What I've Learned from Restoration Road

It’s been three years since "Restoration Road with Clint Harp" kicked off. In that time, I’ve criss-crossed the country on planes, trains, and automobiles to tell the stories of structures long forgotten. I’ve gone to places I’d always wanted to visit, and I’ve also gotten to go to towns I hadn’t heard of before. I’ve visited areas with ways of life similar to what I’ve always known, and in other areas, I’ve been introduced to ways of living I had only read about. And generously, almost everywhere I’ve gone, I’ve been invited to slip behind the velvet ropes and the “Do Not Enter” signs so that I can step back into history and see what life might have felt like in many forgotten eras.

Candidly, over these three years, I’ve carried a sense of guilt that I’m the person who has been given this chance to learn, experience, see, and ultimately share these amazing stories. I think to myself: Why don’t you already know this, Clint?? Do you really appreciate where you’re standing right now? There are so many smarter people who should be here right now.

But that’s just it: I am learning. I am experiencing new things. I am having my eyes opened to history that I’ve never known, or—in many cases—never thought to investigate. And I get to learn alongside those that are watching the show. As my incredible partner in life, Kelly, said recently, “Clint, that’s the magic. That’s the point. We’re having fun learning with you. Don’t be ashamed of what you don’t know.” Her words have helped me lean into my own reality of not knowing. And quite candidly, it makes it all the more fun.

Where I once was nervous about looking ignorant, I am now proud to be asking questions. Where I once hoped to shine a light on what little expertise I could muster, I now proudly stand a student. Where I once felt behind in my own knowledge of our nation’s and world’s history, I am now happily gathering tidbits of information wherever I can find them. I am resting comfortably in the reality that while there’s a lot I don’t know, I am happy to learn.

And I don’t want anyone to hold back when they are teaching. I want ALL the history—the good stuff and the stuff that makes us cringe. In the end, it’s where we come from. It's what makes us who we are today. I am tied to my neighbor’s story as much as my own. We are tied together—past, present, and future. And we will know ourselves better as we get to know those around us.

So, if you turn on the TV to watch me fumbling around a crumbling piece of architecture in New York, Maine, Washington, Idaho, Georgia, Texas, or anywhere in between, know that I am not just stumbling through an old house. I am tripping my way back through the pages of time to hopefully bring a story to light for both you and me.

-Clint Harp

 P.S. - Season 2 of Restoration Road is coming to cable TV and premieres this Tuesday (9/6) on TV at 9/8c only on the Magnolia Network! New episodes air Tuesdays at 9/8c.

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