We watched a documentary about Jesse Jones last night. It's amazing how much American history I don't know. This guy was simply a powerhouse. Anyhow, at one point in the show a great-niece is visiting some kind of archive-type warehouse to get a look at a conference table that Mr. Jones had built during the Roosevelt administration. And sure enough, it looks just like the warehouse in that scene at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark where they store away the generic-looking crate on a shelf along with jillions of other generic-looking crates. So where is this place, for real? And how much COOL STUFF must be in there?
I'm finding that it's pretty easy to get sucked away into the past, especially if you're a Person Who Likes Stuff. I now have a drawerful of Family Stuff and I'm sure Mr. Man is tired of hearing me call it "treasure" and "pure gold" every time I bring it out. But that's how I feel about it. I can spend hours reading yellowed letters, admiring glamorous black-and-white photographs, deciphering great-somebody-or-other's ahnentafel chart written in pencil on ledger paper.... All of this Stuff is full of stories that belong to me. My family. I always thought of my family as small, but you only have to go back a little ways to suddenly have a stupendous number of relations! And then there's the time I spend surfing WWII websites, cemetery records in Indiana, photo archives of the LOC or NARA, searching for little bits and pieces that make the stories there belong to me, by virtue of having some relevance to an ancestor. Virtual Stuff isn't quite as satisfying as Real Stuff, of course, but it still counts.