Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Time Travel

by Joan Kayse

Last week I was off from work. I hesitate to call it an actual vacation as I had no wonderful trips planned or exotic places to explore. Oh, I tried. I hinted and slyly suggested to various friends that New York City would be fun. Hey, how about a weekend in Gatlinburg? Um, what about Chicago?

Sigh. No takers.

I consoled myself that it is was economically prudent and just good sense to spend some time at home and take care of business. Organize my desk. Wash clothes. Clean closets.


What does this have to do with time travel? Well, ends up my closets took me back in time to other worlds, places I’d been in my life filled with memories. Check out some of the items I found:

My report cards. Yup, every one from first grade to high school. Turns out I was horrible in math, marginal in the sciences but could read an eighth grader under the table by the time I was ten. I only got sent to the principal’s office once. (I’m sorry. Eddie G. called me a four eyed creep from the deep….he deserved that tack in his desk chair!) Those slips of paper reminded me of the simple times, content times, fun times.

Twenty five purses. Dear Lord, when did I ever need that many purses? I sure don’t have money to put in them. But there they were in all their crocodile, patent and Liz Claiborne glory.

Clothes from the ‘80’s. Passed out on the floor with these. WHY had I saved them? Are shirt dresses and big belts making a come back? What delusional world did I ever live in that made me think I’d wear that stuff again? Or more importantly, do I have enough hair to make big?

A box of Troll dolls. Don’t ask me why, but the handful of colorful fuzzy haired little guys just made me smile. They did NOT go into the Goodwill box. Neither did the little stuffed Taco Bell chihuahua.

A bag of multicolored balls of yarn. Not a lot. Probably enough to knit the chihuahua a sweater.

Now, lest you think my time off was spent deep in nostalgia land and dust bunnies I did find time to write. To exercise. To eat two bags of left over Halloween candy. Seven days of rip roaring fun.

But I ended it with a trip back in time with a visit to the Roman Art from the Louvre. It’s an exhibit not far from Louisville at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Talk about time travel! The pieces were beautiful. Huge sculptures of people who lived in Rome so many centuries ago. Replicas of the way life was in the time period that is so near and dear to my heart. I was in Roman hog heaven.

It took me less than two minutes to leave my critique partners in the dust. I slipped from statue, to jewelry display, to sarcophagus, to glassware, to representations of the chariot races and gladiator games reading the descriptions and smiling like a loon. My hands itched to touch the smooth coolness of the white marble, to pick up a clay amphorae, (don’t try to get by those retiree docents….they’re brutal LOL). I wanted to run my fingers along the etched inscriptions.

Caesar, take me away!

As an historical writer, I could have no greater gift. I’ve never been to Rome (at least in this lifetime). I rely on books, the internet and occasional movie or television show to give me insights into the world of my characters. But here I could FEEL Jared, Damon and Bran striding along the Via Appia, looking at the intricate sculptures, drinking from the wine bowls, relaxing by a fountain (sigh). It also gave me my new motto “Dum Spiro, Spero” While I breathe, I hope~Cicero.

Well, maybe I did have a vacation after all.

What are some of the things we might find in your closet? What could you simply NOT throw away? Is there any place you have never been but dream about?


H Maree Davis said...

I couldn't resist trying for the golden rooster! I'm obviously up far tooooooo late.

In my closet? Um there's this fabulous green velvet hooded cape, kind of boho meets goth. I think I wore it once . . . but it's fabulous I can't throw it out.

I dream of Venice, dh (the rat) has been there and hated it and has no intention of ever going back - I keep telling him I could do the entire European backpacking thing all by myself if he'd just take 3 months off work to look after the kids, and we won the lottery. This is a dream of course, so I wouldn't miss my kids or him at all!!

Nancy said...

H Maree, congrats on the rooster! I'm up far too late, too, as you can see. Your cape sounds wonderful.

Joan, what a fun post! I could see you in the museum with your mind across the ocean and a thousand years in the past.

I've wanted to see fjords since learning about them in third grade. So I'd say I dream of Norway. Holland, too, I'm afraid. I'd love to see the dykes and the windmills when the tulips are in bloom and wander the canals in Amsterdam. The red light district, I'd skip!

