Saturday, January 5, 2013

It Seems Everything Has Been Found

What I want to talk about is a combination of two things: Education and the Espy Post.

I grew up in a world where it seems pretty much everything has already been invented, and the only frontier is cyberspace, which is a virtual and endless space. Essentially meaning do whatever, all is already done. I say "seems" because this is a LIE.

Gavel Block Thingy in the Post
Same applies to the GAR Post ("Civil War Room" to most locals) in the Andrew Carnegie Free Library. Back two years ago, I signed up to become the youngest docent for the Espy Post. There are a lot of things in this post, and it's a lot to give a tour on, but it seemed everything was known. Boy, was I wrong.

So I've added another project to my list of projects to do, this time something commemorating the 125th anniversary of the Post's memorial out in Chartiers Cemetery off of Noblestown Road in East Carnegie. Ideally, we're going to do something on Memorial Day weekend.

I've decided to do some research into the original dedication day, and I didn't have to look too far to find some interesting things. There is a little explanation of it in the 1911 catalogue:
... The monument was dedicated July 21, 1888, at three o’clock P.M. The following program was carried out at the services: Prayer by Rev. Wm. Lynch; music, “Mustered Out,” Allegheny Quartette Club; original poem, Miss Josie S. Sholes; unveiling of monument; music, “Unreturning Braves,” Allegheny Quartette Club; dirge, St. Luke’s Brass Band; oration, Col. John A. Danks; music, “America,” Allegheny Quartette Club; doxology; benediction, Rev. Beasom. The day was fine, over three thousand persons were present in the cemetery. ...
as well as it running two weeks straight in the local paper. I'm trying to imagine how three thousand people fit into the cemetery, and what it was like on that 'fine' July day in 1888.

It's called 're'search for a reason: things aren't lost, they just aren't together. It's the job of the person looking through those things to mesh them together into some semblance of sense. Being that person who tries to mesh it together is an interesting yet nerve-wracking feeling. Considering that every single person that contributed the $1500 to build the monument have passed and many are buried in the GAR plot surrounding this monument.

They present education to us as a definitive thing. "This is all the math you will need" "Read the classics" and those sort of things define a "curriculum." The senior project in the Carlynton school district is basically a presentation answering the question "what do you wanna be when you grow up?". It's very much a system based on filling in the box and moving on.

Inside of the Espy Post
But I think a true education is much more than that. It's looking at microfilm of newspapers from 1888 to try and understand why something in existence now matters. To be totally honest, before I had started becoming a docent, I had no clue what the Grand Army of the Republic was, that there even was a veterans organization after the Civil War.

I'm very much opposed to this notion that High School teaches you everything you need to know. Yes, it may fill your 'need's in some respect, but I feel it's a bare minimum, and if you want a full education, you need to look for that full education. This doesn't happen in a classroom but rather in a library or in a radio station on the South Side of Pittsburgh, or even at a monument in a cemetery.

I say think because I'm not sure if I'm right. Some people are able to just accept things, but I know I can't. I think that if you want to understand something, you have to try it or at least delve further than face value. You don't need to invent the wheel, but you can. All this going deeper with meanings and yet I still am bad at interpreting poetry.

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