I sat in a small room in Southern California with the hopes of traveling back in time to a particular room, in a small house, in the small town of Goldthwaite, Texas. There was a small insignificant humming coming from the machine that I intended to use to accomplish this task. It was late at night, but the excitement was enthralling. I knew the time period I would go back to, but I wasn’t sure that I had the setup correct. I hit the button. Wheels started spinning. Scraping noises came from their circular motion.
In an instant, it was unclear what had happened. It became fuzzy. Then, all of a sudden, it became clear. I heard the “Tick Tock Tick Tock …” of the clock on the wall in that small house built by my great-grandfather. I had done it. I had traveled back in time to an era before I was born. That wormhole to the past started to open up before my very eyes. I closed my eyes, and the picture of the room became clear. I was there. An eavedropper right in plain sight. Everyone knew I was there. They knew I was from the future, but they didn’t know who I was. They didn’t know how far into the future.
I knew that the link to the past had been made over a span of forty-five years. On their side, a time machine with this mysterious link to the future sat there spinning, just as it was spinning in that small room in Southern California.
People where talking near the machine. Some where talking as if talking to the eavesdropper. Others in the room carried on their own conversations – caring less that this unique wormhole had opened up. The link was one-way. Sound from the past traveled into the machine and down the arduous path it had created all the way to the future. It was most certainly not a straight path to that future tiny room. The sound had in fact spent many years locked in a tight cabinet surrounded by naphthalene, only to almost be forgotten. But it was not. It’s destiny was to make it to that small room come hell or high water.
My father then said, “Is there any of that you wanna hear?”
The old man replied, “Hmm?” As if he didn’t quite make out what he asked.
“Is there any of that you wanna listen to?”
He replied again, but his answer was overtaken by the other noise in the room.
“Hey, I wanna get you on one of those tapes.” My father said.
“What do you want me to do?” William asked.
“I don’t know. Talk into it. That’s what I want you to do.” My dad replied. “I don’t know. Tell me something. Just something to put on there, you know.”
He replied, “I don’t know a thing in the world that I think would be interesting.”
“Think up something to say. We gotta get you on there.”
Shivers ran up my back as I listened to the past. I had never heard my great-grandfather before. More was said. A sense of fulfillment came upon me as I returned to my own time. I was more knowledgable of the past. I wish I could have met him in person. He sounded like an interesting person. His only legacy other than those fleeting words will be that I share one-eighth of his DNA, but that is not what has changed. I finally have a voice to put with the pictures that I have of him – in this small room, in Southern California.