I have lots of purses, too, but the most special thing in the closet resides in a box on the top shelf. His name is Pepper, and he's a red stuffed dog with white spots. My grandfather and I named him. When I was in junior high, Pepper's fabric split, and my mom was going to throw him away. I smuggled him down to the basement and hid him in the box for Barbie's airplane. Years went by, and I forgot about him until we cleaned out my parents' house. I found him, rescued him, and mean to keep him forever, even if he is too fragile to handle anymore!

Christine Wells said...

Woohoo! A new winner of the Golden Rooster!! Congrats, H Maree!

Lovely post, Joanie T! I envy you that exhibition. You can keep the troll collection, though:)

I dream of Egypt, but I'm too much of a scaredy cat to go there, given the security concerns. What I would have loved was a cruise down the Nile with Elizabeth Peters, which her fans went on years ago. What a privilege that would have been. I wonder if things will ever change for the better there. Maybe one day...

Joan said...

Congratulations, h maree davis! You are hearby granted the Golden Rooseter! Cock a doodle doo...to you.

The cape sounds gorgeous and really, I don't understand the dh being opposed to a backpacking journey for you. Just tell him it's an extended Bunco party :-)

Nancy, you made me make noise about Pepper. Maybe he and my chihuahua could have a play date. Those special things from childhood help keep us grounded int this grown up world.

Christine, you know trolls can be addicting. They only get creepy when they come dressed in little clothes. :-)

I hope you get to go to Egypt someday though sadly the safety factor will always play a role on it. But Dum Spiro, Spero I always say.

Caren Crane said...

Joan, I have been green with envy since you posted about the exhibit! Unfortunately, I think I'll have to wait for the Romans to migrate back to Paris and see them in the Louvre. Right. As if I'll ever get the dh to Paris!

H Maree, congrats on the GR! I've always wanted to visit Venice, too, but the dh insists it must "smell", so he isn't keen on going. I've wanted to go to Austria FOREVER, though, and I can definitely get him there. We went to Switzerland this summer, so he's convinced we do okay in German-speaking countries. *g*

But honestly, I must go to Scotland. Must. Have to. Even if I have to arrange cold-water scuba diving for the dh and tromp around haunted castles by myself. Though I'll bet I could get a Bandita or two up for the trip. *g*

In my closet: A gorgeous, electric blue raw silk suit from circa 1989. It really is the most beautiful thing I've ever owned (just above the knee skirt, long jacket). I will never get into that again. Size 10. Never! It makes me sad, but I keep dreaming...

Christie Kelley said...

I have no closets right now. Seriously. Almost everything my husband and I own is stored in what will be his music studio but right now is nothing but a weather-proofed room with no windows and plywood for a door. Needless to say before the renovations began, I had to clear out my closets.

Unfortunately, I had nothing as interesting as you, Joan. I've moved four times in the past eighteen years so every time I have clear through the muck.

But I will tell my little secret. When I was seven I dressed up as a troll for Halloween. The custume had a plastic mask with pink hair sticking straight up. I wish I had a picture of that. Next time I go to home, I'll ask my mom if she has one.

DownUnderGirl said...

Ahh eighties fashions, what were we thinking, Joan? But hey, those big belts and leggings are sooo back in fashion so don't be too brutal!!!
Yes - it is scary.

I'd love to go to Prague and Budapest. In fact a lot of the old Eastern block countries. Lichtenstein would be way cool too.

I'm a huge railway fan. I'd love to go on all the great train journeys. The Orient Express. The Trans Siberian express. The Indian Pacific and The Ghan. There's something very olde world, very Agatha Christie about them. So romantic. And the clickety clack of the wheels is the perfect lullabye.
Okay, okay I confess, my dad was a railway worker - I travelled by train a lot.


DownUnderGirl said...

Sorry, sorry, forgot to mention - have been to Venice and it is everything you imagine and then some.
Smelly - never!!!
We did it on a shoestring many years ago but next time we're going for a couple of weeks and just going to live, eat and breath the place. Sit and drink coffee and listen to the bells and people watch. Roam around the squares, eat gelati and pasta and take long afternoon siestas.
My life would be incomplete if I died before seeing Venice again. There's just no place like it.


Donna MacMeans said...

