There is a saying in the writing world….In order to write well you must read well. I can’t imagine my life without books. A friend pointed out that my job in writing the Main Street blog was to help people see the painting on the wall differently. I know people who drew their conclusions long ago and at the risk of having to change, won’t. The pearl of great price in my life is a reading life that keeps me growing and exposed to different ideas, what has worked in the political world, the gardening world, and the world of English mysteries. When lacking a poetic voice, I turn to Pat Conroy who wrote lovely things like I carry the delicate beauty of Charleston like the hinged shell of some soft tissued mollusk.
And now I’ve finished reading Roosevelt and Churchill – Men of Mystery by David Stafford. Both men, were intrigued with spying, espionage, and code breaking. There is a pattern in the latest books I’m reading where history is covered, and the stories of significant individual men and women are brought forth. I have another view to consider about Douglas MacArthur and his role in the war.
Those of you who read Nazi, CIA thrillers will love this book because it covers what became the CIA and MI5 and MI6. English mysteries, yes, but spy novels have never been on any of my lists. Nonetheless, I may have to read this book again because it covers so much and is well written. The friendship between these two significant men is often endearing, even as they withheld information from each other learned through code breaking. I knew the over-arching story of the war, a General who became President, Dwight Eisenhower, Mussolini, or Rommel in the desert, but I had no idea of the intricacies going on as the capacity for espionage developed.
Wanting to understand more about the world as I have known it, my reading life changed. Reading Citizens of London by Carol Olson (twice) is my highest recommendation for you. Of a certain age you will be familiar with the names covered in Citizens of London. Edward R. Murrow, Avril Harriman, Lindbergh, Ambassador Kennedy, the Generals, and above all else for me, John Gilbert Winnett who came to replace Ambassador Kennedy in London. I knew nothing of him and have wound up captured by his sterling career and personal story.
Here in Rocky Mount, The Twin County Hall of Fame continues to honor the significant people in the Rocky Mount area. People who have left their mark on a city. I’m fascinated with how a single life can shape the world as Roosevelt and Churchill did. Thank goodness many Rocky Mount leaders continue to offer their work and life experience following a moral compass of inspiration.
Reading about these two men made me ask, am I making a difference? My conclusion is that we all do for better or worse. We have an opportunity in November to bring new leadership to the City Council. Younger voices who look at the painting on the wall with different eyes. They honor the past but are not to be deterred from building a future that draws a circle large enough to include everyone. There is no other way.
This image has long been a favorite of mine. I want all of us to be moved to dance as the revitalization of Rocky Mount continues. We are neither Roosevelt nor Churchill, but their determination to save the world is needed here in America again. Rocky Mount has been given to us to love and protect. It is our job to honor the past and help grow a future no less than Roosevelt and Churchill envisioned in the 2nd World War.
Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin grew up in Evanston, IL. and is a graduate of the University of Kentucky. She is an author of two novels: The Greening of a Heart and Facing East. She lives, writes and gardens in NC. Visit her: Stephenyhoughtlin.com
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One thought on “How Do You See The Painting On Rocky Mount’s Wall?”
Great post Stepheny. With out a past there can be no future. Saving architecture enhances the future of both towns and people. Cheer on!