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Last updateTue, 27 Jul 2021 2pm

Columns

Reliving history in dusty files

The title originally conceived for this editorial space was “How I spent my Easter Vacation.” The final version more accurately reflects the experiences of a two-week break from keeping track of local news that gave me an opportunity to engage in housekeeping tasks I have avoided for far too long.

My purpose was to sort through scores of boxes holding resource materials accumulated in the course of my journalist career. They were piled up in my study, filed newspaper clippings, assorted papers and notebooks scrawled with notations from press conferences, public events, interviews, and random thoughts for potential articles. That’s not to mention the ones containing hundreds of photographs collected in the years  before I converted to digital picture-taking.

Though the prospect of tackling the mountains of stuff was daunting, I was motivated by haunting memories of breaking up the family estate left when  my mother passed away. My siblings and I jointly cleared out her Virginia country home to put it up for sale. In addition to splitting up household furnishings and heirloom treasures, we faced dealing with everything stored in the four-room basement and huge attic of the Georgian residence. To give you an idea of what the that entailed, suffice it to say that one of the boxes kept in the attic yielded a tiny, tattered silk box containing a piece of fruitcake saved from the wedding of my paternal grandparents. Perish the thought of leaving that sort of legacy for my own heirs.

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