Minding Our Minds   /   Summer 2014   /    Essays

Recovering the Vernacular

Thomas Fitzgerald

Philly Graffiti by Thad Zadjowicz; flickr

If good fortune calls, offer him a seat.

vernacular [L. vernaculus, native, indigenous, domestic]…. 2. of a language or dialect spoken as a mother tongue by the people of a particular country or district, not learned or imposed as a second language (The New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, 1993).

The crossing we made together over the river of time, to a new century and a new millennium, is now well behind us. We who arrived and stepped ashore did not, however, walk into a promised land. Nor did we discover a gap between past and future where we might see with new eyes. We were unable to leave behind the baggage of history—stuffed with memories, doubts, discontents, and grievances—collected during a hard and violent century.

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