The backward-looking person

photograph of a slice from our Christmas tree.
The backward-looking person is by definition some kind of historian: genealogist, stamp collector, spinner of yarns.

Likes: old movies, old pictures, old people, antiques, closets, old wine, old letters, long-unopened boxes, old houses, etiquette, graveyards, and some museums.

Remembers: what her best friend said in the upstairs bathroom in 1966, where long-demolished buildings used to stand, what was planted in the garden three seasons ago.

Occupational niches: therapist, humanist, detective, literary scholar, auctioneer, biographer, architect, cook, librarian, judge, tour guide, preservationist, priest, grammarian, lexicographer, hand-writing expert, estate lawyer.

Keeps: used calendars, concert programs, pianos that nobody plays, grandpa’s hats, old cameras, sample ballots.

Can imagine: being on a ship in 1803, being enslaved, being a Founding Father, being a fin-de-siecle beauty, being Teddy Roosevelt, cooking and eating in colonial times.

Can’t fathom: how much happens in a day.

Image: a ring from our 2013 Christmas tree.
Susan Barsy


William Russell Birch, A view of the Capitol at Washington (c 1800), courtesy of the Library of Congress

I haven’t been posting on politics lately.  In January, I resolved to revise a book I’ve written about 19th-century Washington, which a publisher has told me can be published.

Still, I hope to keep my site from going dormant entirely.  My original wish in starting this blog was to analyze politics, something I continually long to do.  With any luck, I will be able to manage the occasional post.

In the meantime, accept my thanks for your continuing interest.  If you don’t already subscribe, you may wish to do so using the form at right.  It’s a safe and convenient way to keep up with any new posts.  Plus it keeps up my morale!

Thank you,

William Russell Birch, “A view of the Capitol of Washington before it was burnt down by the British” (c 1800), from this source.