Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Merry Christmas, Bah Humbug!

Okay, the intermittent blogger is back making statements about her "gifts" at this the time of gift giving.  Would you like to know what's so funny about holiday shopping?  Everything in people's minds and their subsequent behavior.  When I need a really good laugh this time of year, I take an hour and go to a store where folks are madly dashing about shopping for people on their gift lists and just open the door to my "other ears" the most minute of cracks and listen to what's being broadcast into the "ethers" by those dear folks.  "Let's see, when I get this crap done here, I get to run to Target and see if they still have any of those (insert whatever you choose here), then, let's see, OH CRAP! @%#&$$@#!! Where did the kid get off to now!  CRAP!  Get over here!  I don't have time for this stuff of yours!"  And, all the while this person is smiling and telling everyone he/she meets that this is their favorite time of year.  Yep, sure sounds like it.  To add to the interesting nature of the season, the energies being shunted off into the atmosphere by folks is astoundingly weird too!   Sadness, misery, dismay, despair, greed, avarice, hesitancy, unworthiness to receive or give gifts...  all of it is being broadcast into the air, and, what's sad to me, is that very few folks notice any of it ~ even those who are doing it!  This time of year, my soul hears and feels all of the "Merry Christmas! Bah Humbug!" that is out there and wishes it could help people understand that what is in their minds is also in their hearts and is being shown more clearly than their actions much of the time.

You want to know who I love being around at this time of year ~ carolers and kids.  There is usually more than enough joy, happiness, wonderment, pleasantness, sincerity of thought and purity of heart to go around when those 2 groups are around.  They fill the atmosphere with so much positivity and make me feel their boyant spirits even when my "other ears" are closed tight.  I miss living in a time and place when carolers were more the norm than not.  My ability to carry a tune by myself is limited, but, I'm going out tomorrow and be a flash mob of one and sing carols to lighten the mood in the world.  Bellefontaine, Ohio beware!  This is not an idle threat!  It's a real threat...  I'm gonna sing in at least 1 or 2 unusual places all by myself tomorrow just because I'm happy, content and really thrilled to be around this year!  Sixty years old and 54 of them psychic.  Unbelievable that is has been that long since I gained knowledge of this gift and how to use.  I'm glad for it this time of year, because it can help me entertain myself when I get down...  sorry folks, but, it's true...  there are those of us out there that are funny because of the dichotomy of their words and thoughts.

Have met a lot of folks lately who don't realize how psychic or "intuitive" they really are.  They are really the joy in my Christmas season this year.  When I tell them they are just like me, they tell me there can be no way that is possible till I point out to them where and how they are using their "gifts" as well.  YAY!  I'm not the only one like me out there.  There are so many "gifted" kids growing up behind me knowing they have a gift.  Merry Christmas! no bah humbug!  How cool is that!  Knowing they are gifted with an intuition that it is okay to use.  How wonderful for them!  How difficult for them as well, but, with love and support from family and friends they will be less of an oddity than I feel like at times. 

So, to the psychic ones out there besides me, Merry Christmas!  To the rest who think and feel one thing and say and do another, Bah Humbug!  Lighten up, let go of pretense and just be...   or go people watching and have a good laugh instead of fretting over gifts and wrapping paper.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Okay, teenage years - once over quickly

Okay, here goes, my teenage years - once over quickly.  Being a teenager was utter misery.  Not only did I have breasts and begin menstruating before everyone else of my gender at school, my abilities were getting stronger and stronger.  It was really driving me to distraction, and that's putting it kindly.  Between 8th and 9th grades, I grew to my current adult height - 5'10'' - which made me one of the tallest kids in school.  That's right, one of the tallest kids, not just one of the tallest girls.  In fact, 3 other girl friends and I were, till the 10th grade, the tallest in our grade, even in high school.  Yeah, that didn't bring on any teasing and tormenting at all.  Each one of us confided to the others that it would be sooooo cool to be able to shrink down to the size of a cheerleader and be popular for a change.  That didn't happen either.  Instead, we all grew breasts, got our periods, and in general were a mess till the rest of the girls caught up with us, at least as far as the periods  arriving that is.

