TASS took off in Russia. Hitler published Mein Kampf. Radio broadcast the inauguration of President Coolidge. People all over the place had big ideas – so did Great Aunt Martha. I925 was a time for men (and women) of vision to thrust out into the world and invent the future.
Mussolini’s bright idea was to take over Italy. Aunt Martha, twenty five and caught up in the general exuberance, had designs of her own - on a young Italian called Roberto. They arrived back in London to the excitement of the first London Bus, higher than an elephant in the narrow streets of world’s largest city – largest until New York had a bigger idea.
Charles Jenkins sent the first synchronous transmission of pictures and sound five miles from Anacostia to D.C. – “radio vision”, they called it.
John Logie Baird created the British ‘television’ and sent a live picture of his colleague from one room to another.
Martha married her Italian.
They watched the century invent itself on the small screen and they watched the reruns; Coronation Day, JFK, man on the moon, The World at War, John Lennon shot dead.
“T.V. just gives people wrong ideas,” said Uncle Roberto. “Worst thing ever invented!” Martha insisted ideas couldn’t be good or bad, only actions. She won by living longer.
Last time I visited her at the nursing home in 2001, she was watching the latest news. “Flying bombs and T.V.” she said, “You know, I sometimes wonder whether I was wrong.”