly put it! The display is wonderful .. as a family we don’t seem to have many from the old days – as my grandfather died when Mum was 2 … I’ve had a few sent through on email .. & in fact have had a poster made with 10 – 12 pictures on it – if I’d put more my Ma couldn’t see them .. including one of her parents at their wedding, and one of her father & 2 brothers at the end of WW1 .. & one of the three of us from the 50s …

    The historical record is interesting .. my uncle did family trees of my father’s side of the family – large families .. with lots of interesting relations .. back to 1848 and 1852 – one side has 168 relations and the other 204 .. obviously some duplicates .. because we feature on both sides!

    Thanks Sara .. I’m just so happy that you enjoy the blog so much .. Have a great weekend and a big hug or two across the pond .. Hilary xo
    .-= Hilary´s last blog ..Ever Thought of a Map as an Encyclopedia? =-.

    • Sara says:

      @ Hilary — Thank you about the pictures. I think it’s a wonderful idea to make a poster of pictures for your mother. You mentioned the picture of your mother’s wedding. I don’t have any of my mother’s wedding pictures. I have newspaper clippings about the wedding, but no real photos. I regret this because I love old wedding pictures!!!

      I had one relative who researched the ancestry of my mother’s family. She was sure the family name went back to early colonial times. She planned to publish a family book, but found some stuff that she really didn’t want to know in her search:~) Consequently, there is no book!

  14. Meredith says:

    I’ll definitely have to stop by Hillary’s blog soon. It sounds as if she weaves a fascinating kind of magic with her own words. 🙂

    I love that you keep so many family photos prominently displayed, Sara. It reminds me of the ancestral portrait galleries that once featured in noble homes. My family is not very good at keeping up with its photographic memories, much better at oral story-keeping, but occasionally we’ll find a visual treasure. In fact, last night my sister showed me a photo of my grandfather when he was in his early 20s, just after WWII, and we were all in awe as we realized that perpetual smirk he wears even today at age 85, flirting with the nurses, was probably a punky ladies’-man thing: he was so attractive, and he knew it!

    And we know from recent revelations that he had at least two women going simultaneously around that time, although we don’t know what the other one looked like because my Grandma burned all the pictures when he came back from Germany. 😉 Old pictures make our relatives more human somehow; don’t they?
    .-= Meredith´s last blog ..carpe diem =-.

    • Sara says:

      @ Meredith — I love this story about your grandfather. You might consider writing about your grandfather. He sounds like he’s lots of FUN. It is amazing how pictures can capture personality:~) In the oldest pictures I have of family members, none of them smile. It’s weird, but evidently there was a time when smiling for photo wasn’t considered a good thing. So, I have this collection of very solemn looking people:~)

      I agree that old pictures DO make our relatives seem more real and human!

  15. Chris Edgar says:

    Hi Sara — yes, I think Hilary is definitely a unique and inspiring blogger — I say inspiring because Hilary’s love of learning and seeing the deeper patterns in what she learns reminds me of the joy I take in the same sort of thing.

    • Sara says:

      @ Chris — What a nice thing to say! I agree with you, but you said this so beautifully. I love the words about Hilary “seeing the deeper patterns.” This is so true!

  16. Robin Easton says:

    Dear Sara, I found this fascinating!!! I love history and also hearing whatever tidbits of family history. I never liked history in school, but I find it fascinating now. It is why I love Hilary’s site so much. She writes history like no one I’ve ever seen. She makes me want to become a history buff, most history is not written the way she writes it

    It’s interesting about the idea of having to know the past to understand the future. Oddly in my life the way I best saw the past was deep in the remote wilderness far from all humans, without studying any history. And the place was in the Australian Rainforest where I chose to have no books, no TV, no newspapers, etc. It was there that I began to grasp a view of my own past, and a past that went far beyond family history. More a look at evolution of humans and our place in the world in relation to (or not to) other species and the land. When I left the forest I had remembered so much of my ancient roots/history that I had almost an anthropological grasp of human nature/history, etc. It’s hard to express in words, but I leaned more about my family history and human history being far away from all humans that I ever did close to them. But then we each have in us the stored history of Earth.

    That makes me think of stories I’ve read of Indigenous tribes that knew of Christ and other historical events long before Europeans invaded and told them of these events. Europeans were amazed and stunned that these supposed primitive peoples could know events that had happened thousands of years prior. We are all connected.

    I really enjoyed this, and enjoy your blog and comments that I see on other sites. Wonderful!!! Thank you SOOO much for inspiring me tonight. I had fun pondering all this. Hugs, Robin
    .-= Robin Easton´s last blog ..Naked in Eden – Book Trailer =-.

    • Sara says:

      @ Robin — first of all, I totally agree with you about Hilary, especially the part about history not be written the way she writes it:~)

      I found it interesting that you found your past in the Australian Rainforest. I suppose not having any distractions would allow you to go deeper into yourself, which would include your past and, as you say, “…a past that went far beyond family history.” This must have been an amazing experience.

      I like the idea that “…we each have in us the stored history of Earth.” This is something worthy of pondering.

  17. Davina says:

    Sara, I’m grinning the hugest smile at Hilary’s excitement here. Hi Hilary! I love how you’ve explained Hilary’s blogging focus; how history and current are mingled. I hadn’t picked up on that — I just dive in and float on through her posts 🙂 Really enjoyed this ‘roast’.

    Nice pictures you’ve displayed, too; something comforting about looking at these and they’re no relations of mine. Isn’t that interesting?
    .-= Davina´s last blog ..This Blogger Turns Two =-.

