Only Through Our Past

Few things in life do I find as enjoyable as someone who can turn the proper quip or comeback phrase at just the right time. My crumudgeonly heroes include Groucho Mark and Winston Churchill, both of whom could intellectually blow someone out of their shoes…without them even knowing it.

I thought of this as I recently heard of an urban legend conversation with a self-important young person who was explaining to a senior person why it was impossible for the older generation to understand the current one. The young person noted that the older person ”had grown up in a different world, an almost primitive society. We grew up with television, computers, jet aircraft, nuclear energy, space travel and cell phones.”

The senior person was quick to note, “You are right. We had none of those advantages. That’s why we invented all of them for you! What have you done for the next generation?”

That story is very enjoyable to me, because I try to be a great student of history.

“History must be written of, by and for the survivors,” according to an anonymous sage.

Our historic past remains a key emphasis in 2009 as WC&P celebrates its 50th anniversary and further helps guide the accomplishments of the WQA History Task Force. And it is a history of which we should all be proud.

Much of this effort relates to discovering, archiving, identifying and labeling decades of photography, as well as stories, primarily by my esteemed colleague Denise Roberts. This information and photography has been on display in the past few issues of WC&P and also this past month on signage at the WQA Conference booth.

“Photography helps people see,” according to American photographer Berenice Abbott. And WC&P and WQA would like to thank the following people who have financially contributed to see that this history project has successfully progressed.

The contributors who have so far invested in the history of the profession include such individuals as William Fritzsche, Neil Desmond and Thomas Leunig. It also includes Jim Harris with Puretec Industrial Water, Bob Boerner and Kristi Stanford with Culligan Southwest Inc. and William Prior of Tangent Company, LLC.

Success is not measured as much by what we have done as by how far we have gone from where we started. And it is only through our past that we can fully appreciate where we are and where we need to go.

We encourage everyone to help participate in maintaining and expanding this project. To show the next generation, and encourage them to do the same.



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