Why 1918 you may ask? Why this random thought?
Perhaps it’s the buzz created by The Great Gatsby, Hollywood rendition, which led me to think of the Roaring Twenties, which led me to think of Woody Allen’s Midnight In Paris, which reminded me of the cloche hat I’m so fascinated by, which made me think of….
Mind you though, this is not any attempt to trivialise history, nor am I even taking historical facts under scrutiny. While I admire the forefathers who have lived through those times, this is not even close to an attempt of constructing my subjunctive “history”. This is, at best, a list of romanticising what-if’s.
If I were born in 1918, Southern UK…
I would have come to greet this world shortly after the war ended.
When I were a tiny toddler, I would have the basics, the necessities, but I would know of the most precious bond with my family.
Soon, my world would expand, my glamorous aunt and uncle would bring me and my sisters across the shore to Paris, the City of Light.
My sisters would sigh at the pretty ladies, fancy clothes; I would have breathed that air called culture and finesse (though not any fresher than my countryside home). I would be four when my world was forever changed.
At school I was taught to write, as in pen-and-ink penmanship. I would read books that might not be considered classics, for they had only been written four or five decades prior, but they would prove themselves.
I was taught to be prim and proper, but I knew how to laugh with all my heart because happiness was as easy as it could get.
When there was the first blush of love, I would lose track of time, that moment was timeless.
And when I truly loved with all my heart, war broke out.
We learnt to be stoic. We were not taught that. We learnt to be.
I had my first child in the toughest of times, she was the prettiest precious little thing I had ever held in my arms, she made me strong.
When I had my second child, I prayed and prayed that mustn’t be a boy, for I feared war, I feared for love, I feared loss. He came to be a strong, sturdy boy.
The world at war shook my faith, but it also gave me hope, that one day we would see light again. I wished for peace, my prayer was answered.
The world would change so fast, faster than I could register, farther than I could ever have imagined. I sailed across the seas, lost counts of days and nights in my voyage. Past the Far East, we finally settled way south, Down Under.
My children had first tastes of love, and the lingering sense of loss, and again, until they found love of their lives. My love for my family grew as it grew in size.
I would see the birth of my grandchild, and more grandchildren. Each of them had a unique cry, a unique smile, a unique colour of the eyes, unique wriggly fingers and stubby toes.
I would see my family spread, each goodbye meant my world grew bigger. I wondered how long the telephone line needed to stretch for me to listen to their voices again. I wondered how the line worked anyway.
I would live longer than I thought I could. I loved life, so I lived on. Maybe that’s why.
I never talked about love, because people born in my time didn’t talk about love. Everything we did was love. I would still blush if I had to profess love.
My great-grandchildren turned eleven, twelve, and teens when there was this funny thing called the web that was all the rage. I thought the line was grand enough in scale and complicated enough to make. Now they have a web covering practically everywhere, even places I’d never known of. Is it even practical?
My partner had gone, or was my memory failing me? He felt very much alive to me. My children were nagging about my bad memory, but I remember the days back when so much more vividly than any of them did!
I would turn 100 in five years’ time. I did not even know it was possible to live so long! One hundred years! But what is not possible?