What is Your Cultural Marker?

20131201-123943.jpgWhile exploring Deal Island, we were told to keep an eye out for cultural markers; aspects of the town that exemplify the unique culture and present a photograph to explain our marker to the rest of the group.  So I begin to take pictures of everything. I snap a few shots of the marshlands separating the towns, the skipjacks lined up in the marina, the graveyard, the store signs and a half a dozen more during the ten minute drive. As we head back to our house, I start to think about what I could possibly present as my cultural marker. I looked back at the photographs and at first it just looked like I had taken pictures of any other small town, but I keep looking through them and I realize how unique this place is. I could have used any one of the pictures as a cultural marker. There is so much culture in every crevice of the town. Everything is unique in some way.20131201-124051.jpg

There are so many subtle aspects of our lives and our hometowns that we may not have thought were cultural markers. Communities seem to be similar as we are all part of the same culture of the United States, but there are so many little aspects that make these little towns so different from each other. If you pay attention to the details of a community, you will notice the cultural markers in abundance. And they will be in many forms. They could be flyers advertising the next holiday mass at church or the piles of crab pots stacked up in someone’s yard, but they are unique nonetheless. One very distinct marker of Deal Island was something I heard on the radio. The station was advertising a spaghetti dinner that they were hosting as a fundraiser for a woman. They stated her name, but did not explain why there was a fundraiser for her. Everyone must know this woman and would understand why she would need this fundraiser to be held, but to me, an outsider, I had no idea. This really highlights how close the people of this town are and how much they care about each other. Cultural markers like these can tell a lot about a community of people and they should not be overlooked.

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