The closest I came to sharing my frustrations with my "gifts" with my friends was sitting with a bunch of girls in the womens' restroom at church telling scary stories, ghost stories and trying to levitate one of our group using "Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board" for a chant to encourage that to happen.  When we actually levitated the girl about a foot off the cement floor, an adult stuck her head into the restroom to see what was going on - "CRASH!!!" down she came to the floor in a heartbeat, with a lump on her head to prove she hit the floor hard.  Laughing and giggling we scattered to the winds as best we could so as to avoid any adult questions.  When we talked about it later with one another, one of the girls asked, "Did you all see that man standing there watching us?"  I nearly said "yes" but stopped when another girl said, "Yeah, right, there was a man standing there watching us!  Where was he, in the sink? You have gotta be nuts to believe that!"  But, there was a guy standing there, near the sink, watching everything we were doing and shaking his head in disbelief.  No way in the world was I telling anyone that I could not only see him, but, sometimes, I could hear his thoughts as well.  Nope, not telling a soul.

Ninth and tenth grades were okay, mostly.  Tried my best to fit in with the few friends I had, and pretty much kept my mouth shut about hearing voices of folks not present and all that sort of thing.  Junior and senior years at high school were the absolute worst ever.  I finally was allowed to date, sorta.  Had to have a chaperone for the first 6 dates because my folks thought me so naieve as to "give myself away" to the first boy that would even think about kissing me.  Never had those thoughts, but, they didn't care.  Teenage hormones scared the crap out of them, so, I got to go on chaperoned dates.  Yep, that really made me a laughing stock and put me utterly out of the realm of dating.  When they finally relented because I wasn't being asked on dates, I dated a wonderful fellow who "sorta" accepted the paranormal - ghosts, spirits, and that stuff, not hearing and talking to them.  It was fun, but, frustrating because I could hear relatives of his trying to communicate with him.  Since he didn't want anything to do with that stuff, I got to pretend it wasn't happening.  Hated that part.  Being someone I wasn't just was miserable.  Things didn't get any better the next year either.  In fact, my gifts were being so "pushy" that I began wishing them away every day.  Each time they would rear their heads, I would wish them to go away... till finally they did.  My head was quiet. I didn't sense anyone "lurking about" anywhere, ever.  I was alone in my own skin, in my own world, and, as much as I had thought I would like it, I wasn't so sure I did. 

I finally knew what it was like to not have my "gifts" turned on all the time.  Hmmmm, really quiet, have to really pay attention to what other people say and do and not have anything else to rely on but that input...  Although I wasn't really comfortable without my other input sources, I let my gifts go, hoping they wouldn't ever rear their ugly heads again.  I was tired of having to pretend I didn't see, hear, smell, taste, feel things that no one else was aware of.  It was nice to be able to be "normal", only it wasn't.  But, my desire to be "normal", "regular", "like everyone else" was so strong, I deliberately ignored my gifts whenever they tried to break through the various barriers I had erected to them.  It was an uncomfortable time emotionally for me, but, I perservered because I thought it would be better to be "normal" than "weird".  I was wrong, but, that's a story for another time.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

"That book is dumb and getting breasts is a pain in the butt!"

The summer between the fifth and sixth grade years at school just stunk to high heaven as far as I was concerned.  Mom decided I was developing my breasts way to much for her comfort, so we had to have "The Talk" and I had to go brassiere shopping for the first time in my life. 

One:  "The Talk" in our neighborhood consisted of a mother handing her daughter a book (well-worn) to read that was a story about a girl who went out on a date with a boy, rode around in the back seat of a car while out on a double date, got to "French kissing" him and ended up with a baby.  Then the mother would say, "If you have a questions about this, just ask me" while silently praying that the daughter would be so confused she'd not ask any questions EVER.  That book went around the neighborhood to every girl that even looked like she might now have breast tissue or was growing hair under her arms or near her "privates".  None of us learned anything about menstruation from it, except that somehow French kissing lead to babies and that riding in the backseat of a car wasn't approved of by our parents.  Otherwise, the book was pretty useless. 

Two:  Bras were brassieres and they were very serious business.  Moms said so.  "You growing up now.  You have to have a brassiere."  Now, for those of you who have never had to go through this part of "womanhood", this can be a real jolt to your sense of who you are.  One summer you can take off your shirt and just play bare chested like everyone else (read that , the boys) because it was 100 degrees in the shade.  The next summer, you cannot, under any circumstances, remove the first stitch of clothing even if you are in danger of heat prostration because your Mom says so.  The boys weren't treating those of us whose mothers had deemed us in need of brassieres any differently.  That was the pervue of our adult female parents. 

