Illinois Loses History Rights

I had a few things to write about today but learning of a pattern to cut back the teaching of History took precedence. My entire approach to history is determined by how much time I have to explore the subject and how we best approach history’s stories. Because that is what history is, it is a story, the word is part of the lexicon involved in keeping track of things that happened before. I would guess that Illinois is going to stop the study of the law because law is a type of history. Wouldn’t that be funny, to have a state that cannot keep track of its own precepts? Not funny, I guess, more likely something sad.

I am looking at a picture of my son, which I intend to paint sometime. He was born on 8/1/81 and is a remarkable kid. But my leanings have no place in Illinois. Those are not things that are tracked. The fact that he was also born weighing 8 pounds, 1 ounce probably has nothing to do with the facts of his birth. As a former citizen of that state, Illinois is embarassing me. I remember my father telling me a story, one based on fact, a history perhaps, that he was followed by a large group of minority students to a high school where he was having a meeting in Illinois. They repeatedly told him that they intended to kill him when they caught him. He knocked on the door of the high school and a janitor took pity and let him into the safe environment within. It was the first day of the recognition of Martin Luther King’s death. My father almost was a victim. And, he would have been.

What does that got to do with history? It is history. Here was an average Superintendent going to a required meeting, almost killed by people who knew so little about history that they were dangerous. I was just glad my father lived. He almost did not. I do not excuse those rioters. They had no right to stop my father’s life at a young age.

I just listened to a few people who were espousing Black Lives Matter in a rally at the MLK Memorial in Washington, D.C. They were very impressive. The right to be safe is something that every person in the United States should expect. My father certainly went to South Chicago that day with high expectations of safety and returning home in one piece.

So, where am I going with this? Nowhere, actually. It was a close call over fifty years ago. People change. Events change things. Close calls have no valid point in American history. But we will all live with those fears because the United States is a scary place. Ask George Floyd of Minnesota. He is dead now, but he might have an idea about outlooks from heaven.

I suffered from high expectations and a cruel childhood a few years ago. I went to a very helpful and nice hospital around Boston and got the medication and the time to heal. It took years, but I was not in a hurry. I was diagnosed with PTSD before it was made into a common illness. It was a very harrowing time. Sometimes my parents were not my friends. There was a little too much drinking, by me also, and dangerous friendships. That made me stick to things that I knew. I had a fantastic wife, and wonderful children, and they saved me. I asked one child who might be responsible for the longings to commit suicide, and who was responsible for that part of my personality. It was a stupid question because it obviously was not one of my children or my wife. It just happened to me.

Life is funny. As I wrote in a poem, life could be measured in nanoseconds if we did not stop it from destroying us.

Many Other Choices and Mistakes

A relative, which kind not being important, did excessive drinking when I was younger. One night I got a call from his live-in girlfriend. She insisted that he was making it up, but he seemed lethargic, and he might not be alright. I jumped in the Volkswagen and drove to his temporary shelter of her home. He was clearly in a coma. No pupils, and no responses. I took him to the nearest hospital, which is not there anymore, and they took his blood. It was a rust-colored liquid. I have never been so frightened. I got him to his room and went home at about five in the morning. Then I went home to sleep. His parents were not interested in his problems. That horrified me.

I did not sleep much for the next few nights. I was at the hospital most of the time. He was hallucinating and it was awful because he was strapped arms and legs to his hospital bed. The things attacking him were, in his mind, not fictional. I just batted them off of him whenever one of his many demons made an appearance. The nurse was angry with me. She wanted him to face his fears. It was difficult.

I saw his girlfriend later, many years later. She thought he was faking it. I could not believe that. Faking the worst things in your life as you hallucinated them in your bed. I would never be a doctor, that was sure. I felt very badly for him.

I found many things to make me feel better. My wife and I had four lovely children. I discovered that I could draw and paint. Those became my favorite things. I am currently working on a childhood painting of one of my kids and I am hoping it comes out right. In the meantime, there is the National Council for Historic Education of the Illinois variety. Seldomly, has the nation been so fracked with discontent as it is currently, a time that stretches back to Revolutionary dogmas. Women in the early years of the republic likened their situation to the men that they had married. Kerber cites the question, « Could a woman be a patriot? »

He also cites the fact that women were supportive of the patriots and the loyalists, oftentimes in the same family at the same time. Some wives did not convert to their husband’s side. A loyalist may maintain her predelictions throughout the fight. A patriot might be shunned by her husband. It just depends.

In the 1770’s Christopher Gadsen stated that women were inclined to fight the husband, depriving him of « giving their assistance, without which it is impossible to succeed. » No one really knows if he was correct. But he stated it. « Gadsen’s formulation is traditional in its easy telescoping of women into wives. » That may be.

« His appeal is not to the women but to the men who are their husbands; he does not seek to sway the independent single woman. » Interesting. Perhaps the fathers of the texts in Illinois make the same mistake with their wives and daughters.

Maybe, just maybe, he realizes that women handled, and many still do, manage household economics.

Anyway, I have a problem. I am many years removed from Illinois, but I see them killing history because it is too difficult to manuver. When I was living in Illinois, many people lived around Chicago. I remember a quick conversation with Governor Deval Patrick which established that I had gone to school at almost precisely the same time as he did when he went to college and law school. I had been a few blocks away from his residence in South Chicago while living in Harvey, Illinois. I was the son of the Superintendent, so I did not qualify for scholarships, etc. But I, like he, lived in Massachusetts and enjoyed the college level atmosphere of the campuses in eastern Massachusetts. He and I met at my sister-in-law’s headquarters for her battles as the elected Congresswoman and we shared a few stories.

Other than living close to the area of the city of Chicago where he grew up, I have no grip on Mr. Patrick’s history. It was an interesting conversation though. I am hoping that Mr. Patrick can convince his formidable friends in the City of Chicago and the State of Illinois and this ridiculous move to abandon history in the state. I have a certain inflexibility when it comes to History. I hope that they rethink this thing. Otherwise, it might be as ineffectual as the Revolutionary war was on committed women.