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Stuff ‘N Nonsense - A Slice In Time

POSTED October 27, 2010 11:02 a.m.

Like many people, I’m fascinated by the idea of time travel. I’m the furthest thing you can get from a science geek but I get giddy at the theory that time travel is possible because it sets in motion all sorts of cool scenarios in my head, like where I would go and what I would do if it were possible.

For a time I played with the idea of writing a historical romance novel because I love to read them. So after narrowing down a few possible time periods, I started to do the research (oh, man the research!) and came to the conclusion I’m not cut out for that particular genre, at least not right now. However, I thoroughly enjoyed gleaning the nuggets of useless information I now have in my head from the research.

Such as, did you know that the average medieval menu (for the nobles) would more than likely poison you to death? Apparently, the medieval palate was far hardier than ours today. The water was most often unsafe to drink, which is why they drank watered down ale or wine, and meat would sometimes go rancid before it was eaten. Let’s just say our standards of cleanliness wouldn’t exist in the Middle Age kitchen, as everyone was pretty dirty. They also ate to the point of gluttony (again, this is the nobility, not the peasants) with 11 course meals when they were feasting. I can’t even imagine! But then I can’t imagine eating a goose stuffed with a chicken, stuffed with a duck, and then stuffed with a pigeon. That’s a whole lot of bird.

I’ve always been fascinated with old photos of areas, such as what Oakdale looked like in the early 1900s or any small town for that matter. I like imagining horses clip clopping down the dirt street and the houses that we consider historic as they were first erected. I’d love to see what that was like. I’m endlessly intrigued by tales of ordinary life before modern conveniences made everyone’s life easier. For example, I can’t imagine life before the microwave. I don’t even think I know how to reheat on the stove. What was leftover night like before the microwave? Hand-washing dishes? Sure, I’ve done that, but how about wringing out the clothes on that roller machine thing? My great-grandmother used to have one in her yard when I was a kid. I couldn’t believe my mom used to help her grandmother wash the clothes with it. I also have to wonder, just how clean did the clothes get with that roller thing?

I’d love to experience being tucked into a corset as an everyday way of life and I would love to live a day (just a day, mind you, I don’t think I could handle much more) in a time period when etiquette meant something, as did chivalry and hand gestures.

Did you know a lady’s flick of her fan had multiple meanings? Depending on her flick, it could mean, “I find you devilishly attractive,” or “Good heavens, you’re a bore.” There was such an intricate social dance back then that I find charming and sweet that is utterly lacking in today’s society. There is no subtlety in today’s age. And even less etiquette and chivalry. Now, it’s all about being over the top, crass and vulgar. Have you watched MTV lately? How about Jersey Shore?

But I digress…

I’d love to smell the fresh air, uncontaminated by smog, or the cloud of agricultural dust that sends my sinuses into a sneezing, snotty riot.

I’d like to go to a barn-raising potluck social where everyone brings their favorite dish and after the work is done, enjoys a good old-fashioned supper.

I’d like to feel the cold stone of an Irish castle beneath my feet and listen to the wind as it whips along the green hills without a cell tower in sight.

These are the cool reasons I wish time travel were possible.

But for the sentimental reasons, I’d like to see my family as they were growing up, to see with my own eyes where my roots sprung. I’d love to see my Native American ancestors in the Yosemite Valley and my Celtic ancestors in Ireland. I’d love to see if there’s a distant relative that I favor in looks, or if my children favor anyone in particular.

Perhaps someday. Or perhaps my children’s children will have discovered time travel and will come and visit me.

That would be cool.

Don’t you think?

 

Kim Van Meter is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News, and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at kvanmeter@oakdaleleader.com or by calling 847-3021.

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