Map Of America
I'd always loved maps. In fact the walls of my office at home were covered with them. Almost every part of the globe was represented there with some areas even being duplicated as I acquired an occasional historical map.
Behind this apparent obsession there was however a practical use. And this was to track the progress in the promotion of a C.D that my band had recorded. Since its release I'd been sending copies of the product far and wide in an effort to gain exposure for us.
With thoughts of world domination aside, the primary reason for the maps remained geographical. Since I was a child, this view of the world from above had always fascinated me. It felt as though I were truly suspended aloft and able to swoop down and visit any place that caught my eye.
Immediately above my desk was a large map of North America. The nature of my endeavours in this office meant that much of the time was spent in search of inspiration. When the inexact science of promotion is further hindered by having no budget, the amount of time required to target a successful hit rises dramatically.
And so it was that during these brainstorming sessions that my eye would fall upon the map of America. Inevitably the place names I saw would stimulate memories and conjure up images of how life might be in those towns. Sometimes for places unknown to me I'd rely solely on the name and topography of an area to supply an image.
A third of the way down the eastern seaboard of the Unites States was a large inlet called Chesapeake Bay. Within that bay was a place named Tangier Island. Some years ago a TV documentary had revealed that the inhabitants of this rather unique place were of English descent.
To be of English descent was of course not unusual for Americans. What made these people unusual was that they all came from one specific area of the U.K. Moreover, their isolated island existence had frozen their accents and culture in time.
Their ancestors it seems were all of Cornish stock. Lying at the southwestern tip of The British Isle, Cornwall feels more like an independent country than a mere county. The accent of the people there and their odd "All knowing" gaze sets them a world apart from the rest of their countrymen.
When the T.V program moved on to interviews with the Tangier islanders I nearly fell off my chair. Having travelled extensively in Cornwall I was more than a little familiar with the sounds and feel of the place. To hear modern day Americans sounding like the pirates of Penzance was nothing short of uncanny.
Still on the eastern seaboard, I'd noticed an abundance of town names that had British counterparts. In Delaware alone such places as Salisbury, Lincoln and Seaford were examples. Further down in South Carolina other names appeared like Windsor, Swansea and Lancaster.
To travel west with the eye was to travel forward in time with later generations of settlers. Here the place names sought not to mimic the old world but to describe the new.