I’m a historian. My life, my career, is all about making the passing of time relevant to others. To convince them that saving those fleeting moments is worthwhile.
I haunt estate sales, flea markets, auctions, seeking bits of history that might be lost forever to time. But I can honestly say that in more than 20 years of doing this, there have been only two times that time has ‘stood still’ for me.
The first was the moment, at an estate sale, I looked down at a table full of things and saw this beautiful maroon passport lying there. I opened it . . .
Yes. That’s April 1938 – the very month the Nazis invade Czechoslovakia. And yes. That’s a swastika. This passport is literally a passport to the past – small moments of time, preserved forever.
And this one . . . that date. September 6, 1939 – the very day Britain declared war on Germany. The owner of this passport, as far as I can tell, was literally at every single important point in pre-World War II history.
It’s the single most amazing thing that has ever found its way into my collection.
No, I don’t know much more about the man who owned this passport than I did when I found it two years ago. He was supposed to be a chemist . . . but I’m not sure I believe that!