Look Out, History is Gaining On Us

A toy farm stove of the build-your-own-fire-on-the -inside type.

A toy farm stove of the build-your-own-fire-on-the -inside type. (Just to be clear, much older than I.)

The assignment in the writing class was to read a historical novel. I picked one from the list given to us. It was set in the decade that I came of age.

WHAT??? Historical? I am not a historical artifact!

I just reread two middle-grade books about sustaining a friendship when one of the girls moves away. P.S. Longer Letter Later and Snail Mail No More by Paula Danziger and Ann M. Martin, published by Scholastic in 1998 and 2000, weren’t written as historical pieces but as contemporary fiction.

PS Longer LaterThe stories are told first in the form of letters between Elizabeth and Tara*Star and then in e-mails as the two authors took the roles of the two characters and wrote back and forth.

The themes in the books are timeless and a testament to people who persevere in their friendships across distance. Elizabeth and Tara*Star change as they grow in different directions and experience drastic changes in family circumstances. But their friendship endures as they continue to share laughs, tears, occasional angry words, and love.Snail Mail No

The books are worth looking for.

Aside from the quality of the stories, what struck me is that people, who came of age when those books were written, can still be in their 30’s. Our everyday technology has changed so much, I guess these count as historical. And history seems to be getting closer all the time.

WHAT??? Niece and nephew are not historical artifacts either!

Yes, some people still handwrite and treasure letters. People still e-mail. But not many kids the age of Elizabeth and Tara*Star still do.

So it seems that not only does history repeat itself because we have yet to learn our lessons, it’s nipping at our heels. And, if we think about it, we probably all have ways our personal history intersected with History and have to ask ourselves if we helped move our collective story forward?

Does anyone know of a book that uses texts or tweets and finds the same emotional depth of P.S. Longer Letter Later and Snail Mail No More?

P.S. Longer post later!

The first freesia to open.

The first freesia to open.

The first California poppy to bloom this year.

The first California poppy to bloom this year.

Nasturtiums growing from the side of a stump. The freesias, poppies, and nasturtiums all volunteer to reseed (or rebulb in the the case of the freesias) every year in the site of their choosing.

Nasturtiums growing from the side of a stump. The freesias, poppies, and nasturtiums all volunteer to reseed (or rebulb in the the case of the freesias) every year in the site of their choosing.