Rick Ryckeley, who lives in Senoia Georgia, served as a firefighter for more than two decades and has been a weekly newspaper columnist for The Citizen – serving Fayette and Coweta Counties -since 2001. His books are available at www.RickRyckeley.com.
How/when did you get hooked on history?When I got married to Becky. It’s amazing how much you can learn just being around someone so passionate about history.
What role does history play or has it played in your personal life?
I’ve penned a newspaper column since 2001 every week. Mostly the stories are from our time spent growing up at our childhood home. I’ve also look back into history, pull facts and famous people, and use them in the stories. So, I guess, I write about history every week.
How is/How was history a part of your professional life/career?
During my 27 years at the fire department, we always studied the history of fires so we would not make the same mistakes. With writing, I read and listen to other authors so I can learn from their style, word choice, and how they put together a story.
Why is studying/knowing history important?
If we don’t study history we are destined to repeat it. We all stand on the shoulders of giants. We just have to be smart enough to read what they have done.
What is your favorite period or aspect of history to learn about and why?
The Roman Empire, and the Mayans. What was accomplished during this time was simply amazing. From buildings, to arts, and inventions of all kinds. Truly both were a amazing times in history to be alive.
How can today’s students benefit from studying history?
I truly believe learning history makes anyone a more rounded person. They will be able to draw from what they have learned and apply it to situations in their everyday lives.
You’re a storyteller. What’s the connection between history and storytelling?
Wow, what a question – one I could spend hours answering. My short answer: the history of a tribe was first told by passing it down in story form. It’s a way of not only telling the history of the tribe, but also keeping memories of those of who have gone before alive. I write a lot about childhood memories from our seven years spent growing up at 110 Flamingo Street. Guess, in a way, I’m doing the same thing. The stories I write seem to connect with folks and they see their childhood through the adventures and misadventures that my three brothers, sister and I experienced.