Muncie, Indiana: Hard Times and Good Times From 1925 Through 1950
One frequently hears of the importance of obtaining oral histories from our elderly population before they are gone and their first hand knowledge of past events are lost forever. Each individual has a unique and varied past compared to his other contemporaries, so every history will be different at least in many aspects. This is a written history rather than an oral history, which usually has a specific subject objective and a relatively short time frame of coverage whereas this history will cover twenty-five years. One goal of technical writing that I was involved in at NASA was conciseness and leaving out all unnecessary details. That was not my objective in this history I once had a boss that frequently stated that a thing worth saying was worth writing down. A favorite quote of his was “criticism is our cheapest form of entertainment” and he very frequently entertained himself lavishly. The significance of writing things down is that it makes people think which some people don’t like to do. One can outline, organize, and revise repeatedly without having to work to a schedule. Hopefully that won’t lead to embellishment and in reality may reduce it. Many people do not have the education, experience, or patience to write their history down and perhaps it is more tedious than answering questions from a skilled interviewer. What should a history covering twenty-five years encompassing the second quarter of the last century consist of? I think many areas compared to today would be of interest such as advances in science, transportation, entertainment, health care, humor, social mores, family and neighbor interactions, educational techniques, and the list goes on. What is the difference between a personal history and an autobiography? Actually not much except the personal history should have some different goals and emphases. My objective in this history is to describe the character of Muncie in the period covered as experienced by myself and also other events of the time that are historical. By necessity it must include much autobiographical content to reach it’s nonautobiographical goals. If the goal of personal histories is to get everything that is significant then what should be omitted? What is chicken feed to one person may be gold and diamonds to another. An additional result of personal histories is that they show not only the major differences time makes but also how many things haven’t changed at all.