This week’s blog is about quitting…yes quitting. I am a person who never gives up…really! I started the quest to help Eaton get a business since 1995. The only thing Eaton the Town and Hamlet had going for them at that time was “History”. So the little group called Neighbors for Historic Eaton… that has morphed into Old Town Folks today… set out to use that history as a vehicle to gain recognition and to put Eaton into the public eye. We have certainly accomplished that and now have a museum that works to that end.
I started doing Fall Festival History Weekends to bring not only Eaton’s History to the public, but also all of the small town museums that have been overlooked. To accomplish this I put up an early website called Our Old Town. We did 8 years of these fall history tours. Today I have expanded this to include the history of upstate New York with our current website www.historystarproductions.com.
As Madison county Historian I worked to save the records that had been long since forgotten and abused. Records that record the lives of the people of Madison County. I have a hard time getting people to visualize that a county is not a drawing on a piece of paper but is people…the people that live within it…both past and present. In that capacity I tried to save the Madison County Fair…donating my time and much of my own money. We have a Fair today.
I have written so many articles in the past 20 years on our shared history, so many weekly blogs, books, and in all this time have never been paid for any of it and almost never thanked either.
I have toured to promote each of these quests…doing public speaking engagements, 31 in one year alone for the Fair. I have done numerous public speaking lectures to raise money for my museum…but I have to stop. Of all the things I do…public speaking is the thing I hate the most. This month I am retiring…really. I am giving the Eaton Cemetery tour on the 31st…yes Halloween…and that is it.
The museum will still be there, the history will still be in the public’s eye.. but I won’t be. After 20 years I am turning the job of promoting our cultural heritage in the form of history back to you. I implore you to support your local museums; …mark your memories by labeling photographs and donating important pieces of your communities’ history to your local society or museum…do not wait for it to be sold at auction to cover your debts. Also remember that your children my not prize that memorabilia as you do. Volunteer with a group that works for your community such as fire departments, churches, cemetery association, and museum groups…etc.
Remember…each town, village, and hamlet needs what I call “Keeper’s of the Fire”. In the old days whole groups of people traveled together to market with their goods…. travel that took in their time days by ox cart…they always left a few folks home who kept the home fires burning until their return. So I ask you to become a modern keeper, by preserving and promoting the history (remembered lives) that founded our rural America, the future generations will be richer because of it!