Maybe it was the perfect storm of circumstances. I’ve lived in this house for over three years and just across the street lies a house that seemed empty. I wish I had discovered sooner that it held someone quite valuable. I never met her. That woman passed away yesterday though at the age of 98. Now that house actually is empty.
Today while reading Dandelion Wine that fact pierced my heart. For the young boys in the story realize their town held a time machine of the best kind. A person. What stories did my neighbor have to tell of when she was my age? For just as surely as she lived at 98 there was a time when she was 26 and living out what I now know as history.
What makes me keep wanting to cry though is this thought. That some day when I am 53, if I should live that long, those that are 98 will only be forty-five years older than me and any history before that will only be spoken by words and maybe retold by lips but never by someone’s eyes. Not that far away look of one who’s been there.
By 80 I’ll be the time machine. I’m not afraid of becoming one but I am afraid of what will be lost when those that are my “time machines” are gone. It’s like a punch in the stomach. My time machines are shrinking. So many, including all my grandparents, have already passed into rest.
Cherish the older ones around you. They’ve lived through things you will only ever read about…
(This photo is a picture that hangs on my wall and was drawn by my grandpa. He was an incredible artist! I just wish I could have heard about this place from his own lips…that and more stories from WWII and his life.)