just ten years too late
and a hundred miles short;
he was never able to visit that way.
It was a lot of talk,
from one body to another,
a ploy to earn public trust
and then take the taxes.
All for the public good, they said,
but some pockets were lined
with that hundred miles of track
my grandpa never got to ride.
© 2012 by Elisabeth T. Eliassen
Jack. He studied law, but preferred to live what he taught himself: electronics and jazz piano. He, as many of his and surrounding generations, had bought the product branded as "progress"; he had high hopes for a future filled with the closeness that the much imagined electronic-age could offer. He did not live to see the computer-age go mainstream; when he died, the dial phone and manual typewriter were the main forms for communication, in addition to the radio waves he surfed during his career and television. He did not live to benefit from the aging electronic-rail system that by now has carried millions of others under the San Francisco Bay, to and from communities all around the Bay Area. The idea had been born in the late 1940s, but the dream was not realized until the early 1970s, due to political stalls and money "shortages". Now, so many people take the system for granted; even though the system continues to expand it is no longer the marvel that it was when it first opened. When, in 1973, I traveled under the bay for the first time, I thought of Jack, and wished he was with me. I know he would have held my hand with the same ageless excitement I felt.