Saturday, June 1, 2013

Human wormholes

You are looking at supercentenarian Jiroemon Kimura of Japan, who is now – at 115 – the oldest man on earth. Born on April 19, 1897, Mr. Kimora is the last man alive to have been born in the 19th century. I have been struck many times by stories of living individuals who reach into what seems to be the distant past. American Fleetwood Lindley, who lived until 1963, was the last person to have seen the face of Abraham Lincoln. Frenchwoman Jeanne Calment, who lived until 1997, sold pencils to Vincent van Gogh when she was a child. Blogger Jason Kottke came up with a name for these people and has been collecting their stories for years. He calls those who live long enough to create a one-generation link to historical figures "human wormholes." In New York in 1973, Robert Krulwich of NPR met a Russian man who had been a neighbor of Grigory Rasputin. In 2012, Krulwich interviewed Kottke about his favorite examples of these individuals who leap across space and time.


1 comment:

  1. My grandma was born in 1896 and died in 2000 - when she was 104.5. Her memory went back to when she was a little girl of 3 and I miss having access to hearing her experience of historical events in the 19th and 20th centuries, these included the time of Queen Victoria's death and being a nurse in the Great War of 1914-1918... Nothing new phased her, she was ready for anything, although she hated the wasteful lifestyle that developed in the 20th century - food waste especially upset her. Life was an adventure and she looked forward to death as a continuation of adventure...a new phase.


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