I thought about the town I live in having no history as I was walking from the waterway today. It has irked me through all of my time here that there seems to be no history, and still feels so new– it evoked a sense of artificiality and manmade-ness and felt uncomfortable.
The city was founded less than 50 years ago. My school has only had 13 graduating classes. The Wikipedia page is short, and the library doesn’t have many records. The lake was built by men, and no one has really been here for a while. It doesn’t compare in age to New Jersey suburbs previously inhabited by Lenape Native Americans that I’ve lived in, or the culture stained Polish towns I’ve spent summers in.
I like to be in places where people know where they come from and can celebrate their pasts as well as learn from them– places where there is a past. So I was constantly feeling out of place, like I was too old for this site, especially since I just got here. However, on the walk back to my car, admiring the newly built apartments and the freshly paved roads and the young, light-wrapped trees, I realized that this is not something a lot of places have– the charm of having no history. Sure, everything feels artificial and almost plastic, but maybe it’s just a sign of the times. Everything feels odd when it’s new, whether it be a car or a sweater or a person. The car seat will mold to fit your body, the sweater will hug you and the person will begin to know your ins and outs soon enough.
There is a lot to say about places with history, but there is a lot to do in places with only a future. Maybe I will find comfort in this town of firsts.