Written May 1905, Author Unknown. I’m including spelling errors ~
Wyoming is a state.
Xeres is noted for its sherry.
Yule-tide is a nother name for Christmas.
Zambesi river is in Africa.
Architecture is important.
Belladonna is a poison.
Caesar was a great man.
Derry is in Ireland.
Every body makes mistakes.
France is in Europe.
Gourds grow in warm countrys.
Many hands make light labour.
Nismes is in France.
Oranges grow in the South.
Paris is the capital of France.
Questions are often embarassing.
Rome was once the mistress of the world.
Sunshin is necessary to health.
Tunis is in Egypt.
Union is strength.
Venetian glass is very pretty.
I have a small collection of old journals on my bookshelves, which sit alongside another small collection of vintage books I have picked up around the world. There is a wide assortment of publications ~ children’s books, a math book, one thick cookbook, and a travel book entitled How We Have Conquered Distance from 1936. I have two vintage atlases, an old Christening book, and a book picked up at a London flea market that was once owned by a woman named Fanny Umpheldy. Now that’s a name.
The journal the above excerpt came from made me especially curious ~ it is a girl’s school notebook, with snippets about everything from her doll collection, Hiawatha, and the People of Japan to Benjamin Franklin, a thunder storm and the Brownie Camera, all in her steady yet slightly inconsistent script. The beginning of the notebook is filled with these small reports, the middle has a swath of blank pages, and then the last few pages have a potpourri of lists, much like the one above. I love this particular random pitter-patter of thoughts and facts. I wonder what she was thinking when she wrote, “Questions are often embarassing.”
My husband and I saw Midnight in Paris recently, which, if you haven’t seen it, is a tale of time travel. I won’t go into any more detail than that in case you haven’t seen it yet, but after the film we were inspired to wonder out loud when and where we would like to go if we could travel through time. Neither of us could come up with a definitive answer, but over the past 24 hours I figured out what my first choice would be ~ I would love to go back to the 1940s in Oklahoma and watch my grandparents. Other times and places might be more grand or romantic or even fitting as an artist and writer, but my deepest longing is to see them ~ in their youth, falling in love, and still contemplating a long life ahead, during a time when weekends were for dancing until the wee hours of the night.
I sometimes wonder what will become of all the journals I’ve kept over the years, most especially my travel journals. Might one of them be picked up by a casual collector 100 years from now? Will she be imagining what it was like to visit New Zealand in 2009 or Cuba in 2006? Those dates will soon be long-ago eras, and the pages of my journals will be weathered and yellow. Perhaps, even in their fragile state, they will transform into a window of sorts ~ a portal for someone I’ll never meet that enables her to visit a place and time that she would not otherwise ever be able to reach. Perhaps my words can morph into a magic carpet, and take a future kindred spirit on a journey through time.
Where would you love to go in a time machine? What would you love to see and experience?
“We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls.” ~Anais Nin
Christine Mason Miller is a writer and artist who wants to see the Banyan trees at Angkor Wat in Cambodia. She was able to go there vicariously through her fellow GGG contributor Rebecca Self earlier this year, and for now, that’s enough.