November 7, 2009

Chariot Junk Yard

My dad and I went to Pick-a-Part, a chain or car junk yards. Whenever we have car work to do, we go here to see what we can find. I'm missing some parts on my car, and so is my mom. So we went to the nearest Pick-A-Part on Sunday in search of such items.

I actually really hate going to these places, but somehow I always end up going. This time I brought my camera. We didn't find any of the pieces we needed, but it did serve as a good conversation topic.

I was walking through these beaten and battered cars and wondered how many of our Archeological dig sites are actually ancient trash heaps. I took an Archeaology class in college and loved the class. History and Archeaology have always facinated me. In that class we discussed how we can make inferences to what sites were, but we can never actually know without some sort of written or photographic evedience. We only see what remains, we never see what was.

So it's safe to say that if we found a site full of bits of chariots, we could infer that maybe it was a chariot junk yard, or a parking lot, or a repair shop, or any number of things. But the truth is we'll never actually know for sure what these places were.

So in a thousand years when some Archaeologist begins to dig in the Rubidoux area of Riverside, California, and they find a bunch of car parts, what will they think? Will they figure out it was merely a junk yard? Or will they come up with some evidence that is was actually the site of a huge war between cars? Or just a parking lot? If they find one of the many signs stating what the place is, will the speak the same language?
I really love to think about these things. I really do think it's important to think about how people of the future will see their past, our present. What are the things that will stand the test of time? What, if anything, will survive for them to find?
There is a sense of almost nostalgia I get thinking about this. I guess it's that I know that in fifty or a hundred years there will still be people who appreciate the same things I do. Like how we feel about vintage clothing or antique things. I like to think that when we "rescue" these old items, the original owner smiles. It's like we're telling them, "Hey we'll keep these things safe. They meant alot to you, and now the mean alot to me, and someday, hopefully, they'll mean alot to someone I don't even know. We'll take good care of your memory." Even though alot of times we don't know the story behind something we "rescue", we still know that there is a story. Who knows what this dress has seen, or where these shoes have walked. Who can tell what this bag held, or how many tears this hankie harboured. Who did this hat meet, where did these earrings go? It's really a wonderful thought! How much history is left unknown. And even as someone who loves History and wishes she could know everything about it, I wouldn't change not knowing these things for the world. I like not knowing. I like daydreaming about all these questions. Because no matter how many things we rescue to keep someone's long forgotten memory alive, they always know we haven't got all the answers. And that's what keeps us coming back for more. Mystery and History are very good together.


  1. LOL, a huge war between cars!!

    I love the old beetle photo.

  2. What an inspiring place! I like the idea of what archeologists will thing about it. It's always interesting to imagine what the future will think about us based on the things we leave behind.