Replete with Memories

In Uncategorized on December 30, 2013 at 1:22 PM

Isabella at 95

This is a picture of my dear friend Isabella. She is 95 years young and runs circles around me. I took her to a small Puerto Rican restaurant for lunch where we indulged on pasteles; a treat I have not had since my grandmother passed away. OK, maybe they were not as good as grandmas but they were delicious and my lunch partner more than made up for it. As we sat there eating, way more than two people should, it occurred to me that I was dining with history; both on our plates and across the table from me. I’ll explain;

Isabella was born in 1918, World War I was just ending, the US economy was still strong but heading for a serious nose dive, Wilson was in the White House, and a dime would buy a gallon of gasoline (with 2 cents left over)! I could sit here and list the changes she has witnessed but I think we get the picture. The list is long, she has seen much transformation; in the world, in the material objects we produce, and in the beliefs and attitudes we harbor. As a historian I wanted to rattle off dozens of questions…who, what, where, how, when, why, they kept popping into my mind. I refrained, asked a few, and enjoyed the meal. We’ll be together again on Monday and I’ll ask a few. As a World War II veteran (she was a medical doctor during the war) she attends the veterans group that is part of the oral history project I’m working on. I want to learn all I can from this valuable resource, this remarkable woman.

The other thought of history, the one on my plate, was the meal itself. It had been years since I’ve enjoyed that kind of food and before swallowing my first bite I was back in my grandmother’s kitchen. The smells, the sounds, the hours I spent watching her cook; I was there and the memories came flooding back. That’s the amazing thing about our sense of taste and smell; they also hold our memories. So I ate, I marveled at my lunch partner, I thought about my grandmother, and by the time I waddled away from the table I was replete, with history, with fond memories, and with great food.

As 2013 comes to a close and we all look, with anticipation and hope to 2014, I hope you can take time to enjoy a good meal with a great friend and remember. Saving History…because your story is priceless.


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