Way to go, h maree! Snatch that golden rooster! good for you *g*.

Joan - feel free to stop for a visit and time travel back in my closet. I can't believe we ever thought the walk in closet was large enough when we moved here. Of course, I have that ability to expand my needs way beyond any available space. I know there's a jewelry box that holds the one remaining earring whose companion is hiding under the furniture somewhere. There's a stack of dusty old college/high school degrees. I imagine if I dig deep enough, I'll find some old Christmas presents that I hid a little too well. Everynow and then one surfaces from the closet and we celebrate all over again.

As for visiting, I have way too many places to list. This country is so big and grand, there are many places I've yet to visit. Still, I'd love to fill my passport with stamps from around the world.

Caren Crane said...

Donna, that is too funny about the Christmas presents hidden too well. I've done that myself! The worst are the ones you buy really early, because they have lots of time and opportunity to bury themselves. I found a couple of presents one year just in time for my son's birthday--in April!

Christie Kelley said...

I forgot to post where I'd like to visit. England and Ireland without a doubt. Two years ago, my husband had the chance to go to Ireland with a friend at the last minute. The man is about 1/8 Irish and he's been to Ireland while I'm 3/4 Irish and have never been. It just doesn't seem right.

But the pictures he took were amazing. I can't wait to go.

Joan said...

Caren. You tell you husband I have it on good authority that Venice does NOT smell.

My good friend Suzanne and her husband took an 18 day cruise from the US to Europe. They stopped in Spain, Italy, Croatia and ended in Venice where they spent 3 days. She said it was beautiful! Her husband wasn't too fond of the pigeons, but hey he had shampoo.

And as to the beautiful silk suit? Dum Spiro, Spero.

And Scotland? Ireland? Anytime Bandita, anytime.

Christie. Someday (SOMEday) your renovations will be complete and you'll be so glad. (Have them throw in a walk in closet). And LOL on the troll costume! You've got to find a piccie! LOL.

Trolls are people too....in a weird alternate world.

downundergirl. Oh, I know some of that "stuff" is coming back but not for this girl. The scariest thing would be a troll dressed in leggings and big belt :-)

My grandfather worked for the railway and so my father always had an affinity for trains. One of my favored scenes in "White Christmas" is the club car scene where they clack along singing "Snow"

Donna, I'll save your closets for my "next" week off. But isn't it amazing what we find to put in these things? 17 years ago I moved from a one bedroom apartment to my 3 bedroom house with basement. Within the first day I thought "I need more space!" I'd still kill for a walk in closet.

Oh, another thing I did on vacation? Go shopping for more clothes to put in the closet :-0

PS I never lost a present but years ago when I was a kid the Easter Bunny lost a colored egg in our house. Found it MONTHS later. Bleah.

Susan Seyfarth said...

My closet is incredibly boring. I have zero fashion sense, so I ALWAY play it conservative. Everything in there is black, white, or beige. I never look particularly great, but you can rarely tell from photos what decade it is by my clothes, either. :-)

As for travel, I'd love to get back to France someday. We spent a week in Paris (not nearly enough) but I want to do the rest of the country, too. And Nancy, Amersterdam was amazing!! My husband goes there on business maye 2-3 times a year, & one year I just happened to be post-grad-school, pre-job. I had the most wonderful time strolling the canals, doing museums, the Anne Frank House, the Van Gogh museum. It was gorgeous. Even the red light district was clean & somehow very...boring. The girls were waiting in the windows, as advertised, but many of them could have been waiting for doctor's appointments--sitting with magazines, knitting, etc. It was sad to think they were selling their bodies, but at the same time it was very matter of fact, clean & above-board. I don't know how else to explain it.

But I'd go back to Amsterdam in a second. And the Swiss Alps. I want to hit Prague & Scotland & Africa... Oh I could go on & on...

Anonymous said...

My closets are enormously boring--I am a compulsive "purger" and go through every month or so an find things to bring to Goodwill. If I haven't worn it for a year, it's GONE.

I posted a couple of weeks ago about my own time travel, when I went looking for my passport and discovered my collection of old cards and letters had been ruined. I was sad, but not devastated. I try not to get too hung up on material things. If (god forbid) our house should burn down, I don't want to spend too much time mourning. I'd rather think that the important things are the living and breathing ones.

