Bridging Time

Do you know what happened in 1872? Here are a few things. The Metropolitan Museum of Art opened in New York City; Susan B. Anthony in defiance of the law, voted in a US election; Popular Science was first published; Yellowstone became the world’s first national park; trade unions were legalized in Canada; Ulysses S. Grant, the general who won the Civil War just a few years before, won the US presidential election; and the Great Boston Fire destroyed 776 buildings in the financial district. Born that year were Zane Grey (famous American writer), Bertrand Russell (Nobel prize in Literature), Bill Johnson (jazz great said to have influenced Louis Armstrong), Roald Amundsen (Norwegian explorer of the South Pole), and Elias Armaly, my grandfather. 141 years ago!!

My father was self-employed and his business necessitated a considerable amount of travel around the Province of Ontario and when we were of an age where muscles developed and could be put to good use, he brought my brother and I along to be laborers.Trips were usually around 4 hours one way. One trip took us to Sault Ste. Marie, a distance of 12 hours one way! So there was a lot of time to listen to my dad’s version of entertainment, classical music, opera, and talk shows on CBC Radio. Mostly we just listened and kept to ourselves but sometimes we talked. Really, what can a guy approaching 60 talk to young teenagers about? Yet, he tried and did find things.  I remember he asked me once, out of the blue, why I liked the music of Stevie Wonder.  Not sure why he knew that. Maybe he was just guessing.

One time I recall he spoke about his father, the guy I never knew, the guy born in 1872.  Maybe he brought it up because I called into question the 10 year age gap between he and our mother. Nothing negative was implied by me and he didn’t take it as such. I remember he suggested it was normal, given his parents had an 11 year gap. He said men took time to grow up. I didn’t really know what that meant at the time. I do now.

I like knowing I have a tenuous link to those names I mentioned above. I like knowing I have a close blood link to someone born only 5 years after Canada. I like knowing I have a close blood link to someone born only 7 years after the US Civil War ended. Much as I admire his body of work, I doubt Daniel Day Lewis can claim the same.



About Peter Armaly
I get jazzed by automation, big data, and blockchain tech. Business, technology, and fitness are things I understand. Scotch, wine, food, and fiction are things I appreciate.

2 Responses to Bridging Time

  1. Always a pleasure reading your blog Pete. Your story brought Chris to mind, please say hi for me if you remember and get the chance. Peace.

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