Sunday, July 20, 2008

Harry Potter, Klingons and 'Antiques Roadshow'

Harry Potter's invisibility cloak and Klingon cloaking devices could be the world's next fantasy/sci-fi devices we see (OK, don't see) developed into real life technology.
OK. I admit we probably won't have Klingons.
But in fact, cloaking devices have gone from science fiction to science magazines and authentic news stories.
Check out Scientific American ( and search 'invisibility cloak.' The story was in the magazine's latest e-newsletter and is worth a read, especially for fans of Harry and any incarnation of Star Trek. (BTW: Scientific American's e-newsletters are free and terrific reads for anyone interested in the many worlds of science.)
Anyway, I'm convinced invisibility cloaks will become real.
Not that anyone will be able to walk into Nordstrom and buy one. But that too could happen. Only it won't be Nordstrom but a later-in-the-21st-century incarnation of the upscale department store concept.
Skeptical about cloaking devices?
Well when you were a kid, did you ever expect to see people walking around yakking on telephones -- anywhere -- and taking photos and videos (what?) with those same phones and sending the images around the world?
Certainly no one could have guessed the amount of information we would be able to access with phones, via the internet? What's an internet? With home computers? With laptops? "What's a laptop?"
Anyway, I digress. I could go on and on, but today's technology wonks will continue to turn fantasy and sci-fi into reality.
So, one day in the future you hear my voice ... but cannot see me, just think back to this blog item (blitem). (Where did she get that cloak?)
Moving on, I love "Antiques Roadshow."
It's fun, interesting and always a gas when one of my childhood toys turns up as an antique.
But also, I've learned there is something I need to do. Perhaps you need to do the same. That is, write down the story behind each family treasure -- at least whatever you know.
I am just starting to do that.
Most of the "heirlooms" are not monetary treasures.
Rather they are mementos of special times in my life, great people I have met or much loved relatives who once owned them.
There's the little metal bread tray with a raised leaf pattern I remember from dinners long ago. I haven't seen a bread tray used in decades but when my mother was moving to a smaller apartment, she gave it to me.
She chuckled when I told her I loved it and I remembered how she would put slices of bread on it almost every night for dinner, which of course was never served till Daddy was home from work.
I have that little tray in our kitchen. I don't really use it, but that's OK, as long as I have this memory of my mother and my childhood. That is one little story I need to write down.
Years before she gave me the tray, Mom surprised me by giving me a bright tomato red Bavarian porcelain tomato that had belonged to her mother. The stem and top of the little knickknack comprise the lid and yes, there are handles. It may have been a sugar bowl.
Though my initial research on the internet indicates it's worth only a few dollars, I would never part with it.
When I was very young, my grandparents on Mom's side lived in what was called a railroad apartment -- rooms one behind another like railroad cars -- above my grandfather's men's clothing store in Virginia, Minnesota, a one-time mining town on the Iron Range.
My grandmother, whom I loved dearly and called Bobi (our family spelling for bubbe, a Jewish grandmother), had all sorts of knickknacks in her small living room, including the little tomato.
When Bobi died suddenly of a stroke at age 60 in 1959, my devastated mother brought many of her mother's things back to our home in Oak Park, Michigan.
No doubt Mom's three siblings brought back other items.
Anyway, for some reason, the porcelain knicknack was one of the items I always loved most. When Mom surprised me with the tomato gift, I asked her what she remembered about it from her youth.
Alas, she didn't know where or how her mother came to own it. So while I know nothing of how the porcelain tomato came into Bobi's home, I know how it got to me.
Perhaps one of my descendants will beam over to a holographic "Antiques Roadshow" in 2030 with the little tomato that first belonged to his/her great-great grandmother, 100 or more years in the past. What a neat thought.
There are so many little stories to tell of treasures from my past and I will leave those tales for my children.
But I would love to hear yours. Please take a few minutes and e-mail one of yours at
Enjoy the rest of the week.
What stories will you write down for your family members of the future? I


photo by sarah gross

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About Me

Tinley Park, Illinois
As a longtime newspaperwoman who left the business to freelance, I want to keep in touch with the world. This is my place to reach out with words.