Monday, November 26, 2012

Archeology Was Calling Me

Sebastian99 Source

Archeology was calling me, I was sure of it.  A junior in high school—it was time to make choices about the future.  And I was gonna choose archeology, because that was where the action was.
What action?  In James Michener’s The Source action abounded.  Each layer of civilization revealed new characters and new conflict.  New and old blended, with lots of action.  History was shown to me in the lives of the people who passed through that dig site through the years.  I had never thought of history in that way, where the actions of just one person could change the course of many lives. 


I wanted to be that person, in the middle of the action.  But, no, in my rural countryside, surrounded by cornfields and livestock, I saw no such action.  Life was a day-to-day routine of work-school-work-sleep with eating thrown in for the heck of it.  It was life at its most boring.

But those people in past, the ones about who whom history talks?  They really lived. They made pots and traded with other cultures, they did stuff.  At least, that is what the 15 year old me thought.

When the local newspaper announced that the University of Illinois was establishing a dig site near Kampsville, Illinois, to document a huge Native American settlement, my heart leapt in my chest.  They even wanted summer interns, high school students to participate for free!  It would not cost me a penny to be part of this adventure.
When I pleaded my case to my parents to allow me to be part of this endeavor, they exchanged looks and said NO without listening to my argument.  They shut me down cold.

Instead of hunched over in a hardened mud pit under the sweltering sun brushing minute dust particles away from pottery shards, I would be hunched over a garden under a sweltering sun, picking strawberries/tomatoes/green beans. 

Life is not fair.

14 comments:

  1. Sucks you never got to get your Indiana Jones on haha who knows where you'd have ended up.

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    1. Who knows? Maybe in Montana looking for dinosaur bones? What coulda been...

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  2. Reminds me of the tongue in cheek poem by Philip Larkin

    Philip Larkin - This Be The Verse

    They f... you up, your mum and dad.
    They may not mean to, but they do.
    They fill you with the faults they had
    And add some extra, just for you.

    But they were f... up in their turn
    By fools in old-style hats and coats,
    Who half the time were soppy-stern
    And half at one another's throats.

    Man hands on misery to man.
    It deepens like a coastal shelf.
    Get out as early as you can,
    And don't have any kids yourself.

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    1. Brilliant! Good advice, except for "don't have any kids yourself". I kinda enjoyed mine, and I hope that I didn't mess them up too badly.

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    1. I do not think my knees would like it. I would probably get 15 minutes of digging and scraping before throwing something or having a cramp.

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  4. Dear Susan, as "mybabyjohn/Delores" says, "It's never too late." But tell me this, why is it that not only fifteen-year-olds but those of us who have lived much longer sometimes feel that life is what's happening to others, not to us? When that thought comes to me, I try to begin anew practicing living in the moment, which is replete with texture and smell, sights and sounds--all beckoning my senses to respond. That then becomes a rich and enriching life for me. Peace.

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    1. Hi, Dee! Hindsight tells me that my rural community will leave behind wonderful information for future archeologists.

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  5. I was always going to be an archeologist! From the time I read that Indians lived in Ohio in prehistory. I was going to do it. Even when life interferred, it was always in the back of my mind. With all due respect to Delores, it's too late to squat in the dust and brush the artifacts clean. I can't even squat to look under the bed. I never will finance a dig or know the people who do and the people who go. But I sure will keep on reading their books.

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    1. Absolutely! The Ohio and Illinois rivers abounded with massive Native American encampments. I can only read about them, and maybe visit them when I return to the Mid-West for family visits.

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  6. No, it certainly is NOT fair!

    I, too, wanted to be an archaeologist. Unfortunately, I settled for whatever the heck it is I do nowadays...

    Pearl

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    1. Women my age were expected to be either: nurse, teacher, secretary, or some form of the above. Still, the call of the dig sites lingers.

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  7. Oh no!!!!!! What!? What an awesome chance! I always wanted to be an archaeologist, too. Given, with the back problems I have, it was good I didn't go that route, LOL. I wonder how many writers had that same interest? Putting those stories together is just like putting together fictional stories. They're all based on something.

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse

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    1. You are so right! We are archeologists in the way we dig for the characters and link them with some order. I think you are onto something!

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Go ahead...it won' t hurt...I'd love to hear what you think!