“The medium is the message”
The desire to reach out to another person, to communicate or exchange information, is as old as mankind itself. We learn to speak, draw, write and make known our thoughts and desires. Along the way we entertain our fellows with works of drama, comedy and fiction either on the page or on the stage/screen.
The idea of reaching out over vast spaces of time and touching the mind of another is a concept that has been with me for some time. For example, whenever I worked on a remodel job I would keep an eye on newspapers that were stuffed into holes as backing for plaster or concrete patches.
Once I found newspapers dating back to the early Twentieth Century stuffed into cracks of a stone foundation in a house. I often wondered if the worker put any thought into what he used to stuff the hole. I do know that I changed my thinking after I discovered this link in time.
In 1981 I began working in San Francisco. After 13 years in the Electrical Trade I finally found a place where I felt at home. Call it what you may— Frisco, San Fran, Baghdad-by-the-Bay, The City—the Bay Area was heaven on earth. Both The Lioness and The Determined One loved our new home.
The sports fans out there might remember that our local football team—the 49ers—had a pretty good run between 1981—1994. The Niners won five Super Bowl championships in that time period and four players, plus the coach, went into the Football Hall of Fame.
As you can imagine, there were plenty of headlines and articles about the team in the local papers. As an active Time Traveler (if only in my mind) I would leave relevant issues of the San Francisco Chronicle on top of air conditioning ducts in the various buildings where I worked. It was a gesture, and a collector’s item, for a future generation that someone was thinking of you, whoever you are.
I was reminded of this practice last week when I began to install an aromatic cedar lining to a closet in our spare bedroom. The project began when I pulled off the baseboards and something in the first corner caught my eye. Face-up on the floor, in the space under the sheetrock, was a coin.
I used a screwdriver to pull it out. It was a Roosevelt dime and the date on it was 1954. That was back when dimes were really made of silver and it was also the year that our house was built. I felt that old familiar twinge, that link to another craftsman—another Time Traveler. It was no accident that the coin was where I found it. It did not fall out of a pocket and roll into it’s resting place.
61 years ago someone wanted to leave a token of their presence in this house, maybe even on this planet. We made a connection through time, one craftsman to another, one person to another.
I feel you, brother. You laid down one hell of a floor in your day and we appreciate it all these years later.
I took our coin jar off the shelf and dug around until I found a shiny 2015 dime. Before I replaced the baseboard with a new strip of cedar I positioned the coins side-by-side for the next generation of Time Traveller to find. It is a small gesture, but if he is anything like me then the practice will continue on-and-on into the Future.
Messages can be transmitted via many forms of media: blogs, money, or music. The following tune is one that has haunted me for years and I think that it goes to the root of our need to communicate, in one form or another, with those around us and those who are not even born.
Are you a Time Traveler? Do you leave any anonymous gifts for the next generation?