Mark Twain is credited with saying “History never repeats itself, but it often rhymes.”
Years and generations pass yet the same ideas, ideals and conflicts can arise. On the larger scale, this includes war, political tensions and the ever-present swing of the economic pendulum. But it happens on a smaller, far more local scale too. It’s something I’ve noticed since coming to the Cariboo.
One of my assigned duties here at the Free Press is the archives. Every week I go through the history of 100 Mile House, as told by our paper, to look for interesting, unique and quirky stories to dust off and share with our readers.
Sometimes I’ll find a memorable police story like when a man used sewage to short out the power of the RCMP detachment. Other times, it will be a unique event that has fallen by the wayside like a tube race down Bridge Creek. On one occasion, an April Fools Day joke from 40 years ago had me believing some rich plane crash survivor with amnesia had ended up working here at the paper before being reunited with her husband. I didn’t realize it was a play on the popular drama Dallas.
Yet I also see the patterns that define our region. Stories and events that aren’t just familiar but still ongoing to this day.
Take provincial politics. Our MLA Lorne Doerkson talks in his columns about the importance of the NDP government listening to the needs of the Interior and Northern B.C. Three decades earlier, former MLA David Zirnhelt called for the same thing. Debates around mining and forestry also seem largely unchanged from when we first started having them in the early ’80s and ’90s.
That’s not all to say the South Cariboo is locked into some kind of Groundhog Day-esque loop. Change happens and not all the news stories I find are the same. As new people come into the community, new ideas and events take hold. Issues are solved, like when the District of 100 Mile House moved the town’s sewage lagoons away from Bridge Creek.
It’s fascinating how, looking to the past, I can see the patterns and decisions that led to the modern-day 100 Mile House I’m privileged to write about. At some point, some young reporter will look back at my work and notice the patterns of stories that defined their future.