As for places to visit...I've never been anywhere, so I guess my list would be really long. LOL. Tops would be New Zealand, thanks to LOTR. I'm also dying to see Anna and Christine in their native environment, so Australia next. And I'd love to go to Costa Rica and visit a rainforest. Wild places are a bigger draw for me than cities, but I'd also love to do the backpacking tour of Europe.

So much to do, so little time!!

thanks for the fun post, Joanie!

Trish Milburn aka Tricia Mills said...

Amy, how cool that you like train travel. I don't meet a lot of people who do. I really don't like flying, so I go by train on longer trips. In fact, I'm headed out on a cross-country trip by train next week.

As for where I'd like to travel, I've mentioned my desire to have a huge, long driving tour of the U.S., including a lot of time in Alaska. But if we're talking overseas and if someone can give me drugs that will knock me out for the entire flight, I'd love to see Scotland and Ireland (beautiful, and my ancestors hail from there), and Australia and New Zealand, and China (particularly if it ever goes non-Communist and stops its human rights abuses).

H Maree Davis said...

Apparently Venice smelt when dh was there. And it was horribly hot and sticky and dirty. and he might have been hungover too.

Could we put one of those oversize shirts on that troll with its leggings and big belt? 'cos the image i'm getting is - errgh.

H! :)

H Maree Davis said...

And I forgot, the Ghan is great, well worthwhile, or you can do a dinner trip on the old Ghan at Alice.

The trans siberian appeals to me.

H! :)

Joan said...

Trish, your doctor would be able to give you something to handle the long flight (Boston to Shannon is only 6 hours)or I'll come and hold your hand :-)

How is modern day passenger train traveling, btw?

Believe me H....I'm sure back in the day there WERE trolls dressed in big shirts, leggings and belts. Matter of fact, I'm getting a flashback of one dressed in aerobic workout clothes. Aghhhhh

Beth said...

Actually, Joan, I do believe shirt dresses and big belts ARE back in style *g* What goes around comes around, right? Oh, and leggings too!

I'm not much of a saver of my own items but I do have some baby clothes from my kids along with my son's very worn (worn out) baby blanket which is actually in pieces in a bag. I like to pretend that someday I'll use the remnants to quilt them back together :-)

I'd love to travel around the US. My dream is to spend a few weeks in each state.

Great post, Joan!

Caren Crane said...

H and Joan - yes, the troll doll in a big Duran Duran headband with leggings, big shirt with shoulder pads and horrible ballet flats--which are back in fashion. AAARRRGH! Doesn't anyone remember that women are still suffering fallen arches from those stupid ballet flats? *g*

What I miss from the 80s were my exceptionally cute pairs of ankle-high lace-up boots. I had black ones I wore until they fell apart. Also a brown pair I still mourn. They don't make great boots with a one-inch heel anymore...

Caren Crane said...

Christie, it is simply wrong that your husband got to go to Ireland and you didn't. Wrong, I say! Of course, if roles were reversed, I would strongly encourage you to go. *g*

Susan, when you start on your around-the-world trip, be sure to let me know so I can tag along! Of course, I'll be kid-free in 4-1/2 years (not that I'm counting or anything) and I think it may take you a little longer to get out from under.

Joan, you hear that? Four and a half years, baby!

Caren Crane said...

H, let me know when the trip on the Trans-Siberian is, too! I've wanted for years to take the Trans-Canadian rail trip. That would be so wonderful! I would also love to take the train across India on the Palace On Wheels. Makes me want to see 'The Darjeeling Limited'! *g*

Joan said...

Beth. I know those leggings are back but they are wrong...so very wrong for so many of us.

Ack! Caren! You described the EXACT '80's troll doll I was imaging! I think it was from the "Let's Get Physical" Olivia Newton-John collection! Ack!

I kind of know what type of boots you're talking about. One shoe that seems popular right now is a laced up, heeled ..what I call a Granny shoe. Not my cup of tea.

Ok, exactly 4 1/2 years from now I will be on your doorstep suitcase in hand. Though I certainly hope to have been several times before then. Anybody from Ireland out there? Can you meet us with scones and Irish coffee?

