As regular readers of the Irreverent Psychologist know, I live in an undisclosed location in the Merrimack Valley. My home, built high atop a hill in 1851, has overlooked the cyclical rise and fall of the town below.
What was going on that year in the United States?
- 1/25 - Sojourner Truth addresses 1st Black Women's Rights Convention
- 1/31 - Gail Borden announces invention of evaporated milk
- 2/15 - Black abolitionists invade Boston courtroom rescuing a fugitive slave
- 3/21 - Yosemite Valley discovered in California
- 7/ 28 - Total solar eclipse captured on a daguerreotype photograph
- 9/18 - New York Times starts publishing at 2 cents a copy
- 11/14 - "Moby Dick," by Herman Melville, published
Why am I thinking about this? This 162 year old house that I live in needs a lot of attention and renovation. My current project is focuses on the office. I'm carefully affixing pennies onto the back wall. It's a slow process. I'm going for randomness in terms of heads or tails, old or new, but have decided that I want each of the pennies to be oriented the same way on the wall.
As I'm gluing the pennies on the wall I've been thinking about the hands that have touched the pennies. The oldest I have attached to the wall is from the 1923. The newest that I've come across was minted this year. As I hold the pennies I think of the journey they have been on. What have they helped purchase? What history have they witnessed? The dirt that accumulates on my fingers suggest these pennies have gotten around.
These pennies give me a connection to this histories of all those who have touched. Those histories are going to surround me as I sit here at my computer writing creating what will become my own history. Someday when I'm gone, another person might sit at this wall and contemplate their own past.
The accumulated history of my own life will slip into the silent and ever accumulating layers of stories that these pennies have witnessed.