How Did I Get Here?
I've had the historic bug for as long as I can remember. As a little kid, it was natural history (like dinosaurs). As I grew up, it moved on to Roman history, and then I got obsessed with the Byzantine Empire. And it went on. Looking back, I think it was because of all the time I was reading the Bible together with my parents and brothers. I'm pretty sure the Old Testament is my first exposure to history as an actually interesting subject rather than this boring thing that every kid seems to dread.
Thanks for the nudge to contemplate this. Coincidentally, I was thinking just the other day about Mr. Herbert, my ninth-grade history teacher. He wasn't nearly so interesting as yours! But even in his gruffness and bland delivery, it was in his class that I became fascinated with Pompeii, the Incan Empire, and more. I believe too, that I was influenced by my father's interest in history. Even though my curiosity hadn't peeked yet, at the age of eight, I saw his fascination with Russian history, watched him take several trips there and across Europe, and heard the stories when he retuned. Come to think of it, that was probably the spark for two things: interests in history AND travel.
4 September 1979. A Tuesday.
Good stuff. Come to London - see the world.
Great essay and great question! History is so interesting, and everyone can find a different niche to dive deeply into--or have breadth over a wide array of time periods. There's something for everyone!
I forget when exactly I got bit by the history bug. Scoot family vacations were usually to historical sites and lived near a historical american city which was the site of a battle in the civil war. So part of it feels like it was mere immersion. My family talking about it, living near it, that stuff.
But I think history really took hold and I started diving into it myself when I started trying to understand the world and politics. I started asking questions about "how did we get here" and history kind of unfolded like a fractal in front of me. Everywhere I looked I found more and more depth.
Eventually I learned that military history was more my speed. I pursued with equal enthusiasm the Campaigns of Julius Caesar and the key battles of the civil war. Things branched out from there. I can't remember ever not being interested in history--it's so foundational to everything.
Thanks for occasioning this reflection! I hadn't thought about this in a long time!