Helen said...

Hidden in the wardrobe is lots of stuff from my childhood I really do keep too much I have programes from concerts I have been to t-shirts that I have loved letters diaries lots of little nick knacks from years gone by and I love them all they bring back lots of memories.
Where I would like to go that would have to be the Scottish Highlands and England the stories I have read just make me want to be there.
Great post
Have Fun

Anna Campbell said...

Hi Joan! What a great post. The Roman exhibition sounds like fabulous fun. Laughed at you taking on an aged docent with an antique docent and him saying, "You can't touch this!"

I'm a bit of a hoarder. I still have all sorts of things. Programs from concerts and theater, school assignments, souvenirs from travels, postcards, letters. I had awful trouble living in a one-bedroom flat and had to train myself to be really disciplined about throwing stuff out. Now I'm in a house and I'm slipping back into my bad old ways. I've kept some of my clothes from the 80s! Hey, they were my salad days. I lived in the UK for two years, for a start, which will always give me lovely memories. My weirdest piece of clothing, although I loved it to death and still do? A gorgeous cerise silk pants suit with a long tunic top and harem pants. Sounds awful but every time I wore it, I felt like Scheherezade!

Anna Campbell said...

Oh, and you girls avoiding Venice? Go, before it sinks! There's nowhere in the world like it. For a start, there are no cars and it will amaze you how not having that constant hum of traffic in your ears makes you feel great. Venice is especially wonderful at night once the coach parties have gone home. It really is easy to imagine it's 1450 or 1720 as you walk those streets and all you can hear is the lap of water on the quays. Off season is best - I suspect in high summer it might get a bit smelly. But any time is great!

Aunty Cindy said...

Venice didn't smell at all when I was there. Of course it was Feb. (right after Carnevale) and waay too cold for anything to ROT... So there's your solution, go in the winter. Just be sure to pack your woolies!

Rail travel in Europe is THE WAY TO GO, in Aunty's humble opinion. The trains are clean, efficient, go just about everywhere and are ON TIME... even in Italy!

Trish, I had to smile at your comment about China going non-Communist. When I was came back from Beijing, I told everyone I don't know whose picture I saw most, Mao or Col. Sanders! There are KFCs ALL OVER Beijing, along with Dunkin Donuts... WHOOPS! Better not say that too loud, don't wanna get Kirsten started on you-know-what again. Anyway, just wanted to say that the Communism I saw in China looked a whole lot like US Capitalism to me.

And Donna, I hate to disappoint, but with the EU, they hardly ever stamp your passport any more. :-(

As for the place I most want to visit that I haven't been, New Zealand tops the list right now and yes, LOTR films are to blame.

Don't even want to contemplate the things in my closets. SCARY! I do know there are Xmas ornaments in the coat closet that I've had since I was 3 years old. When I moved into my current abode (which has no garage) I went through my garage and found Halloween costumes I made for my son when he was 6 or 7... Did I mention he was 24 when I moved?

AC the Pack Rat

Caren Crane said...

AC, I will admit there is still a box of vinyl record albums in our attic. Yes, vinyl. We do not currently have a working turntable, but we still own one. Oh, and vinyl is back in fashion, btw. The young indie bands are putting out limited quantities of their stuff on vinyl. They sell at a premium, too! Funny how these things keep cycling around. What's next, the Foghat 8-track?!

Suzanne Welsh said...

Wow Joan, you had to have been thrilled being that close to the history you love.

Speaking of going down memory lane, I'm getting ready to go home to visit my parents. I adore them both, but they have a few quirks, and my dad loves to throw things away. But buried deep in the bowels of his basement, safely tucked up under a workbench by my mother who is a saver, is my old hope chest. Inside it are all those little kid things and young mother things I've kept for years, including the first outfit each of my kids wore when coming home from the hospital. I'm planning on retrieving my middle daughter's outfit, so she can dress her daughter in it if she chooses.

Joan said...

Helen. I remember having a little diary when I was a youngster. It had a lock with a key. It might be somewhere in my Mom's house. It's so cool to see what you'd been thinking, feeling so many years ago.

Anna I bet you rivaled the queen in your beloved pant suit. And Scheherezade? Well, she was a story teller so you weren't so far off.

