Who needs a contraption imagined by H.G. Wells where future landings are announced by the clicks and clunks of cogs and gears. Or a DeLorean DMC-12? Or a magical police box? I can time travel all on my own.
On a recent trip to New York Larry and I stayed with friends who live in Ossining. Marshall and Kim grew up in the midwest and are transplants to the east coast. I am a transplant to the midwest, having grown up on the east coast, mostly in New Jersey. But Ossining is a town that figures heavily in my family story. After the men returned from serving in WWII, my mother, father, aunt, uncle and their children shared expenses and a house that stood within the shadow of the walls of Sing Sing Prison and overlooking the Hudson River.
The lore is that I was conceived in that house. With a 4th child on the way, my parents calculated the need for more space and eventually moved to NJ. But my aunt and uncle only went as far as a larger house next door where they stayed into retirement. Until I was a young adult we drove to, from and around Westchester County for many annual holidays and visits in between.
While visiting this January, we all took a detour to find this house of my childhood. As we got closer to Sing Sing, I recognized the neighborhood and called out the turns and then suddenly we were there. It had been 40 years, but I was flooded with memories, especially of pulling up to the curb, popping out of the car, and running up to the porch to race through the front door and find my prize, cousin Mathew. At that moment I was experiencing the past, present and future simultaneously. I wondered if my young self ever imagined being this older age and returning here and trying to predict what adventures I might have before I ever returned here again. This kind of merging is my favorite mode of time travel.
It's just not Ossining. I love it every spring when the lilacs bloom, because my first inhale of their scent sends me back to a night I went to a theater in New Jersey with my parents. All dressed up, I’m about 6 years old and going to see our dear family friend and star in the play. I’m out past my bedtime. It is twilight as we walk from our parked car along the hedges of lilacs. I see my purple dress, my white mary janes and feel instantly my hand in my mother’s. All is right with the world, then and now. Simply from a whiff of lilacs. Very eco-friendly travel.
I have had profound experiences when my memory machine has propelled me into a different time and life. Of course, some of my time travel adventures have been brought about by intense memories of devastating pain. They cost me some tread. But I treasure them all because they teach me about freedom and love.
The page below was inspired by my love of time travel.