Someone asked me what I thought the spirit of the city was, and how it would be personified, so I wrote this…
The spirit of New Babbage is in two parts, a male and a female. The male works in a factory. His hands are rough, his knuckles are scarred, and he chain smokes cigars. He works hard, and he plays hard. Despite the fact he comes home at night to his family covered in soot, he goes to work in the morning in a neatly pressed clean shirt and a carefully groomed mustache, because that’s the way proper folks do things. His parents named him Aristotle, because they wanted him to grow up to be a thinker, but somewhere along the line he started going by ‘Beau’, and after a few scraps behind the schoolhouse the bullies stopped making fun of him. He has a tattoo on his arm from some place on the Northwest Frontier, and some mornings he walks a bit oddly from sleeping on the ground when he was courting Brown Bess. He’s a family man, and while the family may argue amongst themselves, he won’t stand for anyone from outside to criticize his own. His children know he loves them, and they also know that he demands respect.
The female grew up on a farm with all her brothers. By the time she blossomed into womanhood, she was able to cook, raise a family, maintain a household, reforge a plowshare, cut a straight furrow, and keep a house full of men in line. She learned to break hearts and noses, and found that being a redhead meant that she could (and would) do both. She isn’t a spring chicken any more, but she still has many good years left in her. She still ‘cleans up’ well enough to turn heads, but knows that she doesn’t need to much anymore. While she loves and dotes on her man, she also is the only one who can keep him in line, and even if he still has an eye for the girlies, she keeps him coming home to her. She knows the difference between a Stephenson engine and a Walschaerts engine. She can rebuild a gearbox while balancing a baby on one hip. Her laughs console, her arms reassure and protect. She wields a skillet, a wooden spoon, or a pen with equal ferocity.
That’s the way I see the spirit of New Babbage.