I hated history in school. It annoyed me, and it was boring, and it took a lot of effort for a pointless nothing of a reward. I didn’t care about what date the Mesopotamian was settled, or when the Roman Empire fell. I didn’t care about King Hammurabi’s Code, or the dynasties in China.
You know what I do care about? People. Cultures. The day-to-day life of someone in those time periods. I cared about the lessons where we heard about merchants taking rafts down the Nile to a trading town and taking a two-month journey on camel up the Nile. I care about those first steps from a hunter-gatherer culture to a farming culture, that thought, if I keep these animals near me, and build a cage for them, and feed them, they will be here when I am hungry, and if I take these seeds and plant them, when they grow, I will have access to food and know where it is.
I care about the flappers and rebelliousness of the Roaring Twenties, and the Native Americans’ response to European conquerors. I care about what it was like to go through the Civil War, and the slaves who lived then. I care about the Jews persecuted during the Holocaust, and the Germans who sheltered them and risked their own lives.
I care about the Mayans, and their gods and their myths and their tombs, and the nobles and peasants during Europe’s Middle Ages.
I care about the losing side, the downtrodden and illiterate, I care about the music and the myths and the holidays and the occupations and the currency. I care about the smells that would be in the air and the sounds that would enter your ears and the texture of the clothing that someone once wore.
History doesn’t mean much to me.
People’s stories do.