On the occasion of my 100th blog post – I give you a time machine…

I am a centenarian! I cannot believe that this is the 100th time I have posted on no more wriggling out of writing. It was in July 2010 that the first tentative jottings went out into the blogosphere and at that time I wasn’t even sure if I could keep going for a week let alone eight months. So I must first thank everyone that has read my blog and supported me, even if just one post caught your interest I am grateful and I fully intend to make sure there are many more you might find interesting.

Anyway – to business. For this 100th post I thought I would set you a challenge. I am afraid there is no prize, but I will be sure to link and promote the best answer or comment I get in response. I know from the fascinating blogs I read that there could be some brilliant ideas to come.

So, in a similar vein to the Time Travel post recently put up by my old friend at The Blog Up North, I am offering you the opportunity to travel back in time to three historical events that you have wanted to witness for yourself. They can be well-known and well-documented, part of your own family history or even a key moment in your own personal history that you would like to revisit and make sense of. Fun or serious, there are just a few rules:

1) You can only spend 24 hours in any one place

2) You can only observe, not interfere. We all know what happens if you try to do that…

3) You cannot make monetary gain out of your trip. So anyone planning to go back and buy a lottery ticket after the draw – shame on you.

So – what would I choose to do? I was thinking about becoming a one woman marketing machine for John Keats, but then I realised it would have made less difference in 1820 than it can do now, and most things in my family history offer the possibility that like Michael J Fox I may end up risking my own conception. So….

Firstly, I would like to travel on the train to Epsom on 4th June 1913 and have a conversation Emily Davison, who threw herself under the King’s horse at the 1913 Epsom Derby.

Emily was born in Blackheath in 1872, and following studies at Royal Holloway College and Oxford University, at a time when women were still not permitted to take degrees, in 1906 she joined the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU), founded by Emmeline Pankhurst.

She eventually gave up her career as a teacher to work  for the suffragette movement and was one of those who regularly experienced arrest  – campaigning as she did by causing numerous public disturbances. In 1909 she threw rocks at Lloyd George’s carriage and was subsequently sentenced to one months hard labour. She went on hunger strike, refused force-feeding and so annoyed her guards that they filled her cell with water, almost drowning her.

As a teenager I was shown the film of that fateful race, and remember Emily being referred to as a ‘poor woman’, but she had become increasingly militant, even to the point of planting bombs, and would have resented inferences of weakness. No-one really knows whether she intended martyrdom, or whether she simply wanted to scare or attach a flag to the King’s Horse, but she was trampled and died four days later.

I long to understand whether she knew death was the likely outcome of her actions, or whether she really expected to go home on the return ticket she had apparently purchased earlier in the day. She would certainly have been horrified to think that she may have held back the cause of women’s suffrage. It is thought that many hardened their views against the vote for women following her actions. Of course, I am not allowed to tell her that, and am not sure it would have changed her mind in any event.

Secondly, I would like to go back to the Battle of Trafalgar and witness the part my 3x Great Grandfather Able Seaman Dominic Addison played in the battle. Unfortunately I am too much of a coward to go anywhere near such horrors as were experienced on board those ships. He survived years in the navy and died a Greenwich pensioner. I am sure he would have some marvellous stories to tell, salty old sea dog that he was.

Lastly, I would go back into my own past and give my sixteen year old self a good talking-to. I appreciate that strictly speaking this is interference, but boy it would have made my life so much easier if a) I hadn’t let the bullies get to me b) I hadn’t wasted so much time doting on Peter Marsh who, it turned out, hadn’t realised I was flirting and just thought I was laughing at something on his face c) I had got rid of the big specs and the Deirdre from Corrie hair do and d) I had given up on the idea of studying law. Making a career decision based on fancying Dustin Hoffman in Kramer v Kramer was never going to work out well.

So – what would you do and where would you go? Obviously I would love your comments, even short ones (as long as they don’t say ‘stop blogging and get on with your life…). Tweeting it is just as good – 3 historical periods in 140 characters really is a challenge.

In any event, thank you for reading this and other posts on my blog. Blogging has offered me opportunities to write that I previously struggled to find and for that I am truly grateful.

Never has being 100 felt so good, I’m sure.

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19 Responses to On the occasion of my 100th blog post – I give you a time machine…

  1. Congrats on reaching 100 posts. It is quite an accomplishment. I wonder who you would want to go back in time to meet if you were writing this 50 years from now?

  2. Carole says:

    Nice post and congrats on making it to 100. Will you get a telegram from geneabloggers do you think!!

    Anyways the three things I would go back to… (and I’m taking the view that talking to people isn’t interfering as long as you don’t tell them who you are!)

    1. April 1871 Bradford Boarding House. I’d go an talk to George and find out from him where he was born, who his parents were and then ask him why he’s left his wife and family up in Wales.

    2. May 1871 Holywell Wales. Same family but his son this time, Thomas. I’d ask him why he was leaving his pregnant wife and two young sons to the workhouse and where he was planning on going to. I’d love to know the reasons behind his decision, surely there must have been a reason for his decision. I wouldn’t expect a good reason, an explanation would be nice though.

    3. Finally I’d go back to the 1960’s when all my great grandmothers would have been alive. They all lived in the same area and would have known each other well so getting together for a gossip would have been easy. I never knew 1 of my great grandmothers but she was a very strong character. I knew the other 3 great grandmothers but I wish I had more than child memories of them. I’d pay attention more if I could talk to them again.

