Monday, November 19, 2007

Wow, ma'am. That's a good question.

Whenever I walk by the National Archives I think of my boyfriend from my senior year of college.

He was so cute, so very southern, and so very nice. We probably had nothing in common - I can't really remember him in detail. Maude refers to him as my trophy Carolina boyfriend. Proof that I finally fit in down there in the south.

His sister, who was two years older, got married the summer we graduated. And so we talked about getting married when we were 24. Because that was so old. And it is such a good thing we never did. There's no way we'd have stayed married more than five minutes in the real world.

I ran into him a few years after we broke up. We were catching up and he said his sister had gotten divorced. And because sometimes I just don't think before I speak I said, "God, I'm not surprised. Every other minute that summer she was always whining, 'Ro-o-obert!' and harassing him about something he was or wasn't doing."

There was, as you might imagine, a little dead silence. Because honesty is not always appreciated. Or warranted.


We were wildly different in many ways. Boy was he cute, though. And so incredibly polite.

At any rate. He moved to DC after college and got a job at the Archives. One of the things he did was answer questions from the visiting public.

So this one woman said she'd really been wondering something. And could she ask him a question about the Civil War?

He was so gregarious. And he loved talking about history. And, as I discovered with many southern men, the American Civil War was a topic that really got him going. Because before I arrived at Carolina, I didn't realize that it was an actual topic of modern conversation. That people wanted to talk about. Regularly.

Civil War! Yippee! He was all fired up to have an interesting conversation.

Then she said, "What I've really been wondering is, how come they decided to fight all of those Civil War battles on national parkland?"


  1. That is a good question. As a former history graduate student I wish I had asked that question of one of my professors just to get a reaction. Or better yet, I wish someone would ask Ken Burns that question the next time he does a public Q and A.

  2. Hey GSR - Thanks. There are so many details I don't remember, historical facts I should actually know. And I remember dumb things like this.

  3. And the sad thing is, his position as An Employee of the Archives would have precluded him from making up a long, totally-bs'ed answer to that question, which could have been really fun.

    "Well, ma'am, as you know, war was a lot more formal then, and so the generals from each side would get in touch and agree on where the battles would be held...."

    Really, how much harm could it do, considering where she was starting from?

  4. I hope he was able to keep a straight face.

    I was amazed when I moved to Georgia that there are so many people who still think about the civil war. I guess they're kind of like Cubs fans....just waiting their turn to win.

  5. If he was a true southerner, he might have said, "Pardon me ma'am do you mean the War of Northern Aggression?"

  6. WiB - I am sure he was very sincere. He was like that.

    DCup - Too funny! And creepily true, I think.

    Shannon - Hahaha! You're exactly right!


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