Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Update: My Birthday Time Travel Machine

I received a call from my 14-year-old self on Sunday morning. (She said to say hi.) She spoke in this familiar voice that is not my own. She talked about a mysterious penny, the Rose Bowl and a Leonardo da Vinci report. I could tell her (my?) mouth was full of braces and illicit chewing gum even before she/I fessed up at the end of the conversation. (Even then, I could never do the wrong thing without at least admitting it.) I remember her but I don't remember her. I can picture her but I can't picture her. I know her but I don't know her. In any case, being given the opportunity to shake hands with 14-year-old Pam Victor was quite...oh jeez...what the hell was it? Weird - yes, obviously. Emotional - sure. Disconcerting - check. Magical - without a doubt.

The conduit to my time traveling adventures was a birthday present given to me by a boy (presumably now a man) named Jeff with whom I was friends in seventh grade, and beyond. Turns out that for a brief time in 1980, after I moved from Michigan to California, Jeff and I exchanged audio letters via a K-Mart brand cassette tape. For you youthful readers, this was back in the day, before personal computers and when long distance phone calls were too expensive. Letters took over a week, sometimes two, to get across the country. And I missed my friends. So we made tapes. Turns out that Jeff saved a tape. I imagine he shoved it in the back of a drawer and promptly forgot about it. Like I did. Turns out that the tape still was intact and audible when Jeff happened upon it TWENTY-NINE YEARS LATER.

On the morning of my 43rd birthday, I open an email from Jeff containing a two minute section of said audio tape. Surprise! Happy Birthday from 1980.

You know when you wake up to find you've been sleeping on your arm for goodness knows how long? And your arm feels like dead weight. Then you start poking at it, and you can't feel it. You know it's your arm, but it's not your arm. It's attached to you, but it doesn't feel like part of you. That's what I felt like listening to the tape.

I also felt much gratitude, like the hand of a friend reached through time and cyberspace to touch my heart and say, "Hey, I was there. I remember too. You were not alone."

1 comment:

  1. javatime4all@aol.comDecember 12, 2009 at 7:13 PM

    I love this blog entry...go Jeff!
    What a special place Roeper was for us and still is.