I look at my grandson and say, “well, it’s older than me.”
“Yes, but how old, exactly?”
“Old, old,” I say, hoping he will go away. I hate these conversations that will end up with us discussing my age.
“Is it as old as you, Pop?”
“Nah! I’m not really old. Just a bit bent.”
“Was it history when they landed on the moon?”
“No, that was in 1969. That’s not history. But they made history…”
“As old as when President Kennedy was shot?”
“No that’s not even 50 years ago. That’s not history.”
“As old as World War II?”
“No, I was around in World War II. That’s not so old.”
“Why can’t you tell me how old history is?”
“I told you its real old. Like when my grandfather was your age.”
“What year was that?”
“Wow! That’s old!”
“There were no cars or planes, no movies or radio or TV.”
“No TV! I suppose there were no iPhones either.”
No answer required.
“The world must have been a hard place without all those things.”
“Well the people didn’t know that they didn’t have those things so they didn’t miss them.”
“Yep, it’s hard to understand.”
Thinking back on the conversation a few days later, I realized that my grandson and I had covered a period of about 130 years. There was no way he could connect to my childhood age much as I have difficulty in connecting to his world.
So how old is history, anyway? I too, don’t know the answer.