    • keatsbabe says:

      Good ideas, though you would have trouble staying completely anonymous! You want to ask some difficult questions too – would you feel confident enough to ask them? It is easier to question our ancestors motives from a distance I think.

  3. Him Up North says:

    Great post, Suzie. Very personal choices you have here. It’s good to know I sparked an idea (strictly speaking it wasn’t my idea, but I’m willing to take credit this once lol).

    Happy hundreth post, and here’s to more to come :-)

    HUN

  4. Ian says:

    Talking to yourself probably breaks the prime directive Stardate 2132
    “you not interfere with the development of alien life forms (teenagers count as aliens!)”

    But i know what you mean….!

  5. 1: The Savoy, Harlem, New York 1927, when the whole flapper, jazz thing was at full bloom. PLEEEEASE can i take a girl home???

    2:Victorian Age, just to experience it.

    3: Any part of the Viking Age for the same reasons. Though perhaps the time when Sweden began to form as a “nation” would be most interesting.

  6. cassmob says:

    Thanks for an intriguing post. I’m going to think about my own response & will let you know.

    Emily Davison was one determined woman! What happened to the horse? You can see why I don’t watch horse racing;-)

    • keatsbabe says:

      She was VERY determined. I am sure I would be scared of her if I did meet her. I am just not sure that many people actually know her name, just that she was the woman who leapt in front of a horse..

  7. Jane Earthy says:

    Hold on…..I thought it was me who fancied Dustin Hoffman? At least, you always take it out of me over that one. He definately fits into the category of ‘man with nose slightly too big for his face’ – and therefore is one of mine!

  8. Rin says:

    Congrats on hitting the 100 mark Suzie!

    I think if you couldn’t change things when you went back in time, then there would only be two reasons for going – 1) to experience something for yourself, and 2) to understand why (I always think the whys are far more interesting than the whats, hows and whos!).

    Either way, I would have lots of possibilities. For the former, the dawn of creation is probably the furthest back and most cataclismic I can think of. For the latter – finding out why – there are also so many options, from the very personal (hanging out with my dad in his final days before depression got the better of him) to the more general (an inside line on what messed Hitler’s head up would be fascinating, don’t you think).

    Anyway, nice topic Suzie, you’ve made me really think!

    xxx

    • keatsbabe says:

      It is all about the ‘why’ isn’t it? I would like to know why my Great Uncle Alf felt he had to kill his girlfriend and then himself, why he felt there was nowhere else to turn. I would also like to know why the rest of the family kept so quiet about it.
      Not sure about looking inside Hitler’s head – I think it would take more than 24 hours to understand how he justified things to himself.

  9. Rivenrod says:

    Congratulations!

    Three time travel events. Ok, in no particular order: I would like to have been present of the first recording of Porky Pig saying “th . . .th . . .th . . . that’s all folks”. Porky Pig was the first Warner Bros. character to have been created specifically to be a star cartoon attraction. He was originally voiced by a guy called Joseph “Joe” Tapley Dougherty in 1935 for the film “I haven’t got a hat”. Why on earth would I want to be there? Well, there are a number of reasons. Firstly, the voice-over guy had a very bad stutter but it had absolutely no affect on him being hired. Even in our politically correct times, I wonder whether he would have had a look in. Secondly, Porky Pig was named after two school friends of the famous Friz Freleng, one of which was nicknamed Porky and the other Piggy. The modern day Thought Police would have an absolute fit and insist on the name being changed to something like Portly Porcine. And it would not rest there either for Friz Freleng would be arrested, thrown into jail, sent to court and imprisoned thus depriving us all of a genius of the cartoon world. In fact, as an aside, the Thought Police would have no truck with the title Looney Tunes either believing, in their own self righteous rectitude that people who are in mental conflict or suffer psychological disorder would take offence.

    My second Time Travel adventure would be to give good old Noah a hand to build the Ark. I accept that 24 hours would not be long enough to make a significant difference but the fact that he had never even built a chair let alone something as complicated as a damned great big boat, I’m sure he would be grateful for any help he could get.

    Thirdly, assuming we return to our proper time at the end of the allotted 24 hours, my third Time Travel adventure would be to spend 24 hours talking to the wisest person on the planet about life and history in the intervening one thousand years.

    That’s the lot . . .

    • keatsbabe says:

      I knew you would come up with some interesting ideas Mr Rivenrod! Not the first that sprang to my mind, especially Porky Pig, but I will come with you to chat to the wisest person on the planet. Who is it?

      • Rivenrod says:

        I meant to travel 1000 years into the future because I believe there is much to learn from past mistakes we haven’t made yet. Don’t you think?

        Also, I have many, many more little wishes such as to give Florence Nightingale a big hug.

        Even though I know it would take longer than 24 hours I would dearly love to travel back to ancient Greece just to let them know that it’s “probably not a good idea to invent democracy”. Ultimately, it won’t work and it’ll cause more wars and human misery than any other doctrine.

        I’d also like to tell Genghis Khan to make Tibet the centre of the Chinese world or simply not to bother unifying China.

        I would definitely like to travel back to Grantham in 1925 to the house of Alfred and Beatrice Roberts (the mother and father of Margaret Thatcher) and somewhere around February time slip contraceptive tablets into Mrs Robert’s tea. Or possibly put 2 gallons of bromide in the loft water tank.

        I would leave a note on the workbench of the chap who invented the necktie inscribed with one word – Why?

        I would travel back to the 1360’s and give Geoffrey Chaucer an English dictionary.

        So much excitement thinking of these things, I’m almost beside myself which in a way is a bit like time travel.

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