I think I’m finally ready to go back and talk about the days immediately after the girls came home from their vacation in Seattle. You see, something strange and exciting happened to us (cue spooky, futuristic music) and, while I was able to grab hold of a camera to capture some of it, the developing of the plates into photos took several days…
It started off with a trip to our favorite museum in Pittsburgh – the Carnegie Science Center. While playing in one of the exhibits, the girls discovered that they had unlocked the start codes for the time machine that the government had hidden in the museum.
I quickly took their photo before jumping into the time machine.
The girls were able to navigate us away from the Jurassic era and got us to what looked to be like the late ‘teens or early-1920s. Unfortunately, that maneuvering broke part of the time machine and left us stranded. We knew we had to somehow get a replacement for the part if we had any hope of returning to our normal lives.
While digging around for period-looking clothes so that our identities would be hidden, we befriended a family living on a farm. Zoe quickly assimilated herself to our new environment, spending time on the tire swing. Unfortunately, the family dog, Jack, was on to us. It could be that he smelled the gluten-free cheese puffs she had eaten before our time travel…
Madeline was also fitting well. She helped the men tend to the garden and tried to pick up some hints from them on how they got their pumpkins to grow so well (ours aren’t looking so good again this year).
I was having a rougher time of it. After drinking some milk from the pail in the barn, I spent most of the next hour in here:
Not fun when you don’t have good reading material.
Or running water.
And you hear noises.
To make matters worse, this guy drove past the farm as I was emerging from the outhouse. Geesh, where were you a few hours ago…
We heard that the train was coming through later that day, so we decided to make a break for the city and headed to the station. Before we could by tickets, we needed to get some more cash or things to trade. Luckily, there was a traveling carnival along the way. Against Maddie’s wishes, I tried my hand at the shooting game. I figured that being married to a Country Boy hunter had to rub off a bit on my shooting ability.
The girls decided to take matters into their own hands.
Much better outcome. We now had enough to get us into the city where we hoped we could find the part we needed to fix the time machine and head back home.
Things were much more “normal” once we made it into the city. While we still had to keep mainly to ourselves, we were able to relax a bit more knowing that someone wouldn’t ask us to pluck a chicken or feed the sow.
We began to look for something we could use on the time machine to get it to work again, but without NAPA or Home Depot to bop into, it was going to require some effort.
We walked the streets, dodging the trolley car, looking for any type of hardware or service station. When we rounded a corner, we ran into the exact person we needed to find:
Boss of the Road?! Perfect person to ask about finding a part! He directed us to a factory just out of town. “Thanks,” I told him. And to the women in the car who were celebrating the passing of the Nineteenth Amendment I added, “You go, girls!” (I don’t know that they appreciated that so much. I wanted to add, “Trust women named Hillary and not Sarah,” but I don’t know that they’d remember to pass that advice on to future generations or not.)
We were walking to the factory when we heard a huge roar coming from a big building. The Pirates were playing the Senators. We decided to take in a few innings.
I had hoped that Honus Wagner was still playing, but he had retired a few years earlier. Still, I did ask a few fans if they had one of his playing cards that they’d like to trade. (It was worth a shot, right?)
Afterwards, we were able to make it over to the factory. When I saw the name of it, I knew it was the place we were meant to be.
We met Joe, the owner, who seemed willing to help us fix the part that we said came from our car. When we showed him the part that was broken on our machine, his face turned white. He quickly ran to his private workshop and came back holding the exact same part. It turns out that Joe had been tinkering around in his factory with the notion of time travel!
After our identities as futuristic travelers was blown, we explained to Joe what had happened. What we pieced together was that Joe’s then-toddler son, Jacob, would grow up to be a NASA scientist working in New Mexico. Once retired, he would donate his father’s time machine to the science museum in Pittsburgh with the understanding that it be left active should some smart people come along with the proper code to access it as were his father’s (Joe’s) wishes. We were lucky enough to stumble into the right sequence.
Joe quickly packed his tools, loaded us into his Model T and drove us back to the farm. After replacing the part and making the adjustments needed to get us safely back to modern times, we waved good-bye and stepped into the time machine. Just as we were about to leave, Joe ran over and asked one simple question – “How good are the Pirates of the future world?”
I was sad to break a man’s heart like that, especially one who had been so nice to us.
[Note – if you ever find yourself at the Carnegie Science Center, make sure to check out the Miniature Railroad & Village room. Amazing details in their buildings and animations. It is one of our favorite exhibits every time.]