The backward-looking person

photograph of a slice from our Christmas tree.
The backward-looking person is by definition some kind of historian: genealogist, stamp collector, spinner of yarns.

Likes: old movies, old pictures, old people, antiques, closets, old wine, old letters, long-unopened boxes, old houses, etiquette, graveyards, and some museums.

Remembers: what her best friend said in the upstairs bathroom in 1966, where long-demolished buildings used to stand, what was planted in the garden three seasons ago.

Occupational niches: therapist, humanist, detective, literary scholar, auctioneer, biographer, architect, cook, librarian, judge, tour guide, preservationist, priest, grammarian, lexicographer, hand-writing expert, estate lawyer.

Keeps: used calendars, concert programs, pianos that nobody plays, grandpa’s hats, old cameras, sample ballots.

Can imagine: being on a ship in 1803, being enslaved, being a Founding Father, being a fin-de-siecle beauty, being Teddy Roosevelt, cooking and eating in colonial times.

Can’t fathom: how much happens in a day.

Image: a ring from our 2013 Christmas tree.
Susan Barsy

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