an encyclopedia of Civil War history and a lover of the Shakespearian tragedy “Othello” because of her. She even showed us “the Miracle Worker” and “Into the Woods” in drama class. If a little Helen Keller and Bernadette Peters as a witch don’t inspire you in life, I don’t know what will.
It was in my middle school social studies class where I first recall learning about the ancient city of Constantinople. I was enamored with the concept. Named after the Roman Emperor Constantine, the city was the gateway between the Eastern and Western worlds, a crossroads, if you will.
The thing I love about history is that it is - to use a cliché - the story of us. Every event, every choice, every battle or invention is directly related to the world as it is today. And all those foolish history teachers who make kids memorize lists without understanding their importance are doing a disservice. It certainly matters where and when, to an extent, but history without the “why” is simply a waste of time.
Constantinople was a place where history was made and one of the very epicenters of human civilization for thousands of years. But here’s the kicker. It didn’t actually occur to me until several years after Susie’s class that Constantinople still exists. Wait, it’s called Istanbul now? You mean, I can still GO THERE? Ah, yes, youth and ignorance. So here we go, off to Constantinople. Or Istanbul. Whatever.