Then and Now
Over the years I have seen what I like to call these then and now pictures that I took, historical articles I uncovered, essays that I wrote, articles I had published.
- The photographs are of places where I grew up, where the current appearance is not at all like what I remember they looked like when I was a kid, or even a college student. Some of these places are just amazing in how little they have changed over time, others you would never be able to recognize today due to the development that has taken place over the years.
- The historical articles are the kind that filled in some sort of gap at the time, by offering unique insights into some sort of fad or ongoing topic for the time and place.
- The essays are attempts I made to pull a set of concepts together, always trying to reconstruct in a way that hasn’t been published before.
- The articles I had published are simply that–items I wrote and which were published.
In the case of Dutchess County and Hudson Valley history there those places where time has stood still, long enough for us to get one more view of the setting before everything around it was turned to the next parking lot, the next fast food place, the next strip mall. A number of these places can be found on old post cards, family pictures or photographs turned into post card material. For some of these post cards, I decided to go back to these old places to compare them with their current settings, and was amazed at what I sometimes uncovered, back then when I first learned about this place, and now, reflecting back upon these changes. The photos and historical writings deal with much of that.
My essays and published writings take my work one step further. I often have a unique view of things due to the different periods of time and concepts I try to connect whenever I get into a topic for a short while. Back in the 1980s my friends in Portland, Oregon, all bookstore owners, commented often about the way in which I could switch gears at times, studying chemicals in plants this week and the next week looking at 17th century history of some town on the east coast. At the time, my search for old books was the only reason I often went to these stores, and the only reason I left each store with another rarely opened, dusty book with clues to yet another avenue my logic was taking on.
One of the things I liked to do when teaching classes at the local university was bring in photocopies of materials to hand out to the students, of items they probably would never again have an opportunity to see. These extremely rare items included those books and articles I found that I knew had been forgotten since the book or journal was last shelved. If that item said something unique and very different from what was being taught, I had to bring it to class with me. It was even better when these objects related to something that had just happened according to the local news, or something we know about and take for granted without even thinking how it came to be. The first seancer in New York to report a ghost in her bedroom around 1790, the first alien vessel to land in the Shawangunks around 1845, the first individual to finally meet up with Swedenborg and Plato up in the clouds above Mount Beacon, are all local stories that need to be retold. Thus the reason for my work on these subjects for the time.