My transition to "womanhood" came all in one hellish week early in June.  Mom had a bunch of the neighbor ladies in for cards, snacks, and to bring their daughters over so we could all be introduced to the "wonders of womanhood" together.  One, the girls and their mothers she invited over were as embarassed about the subject as she and I were.  Yeah, this was gonna be a great experience - NOT!  So, while our moms feasted on sandwiches, punch and played cards the 5 of us sat in the backyard in lawn chairs pretending we were getting suntans in our shorts and middie tops and passing around "The Book" and reading chapters of it aloud to one another...  and laughing our butts off from embarassment and from confusion.  At one point, Pam's mom leaned out the patio door and asked us if we had any questions yet.  Huh?  Questions about what?  Not one word in the book about vaginas, ovaries, cervixes, penises, sexual desire, intercourse or any of the other things "The Talk" is generally supposed to cover.  Just a weird and convoluted story about a girl kissing a guy and getting pregnant.  For all we could figure out, once you got breasts riding in the back seat of a car with a boy got you a baby and that French kissing was something our moms didn't want to explain to us.  The kissing part sounded intriguing, but, if there was no description of it, how could we figure out if it was wrong?  Other than that, the book was pretty useless.

The only common link between all of this foolishness that the five of us could determine was the extra fat on our chests that only 2 of us - me and Pam - were getting.  We decided right then and there that "that book is dumb and getting breasts is a pain in the butt!" by unanimous vote.  We even elected Pam to tell our moms the result of our voting.  The result of that vote was our moms taking all of us out for a brassiere fitting enmasse that very day!  Great, shopping for a brassiere, dying of embarassment, having someone else besides your mom measure your chest naked, and then bringing a whole slew of brassieres into the dressing room for you to try on.  Yepper, great experience, especially when all you were in the same huge dressing room together.  Yikes! 

What does all of this pubescent stuff have to do with being psychic as a kid?  And, what did it have to do with making that summer stink to high heaven?  LOTS!  One, I really knew what the Moms were all thinking and feeling even more acutely than I did before.  Constant fretting and worrying everywhere and about everything the girls and I did from dawn till bedtime and even after we went to bed.  The constant worrying and mental jabbering was overwhelming.  Combine that with the beginning of estrogen invading the bloodstream and it is a total chaotic mess.  I so didn't care that Mrs. V next door worried that her only daughter might see a penis before she "was ready"  - whatever that meant.  Nor did I care to know the innermost thoughts of any of the other moms with whom my parents interacted.  Good grief!  Puberty brought out the worst in their thoughts that's for sure.  And, then there were the thoughts and feelings from the girls themselves.  OVERLOAD!!!  And try as I might, it seemed like closing up shop for the night got harder and harder every minute.  I so wanted to go back to the summer before.  It was much easier and so much less confusing mentally and emotionally.  The changes in my body were changing the way my gift was working and I really didn't like it much.  It would have been so nice to be able to turn it off and just walk away and leave it sit there by itself.  There were times I felt almost psychotic from all the "stuff" swirling in everyone else's heads and in mine as well.  And there was no one to talk to about it at home.  Changes weren't fun and I really wanted this one to go away.  Little did I know it was going to get worse for me, much worse, before it began to get better.

Yepper, that book was really dumb, totally useless when it came to learning the facts of life, and getting breasts was a giant pain in the butt!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Closing up shop

There was one weekend when I stayed with my Cousin D and we both pestered Granma mercilessly all day and most of the evening.  Having left something at her house that D and I wanted to use, I dashed next door to Granma and Granpa's to retrieve it.  She was brushing down her hair with her eyes closed.  It was such a peaceful and beautiful moment to observe.  Granma S would always brush down her hair when I was younger.  She'd wear it pinned back all day for her factory work job and then at night, she'd unpin it and brush it down at night.  It was pretty hair - dark mostly with some salt and pepper gray beginning at the temples and at a curl in her forehead - and mostly down to her shoulders all around - really pretty hair.

