By Jack Sparacino
Well, here’s some good news. I’ve ordered my very own PTTM (personal time travel machine) from Holy Mackerel Enterprises, Inc. They said it would be here within 2,000 light nanoseconds which I’m hoping is soon. I got so excited that I put together my first itinerary and started on a flight plan. News this good is just meant to be shared.
First stop after a Lowcountry launch is going to be Oyster Bay, NY, 1905. Specifically, Teddy Roosevelt’s Sagamore Hill home on Long Island. I like this start to the trip because I have always admired old TR and don’t want to go TOO far back on my first trip. A visit to his summer White House in the midst of his presidency seems ideal. I’m thinking October so we can avoid the oppressive summer heat (no air conditioning back then). We’ll have a grand lunch together and then go bluefishing (I’ll offer to clean and cook the fish later on). Over lunch we’ll go over current affairs, then and now, and why not try to get his advice on how to proceed with the pressing issues of today? I’m not sure whether to bring a modern tape recorder (will it work in 1905?) or just paper and pencil. Maybe, not to get too fanciful, he’ll agree to come back with me for a week or so if I can find out how to do that properly in the owner’s manual.
Next stop on my trip will be Yankee Stadium, 1927. The Yankees had that extraordinary team that year. Ruth at his peak, a young Lou Gehrig, great pitching. I’m looking into an appropriate outfit to wear to the park (I think they wore suits and hats then) which will also work when I visit my grandparents. My dad was born that year in New York and this might be an interesting twist on the usual family reunion, yes? Then it’s on to dinner in Manhattan, Italian of course, a place with “timeless” decor.
Back in the machine for a jump to 1935 so I can visit my parents’ grade schools in New York City. The Depression is raging on, everyone is struggling, and teachers are no doubt bearing their share of society’s burden. I’m anxious to watch them with the children, the siblings of the greatest generation. How did they keep the kids focused on the three R’s? How did Mom and Dad act in class? What were their classmates like? Does anyone want to meet “Future Man?”
Now we’re on to 1939 and way over to Hollywood, California, on the movie set where they’re making “The Wizard of Oz,” my all time favorite film. Maybe we can sneak me a quick visit with the Munchkins and the Flying Monkeys. Hey, everybody, I LOVE your costumes! And how about lunch with the cast and crew? “Is everyone having a great time? Do you know you’re making a film for the ages? Why yes, Mr. Morgan, I’d love a hot dog if you don’t need them all for the Professor Marvel scene; Judy, sweetie, could you please pass the potato salad? How nice to see you all in color, and that goes especially for you, Miss Hamilton (your wonderful witchiness) … my, what an amazing shade of green you are!”
Next we jump forward to England, 1995, for a visit with the great theoretical physicist and proponent of fascinating theories of the universe and time, Stephen Hawking. This might be tricky since I’ve read that Mr. Hawking does not believe in the concept of travelling back in time. The logic is that doing so would violate the basic rule that cause comes before effect and that such travel might allow people to prevent themselves– for example if a person travelled back in time and killed their former self. But it would be fun to press on with some questions for him, since at this point I would have traveled FORWARD in time to see him. “How do you like my machine? Would you like to take it out for a spin? Where do you want to go first? Do you have any design improvements you want to recommend? You don’t think I’m nuts, do you?”
I’ll have to check my watch at this point and try to figure out if I’m on schedule for the last leg of my journey and getting back to the Lowcountry. The clams have been plentiful and we could use a pail of them. This trip will surely be a wild ride, I’ll learn a lifetime worth of wonderful lessons, meet some fabulous people (and pretend monkeys) and take lots of great pictures. I wonder how the odometer on the PTTM, or whatever they call it, will record our distance. I suppose I should expect that there may still be some bugs in this contraption but that’s OK, I probably have a few of my own at this point.
So that’s the plan. Now I need a rest. Make that a time out.
By Jack Sparacino