Remember When …

Columnist Mona Ballge on one of her trips to Greenwich, England. Photo provided

Columnist Mona Ballge on one of her trips to Greenwich, England. Photo provided

New Year Day 2021 will be a start of new beginnings for all of us. Like never before, the playing field of life has changed for not just one family, but for all the world, because of the lockdowns of 2020.

Memories the past year is of have taught us to be kind, be patient, help those in need and really get to know our own families again. So, what are your plans? Reevaluate the way we live and work, from home, do we start a new business and/or involve our kids? Whatever we choose, don’t be afraid.

Genesee County has many clocks in its town squares. We don’t need to worry about time, but its good if we manage our time better this year. There are New Year’s celebrations around the world that are unique to their own country and are at different times of the year.

Americans like to start early the night before the first day of the New Year with a gathering of family and friends. Some other countries too, remembering the past months and happy for the new year ahead. Some countries kick out the past year and drop a plate, eat some grapes, or even pack a suitcase for the new year of prosperity. What are your traditions? New York used to do fireworks, until it was banned in 1907. That’s when Adolph Ochs started the countdown by lowering a 700-pound illuminated ball that lands at midnight.



How many hours in a year of 365 days? 52 weeks, 8,760 hours and 525,600 minutes 31,536,000 seconds. Whew! That seems like lots of time, right? Not if you don’t plan, it will just zoom right by and the year is gone. Time does not stop!

As the New Year starts tomorrow, we have a blank slate to love our family and be kind to others. How do we know the time is correct? Back 6,000 years ago in history they used to use the moon for time of year “Lunar Calendars, (Chinese still use it) then the study of more accurate measuring instruments was called, “horology.” About 1500 BC they used a sundial with a gnomon to cast a shadow on a set of markings for the hour, by watching the dial this estimated local time.

Caesar in 45 BC put the Romans on a solar calendar trying to perfect time and instituted Jan. 1 as the first day of the calendar year. Throughout history science and has been trying to perfect how to read exact time around the world, and since 1847 Great Britain use the Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and broadcast around the world by 1924. The Greenwich Mean Time will always be important because it is measured on the earths “zero-degree line of longitude,” or the Prime meridian, which runs from the North Pole to the South Pole passing through the Old Royal Observatory in London.

I was able to travel to Greenwich a few times in my research since 2018 you can even see the 0 degree “Mean” Line, light up at night sky, which is the Prime Meridian for the world. Universal Time (UT) still uses the mean time at Greenwich, London, England. We now use atomic clocks to tell more accurate time. With our watches and cell phones are hook to satellites in the sky, it should be correct. So, write your plans down, simple is best, step by step. Happy Holidays have a wonderful 2021! We will soar like eagles in Michigan.

Remember When is a weekly column in the Burton View featuring historical stories about the community from the Burton Area Historical Society. If you have some Burton history to share, email