History–Who Cares?


I care, that’s who.

My name is Larry F. Sommers. My people are from Knoxville, a small town in Illinois. Two of my uncles died flying bombers to defeat the Axis Powers in the 1940s.

When Grandma’s house was torn down in 1963, the workers found under the siding boards a square-hewn timber cabin built by storekeeper John G. Sanburn in 1832. This cabin was was restored to its frontier appearance and can be seen today on the Public Square in Knoxville.

Streator Public Library

I lived in Streator, Illinois, birthplace of astronomer Clyde Tombaugh, who discovered the planet Pluto, and of author Clarence Mulford, who created the fictional cowboy Hopalong Cassidy. As a boy I frequented the Streator Public Library—a lovely classical building donated by Andrew Carnegie—and read science fiction by Lester Del Rey, Robert Heinlein, and Arthur C. Clarke. On the day in 1957 when Sputnik was launched, I wailed because the Russians had done what Americans were supposed to do.

Alexander Hamilton

I attended high school in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Our history teacher, Leo Gebhardt, was on a first-name basis with the Founding Fathers: “. . . and just then, when our new country needed its credit stabilized, who should come along? Your friend and mine . . .  Alexander Hamilton.

I lived through the Cuban Missile Crisis, the assassination of President Kennedy, and the Vietnam War.

In middle age, I became a Christian—heir to a 2,000-year tradition of saints, sinners, scholars, artists, musicians, and freedom fighters.

Our lives are part of history, and history is a part of our lives. That’s why I write.

T. S. Eliot wrote,

     We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

I want to go where we’ve been before but see it with fresh eyes. Why not come along on my journey?

Price of Passage

Norwegian Farmers and Fugitive Slaves in Pre-Civil War Illinois

(History is not what you thought!)

13 thoughts on “History–Who Cares?

  1. Hi Larry, I share your passion for history. You are a great writer so I look forward to what this web space holds. I am taking a break from our work at The Morgan Scott Project to see what is new in your life. I like what I see.

  2. Thanks, Mike. Hope it will continue to be of interest.

  3. Excellent site! Love the Millie story!

  4. Thanks, Larry. I’m glad you’re doing this. You forgot to include Jack Finney in that list of science-fiction writers.
    My dad’s name was Franklin. At least that’s what his birth certificate says. All his life he thought it was “Franklyn” with a “y,” and he hated it. If only he had looked at his own birth certificate!

    • Glad to have you aboard, Bob. I mention Jack in my third blog post, “No No Nostalgia.” But when I was a boy in the Streator Public Library, I had not yet discovered his delicious works.

  5. Happy to see you starring on your very own website! Look forward to learning more about you and your books.

  6. Your site looks very polished and professional, Larry! You’re off to a great start.

    • Thanks, Kathleen. I have a lot of tinkering to do with it yet, but right now I’m focused on next Tuesday’s blog post!

  7. Hi Larry. You have what I call a “delicious” command of words. Love your stories.

  8. Pingback: Space Cadets – Reflections

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