A friend recently mentioned other dimensions and how she sometimes imagines looking at her current self from some other dimension. (I may have misinterpreted what she was saying.)
I immediately tried to imagine, say, seventeen dimensions that connect with us here right now. It looked like a cross between a cubist painting and a 3-D tic-tac-toe game, all of this enclosed in intricate scaffolding.
Later in the week I brought this idea up with friends and got further information: first, the fourth dimension is Time (I'd known that once) and second, although physics posits four dimensions, in math (one friend is a mathematician) you can posit as many dimensions as you like and then prove them mathematically.
In the meantime, I had gone back to the typed version of my father's letters, not having re-read them since I first transcribed them several years ago from Myron's handwritten copies. The ones I was interested in were the 1934 letters.
In September of 1934, Myron's mother, Jessie, was recovering from an operation (her leg was amputated because of metastatic breast cancer). I don't know if it was medical advice or just a whim, but the family decided it would be good for Jessie to spend a month in New Mexico with my mother's parents to recuperate. Why they thought a three-day car trip in an old Ford would be healing is beyond me. So here's who drove to Tularosa, New Mexico: Myron, his mother (Jessie), his wife (Eileen), his father (Robert F.), and his first child (Robert Vincent), who was three months old. I can't imagine how awful the trip must have been.
In Tularosa they were welcomed by Eileen's parents, John Vincent Rahilly and his wife Anna (Anastasia), who had moved to New Mexico some 15 years earlier for J.V.'s health.
Myron's letters begin after he and his father had returned to Indiana, leaving the women and the child for a month's visit. On the way home, he writes, the car died and his father opted to buy a new Ford rather than repair the old one. (He had no interest in the equally available Chevrolet.) To handle the payment, Grandad called his bank back home and had them wire the money to the Ford dealer's bank.
The reason I was looking back at these letters was to find the word Myron used to refer to his son; it had struck me when I transcribed them but then I'd forgotten it. Now, it's bad enough that the poor baby was never even called by his real name until he was in medical school. His Irish mother re-christened him immediately after birth as "Dinty" for reasons undisclosed to any of us. But at this early stage of Dinty's life, either Eileen hadn't yet mentioned the "Dinty" nickname to Myron or she had mentioned it and he hadn't taken to it. For in these 1934 letters during Dinty's early months, Myron refers to the baby as "the stooge", as in "Give my love to Mother [i.e., Jessie] and to the stooge."
As I re-read these letters, it was as if I was living in Delphi, Indiana, with my father in the empty apartment above the Delphi Citizen office (the apartment where I was born two years later). I was rapt. The places and names were from my childhood (Clifford's grocery, Morrow Shoe Repair) and I could see Myron walking around the square during his daily rounds. He worked very hard while his little family was out West. The endless job-printing orders—the meat and potatoes of a small newspaper business—had him working until nine or ten or beyond most nights.
But it wasn't until my recent discussion of Time as the fourth dimension that I realized: during that hour spent rereading Myron's 1934 letters, I was following a Time loop that deposited me fully in 1934 Delphi, two years before I was born.
There are multiple dimensions to our lives, whether or not we are aware of them.
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