Friday, October 7, 2011

Time Travel Online - the Fourth Dimension

Yesterday, I took a trip back in time--online. It all started because I received a real estate listing that I was idly interested in (I'm not planning on moving) and it showed nothing of the outside of the house. Curious, I went to Google Maps and found their photo of the exterior. The outside of this Eichler house was so unassuming that I'm guessing that the agent found the beautiful and nicely staged interior to be more sales worthy.

In any case, that little part of the brain that "surfs" the Internet thought, "I wonder how the houses I lived in years ago look today?" Easy enough--type in the address, click the photo in the upper right, and there I was.

The thing is, after spending the last few days seeing assemblages of the late Steve Jobs' deterioration, it was amazing to see how easily people can deteriorate yet how well preserved my old houses and neighborhoods were. They looked nearly the same. And these are houses I occupied in the 1950s and 1960s.

Out of curiosity, I clicked the little circles to move forward and managed to "walk" the several blocks from my old house to my old school where I attended the fifth grade. It still looked the same. And at the top of the street, at a familiar corner, I found my crosswalk.

It's one thing to look at photos, but memories live forever. That was where the crossing guards worked--student volunteers with white regalia--a crossed white shoulder bar and belt--that they wore when on duty. I had a chance to fill in once and had intended to be part of that elite unit in the sixth grade--but my parents moved me to the next state over the summer and I never got to do it. It's hardly much to me now, but it exemplified the taste of 10 years old--and the other times I had to move in the summertime. And it all came back to me thanks to this "modern technology."

Even though the house and neighborhood looked about the same, surely there many incremental changes, and of course all the cars were 50 years newer. I also understand that it's likely that the interior of my old house is completely different. Not only is my family long gone, but time has passed and stuff does accumulate. Last year I had the chance to visit the home I occupied from 1965-69 for the first time SINCE 1969. It was the same rooms and windows but nothing was the same. That's the fourth dimension--time travel.

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