Time On My Hands

Could I… Would I… Travel in Time?

By Jeff Salter

Though I was not the one who suggested this topic, I’m pleased to see it crop up right now because I’m within a few weeks – I hope – of the release of my newest title… and it deals with TIME TRAVEL.

My characters aren’t even aware of where / when they’re heading, so they have no choice in the matter. The hero (Hunter Weston) didn’t even know he would be traveling in time. The heroine (Rose Roamer) realizes she will have to travel in time if she is to be with Hunter, (with whom she has fallen in love over the course of the story).

But enough of my fictional title. Let’s get down to cases. Our topic: If I could travel to any time period for research purposes or for sheer enjoyment, where/when would I visit?

As often happens, I look to the post of our Monday Fox – Patricia – and could almost steal her entire column. I won’t do that, but let me lift this particular paragraph:

My short answer is that as much as I enjoy reading about history, I really wouldn’t want to go back in time and live in any era of the past. For one thing, I really, really, enjoy my creature comforts, including all the gadgets that are such an integral part of my life. For another, I enjoy health at an age when women in the past were long gone or well on their way out. Modern medicine and a better understanding of healthy habits keep me going.

In fact, Patricia’s paragraph above is startlingly close to what my character, Rose (in my forthcoming title) says when she’s faced with the prospect of leaving 1985 to go to some unspecified time, presumably in the past. Then she lists the many things she doesn’t think she can exist without. To that, Hunter replies (paraphrasing), “Aren’t there any years between [ancient time] and your present day which have most of those features.” And then Rose suggests a few decades in which she THINKS she might survive… even though it would mean no microwave oven!

But all that said – by Patricia and by my characters – I do have a few thoughts about how I might utilize time travel for myself.

Time Travel for Research

For research (on writing projects), I would love to be able to zip back to a particular time and place and poke around long enough to get the SENSE of the period. Historical writers can Google topics all day long and all they’ll have are maps, photos, and perhaps descriptions. To really get a feel for that event, they’ll often travel to the site… even though that site has certainly changed in the intervening decades (or centuries).

Interviewing the living individuals who actually participated in the event can certainly add context and sensory elements. And that’s about as far as a modern day researcher can go. UNLESS he/she could hop into my time machine and zip back to the event as it is happening.


Rod Taylor in the 1960 Hollywood version of H.G. Wells’ “Time Machine” 

Even though it would involve danger and trauma, I think I would want to be an eye-witness to some of the most fascinating mysteries of the past two centuries. Sort of like true immersion in a cold-case file. For example:

  • I’d like to poke around Atlantis, see WHERE it was and what it was like… and WHO those people actually were
  • in Whitechapel while Jack the Ripper was running amuck (1888-91). NOTE: while I would NOT wish to actually witness the Ripper violently murdering one of his victims, I WOULD like to be at the end of the alley when he tries to escape — so I’d get to see his face and what carriage he gets into.
  • with my great-grandfather Robinson when he spotted a UFO – cigar-shaped – in southwestern Alabama (1896-1897). NOTE: nobody knew about it back then, but exhaustive research has since revealed that there were military / government tests of “flying machines” – i.e., motor-powered dirigibles, apparently – during that period.
  • at the Lindberg home when their baby was snatched (1932). NOTE: they guy who was executed for this kidnapping was apparently involved in some way (since he was found with some of the ransom money), but he didn’t snatch the child and didn’t kill the child.
  • on the correct island in the Pacific when Amelia Earhart’s plane went down (1937)
  • in Roswell NM, when the AAF recovered the “flying disk” (1947)
  • in Dealy Plaza when JFK was shot (1963). NOTE: I would NOT want to see the bullets hit my youthful president, but I would like to be on the grassy knoll and see who was behind that fence with the other rifle.
  • many more that I just can’t think of right now

Though some of those may seem a bit too gruesome to be present for, they are just a few of the long-standing mysteries which have captured my imagination for much of my life. If I could zip to a particular day and hour, I’d love to see for myself WHAT happened, and WHO did it… and settle the mystery for all time.

Time Travel for Pleasure?

I doubt I’d do much time travel for pleasure. I’d probably be tempted to go back to scenes which I remember quite fondly… and I’d worry that maybe they weren’t quite as rosy as I remember them now. OR, I’d try to go back to times when I really screwed up and try to un-do those debacles… and we all know (from movies) that this never turns out right.

