Friday, September 11, 2009

Time and Connections

I just read a news item that the world's oldest person, Gertrude Baines, has died at age 115. It struck me for a number of reasons. My first best friend, Katie, was 75 years older than I. She lived to be 95, so I knew her for 20 years. She would have been 119 this year - only 4 years older than this woman; given that the oldest person on record was 122, Katie could have still been around. These women could have played together as kids!

I've always wished I had asked Katie more questions about her life. She was born in 1890 and was living in San Francisco during the great earthquake of 1906. Just thinking about these women amazes me with the connectedness we have with history if we listen to the stories our elders have to share.

Both of these women were born before there was such a thing as a world war

or a world series

or a car

or an airplane

or a TV

before we had visited the moon or had computers or hand-held calculators or highways. It seems more has changed more quickly in human history over that century than any other. How amazing to have lived that span of time! Both were middle-aged before World War II broke out. This leads me to the other thing that struck me. I've been feeling kind of old lately, but, wow, if this woman just passed away and was already middle-aged way back when World War II began, maybe I am still what Katie used to call a "spring chicken."

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