One of my sisters and I were reminiscing over some old photos of family picnics and other excursions. (We never actually had family vacations as such except for one memorable occasion when we visited Melen, Wis., where both our parents attended high school. If there were photos taken then, they reside in someone else's picture album, for I don't seem to have any.)
Remembering \when\ is an iffy business at best, I've long ago discovered. Not only are my own recollections of events and places fallible, the two of us don't seem to remember the same things about them, even though we were both there. I've often blamed these discrepancies on the difference in our ages and the kind of thing that would have interested us and lingered in memory over the years. But I can't believe a few years difference in our ages would have altered the hard facts so dramatically as they seem to have changed over time.
I do know, from watching reruns of television programs and reading, once again, books that I read in the past, that some details slip past us seemingly unrecognized while others become exaggerated out of all proportion to their actual importance. Most good fiction has sub-plots – more than one story line going on at the same time – but I wonder how much of that goes on in real life. It seems to me that a continuous narrative of anyone's daily life would be a colossal bore most of the time.
The Solon History Group has been sorting through the many wonderful old photos that some of you have brought to us. While all the photos are interesting and most of them will be copied and kept available in the library's collection of historical documents, we are especially looking for pictures appropriate for our pictorial history of the area. We are hoping that this book will comprise views of the community that are different from the ones we see repeatedly on calenders, posters, etc. Except for crowd scenes, we hope to be able to identify most of the people in the photographs, as this always makes those old photos more interesting.
We are attempting to verify as much of the information as possible. When we find conflicting information about places or events, we find it necessary to mention that memories are faulty – just as my sisters and I disagree on events in our past – and give space to more than one interpretation. We know that history is never complete, that it is only human to fill in the gaps with what we imagine might have happened, or to smooth over unpleasant or embarrassing details. Finding the truth is sometimes an impossibility.
There are a few specific things we are looking for. These include but are not limited to photos of some of the country schools, especially those that include the children and teachers. We want those special pictures of large mushrooms, oddly shaped fruits and vegetables, trophy deer, monster turtles – those remarkable oddities that merit a cheer or a chuckle.
We'd like to see some pictures of some of the local bands that have played at dances, parties, weddings, Beef Days, parades and concerts. There must be some pictures of our early fire department, jail, school picnics, city council, parades and celebrations.
We would especially like some photos and accounts of the families that populated Solon and the surrounding community during the early years. We know there are several such families still in and around Solon and are planning a special section of the book devoted to those early residents. If your family has a long-time history in the vicinity, you are invited to write a brief history for the book (which we may edit according to available space) and send interesting photos for us to copy.