Map of History
For those who read this column in other publications, the flagship newspaper carrying this is the Cove Leader-Press, representing Copperas Cove, Texas.
Inside the Leader-Press offices are two copies of a “novelty” tourist map made in 1989. The map shows, in broad strokes, the major roads in town, plus a number of prominent businesses (including the paper’s old offices), a handful of other areas of interest, and a whole slew of trivia as well as various jokes. It’s meant more to introduce people to the town and give a general overview rather than actually help someone navigate, but then again there would have been other maps for navigation (remember, this is before GPS systems were commonplace in civilian hands).
As I mentioned back in last year’s Christmas piece, 1989 is nearly 30 years ago. As you can imagine, a *lot* has happened in that time. To begin with, Copperas Cove has expanded significantly, such that the city’s new boundaries wouldn’t show up on the map given the approximate scale that they were using. One of the streets on the map has since been renamed, so there’s that. As I mentioned, the newspaper’s office has moved to another part of town. And a large number of the businesses highlighted have since either gone out of business, or changed names upon change of ownership. In that sense, the map serves more as a guide of “what was” than “what is”.
Again, I didn’t live in Cove when the map was produced, and so the map is, in part, a record of what was here before I was. I do remember some of what the map points out, such as some of the specific businesses, but for other things I was too young to notice or simply forgot them along the way. Thus, I can “see” things I either could not have seen or have forgotten about along the way.
That’s how it goes for old photos, old newspapers, creative works, and other mementos of the past. They allow people who weren’t there to see at a glance how things were once upon a time, perhaps even before they were born. Yes, “creative” works don’t always do a good job of presenting “historical” topics, but they do present how the creative talents in question perceive that period of history, which can be important if someone knows what really happened.
That’s right folks – in a way, this column is one big diary or journal everyone gets to read. Granted, I don’t always write everything down in these columns (especially when I’m in a bit of a mood or I’m having trouble making something all-ages), but that’s what this is. Believe it or not.
Since it’s now a new year, I’d recommend everyone take a bit to take stock of what they have handy. What mementos do you have to show where you’ve been and what you’ve done? If all you have are your memories, why not consider writing them down in some fashion? This way, if properly preserved, they’ll last a while.
For those who also get my weekly movie reviews – do you like the “retro” reviews of older films I sometimes do? I’m assembling enough that I might be able to make another weekly feature of them, so if you’d like that, please let me know via my main YouTube channel - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsEFbjapoK23Gjukt4hdfrA - or contacting your local paper if they’ll forward it on.