Passing Down History
I have conversations about stuff with our child. It is specific stuff. It is my stuff, eventually to be her stuff, at least some of it.
For example, a couple hundred vinyl LPs rest on my bookshelf. A lot of good music there, a lot of great memories. The technology is old and hardly portable. The sole album for retention to pass down is Beethoven’s Opera Fidelio because it was a memory from childhood. That will make it easier to dispose of the rest of them, I hope.
I want to pass down some of my Iowa history books but there are too many of them. I have hundreds. My guidance was to select maybe three or four of the best ones to pass down. My work is cut out. To get started, here are the first dozen that came to mind. It is a first draft of the list for posterity and by no means final.
- Iowa’s Groundwater Basics: A geological guide to the occurence, use, and vulnerability of Iowa’s aquifers by Jean Cutler Prior, Janice L. Boekhoff, Mary R. Howes, Robert D. Libra, and Paul E. VanDorpe.
- Eastern Iowa Prehistory by Duane Anderson.
- Black Hawk: An Autobiography dictated to Antoine LeClaire, edited by Donald Jackson.
- Wakefield’s History of the Black Hawk War by Frank Everett Stevens.
- Hunting a Shadow: The Search for Black Hawk: Eye-Witness Account by Participants compiled and edited by Crawford B. Thayer.
- The Emerald Horizon: The History of Nature in Iowa by Cornelia F. Mutel.
- In Cabins and Sod Houses by Thomas H. Macbride.
- Robert Lucas by John C. Parish.
- Executive Journal of Iowa 1838-1841, Governor Robert Lucas edited by Benjamin F. Shambaugh.
- The Trader at Rock Island: George Davenport and the Founding of the Quad Cities by Regena Trant Schantz.
- The Life and Times of Samuel J. Kirkwood, Iowa’s War Governor by H.W. Lathrop.
- Iowa: The Middle Land by Dorothy Schwieder.
Reducing the number of history books to three or four is an impossible task, although one worth considering as I write my autobiography. We’ll see how the list changes over time. By spring, I should have a better idea.
Figuring out what to pass down becomes more important as we age. Partly we seek to let go of the past. Partly we seek to make room for a future.
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