“It’s hard to believe that graduation’s just a week away,” thought Ima DePhuture. She had one last major assignment - to interview Grandpa Tymer for StoryCorps. “Imagine, his story in the Library of Congress!”
Ima eased her roadster over a charging pad in the driveway. Squinting in the bright sunlight, she thought, “Gramp’s photo-voltaic roof shingles will be really cranking out the power today. I’ll charge up my car, and Gramps can top off his house batteries with plenty extra electricity to share in the community network.”
Ole Tymer hugged Ima and welcomed her in. He was so proud of her. At ninety-nine years old he had lived to see his youngest granddaughter graduate. Pouring two tall glasses of lemonade, Ole began his story.
One of his early memories was of the coal truck delivering the winter’s fuel supply. On those frigid winter mornings Ole wouldn’t venture out from under the quilts until he heard Mother clanking the clinkers out of the furnace in that coal dust filled corner of the cellar. With the fire freshly stoked, it was safe to venture out of bed. “Thank goodness we’ve moved beyond that messy fuel that dirtied our homes AND our lungs,” Ole reminisced.
And speaking of energy, Ole told Ima about being a young man during the oil embargo of ’73. “Imagine, in spite of spending billions to protect shipping lanes and to prop up sometimes unseemly governments, the great US of A was held hostage to foreign oil barons. In many ways we had forfeited our independence because of our thirst for oil. Thankfully, now with clean energy we can avoid all that nonsense and expense. And the power lines! They ran all over the place! Almost a quarter of the cost of electrical energy was spent just to build and maintain all those lines. Back then going ‘off the grid’ was a big adventure. Now, of course, we’re much more efficient, and with free energy from the sun most of us generate all our own power at home.
“You know, for so many years we were kind of ‘energy adolescents.’ And flirting with all those fossil fuel greenhouse gasses almost did us in!” chuckled Ole. “But now we too have graduated… to a clean energy future. And it’s a good thing because, Sweetheart, this is the only home you’ll ever know. You’re forever…Earthbound.”