lost touch with the magnificence of their past. That is the thesis of Henry James's wonderful book on Italy called Italian Hours (above), which talks about cities and towns and how they seem to regard their ancient monuments. James complains that the Italians of his day (1909) had very little interest in their ancient heritage, except to see it as a vehicle for bringing tourists (whom the natives often despised).
Driving through small towns between Wilmette and eastern Iowa (Morrison, Dixon, Fulton, Clinton, Maquoketa) I sometimes think that we too have lost touch with our much more recent heritage. I see dozens of carefully designed buildings empty or falling to pieces. Here and there, a sign of life--the mural above, for example; Dubuque is full of them. Nobody wants these old buildings any longer, it seems. It's great that Wayne and Ellen and Rose and Chuck have saved a couple of them in Maquoketa!