"Whatchya doin' Granma?"  "Closing up shop!"  "Huh?"  "Closing up shop ~ telling everyone good night and get some rest ~ closing up shop."  "Why are your eyes closed?"  "So I can close up shop!"  "Huh?"  "Close up shop.  End things for the day.  Let 'them' know I'm done for the day and don't want to hear any more."  "Oh.  Have you seen my drawing pad?  I think I left it here before supper."  "Basement by the wringer."  "Okay, thanks!"  "Tell your Uncle J Granpa and I need him to help us tomorrow with picking all the blackberries that are left."  "Okay, g'night!"  "G'night!"

Doesn't sound like much of a conversation does it?  But, years later, like right now, I remember it so well and so darned clearly.  She was telling me something I really needed to know and had said so on numerous occasions - how to turn off my "gift" when I wanted to.  Doesn't sound like much of an instruction does it?  No, not really.  But, it was HUGE!!!!!   She had a ritual that she went through every day and night that told "them" that she was through listening and being engaged with them.  I just didn't realize it at the time because of my age and inattention to her subtle teaching about being "gifted" and how to manage it.   And, Granma was also telling me, without telling me, that she still had her gift and used it most days, even though it was something Granpa really didn't "cotton to".  Again, youth and inattention let me miss that one for a long, long time.

Granma was and still is a very important woman in my life for tons of reasons.  She was the first adult female to allow me (and my female cousins) to join the female rights of passage in her household:  sitting and snapping beans on the back porch and talking all afternoon; learning to run the wringer washer and hang clothes on the line while holding clothespins in your  mouth and talking about things; plucking, gutting and cutting up chickens for dinner(after they had been caught and had their heads chopped off by Granpa); shelling peas on the back porch and talking about everything; how to retrieve eggs from a hen house without being pecked to death; talking about menstruation without embarassment (something the mothers in my family didn't do well); letting the girls experiment with her make-up under her supervision so we wouldn't look like "trollops"; and best of all, learning from her that it didn't matter who the person was, if they didn't have manners and good behavior, they were 'poor' and needed to be shown good examples of behavior and "comportment".  She was also the person who told our parents to hush and let us be kids while at her house; let the grandkids eat any and all food with their hands, spoons only, or whatever struck their fancy because it would be a learning experience about how people in other times and places ate their meals; and who subscribed to National Geographic and talked to us about the bare breasted women and the oddly disguised penises of tribal men that appeared in its pages just because it was good for us to learn more than what was being taught in school.  In other words, she was one cool gal!  She was a heroine to me.  She taught us a lot about being kind by example, by talking to us about odd situations from her childhood, by deed, and by just living her life every day.  

It took me a long time to realize then that she was always teaching me in particular, and the rest of the grandkids in general, about "the gift" of being psychic, of knowing when ghosts were around.  How to tell if something is spirit or ghost.  What's good energy or bad energy.  How the land feels.  How plants feel.  How to listen to the wind and pick things up from it that are unspoken.  The memories still come back and teach me now ~ especially because I am working to retrieve them so I can remember those lessons more clearly.  Granma S was the Granma who told ghost stories sitting around the patio in the dark.  Or, the elder who told stories about her kids growing up and the entities that they drew to the homes in which the family lived, often to the shock and surprise of her husband and grown children.  She was quite the lady and one terrific Granma.

And she's just come to whisper to me, "Go to bed child, you need your sleep!  It's time to 'close up shop' for now.  Get goin'~NOW!"  So, with that I'm off to bed, closing up shop for the night and remembering that sometimes psychic teachings come in the quiet things said and observed and remembered later.

Monday, March 22, 2010

"Did you kow that..."

"Did you know that if you sit really still and quiet your mind will too?" said my Granma S.  She was a peach of a woman.  Since I was always such an inquisitive kid and didn't like to sit too still unless there was something neat to do - listening to "them" for instance - Mom and Dad enlisted her help in trying to get me to be a little less "me" and a little more "what you are supposed to be".  Granma knew I would do anything she asked of me, if I could, so, it was a safe bet, or so my folks thought, to have her ask me to be less "me" and more, mmmmm, "not me".  Well, hard as I tried, my intellectual curiosity and my gift kept getting me all stirred up and in trouble with my parents.  Not a good thing this gift of mine.  I kept trying to shut it off, but, not knowing how it got turned on in the first darned place, it was pretty hard to figure out how to turn it off - even a little bit.

