That word is magic. Real magic. Always has been.
The whisper of people’s lives in the cracks of a ceramic pitcher, in the details of a curling photo, in the handwriting of a love-soaked letter.
I love it all.
Every nuance of a fingerprint someone left while ladling soup for an ailing child, peering through a telescope at a meteor shower, scratching a peculiar message in the timbers of an attic.
I have something—right here, right now—for you to read that you’ve never read before. Believe me. It’s true. And it’s fascinating.
It’s an excerpt from a journal someone wrote in 1906. I don’t know her. She’s not a relation of mine. I came across this record of someone’s life from over a hundred years ago and I enjoyed getting to know this woman. Why? Because I find people fascinating! And I love learning about things I never knew before.
So here are a couple of pages from her journal.
Thursday, October 11, 1906
I worked & took
to them & picked
potatoes in afternoon.
Came home &
Friday, October 12, 1906
To night is the
dance at Coburns.
Will & Elmer & Alfred
went to Hornell.
Will got me a nice
White Waist. We
went to the party.
Alfred got cross.
I love to imagine her doing things, puzzle out the things I don’t know, wonder about her.
She worked hard, making dinner for the men. Were there a lot of men? Were they hired help, or perhaps her husband and a brother-in-law? She worked in the potatoes, and then came home and made dinner!
And her husband bought her a white shirt to wear to the dance. How kind of him! What was her skirt like? Did she wish she could go pick it out herself, but had to stay and care for things?
What was the party like? What food did they eat? How many people were there? What music did they play?
And here’s the burning question – Why did Alfred get cross?!
I can hear it. I can see it. Like a movie playing in my mind.
Do you ever find yourself wondering who might’ve been where you’re walking? What they were like? How they lived?
They’re like pleasant ghosts, and they’re everywhere if you just look.
Pause for a
Pause for a
moment, ponder, let the soul-waves of people once there lap over you.
Do you see?