As a child, I remember being told that as you get older, time seems to speed up. I also remember thinking that would ever be case for me. It was my experience that a school year lasted forever and waiting for special events to come around, like my birthday, felt like an eternity. I understood time as a set measurement. 24 hours in a day and 365 days in a year. Would time really feel like it was going by faster as I got older?
Well, here we are… a few decades later and I can definitely confirm that theory appears to be true! How did 2018 go by so quickly? How have the past 5,10, 15, 20 years gone by so quickly?
As a human being, it can be overwhelming given that we only have a limited amount of time in this life. The faster time goes, the closer we get to…well you know. But as someone who likes to study history, I can fully appreciate the passage of time as a gift. It helps me appreciate the present moment because what happens today will soon be considered history.
That is why it is so important that we document, as accurately as possible, the events that are happening today. 100 years from now, future generations will be grateful to have a glimpse into the past.
How do I know this to be true? Well, in 2019 we will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of the launching of the SS Palo Alto, more commonly known around town as “The Cement Ship.” And yes, I am aware that it is a concrete ship but the nickname has been around longer than I have and let’s face it, “The Cement Ship” rolls off the tongue much easier than “The Concrete Ship.”
I am amazed with the amount of history we have about the Cement Ship. She was built and launched 100 years ago and we know just about everything about her…how she was built, where the materials came from, how much everything weighed, how much everything cost, what her intended purpose was versus what actually happened, and all the details about how she went from being built as an oil tanker in World War I to becoming an “entertainment ship,” a fishing vessel, an artificial reef, and a landmark in our little town of Aptos. Plus the photos we have in the Aptos History Museum archives are incredible.
I am extremely excited to celebrate the ship’s centennial next year. We have some great events planned that will span over multiple weekends, including an initial celebration kickoff on Saturday, May 18th. There will be a presentation at the Rio Sands Hotel that will feature all the details about the ship’s history and will include some photos that most people have never seen. This will be followed with a short, guided history walk to the Seacliff Visitor Center, directly across from the Cement Ship, where we will have drinks, snacks, and a very special live musical performance by the appropriately named, “Cement Ship.”
The next day, Sunday, May 19th, Jon Nordgren, Director of Bands at Cabrillo College, will be hosting a musical performance by The Cabrillo College Symphonic Winds at 3:00pm at Crocker Theater (Cabrillo College) with a piece he wrote in 1995 as part of his Masters thesis at CSUH. It is a tribute piece to the Cement Ship. This performance will be accompanied with a slide show to take us through a visual and audible history of the ship.
Then on Saturday, June 1st, we will wrap up the celebration with another gathering at the Seacliff Visitor Center, which will have live music, refreshments, walking tours, and more! Stay tuned for more details about each event, as we get closer to the dates.
The centennial of the Cement Ship isn’t the only anniversary we will be honoring in 2019. On October 17, it will be 30 years since the Loma Prieta Earthquake. As many of you know, the epicenter, which is actually just an estimate based on the hypocenter, is located right here in Aptos in the Forest of Nisene Marks State Park. The Aptos History Museum will be planning a special presentation and possibly even some guided history tours to the epicenter. Again stay tuned for more details in the coming months!
So you see, the passing of time is what creates history. None of us have the power to stop time so we are better off accepting and celebrating all the great things in our lives that will one day be a memory in the history books. Take this time to review the past year and make sure you document the things that you believe should be remembered and passed down through the ages. Who knows, in 100 years, you may end up as part of a history presentation!
Happy New Year Aptos! May you all be happy, healthy, and safe!
For more information about the Aptos History Museum, upcoming events, or becoming a member of the museum, please visit www.aptoshistory.org and follow us on Facebook and Instagram @aptos_history_museum.