Back to the Future

I have had the same e-mail address for the past six or seven years. My husband signed me up for it before I really knew what e-mail was or what impact it would have on my life. He read somewhere that a pet's name makes a good e-mail address so for the past several years I have been known as Ollie, for the cat that came with my husband when we married.

I get a lot of funny e-mail, intended for guys named Ollie, I guess. For a while I received gun-crazy, illiterate, misogynistic letters from sailors communicating between submarines, until one day I simply couldn't take the bad grammar anymore and had to write them to cease and desist from sending me any more letters.

One nice young man wrote back to tell me that he had to look up a few of the words from my note but once he understood it, he was sorry they had offended me and he would try to read more. "I am just finishing a Stephen King. There is not much to choose from on board." In my response to my charge of misogyny, he tried to set my mind to rest, "there are about 200 women on board to 800 men. I don't think that they are mistreated. They are pretty much appreciated. If you're attractive, then you're very appreciated."

I keep meaning to write him again since he went to all the trouble of getting out the dictionary to write me back but I can't quite figure out what to say.

In the meantime, today I received this:

If you are an alien disguised as human and or have the technology to travel physically through time I need your help! Also if you are from, I'm not sure this is the correct pronunciation: The planet (Valnator) please reply. My life has been severely tampered with and cursed by a very evil woman of my past.

I have suffered tremendously! I need to be able to: Travel physically back in time. Rewind my life including my age.

I felt compelled to open the message with the subject line, "attention time travelers and aliens," although I don't necessarily open all the e-mails I receive. For instance, I almost never open the letters from a company claiming it can increase my penis size. I have received several notes from a woman named Amy Wilson, who tells me I can "Work from Home and Get Paid!" I went to high school with a girl named Amy Wilson; I always open these letters because I imagine that the Amy of my high school years would expect a reply.

I am not, as far as I know anyway, a time traveler or alien but I want to ask Robby to write me again if he hears from either. Proof of another intelligent life would be cool, but I really want to time travel.

Initially, I thought to prevent suffering. For instance, I thought I could warn someone that the World Trade Center would be hit by planes; then I realized no one would listen.

So I decided to just go back and leave myself really freaky notes. First, I would visit 1880 to see my house when it was being built, and leave a note in the ceiling plaster (which we removed) saying not to cut down the lilac bush. I would leave a note in my dorm room to avoid a boy named Pat at all costs, "That boy will lie, cheat and steal then tell you it was your fault; just walk away."

Then I realized that I ignored my friends when they DID say that very thing so it was likely that I wouldn't listen to myself either.

I don't know what Robby is trying to fix but I suspect that even if he finds the time machine he won't be able to use it.

I suppose the best use for time travel is to simply gather information. Which is what I said to Clifton Prewitt, current owner of 112 Shawnee Place when he told me that he wishes he could just have 20 minutes with Karl and Mildred Schneider, who owned number 112 from 1935 until Clifton bought it this year. It seems Karl brought home ideas as well as discarded equipment and furniture from his job at the University of Kentucky in the Physical Plant Division. Former radio and television cabinets are used as shelving in the basement. In the finished attic, a built-in wardrobe bears a brass plate that reads "Projector (Bomb Spotting)."

Clifton meticulously restored the circa 1950 state-of-the-art kitchen by preserving stainless steel countertops, cleaning and replacing Art Deco inspired chrome hinges and pulls on the cabinetry, and doing absolutely nothing to the stainless steel oven and two-piece range and Clifton's favorite feature in the house - a switch by the back door that activates a small red light above it. According to Karl and Mildred's son, this switch was to be flipped on when one carried the portable phone into the backyard.

From the sidewalk, this stone cottage looks as though elves, a fairy godmother or Hansel and Gretel could live in it, while inside a very clever man left behind treasures, created to make his life easier, which will entertain future owners for years to come.

I, like Clifton, would like to spend twenty minutes with such a fascinating man.

And right after that I would visit myself at 18 and confront myself with this-your figure and skin will never look this good again, so use 'em before you loose 'em.


112 Shawnee Place

1715 square footage

4 bedrooms; 2 and one half bath

1 car garage

Dark Room


Contact Clifton Prewitt 619-7739

If you have a unique or interesting house for sale contact Lissa Sims at lsims@aceweekly.com.