I try to have some kind of historic topic in this column every week.
I try to have some kind of historic topic in this column every week. Sometimes I fail. Most of the time, I don't have any original things to tell so I must rely on information from other sources. There is very little original information on certain topics; information has already been discovered and recorded by others. A historian wants to tell others about history so that requires simply re-telling things.
Many young people don't want to learn history, so they sleep through American History 101 or Western Civilization and don't retain very much. Usually, this is true until they are adults. That's when they realize the scope and importance of history. And then many devote themselves to it.
It is so important to pass history along, that we historians do tell old stories over and over. For many listeners, thank goodness, the old stories are new to them.
Of course, a historian is happiest when he finds original material. Material that has not seen the light of day for many years and is completely untold and unpublished.
Since that doesn't happen very often, we are forced to retell the stories of human history. In the telling, we must be careful to cite references or give some kind of credit to our sources. Many times I tell stories that I first found in newspapers. These are good sources, but like all sources must be met with a skeptical eye.
It recently came to my attention that someone was wanting to know the opening date of the old Edgewood Drive-In. Not only that, they wanted to know the first movie shown there. Not long before that, I came into possession of a postcard that talked about "the opening." Evidentially, the theater sent parcel postcards to promote the theater's spring opening. Some people apparently had the same card or a similar one, and interpreted that as the original or "grand opening." So a lot of misinformation was passed around.
When the theater was closed and torn down, I interviewed the man whose church had bought it. He and I took a walk through the empty building, getting deep into its bowels underneath the screen. It was a wonderful tour.
I looked in my old newspapers, what many call the first draft of history, and found an article in the Miner-Mechanic newspaper that told about the grand opening.
Opening date was May 18, 1951, and the first film was "Wyoming Mail." The Miner Mechanic article told about "Mammy's Kitchen," and the playground equipment.
The people who wanted the information were told, but they still discuss it back and forth, and last I heard were still looking for the information. I guess they just don't believe me or "the first draft of history."
But that's my story, and I'm sticking with it — unless I change my mind.
Kay HIvely writes a column for the Daily News.