Christmas ornaments. Now those I have a hard time parting with. I have two painted glass ones from the '50's that hung on our tree when I was growing up.

AC you amaze me with the depth and breadth of your travels. When I win the lottery....

Ireland is in the EU and they've stamped my passport every time! I think I'll go get it out and pretend I'm going. Cue the pub songs.

I still have a huge box of LP's, Caren. The entire Monkee collection, Bread, my rebel album Three Dog Night. Bobby Sherman one Neil Diamond. The original soundtrack from Jesus Christ Superstar!

Suzanne. You were lucky having a hope chest...all I managed was a hope drawer. But oh, how I spent my youth putting aside things for the time I would marry. Sigh. Don't have the items or the drawer anymore but remember my new saying?

Anonymous said...

Did someone say....donut?

MsHellion said...

I refuse to discuss my closet. I'm such a pack rat, I embarrass other pack rats.

Place I'd love to go: SCOTLAND. Actually just get me to the UK, anywhere, and I'll just amuse myself for a few years, thanks. I also think The Netherlands would be interesting...

Nancy said...

Joan, I expect Gavin will throw Pepper out when I'm gone, but I also expect not to care at that point. :-) It's funny, the significance things like stuffed toys acquire.

Donna and Caren, I'm so glad to know I'm not the only person who buys Christmas gifts in advance, puts them away carefully, and then forgets about them.

Christie, good luck with the ongoing renovations. May you have closets soon!

Downundergirl (Amy), the Orient Express does have a romantic appeal, entirely apart from Agatha Christie. Who wants to ride with murderers? Uck! But the idea of seeing big parts of the world roll past at a comparatively slow rate is pretty cool. BTW, I still own leggings. I wear them to the gym.

Susan, I'm so jealous on Amsterdam! I can't really decide whether it would be better in the spring, when I could see tulips and countryside and windmills, or in the winter, with snow.

Mshellion, I'm a packrat, too. That's why I so loathe moving. I do have to clean out the closet occasionally, but not very often.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Oh what a fun post, Joanie! I had this mental image of you lurking in the museum, just watching for the docent to look away while you ran your loving hand down that marble statue's...well, ahem. You know. Heehee.
Its funny to think about closets and the treasures therein. I think the trolls are cool - then again, I love the cape too. I have several that I can't part with. I also have several of my Mama's 1940's vintage dance dresses that I can neither wear nor part with (Size 4 or 6) I have a gorgeous silk blazer that fits, but is out of style, but it was so flattering and I loved it so much, can't part with it either. Otherwise, most of my closet is clear. Like Christie, I renovated, and as part of that we put IN the closet, so ask me this same question in oh...ten years? The answer will be much different, I'm sure. Ha!
Travel. There are so MANY places. I absolutely have to go to one place though and that's Scotland. I'm Scots on both sides of the family and I've never been. I'm Welsh, English, Irish and German too, but nothing calls to me like Scotland. :> I've been to Africa, Switzerland, and France, but haven't gotten to my own personal goal-to-get-there yet. I'm waiting for my youngest to get a weeeee bit older then pouf! Off like a shot. Grins. So Joanie and Caren, you up for a UK tour - Scotland, Ireland, England, Wales? Bwah-ha-ha! The Bandita's take the Isles.

Kate Carlisle said...

Joanie, your closet scares me!! Troll dolls?? LOL. But your trip through the Roman exhibit sounds fabulous!

My dream travel plans...I have so many. I've never been but want to go to New Zealand, Australia, Tuscany, the Great Wall of China, and Cornwall. I'd like to take a long drive up the West Coast from LA to Seattle. I want to go back to Paris and Scotland and just wander around for a few weeks. A bike trip through the Loire Valley would be nice. I love New York and need to go back soon.

Obviously, I need to quit the day job so I can spend quality time traveling. :-)

Caren Crane said...

Jeanne, tell me when the UK tour starts! Joan has already packed a trunk (we will not ask about the contents) and I usually carry my passport around with me. *g*

Joan said...

Ladies, it was a pleasure sharing the hopes and dreams and treasures of you all.

And Kate, Caren.....I'm ready. I hear troll dolls are duty free :-)