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.