Stories, the root of history

Stories, the root of history

Source: pdclipart.org

When I worked as a tour guide, I would meet visitors who said they liked (or loved) history.

“History of what?” I would respond.

The stunned looks I got as my replies were sad, but they were a challenge.

I assured my tour members that I wasn’t going to spend some time on history, finish that, and go on discussing something else. Instead, I intended to discuss things historically, over time.

The word “history” in English is related to the French word “histoire” — which is the word for “story.” Properly handled, any history is the story of something — a place, a group of people, even a subject..

For example, one of the better books I inherited from my father, “Einstein in Berlin” by Thomas Levenson, is the story of both the city and the man from 1914 to 1932. Just when I was feeling like my German or Western European history was in good shape, Levenson would switch to explaining what Einstein was studying and other things he did at the time. Learning about the city through the work of one man helped me understand a critical time.

One of the things I’ve learned through grief for both of my parents and all of my aunts and uncles is that when someone has died, the best gift is a story. We talk about the dead “passing into history” (if our language is grand enough), but try thinking instead of them “passing into stories.”

I love to be with people who know me as my parents’ daughter, and one big reason is that something I do may remind them of something my parents did. I can wind up with a story to hear that I’d never heard before. So can they, if they wonder why all of us did something.

So, as ChicagoNow seems to be on the edge of passing into history, I’ll keep telling stories until I’m told to stop. Thank you for reading.

Margaret Serious has a page on Facebook. If ChicagoNow suddenly becomes unavailable, please visit that page for information.

Advertisement:
Advertisement:

Welcome to ChicagoNow.

Meet
our bloggers,
post comments, or
pitch your blog idea.

Meet The Blogger

Margaret H. Laing

I moved to Chicago from the south suburbs in 1986. I have diverse interests, but I love writing about what I’m interested in. Whether it’s a personal interest or part of my career, the correct words to get the idea across are important to me. I love words and languages — French and Scottish words enrich my American English. My career has included years as a journalist and years working in museums, and the two phases were united by telling stories. I’m serious about words and stories. So here I am, ready to tell stories about words and their languages.

Subscribe by Email

Completely spam free, opt out any time.

Monthly Archives

July 2022
June 2022
May 2022
April 2022
March 2022
February 2022
January 2022
December 2021
November 2021
October 2021
September 2021
August 2021
July 2021
June 2021
May 2021
April 2021
March 2021
February 2021
January 2021
December 2020
November 2020
October 2020
September 2020
August 2020
July 2020
June 2020
May 2020
April 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014

Latest on ChicagoNow

Stories, the root of history

from Margaret Serious by Margaret H. Laing posted today at 7:42 pm

NASA Announces Artemis 1 Launch Dates

from Cosmic Chicago by Sophie Sanchez posted today at 1:40 pm

Crusin’ to Alaska and more

from I’ve Got The Hippy Shakes by Howard Moore posted today at 6:11 am

The Overpowering Ambience of a Mike Pence Speech

from The Quark In The Road by Aquinas wired posted Thursday at 11:43 am

Summer camp for $100? Yes, please!

from The Social Butterfly Mom by Erin Petron Gosser posted Thursday at 9:39 am

Read these ChicagoNow blogs

Cubs Den

Chicago Cubs news and comprehensive blog, featuring old school baseball writing combined with the latest statistical trends

Pets in need of homes

Pets available for adoption in the Chicago area

Hammervision

It’s like the couch potato version of Mr. and Mrs. Smith.
Advertisement:

About ChicagoNow

FAQs

Advertise

Recent posts RSS

Privacy policy (Updated)

Comment policy

Terms of service

Chicago Tribune Archives

Do not sell my personal info

©2022 CTMG – A Chicago Tribune website –
Crafted by the News Apps team

Read More

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.