Thursday, February 20, 2014

Treasured Links to the Past - Or Human Wormholes?

She is what some call a human wormhole.  And I hope she'll forgive me for saying so, because she knows I love her very much.  It's not the most elegant name, the "human wormhole" but if you think about it a little, the name is a bit catchy.

Yes, I know she looks like a woman of a certain age.  To be exact, she's 102 years old.  But she's so much more.  She's a treasured relative in my spouse's family.

She is a link to the past.  She may be physically frail, but her mind is as sharp as the day she was born. Maybe even sharper.

She's a living link to the past, the past that, for all but a handful of us, exists only in textbooks.  When I touch her, when I talk to her, I am touching history.

She was alive when the Titanic made its maiden voyage (1912).

She was alive when our country enacted a constitutional amendment permitting the income tax (1913).

She was alive during the post World War I flu epidemic (1918-1919) and vaguely remembers wagons traveling from house to house where needed to pick up the dead (what a childhood memory).

We are fascinated by human wormholes.  I've blogged about some of them myself, from the living grandson of a U.S. President who served from 1841 to 1845 to a man who witnessed Lincoln's 1865 assassination and lived to tell the story on a late night game show in 1956.

One story has an interesting twist.  It is said that Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, who fought in the Civil War, shook hands with both former President John Quincy Adams (born in 1767) and a young/future President John J Kennedy (whose life was cut short by assassination in 1963).  I can not find any firm evidence for this having actually happened (there is a fascinating discussion online about whether it might have been possible, though). However, Holmes did have a link to more than just the Civil War, where it is said he once saved Lincoln's life.

Holmes, who lived from 1841 to 1937, had fond memories of his grandmother, who could remember red coated English troops marching through the streets of Boston at the beginning of our Revolutionary War. When she was five. In 1776.

If I live long enough, I might be a human wormhole, too.  I don't know if that makes me happy - or scares me a little.

Do you know anyone who would qualify as a human wormhole?


  1. I'll just be the worm- squirming in the dirt...
    But, hopefully, the tales of my family that I shared with them will be carried from mouth to brain to mouth to continue sharing...

    1. I suspect you've had a lot to share, and you've done a good job of it. You are too modest!

  2. I aspire to be a human wormhole someday. I pray that my mind will remain (or get!) sharp as I head in that direction! These folks fascinate me, Alana, thank you for writing about this lady!

    1. These folks have always fascinated me, too, and now I have a name for people like them. You and me both, wishing for a sharp mind in old age. I'm so grateful this relative achieved that.

  3. This link through history is mind-blowing. So much has happened in the last 100 years of human history. Well--heck! I only need to live thirty more years and I'll qualify as a human wormhole. I've never heard the term before, but it is catchy.

    1. You will make a fine human wormhole, Francene. I'll check back in 30 years.


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