Google Earth. Addictive!
It’s a strange thing to look at satellite photos of where I have been, and how the literal map matches up with my memories of that place. When I was a kid I used to draw out maps of places I had visited so that I would remember them. I also did this because I would pretend that I was an army general…
A couple of places I have lived and visited are Kingston, Utah and Kiev, Ukraine. Both of these maps show precisely where I was, and I can remember exactly what I was doing on a precise location. I can only imagine how precise the military can get with satellites these days!
Kingston, Utah is a little town that both sides of my family have connections to. An ancestor of mine on my father’s side was in Butch Cassidy’s “Hole in the Wall” gang. Ben Kilpatrick, a.k.a. “The Tall Texan”. My ancestors on my mother’s side were the settlers of this little town, and farmed alongside Butch Cassidy’s family. Butch’s real name was Leroy Parker. My uncle found one of Butch’s Colt 45 pistols on a nearby mountain range while riding his horse. He was offered a good amount of money for it back in the 80s, but he didn’t ever sell it. My uncle passed away a few years back. I am glad that I had the chance to visit he and my aunt before he passed. My wife, baby daughter and I were traveling all throughout Utah scouting out locations for photographers of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, and we stayed the night there while en route to the Native American reservations near Moab, Utah.
Another map that holds a lot of memories for me is that of the Vinogradr neighborhood of Kiev (or Kyiv) Ukraine. It was here that I witnessed some of the best and worst of human nature. One day while heading out of my apartment building I saw an old woman thrown out of a police station, by a policeman, into a busy road. It was a hot day and she had obviously wandered away from an old folks home. She had no shoes and looked to be very dehydrated. My friend stayed with her while I went back to the apartment to get some shoes (flip-flops) and bandages for her feet. When we started to give her first aid, a bunch of people stopped to help as well. Some of them (babushkas) went over to the police station and gave the cop a stern lecture. When I think of times where I haven’t quite measured up, times when I have not been courageous, I try and remember this moment.