    • Sara says:

      @ Davina — I hadn’t thought of this as a “roast,” but I guess it could be…but in a nice way, I hope:~) I am very pleased that Hillary is pleased. She deserves the recognition!

  18. Hilary says:

    @Meredith .. thank you .. it’ll be good to see you and get your feedback. Your story about your handsome granddad made me laugh .. we are all the same aren’t we – each generation doesn’t change .. and your GrandMa’s reaction .. burn it!! Logical completely .. but we’d love to be nosey some 60+ years later and see the other woman .. It’s fun to know them. I’ll be over to your site for a visit .. especially Carpe Diem!

    @Chris – many thanks for your really kind comments – I am extraordinarily grateful .. you tell me things I don’t know! I just do. But I am loving it –as you so rightly pointed out.

    @Robin .. I’m totally taken aback at all these wonderful comments and you too! It’s so honouring to know .. and excellent everyone loves to learn .. I’ll have to think about your understanding of history through the land .. I’m sure as I grow more and learn more of the world you aspire to, I will come to a realisation of these things too. It is so interesting this learning process at all levels .. I struggle with the spiritual .. and connectivedness .. on the other hand: I know it’s there .. so I’m on the right track.

    @Davina .. you’re right I haven’t stopped grinning .. and I learn about me?! Thank you for just floating through my posts and enjoying their content .. it’s great to know. Congratulations on turning two – big girl now?! No an epic day .. I’ll be over to see you soon!

    Thanks everyone – I am doing exactly what Davina said she’s doing .. grinning the hugest smile – it’s such an honour to be honoured by you all. Enough .. I’ll be gushing for hours .. have wonderful days .. Hilary
    .-= Hilary´s last blog ..Ever Thought of a Map as an Encyclopedia? =-.

  19. Hilary says:

    Hi Sara .. hasn’t everyone been brilliant?! Thank you so much for this feature .. but what’s amazing me .. is I’m learning about my own blog & what it’s meaning to everyone .. that’s so great – opened my eyes to what I’m doing ..

    Occasionally someone comments that we should keep a note of comments .. I think Barbara (Bloggingwithoutablog) and Davina .. we receive on our own blogs and others’ blogs .. well these are definitely going into the slip cover pile!

    Thanks – have a wonderful Sunday .. and Father’s Day .. and memories through your photos .. with a big hug or two – Hilary
    .-= Hilary´s last blog ..Ever Thought of a Map as an Encyclopedia? =-.

    • Sara says:

      @ Hilary — I have loved reading the comments to this post, including your replies. It is good to see your “fans” and read about what they enjoy when visiting your site.

      Now, you’ve made me smile with pleasure…that you would keep save these comments!” They are well deserved and show our enjoyment of what you say and what you teach:~)

      Have a great week!

  20. Sara: What a great post and I couldn’t agree more about the importance of history. I actually just read Hillary’s last post and was reminded about how there really are universal truths that can be distilled from history and they are pointers to the truth and lessons that are valuable to us today. Thanks for sharing your words of wisdom.

    • Sara says:

      @ Sibyl — Thank you for your comment. Hilary’s posts are always thought provoking! I liked that this last one made you write these words, “…there really are universal truths that can be distilled from history and they are pointers to the truth and lessons that are valuable to us today.” I think this is an excellent history quote!

      Perhaps history repeats itself because we don’t remember these universal truths and the lessons they hold:~)

  21. Hilary says:

    Hi Sara .. many thanks .. so many wonderful thoughts from everyone .. fantastic ..

    It was my grandmother’s wedding in 1919 or 1918 .. I don’t have pictures of my parents’ wedding .. and I’m not sure if I have pictures of my mother’s first husband’s wedding – I have a box from her (Tony) husband’s family – and there may well be photos in there .. I gather it’s VERY EVOCATIVE .. Mum looked at it some years ago I gather .. but never discussed it with us .. and I have been sent it by Tony’s nephew .. but I’ll need to be strong to look and that’s not for a while yet!

    I do love the comments – they’re like testimonials aren’t they – I am just staggered at your generosity in posting this .. it’s interesting with what else has been happening .. how things sort of work out ..

    Thank you .. have a great week ahead .. I know I will .. big hugs .. Hilary
    .-= Hilary´s last blog ..Ever Thought of a Map as an Encyclopedia? =-.

  22. Oh boy, am I late to the party. I hate when life intereferes with my blogging! 😉

    Just wavin’ to let you know I’m here. Hi Sara!
    .-= Fireblossom32´s last blog ..Thoughts On Father’s Day =-.

    • Sara says:

      @ ain’t it true…it seems we bloggers can’t have a life separate from our computers:~) Then again, I like it anytime you stop by for a visit!!!

  23. Mandy Allen says:

    Hi Sara, very lovely tribute to Hilary. I thoroughly enjoy visiting her blog and reading her oh so very interesting posts!

    And to Hilary, a photo board, what fun! I was adopted at birth and ‘found’ my real father about 10 years ago. One of the first things I did was to make him a photo journal of my life so he could see what I had been up to! They are such great fun to do and they capture all of those memories in one place and in some sort of order. Brilliant idea.

    Enjoy the journey.

    Mandy
    .-= Mandy Allen´s last blog ..When did you last feel good =-.

    • Sara says:

      @ Mandy Allen — I wrote a reply and then it didn’t show up. I know that Hilary would be pleased that you’ve used her idea of photo journal. I also think it’s cool that you have connected with your real father:~)

      As you know I am an active member of Hilary’s fan club. I always learning something at her site and she is a very special person.

      Thanks for the visit and sharing your thoughts:~)

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