Much to the surprise of many of you out there - it might shock you when you read the next line.

I am an avid reader.

Which explains my silence lately, sort of.

I consider myself to be fairly knowledgeable on the history of Roanoke City, having read and studied and walked and explored since I first moved down here.

I considered myself to be fairly knowledgeable on the history of New York City, although not on the same intimate basis as my friends over at Forgotten-NY.

The past of New York is anything that is 5 minutes ago, and here in Roanoke - 5 years (roughly) seems to be the average. Victory Stadium will be a footnote, a joke, and a source of delineation between generations here in Roanoke in another 3-4 years.

The Lonesome Dove, less than that - as the new fascia hiding the HVAC units for the Art Museum only vaguely resembles the original.

For as much time as my mind spends in the past, I find myself having a hard time writing directly about it - it is much easier to couch it in contrast to today.

Anyway, I just finished reading this:

The story of a city, and a man - over the space of 260 years. Without revealing much about the book - Cormac arrives on Manhattan Isle in 1741, and is soon rendered immortal, with an asterisk. He cannot leave the island of Manhattan at any time. So for the next 260 years, he is a New Yorker - the only New Yorker some might say.

The book ends, it seems, on Sept. 12/13th, 2001.

It leaves you with the question: "What would I do with 260+ years of being in the same spot?"

So that's my question to all of you.

260 years, and you cannot leave the Roanoke Valley or you die and go straight to hell. What would you do? How would you handle 13 generations of people coming and going?

And how would you do it, knowing that anyone you grew to know, to love - would end up dead and buried while you still roamed around alone?

Just a question - feel free to leave an answer in the comments.

Oh, and for those of you looking for political discussion - Harris is now the chairman of the Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center Committee? I knew it was doomed.


Virginian said...

I will read the Hamill book-- no question. Have you read Dotson's "Magic City of the New South?" I had run across a lot of that info on forgottenroanoke.

260 years in the Roanoke Valley-- starts 1747. Roanoke was a swampy salt lick and watering hole for half of this time, so you'd need to head to Salem for action. Wikipedia says Fort Lewis was built in 1752. Probably your best bet would be to set up an inn to catch the southwest traffic on the Great Road. My ancestors were walking down in from Augusta County to Western NC about that time. A couple of Civil War battles to watch. A sleepy village called Gainesboro. After 1880 you'd have plenty of action-- manufacturing, industry, railroads, civic boosterism, inferiority complexes, Baldwin-Felts agency (the bad guys in Matewan)... over time you'd see lynchings and riots, the incline railway, creeping suburbs, the birth of Oliver Hill (one of the Brown v. Board of Education lawyers), Henry Street, Oscar Micheaux making a movie here (maybe), Winston Link taking photos, the Hotel Roanoke as a big time destination.... good times.

Virginian said...

Sorry I did not answer your deep questions-- multitasking. I wouldn't much like outliving people; my mental state would be very poor. I'm not that old in one lifetime and I'm pretty bummed about ones I've lost already. Over 260 years, like Anne Rice's vampires, I'd probably long to be dead.

Anonymous said...

I'd be rich, as my house would have been paid for in 20-30 of those 260 years

Anonymous said...

What is this obsession of yours over that "Lonesome Dove" dump? It was nothing but a stinking piss hole for downtown's drunks, and it only had that cheesy name for the last few years of it's life.