• Time Travel Possible in this Freaky Family

    by Donald K. Sanders

    Saturday, July 31, was the annual Freaky Family reunion at Seacliff Beach State Park. Seacliff is located just South of Santa Cruz and is famous for the old dilapidated ship, the Palo Alto, that is tied to the old timber pier.

    The ship, built in 1917, is unique because it sailed only once, in 1929, from Oakland to San Francisco and then on to Seacliff Beach where it will remain forever. What makes this story unique is the fact that the ship was constructed entirely of concrete and rebar. The material chosen to construct the ship is sturdy but even its concrete and steel cannot match the strength of the Freaky Family.

    I have written about this family several times and they take no offense to the term freaky because they all realize that, as a group, they are unique and very close knit. The term “freaky” illustrates perfectly just how different they are from the “norm.”

    They number well over 150. Brothers, sisters, cousins, uncles, aunts, grandparents, great-grandparents, and everybody that they ever grew up with, all are freaky family. They are constantly hugging, kissing, eating, playing games and in my long life, I have never seen another family like it. Every one of them knows how unbelievably lucky they are to be a part of this family and they are not afraid to show it.

    From the onset, I was suspicious of how perfect they all were and for years I closely observed their behavior thinking I would find some imperfection. I thought, “No way, this family is not real!” I was wrong, they are quite real and now they have me acting just like them. I get right in there, just a hugging and a kissing with the best of them. For my efforts, I was awarded a T-shirt with big black letters saying, “I am a part of the Freaky Family.”

    This year, I had occasion to construct a sand castle with my grandson, Anthony, and one of my nieces, Ava. My niece and I provided the labor while my grandson engineered the whole project. Naturally, our conversation turned to the concrete ship that sat on the bottom of the surf not 500 feet from our castle. In an effort to explain to them what had happened to the ship, I told them that if they had a time machine, they could watch it slowly fall apart and sink to the shallows where the waves crash against it endlessly day after day after day.

    My grandson, as smart as he is, denied the existence of time machines.

    “It’s true” I said, “there are no time machines.”

    I went on to explain that it is also true that when you get old enough you can travel through time and I said that I do it regularly and not always because I wanted to. Sometimes it just happens. I pointed their attention to their grandmother and great-grandmother that were staring out to sea.

    “I think they are probably traveling through time at this very moment,” I said.

    I explained that they could not travel through time together but that they could meet each when they got to where they were going. You can even go back in time to visit loved ones that are no longer of this Earth.

    “Look at my wife and her mother.” I told them.

    My wife is in a time when she was a little girl and she is running in circles around her father as he fishes in the surf. I can go there too, but when I am there, my wife is grown up and quite lovely. She is still running circles around her father and she waves to me as I sit and watch her.

    I can see your father too and he is the same age that you are now. We made a sand castle then, in about the same place as this one that we are working on today. I told them that when I travel through time, my favorite place to go was to the hospital in Vallejo to watch my son (Uncle Joe) being born, and I like to go back to my other son’s (Rick) wedding.

    I explained that their great-grandmother was probably in a time with her sister when they first came to California from Alabama. Her sister was a Marine and it helped her to be independent and strong. She was a lover of Jaguar automobiles and I could go back in time to when she gave me her Pumpkin Chair that I sat in until it fell apart. You can go back in time and see everyone that you have ever known and loved.

    I had their attention now so I made a request of them.

    “When you are my age (early 60s) I would like you to travel back in time until you get to today.”

    When you get there we will all be there together just as we are right now. We can all have this same conversation again, but you will be older and watching from a distance. I will no longer be here but you will still be able to visit me and I will like that very much. My grandson and my niece made a pinky bargain that we would all meet here again many years from now.

    I can hardly wait.

      • Madgedew

      • February 12, 2011 at 11:00 am
      • Reply

      Loved this Donald. Great story and a beautiful thought.

      Sunday, October 31, 2010 – 10:49 PM

      • Susan Applegate

      • February 12, 2011 at 11:01 am
      • Reply

      I’ve read a few of your columns now Donald, both online and in print. You are a brilliant writer with amazing life experiences. Have you considered writing a memoir? I think it would be marvelous.

      Monday, November 1, 2010 – 07:36 AM

      • Donald

      • February 12, 2011 at 11:01 am
      • Reply

      Thank you ladies. Susan you can ask Madgew about my memoirs, she has read most of it.


      Tuesday, November 2, 2010 – 01:10 PM

      • Christy

      • February 12, 2011 at 11:02 am
      • Reply

      i’m going to time travel back to the time you made me cry with this column. Loved this =)

      Saturday, November 6, 2010 – 10:22 PM

      • Donald

      • February 12, 2011 at 11:02 am
      • Reply

      Oh great! Now I’m gonna cry!

      Thursday, November 11, 2010 – 09:12 PM

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