The Historical Present: Uses and Abuses of the Past

By Edwin M. Yoder | Go to book overview

Epilogue: An Early Confederate History
FOR DOROTHY WARTEN CANDLEER

I RECENTLY OBSERVED the twenty-first anniversary of my move to Alexandria, Virginia, and realized with a start that I had now lived in the old port city on the Potomac longer than I had lived anywhere else--even the small Piedmont North Carolina town where I grew up. After more than two decades as a Virginian, I am tempted to ask the question that the late editor Harry Golden, who began as a Jewish boy on New York's Lower East Side, addressed to his fellow North Carolina editors after editing the Carolina Israelite in Charlotte for many years. "Am I a Tar Heel?" he asked. After so many years north of Colonel Byrd's dividing line, I might now ask whether I qualify as an honorary Virginian at least. I am inclined to doubt it, Virginians being somewhat more clannish than North Carolinians. But if ancestry and even sacrifice of life had much to do with American identities these days, I might lay claim to such a distinction in a Pickwickian and whimsical sense.

My own Virginia history, as I am tempted to call it, has approximately as much to do with my real identity as, say, the royal ances

-185-

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