I was visiting with my parents and after catching up on the events of the day, my mother turned on the television to find out the latest on the storm. To do this, she didn't get up and walk over to turn on the T.V. and change the channel, as we had done for almost 40 years in this kitchen. She picked up the remote and pointed it at the flat screen television. Little things like this are still slightly unsettling, they remind me that although, I am sitting in this kitchen, in my chair, in the same place I have always sat, that although I could so easily be seventeen years old again, I am not. Time feels fluid and magical in this place.
Something else has not changed much since my childhood, the storm reports on the local stations. The first "storm central" report comes in from Scituate, where my maternal grandfather's grandmother built a house in the early1800's. The house was sold in the mid-1970s, but we all still feel connected to place (not the place, but place). I asked my parents what they thought it was like for those early ancestors who built their house on the beach. Erosion and shifting shore fronts have brought the water closer to the old front door of the house, but even then, a storm at high tide must have been terrifying. This conversation contributes to the fluid and magical nature of the visit. Scituate has always been "storm central" and today's nor'easter looks to be a good one.
After listening to the forecast, I shared with my parents that I wished I could travel back to the 1800's to see the lone house on the beach, take in it's surroundings, and understand what it was like to live in that place at that time. I would also like to experience a winter storm, knowing of course that this very solid house survived all that mother nature wrought, including the Blizzard of '78. This comment started us on a conversation about place and time travel. My parents began to name and talk about places they would like to see (or see again). Those of you who read the blog regularly know that my father has a brain injury and that each visit with him is it's own gift. My father liked this conversation and could contribute. We talked about Cap a l'Aigle, a place north of Quebec where my father's family visited. I wish I could see my father and his siblings running around as teens in the 1940's.
We went on to talk about being able to travel back to events in family history or to specific places. I'd like to do both. My father and I recounted a story about his parents that would have been fun to witness. My father's mother dressed up like a man to play a prank on the new young seminarian studying with her father (an Anglican priest), apparently he appreciated the humor, since they later married! From the stories my father has told, she had a great sense of humor all through her life.
Here I am, almost midnight, reflecting on the events of the day. Here's my thought: I can't time travel, but I can travel back in time - I can talk with my family.
The folks at Two Writing Teachers host a Slice of Life writing challenge. If you want to participate, you can link up at the Slice of Life Story Post or you can just head on over there to check out other people's stories. For more information on what a Slice of Life post is about, go here.