Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Time Slip

Colin Wilson writes about the phenomenon known as "time slips," where a person momentarily experiences himself in an earlier time in a certain place. Yesterday I drove around the Glenville area of Cleveland, once home to a sizable Jewish community and now a neglected urban neighborhood, and saw that I was near Bryant Avenue, which I recognized as the street where my mother spent her childhood with her sisters and widowed mother in the 1930s.

The neighborhood is still dotted with stately old synagogues, some shuttered and others repurposed as churches. For just a moment, I was in that time and place. I saw my mother, Toby, a fatherless blond four-year-old, playing on the sidewalks. Did her family attend this synagogue at the end of the street? I'll never know. My mother died five months ago, taking with her all of those memories, and the very different world she once inhabited.

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