My brush with life as a time-traveler: Perhaps I did transcend time. When I recall the incident on a fine June evening, 2010, I became for a few moments, Ann Carol Rudin, 8 years old, walking on the street where I lived in June ca. 1950.
Our cousin Lee was in town for a visit. My husband and I grabbed some time with him and took a walk to see our favorite places, show him where we both had grown up and then enjoy dinner at a Park Ave cafe. I pointed out my house on Edgerton Street. Somehow, we elected to walk up the next street, Barrington and approached the house behind my childhood home. It is an imposing white “mansion,” always a mystery house to me, full of fantasy and harboring great secrets. I don’t remember ever meeting the people living there or seeing them out in the yard.
That is when I escaped the present. I was the pudgy little girl with long hair and pinchable cheeks (it hurt when people did that), caressed by my custom-designed , bark covered elbow-perch in the big oak behind our house. The branches reached over into the mystery-mansion’s yard. How many Nancy Drew books did I read in that tree? How often I just sat there daydreaming, sometimes transcending the walls of the white house, solving the mysteries lurking inside.
From that leafy perch, I could reign over my mother’s beautiful rock garden and the peony-rose-mint-strawberry garden planted along the driveway, believing I was well hidden from view. At that moment, I was there, climbing down from my nook, picking strawberries in my PJ’s for breakfast, pouring milk on my cereal with the cream on top, pushing the little black button on the wall to turn on the water heater for a bath, attaching my roller skates onto my shoes with the special key to skate on the new asphalt surface the city had just laid down, scouting in the food pantry near the kitchen with the musty smell of tin cans and well loved linoleum floors. (they were tinted maroon and yellow–so 50’s. Indeed, my mother was trendy.)
Truly, I took my companions right along with me into the past. I recall being animated, gesturing and describing memories that flowed from my mind. We passed the white mansion and continued on our way, my head now back to the present. Lee saw the grade school we had attended, the baseball field (now a parking lot), friends houses and heard about our being in Mrs. Hanson’s kindergarten class together. Yes, we did eventually find a place for dinner.
The very next evening, we were invited to a dear friends home, which happens to be right next door to the “white mansion.” Robert greeted us with what seemed to be a strange twinkle in his eyes. Apparently, he had greeted us the night before as we floated past his front yard. None of us heard his voice. I had taken everyone with me on my foray back in time. I repeatedly apologized to our friend. I had receded into the past, my attention not to be breached and affecting my audience to boot. I apologize again—how unbelievably strong our minds can be. How powerful the past.
Have you ever been whisked back in time? Please tell me about it.
Ann Carol Goldberg