Unlike the Doritos powered cardboard time machine featured on Superbowl Sunday, ours is a sleek, sophisticated blue mass of steel, high tech plastic and electronics. Four of us settled into the small but comfy new age vehicle as the cockpit blinked orange and red. We locked in our destination to 1931.
“I’ve never seen this house”, the blue-eyed, 82 year old man said. Actually, he had, but he was just an infant and this was his very first home. That’s the beauty of time travel – it takes you to places that are oddly old and new at the same time.
The journey that simply started out as a tour of houses Greg’s Dad, “Papa”, lived in over the years evolved into a scrapbook of treasured memories…..opening doors in hearts and minds long ago closed. Father and Son shared stories as we drove the route Papa planned.
“This is the house we lived in when your sister was born. It had pink shutters then.” – Papa
“There’s a hill behind this house. I know because I threw a rock at kid, hit him and got in trouble.” – Greg, a rambunctious 4 year old.
“I fell asleep at a Drive-In near here and woke up to someone tapping on the window. My foot hit the clutch, the car rolled and pulled the speaker right through the car window!” – Papa, a sleepy young man on a date with his future wife.
“Grammy’s beauty shop was near this house. I rode my unicycle inside, around and around the row of hairdryers.” – Greg, showing off for the ladies at a young age.
“I hitch hiked from this corner to San Diego to catch my Navy Ship.” – Papa, a young seaman, newly married.
“That’s my fifth grade classroom. Park over there.” We followed Papa onto the grounds of St. Helen’s Catholic School where he happily posed for a photo, his smile hinting of good memories as he reminisced about his school days.
Like a ball of twine rolling along a path, the stories unwound, connecting past to present. All too soon, we headed back to the present, richer for time spent in the past.