Monday, July 30, 2007

Ghosts of the past

Recently, at work, I've been going through books from the beginning of my 'Office' (which is how I think I'll refer to it from now on.). The Office has been around since the late 1800s, so these books are, to American-me, OLD. I've been going through them, counting the people involved in the Office at the time. A fairly important anniversairy of the Office is this year, and they wanted to do something special. So I've been going through the books, counting (and believe me, it's painful) the numbers of people in various catagories so they can be published and everyone can marvel about how the numbers have increased and blahblahblah.

I think they're doing it completely wrong.

I'm probably the only person in 2007 that knows that the guy who came first on the list at the beginning? He died in 1906. I noticed. His name wasn't there any more. And there was a HUGE dip in numbers during the First World War. One of the little notices said that they were wishing someone well, as he wouldn't be able to attend a meeting as his battilion was advancing to the front. Or the guy who was killed when the Germans torpedoed the boat his was on. Or the one in Navel Intelligence, who was killed in action.

I'm only up to about 1920, but there's just so much there! So much that you can't just see in the numbers. What was it like to live in 1899? Did they think the world was going to end at the turn of the century like we did? How did people get through the First World War? I've got the Depression (although I don't think it was as big a deal here as it was in the States) and the Second World War coming up, and I don't know if I'll be able to handle the dip in numbers again. There's just so much more to it than numbers on a bit of paper. It's funny how history creeps up on you sometimes.



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