By Joe Darby
I loved that science genre when I was young, but as a history buff, I find it intriguing to ponder what it would be like to go back in time and witness great events or eras — the American victory at Yorktown in the Revolutionary War, the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Henry VIII’s court, Julius Caesar giving a speech (if I had a Latin translator, of course), and so many others. I could meet Jesus!
It would also be wonderful to witness everyday life in other times. I could see Babe Ruth hit a homerun, walk the streets of Victorian London, visit Fort St. Jean Baptiste when St. Denis was commandant here. The list is literally endless.
It’s strange, but all of my time travel fantasies involve trips to the past, where I would at least know the context of the society. I think I would be afraid to visit the future. Not only would it be a completely unknown land, but a time traveler might be horrified at what the future holds in store. I hope not, but who could say?
If I can’t time travel myself, I love to watch exciting adventures about it. I know I wrote recently that while many TV channels are available to us, there’s not a whole lot worth watching. But there are, currently, several TV series relating to time travel and I enjoy two of them. The show called “Timeless” recently ended its first season. It’s an exciting tale about a select group of young people who are fighting a secret, nefarious group of powerful leaders who want to control the world. The battles are fought mostly in the past, as the bad guys try to change history.
In the first season they encountered Abraham Lincoln, Charles Lindbergh, the Hindenberg airship disaster, and such bad characters as Al Capone, Jessie James and Bonnie and Clyde. I can’t wait for season two.
Another time travel adventure, currently on the air, is “Time After Time,” which poses the question of what would have happened if sci fi author H.G. Wells had invented a real time machine and that his acquaintance, a handsome charming doctor who just happens to be Jack the Ripper, stole the machine and escaped to modern day New York. H.G. follows the Ripper to 2017 Manhattan, falls in love and begins having all sorts of adventures, dangerous and otherwise.
A third time travel show on the air, “Making History” is billed as a comedy in which a 21st century nerd travels to the Revolutionary War era. I thought it would be great, but it’s just silly. At least to me.
We even have a Netflix movie CDV, “About Time,” a romantic story in which a time traveler falls in love with a woman from the past. We hope to watch it in a day or two.
Well, this column is not meant to be a review of time travel shows, but I just wanted to mention the above examples as productions that are fun and fascinating at the same time.
One more thought. My interest in time travel leads me to wonder where some of my collectible items have been since they were made. Take my 1939 Chrysler, for example. I’d love to know about the family who bought it new. I assume it was a family because it’s a four-door sedan, with lots of room for children in the back seat.
It still has the original radio, although it doesn’t work. Were the owners of the car returning from church on Dec. 7,1941 and heard about the bombing of Pearl Harbor on that radio? Did they like to listen to Glen Miller swing music on it? Did they take the car out for nice Sunday drives? Or did the dad use it to take his rowdy friends out to night clubs?
I have a Victorian armoire, or wardrobe as the original English owners would have called it. In what town did my armoire “live” when it was new? Did it go through the Blitz bombings in London in World War II? Or did it exist in a quiet village, used perhaps by two elderly sisters? The imagination has no limits when it comes to such pondering.
Many of you know I collect stamps and coins. What are their provenances? Who wrote the letter that my 1847 five-cent Franklin stamp was on? What was the letter about? And who’s taken care of my little historic piece of paper for the last 170 years?
My oldest coin is a silver English penny, from the reign on Henry III in the 1200s. What a history it could tell if it could talk, huh?
Well, by now you get my idea — that if we could know more about the past, what a fascinating opportunity that would be. But it’s TIME for me to go. So, thanks for taking the TIME to read this week’s column. I think it’s long past TIME that I wrote such a piece.
And may you have nothing but good TIMES in the future.