Westborough Local History Pastimes – For the Week of April 13, 2020

pas·time – /ˈpasˌtīm/ – noun

  1. an activity that someone does regularly for enjoyment rather than work; a hobby. “his favorite pastimes were shooting and golf [and local history!]” (Source: Lexico – https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/pastime)

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I often compare the value of local history to the experience of drinking fine wine. 

Better wines offer a variety of taste sensations and a depth of flavor over the course of one sip that other wines may not possess. In the end, though, the enjoyment of fine wine really comes down to the mindset we bring to drinking it: are we paying attention to the way it smells in the glass, its texture, the changes of flavor as we sip it both on its own and as we eat food? No matter how fine the wine, if we guzzle it down like water we will certainly miss its subtleties. But if we slow down and apply a more mindful approach to the wine that we drink (or the food that we eat), we gain more enjoyment from the experience.

The same principle applies to local history. The more we strive to learn about the history of our town, the greater the enjoyment of where we live. The Arcade Building is simply one of many buildings that line the Westborough rotary–until we learn that it was the site of the town’s second meeting house, which was then sold and turned into a shopping arcade before being replaced by the present structure. And the Town Hall is just a place where we pay our taxes, renew our dog licenses, and attend Selectmen’s meetings–until we learn that it needed to be built once the second meeting house was no longer available and that the current structure is actually the second town hall to inhabit that spot.

Local history offers us a “depth of flavor” that enhances the appreciation of our daily surroundings by helping us see the layers of time that have gone into making our town what it is today. Now that the weather is warming, why not take advantage of the “Early Development of Westborough through Church and State: A Walking Tour” (one of the Westborough Local History Pastimes listed below) and add some new “flavors” to your enjoyment of Westborough?!

–Anthony Vaver, Local History Librarian

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If you grew up in Westborough during the 1950’s, did you and your family move here during that time? If so, from where, and why did you move here? If your family lived in Westborough before 1950, what did your parents do for work? Why did your family decide to stay in Westborough?

If you live in Westborough today, did you grow up here? If so, why did you decide to stay (or move back)? If you moved to Westborough, where did you move from? Why did you choose to live in Westborough?

Click here and help us tell the story of Westborough?

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Just make sure that while you follow the tour on your phone that you maintain proper social distancing!

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  • Play some historical video games – The Internet Archive offers a wealth of public domain books, videos, audio files, and other free resources. It even has historical video games!

While your kids play games on their phones or on their Nintendo Switch, you can wax nostalgic by playing their early forebears, such as The Oregon Trail, Sim City, or Prince of Persia. The link above takes you to a list of games that can be played through your browser, but the “Software” navigation button at the top of the Internet Archive page can take you to other game forms (although some might require more advanced computer knowledge to operate).

As I try out some of these games I think about the truth of the old adage, “The more things change, the more they stay the same”: it turns out that I’m still really bad at playing Pac-Man!

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