“There’s this thing about history that no one teaches you,” sometimes roaming city streets was a better teacher than any book.
It was Cinthia who asked the first question of the trip, “What do you mean, professor?”
“I won’t tell you, because you won’t really understand.” I kept walking across the parking lot, to the road, where the city was putting in new fiber optic cable. “You’ll remember the lesson that way.”
“Why are we outside, in the cold, and the dark, at stupid o’clock?”
“Ah, Beverly. We are here to learn this.” I stopped, and pointed at a space on the pavement of the road, next to the trench the construction crew had dug for the cable. “What do you see?”
Cinthia didn’t disappoint me, “History.”
The asphalt surface of the road had come up next to the cable trench, most likely because of ground stresses, as the adjacent pavement had been ripped up, along with everything beneath it. The missing asphalt revealed cobblestone pavement.
“Yes, Beverly. Brick. And you won’t find a record of it anywhere in the city’s archives, blueprints, road plans, or anywhere else.” I took a picture of the brickwork, “It’s what the road was made of before the layers of asphalt.”
“You mean, there was a time the road through here was brick?”
“Yes. It clearly was.”
The entire reason I was at that location was to record everything I could about what had been found. The trench for the cable cut straight across several layers of earlier construction. When the construction team spotted the brick, and the other layers, they’d stopped work, and reported their discovery, as they were required to do.
In response, the city requested an archeological team to examine the discovery, and determine if the layers needed to be preserved.
“And what,” I looked squarely at Cinthia, “do the layers here, and in the trench we are about to explore, tell us.”
“There’s more to history than what is written down.” Cinthia didn’t disappoint. But then, she never had. Sometimes, I thought she already knew how history worked, how archeology worked, and how the past wasn’t recorded, but was forgotten, and rewritten into something that worked better for the current day and age.
We examined the nearby trench, and found several layers of history, two layers of earlier brick, a layer of gravel, and through it all, several layers of electrical cables, and pipes, all of which were no longer used.
“No one knew this was here. Because. Whoever writes the history of a place, of a people, of a nation, only writes what they want those who come after them to see. Only writes what fits their beliefs, their understanding, of the place, and the people who live there.”
Cinthia once more didn’t disappoint me, “Like now. How things in our history people don’t want to remember are being erased from the books.”
“Yes. Just like now.”
Written in response to the prompt for week 166 of Miranda Kate‘s Mid-Week Challenge. You can learn about Miranda’s challenge here. The stories people share for the weekly challenge are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed. Please go read them all.