Memories Are Long

When I was a child, my fam­i­ly would trav­el” around the coun­try in the sta­tion wag­on a few sum­mers in a row, two weeks at a time. I know Mom fret­ted some that I was too young and the trips would be wast­ed on me, but I have a con­sid­er­able num­ber of spe­cif­ic mem­o­ries about those trips.

I am not all that clear about which year we went where, or even where all we got to on a giv­en trip. I know there was a trip east/​northeast, and a trip west, and a trip south. Each trip cov­ered a whole lot of ground.

I remem­ber vis­it­ing a south­ern town on the Mis­sis­sip­pi Riv­er some­time between 1958 and 1963 I would guess. I believe it was Vicks­burg. We took a tour of a beau­ti­ful, fine south­ern man­sion. I remem­ber the tour guide point­ing out the nev­er repaired holes in the exte­ri­or walls put there by North­ern gun­boats on the riv­er. I remem­ber that I, being a very young child, felt fear because there seemed to be so much anger/​hatred/​resentment/​some­thing in her voice that indi­cat­ed she was still hold­ing a grudge against that North­ern aggression.

That was just under 100 years after the Civ­il War. From my per­spec­tive at the time, the Civ­il War was for­ev­er ago!!! That the woman would still har­bor antag­o­nism against North­ern­ers was aston­ish­ing to me. Today I under­stand that 100 years is just not that long. If you are speak­ing to a per­son over the age of 50, he or she was raised by some­one who is almost cer­tain­ly over the age of 70, and that per­son was raised by some­one over the age of 90, well, you see where this is going. And those num­bers are conservative.

You could eas­i­ly be speak­ing to some­one who spent many hours talk­ing to a grand­par­ent about times that are 100 years pri­or to your conversation.

Mem­o­ries are long. Want proof?

Respon­dents were asked, “When you think about the Civ­il War, if you had to choose, would you say that you sym­pa­thize more with the north­ern states that were part of the Union or the south­ern states that were part of the Con­fed­er­a­cy?” Sup­port for the Union was over­whelm­ing in the Mid­west (68%), North­east (79%), and West (84%), but in the South, only 48% said they were more inclined to sym­pa­thize with the Union.

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