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Letter

from the

Editor

Dan Mathers shares some personal insight into this month’s theme

I’ve owned seven cars in the last 16 years. For those doing the math, that’s a new auto loan every 27 months and 13 days. Since graduating from college in 2009, I’ve had 10 different mailing addresses, and after buying my first house in February 2016, I sold it in May 2019. I’m well aware of my costly tendency to ditch my current possessions in the hopes of finding something better. But I don’t think I’m out of the norm. Our consumer culture is built upon an inclination to satisfy through shopping. The idea of designing products to fail and thus encouraging new purchases is so rampant it’s got a name: planned obsolescence. I’ve bought a new $600+ cell phone every two years for the entirety of my adult life (plus a few replacements for those lost, broken or stolen), and I’ve traded in or chucked all the old ones. That’s nearly $4,000 in cellular devices, and all I have to show for it is the Galaxy S8 that’s currently sitting on my desk begging to be exchanged for an S10. My girlfriend Morgan, however, is on the complete opposite end of the consumer spectrum. The home we recently purchased is less than half the size of our previous residence, and it required a significant amount of downsizing. It was during this process that I discovered she still has every cell phone she’s owned since her teenage years, including three flip phones and a Motorola Sidekick. She had so many clothes that hadn’t been worn in years that we ended up donating nine entire trash bags to Goodwill before we moved, and another four to Salvation Army after. She has two full crates of cards, letters and photographs. I began production on this issue the day after we moved into our new home, which means every minute not spent working on this magazine was dedicated to unpacking. This confluence of events has helped me realize that we probably owe a lot to the kind of people who possess Morgan’s penchant for preservation. Somebody saved Galileo’s telescope back when he was simply a heretic, and some sentimentalist preserved the original Winnie the Pooh stuffed animal before A.A. Milne’s books became classics. Items of historic importance must often be recognized as possessing intrinsic value and conserved as keepsakes long before their true value is ever fulfilled. The stories we’ve printed in this issue are about just those kinds of people, people who see the value in preserving our present and our past. It’s thanks to them that the fabric of this community is shaped. West Chester wouldn’t be the charming borough it is today if it weren’t for the organizations working to secure our history. It wouldn’t be filled with beautiful buildings, criss-crossed by tree-lined streets, or surrounded by rolling farmland without the efforts of these folks. As we continue to unpack and declutter, I’m doing my best to keep this in mind. Each time I’m frustrated by a pile of outdated digital cameras or old notebooks, I try to remember there may just be value my eyes are missing. Beneath that pile of printouts from Accounting 101 might just be a first edition Harry Potter. Odds are there won’t be, but I can always hope. —dan@thewcpress.com

OCTOBER 2019 THEWCPRESS.COM

11

Profile for The WC Press

The WC Press Preservation Issue - October 2019  

Voice of the Borough

The WC Press Preservation Issue - October 2019  

Voice of the Borough