Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Touching history

Last year, my writing instructor placed antique items on a table and asked us to choose one. After holding our items, we wrote stories about anything that came to mind. I wrote about an old, handmade sewing kit—turns out that my story and character’s name matched the actual history of the kit…

Coincidence?? I don’t believe in coincidence—I think past, present and future timelines connect sometimes, hence ESP, Déjà Vu, etc. I don’t know exactly how this works, but too many times in my life, I’ve known about the future with absolute certainty.

Einstein would be fascinated by my theories regarding the fourth dimension. If our timelines crossed, I think he would chuckle appreciatively, valuing the complexity of my mind. I’m pretty sure the chuckle is more appreciative than patronizing…

I’m leading you down this convoluted path, because I collect old keys. Writing about Sophus triggered the memory of finding my first antique key. My family was visiting my grandmother in Montana, and we took the trash to a local dump site.

Dumps were veritable treasure troves when I was a child. Sadly, my children will never experience this wondrous adventure. They don’t know what dumps are. Trash goes into cans, cans dump into trucks, trucks leave and…..that’s all they know. I don’t think I’ll tell them about dumps. I might get teary...they might live the rest of their lives feeling deprived.

Back to my story…while my parents emptied the car of bags, I went exploring. I think I was eight or 10 years old. Looking down, I saw a Victorian door key—picking it up, I immediately felt an amazing connection. Keys are rich with history, especially house keys. I don’t know the details, but I sense the emotions.

I feel the same way about safe-deposit-box keys—just imagine the items that have been in and out of those boxes… Banks frown on my desire to keep the keys when we move though.

I have a copy of the key to my paternal grandmother’s house. It’s not the same as the original key, because it doesn’t feel warm with history when I hold it. But it does have great sentimental value.

So, the next time you find something old, antique or ancient, sit quietly, hold it in your hands, let history flow through you. You might be surprised by what you discover…

By the way, Mom—my first key is on a collage you made years ago…I have dibs on that piece of art!

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