It is hard to believe now that history was one of
my least favorite subjects in high school and college. Probably because
it was so dull and seemed irrelevant at the time.
Coming to Calhoun County, where so many stories
relate not only to my family, but also to friends, has changed my
My grandchildren have always looked forward to
festivals. They have enjoyed doing interviews and writing articles for
the paper. They have been attentive to the Moccasin Rangers Living
History presentations. One granddaughter had tears in her eyes when they
told of limited food available at that time and the fact that they had a
hard cot and maybe no blanket, while she had a soft bed and fluffy
Just this weekend, three Calhoun alumni told me
that they were not aware of Civil War activities in Calhoun County. They
had been exposed to events in other places, such as Harpers Ferry and
Wheeling, but not Calhoun.
When stories are related about the sparse wardrobe
and how seldom clothing was washed, it was a wakeup call to appreciate
our availability of water and washing machines. Even in 1980, a student
told of carrying water from the creek, heating it for washing dishes,
and then washing her hair with the same water.
Think, too, of how we communicate. Stories are told
of villages where there was only one phone or none at all. If a doctor
was needed, a neighbor would make the trip and the doctor would return
to the ailing person. Calhoun ancestors were mostly farmers. They worked
hard to keep the land, which was their only possession. Look out your
window . . . most of our land is hill country, so you know this was not
My ancestors were German immigrants, who were
mostly factory workers, shoemakers, and oil field workers. These people
survived the depression, even though some lost their property because
they could not pay taxes. Many did not have a high school education. The
women kept the family together when the men were absent due to military
service or working away from home. They did the usual “women’s work,” in
addition to the men’s work and involvement in church and community.
When we know our background, we realize what our
ancestors did to make sure our nation would survive. We must pass this
spirit of survival on to our younger generations. We must do our best to
make sure our children are familiar with our land and people. We can’t
sit back and enjoy the privileges of our nation and our faith. We must
be persistent in teaching our children that our nation is worth our
It will not be easy because it is a never ending
challenge. We must start with local and family history and then move on
to state, national and world history. Our involvement will never be
finished in our lifetime. We must remember the past so we can improve
the future. It can save our nation! Our children are worth it.
“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when
they are older, they will not depart from it.” --Proverbs 22:6.