For a slightly DIFFERENT look at time travel, click on my column the last time we tackled this general topic:


[JLS # 428]

About Jeff Salter

Currently writing romantic comedy, screwball comedy, and romantic suspense. Fourteen completed novels and four completed novellas. Working with three royalty publishers: Clean Reads, Dingbat Publishing, & TouchPoint Press/Romance. "Cowboy Out of Time" -- Apr. 2019 /// "Double Down Trouble" -- June 2018 /// "Not Easy Being Android" -- Feb. 2018 /// "Size Matters" -- Oct. 2016 /// "The Duchess of Earl" -- Jul. 2016 /// "Stuck on Cloud Eight" -- Nov. 2015 /// "Pleased to Meet Me" (novella) -- Oct. 2015 /// "One Simple Favor" (novella) -- May 2015 /// "The Ghostess & MISTER Muir" -- Oct. 2014 /// "Scratching the Seven-Month Itch" -- Sept. 2014 /// "Hid Wounded Reb" -- Aug. 2014 /// "Don't Bet On It" (novella) -- April 2014 /// "Curing the Uncommon Man-Cold -- Dec. 2013 /// "Echo Taps" (novella) -- June 2013 /// "Called To Arms Again" -- (a tribute to the greatest generation) -- May 2013 /// "Rescued By That New Guy in Town" -- Oct. 2012 /// "The Overnighter's Secrets" -- May 2012 /// Co-authored two non-fiction books about librarianship (with a royalty publisher), a chapter in another book, and an article in a specialty encyclopedia. Plus several library-related articles and reviews. Also published some 120 poems, about 150 bylined newspaper articles, and some 100 bylined photos. Worked about 30 years in librarianship. Formerly newspaper editor and photo-journalist. Decorated veteran of U.S. Air Force (including a remote ‘tour’ of duty in the Arctic … at Thule AB in N.W. Greenland). Married; father of two; grandfather of six.
This entry was posted in characters, experiences, history, imagination, Jeff Salter, Miscellaneous, research, What if and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Time On My Hands

  1. I, too, have the same thoughts of time travel as Patty and you. I rather wish the one who came up with the topic has weighed-in this week, so we could get a truly positive post.
    You have some great ideas. Tomorrow I will more focus in on eras more than actual events, although yours are fascinating, (we should talk UFOs some day).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Salter says:

      the Fox who suggested this topic will post on Saturday, she tells me.
      Eager to see what you come up with tomorrow… I can’t guess which eras you’d prefer to visit.


  2. ejhomusic says:

    Ever since I saw the movie, “The Time Machine”, I have been fascinated with the idea of traveling through time. However, I have to admit I would only want to visit another time briefly, as I am quite comfortable with my current time and place. The theories of time travel do provide some interesting ideas for what if stories.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jeff Salter says:

      it would be difficult for me to go backwards in time… to periods when many of my creature comforts were not available.
      I didn’t discuss the FUTURE in my blog today, but there are some interesting twists about that type travel, too.


  3. Patricia Kiyono says:

    It would definitely be nice to have the ability to solve age-old mysteries by going back and observing! I imagine the criminal justice system would love it – no need for long, drawn-out court cases. How coincidental that my thoughts echoed your characters! She sounds like someone I should read about.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Salter says:

      this new title should be out soon. I just sent the proofed galleys back last week.
      Yeah, the thing about those OLD mysteries is that — as principals die — we forever lose access to what they saw and did. Unless they hid notes in time capsules…


  4. jbrayweber says:

    Traveling back in time would be so cool! But as we all learned from Back to the Future, we must be careful. LOL! Though, I’d like to go back and give myself some sage advice. And I think it would be pretty cool to witness some important moments in a few of my ancestors’ lives, too.

    Certainly, it would be fascinating to pop in just about any time period. Life was so different for so many, and we could learn so much from them.

    A few of the places I’d visit – Ancient Rome, 18th century Caribbean, the siege of the Alamo…I know there is more. I just can’t jog my memory.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Salter says:

      Yes, Jenn — many places and people and events would interest me. Would even be cool to “watch” the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius… though from a safe distance. And that’s the whole thing for me: wanting to “see” things, but not be harmed by them.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m with you about missing the creature comforts, Jeff. But I’d also not want to live in the time I find most fascinating, the medieval period, because of the brutality of that age. And I probably would not be one of the upper class. More likely a peasant, even if there was some suggestion in a fast genealogy I did a long time ago to my paternal ancestors having come from a line of royalty way back so far it would have been untraceable. LOL

    As to traveling in time, I’d love to do some time travel when I need research for a story. But I’d like to show up right in the correct spot and moment for what I need. I don’t want too much, do I? Then I’d come home again. hee hee

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Salter says:

      yeah… I’d want a fool-proof, iron-clad guarantee that I could zip back to present day at any instant that I was ready.


  6. It would be interesting to be able to go back to solve these mysteries.
    I’m looking forward to reading your newest book when it comes out.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: Different Time, Different Place | Four Foxes, One Hound

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