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Ghosts and Memories

19 August 2009
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When you come to the end of an era, a period of vital importance, it becomes customary or just natural at the finale to look back on what has happened. The memories, regrets, and trials...all the while, trying to force yourself to let go by saying that what I've given is no longer necessary.


Eli Holland is said to have found a piece of ruby silver while following a wounded game animal in 1872. A shallow shaft was dug on the outcropping. The town eventually became a thriving city which boasted as many stores and commercial establishments as any other modern city at that time in Montana. In 1893, the U.S. Congress repealed the Sherman Act, resulting in lower silver prices, and on the morning of August 1, 1893, within 24 hours of the repeal, many men, women, and children came down the mountain in search of new homes. Because of the swiftness of the move, most of their worldly possessions remained on the hill behind them. Only 140 people remained in Granite one year later.


The ghost town now sits about thirty minutes away from Project Vote Smart's Great Divide Ranch, outside the town of Philipsburg, Montana. A group of interns recently visited the ghost town to see the remnants of the past lives of so many people. These same interns are now leaving to return to their former lives in a place that most call "home."


Looking back at the ghost town, there are so many thoughts that should have gone through my head. How do you give it all up? Choose what are the basics of your life and leave. Take the glances from faces walking down the path and remember them as the last pictures you may have of them.


This is in no way meant to create disappointment or stir a flash of memories through your mind. The effort here is to create a bridge for the analogy. We use analogies in life as a way to cope by to helping us to establish that this has happened before in a different manner.


All that remains of the ghost town is abandoned buildings and piles of rubble, just the former structures of life. We as interns are making the same exodus. Leaving the place that we called home for ten weeks—we created a life, made friends, ate dinner, and worked. We are leaving Montana with a lifetime of memories.


We will not leave Project Vote Smart as a ghost town though. We are leaving more than just the basics behinds when we leave this summer. We are leaving ten weeks of work and certainty. Our exit will be nothing more than the entrance of others. The opportunities we had are endless and are there for future generations. While there are circumstances that turned Granite, Montana into a ghost town, these circumstances shouldn't stop you from enjoying this wonderful opportunity.


-Trevor Shalon (Peru State College, 2010, Secondary Education In Social Science, from Columbus, NE), Speeches Intern

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