So, on the day Granma asked me if I knew about sitting really still and quiet, I decided to go for broke and ask her if she could tell me where to find the off switch for my gift.  "Granma, if I sit really still and quiet, will the dead people stop talking to me?  Will I not hear the critters every now and then? Do you know how to make that happen?"  Bless that dear soul, she didn't treat me like a nut case, nor did she bat an eye at the questions either.  She just said, "Child, if you are meant to hear and see them you will.  If you aren't you won't.  Your folks just want you to calm it down a bit, that's all."  "But, Granma, I don't know how to!  When Sister told me I'd have this stuff, she didn't tell me how to make it work, just that I'd have it and be able to use it to help people one day.  Do you know how to do that?  Or, don't you!"  (Brave kid, dumb kid, Granma hated sass mouths.)  "Well, I do, but, my way only works for me.  You have to find your own way."  Then she went on to explain to me that the women in her family always had this gift and most of them could not only hear and see, but could smell, taste and even feel the dead and their ailments, etc. (Portents of things to come many years later for me.)  Part of her heritage was American Indian (don't ask which tribe, I don't know for sure) and the heritage she had was from "medicine" and not to be taken lightly or abused or disused.  So,she told me that my "job" was to let my folks think I had given up on "the gift thing" and pretend it wasn't there any more.  That really sucked!  I knew it was like living a lie and said so to Granma.  She told me she hated living a lie too, but, to keep peace with Granpa she had to keep her gift under wraps because while he knew it was real and that she had it, he just didn't like her "using" it because of his affiliation with the Christian Church of America as a Deacon.....   something about the "Devil" and it not being "Good" but "Evil" - after hearing my Granpa disapproved of such things,  I was too crushed to listen too closely. 

As much as my folks wanted me too, I didn't stop hearing voices, or seeing people for the longest, longest time.  I didn't learn to turn my gift off either, nor did I try.  I just learned to sit really quiet and listen in my head to the things going on around me.  Didn't share it with much of anyone either - except Granma once in a while.  It got really lonely in my heart because I knew this was a living lie.

Did you know that if you sit really still and quiet you mind will get that way too?  You can also hear "them" a lot better if you aren't yapping away yourself.  I know this for a fact.  I've tried it.  HeHeHe

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

"What Are You Doing Now?" " Listening to Critters Talk!"

Have you ever sat and listened to your critters talk to you?  Seriously, have you?  No, they don't have voices that you magically hear in your head - well, at least mine never have had voices, except of course for their purr or bark/growl or what have you.

The summer of my fantastic fourth grade year, we made a trip to my Dad's sister's house in rural Missouri near the mighty Mississippi River.  It was a boring trip, except for having to beg Dad to stop driving long enough to let us out of the car to go pee.  The cool part was visiting my Aunt D and her family, even drunken Uncle J.  We got to sleep on an upstairs summer porch that was all screened in.  You could hear crickets, tree peepers, bullfrogs, owls, even, shudder, bats whirring by.  What a magical week it was. 

Aunt D had a mynah bird named, appropriately, Mi Nuh Byrd.  Byrd liked to whistle.  Dad taught him to whistle Stars & Stripes Forever - off key!  All of us kids - the 3 of us in my family and Aunt D and Uncle J's 4 - loved the heck out of how ticked off at Daddy Aunt D got when Byrd would whistle that tune.  I had even more fun "listening" to Byrd talk to me about the going's on in the house.  He would show me images from his vantage point (base of a two-story staircase) in the main hall that was the central hub of the house.  Byrd's birds eye view of the household were hysterical to "listen" to once I figured out what they were.  Remember, birds have eyes on the sides of their heads, we don't.  So, the translating of the images was interesting for sure.  Gave the surreal household an even more surreal twist when seen through Byrd's eyes.    I sat for several hours one morning just talking with Byrd - silently of course - while everyone else, including the adults, were outside doing other things.  When Aunt D finally figured out I was missing, she came looking for me.  Finding me staring at Byrd, she asked what I was doing.  So, I told her, "I'm talking to Byrd.  He's talking to me too."  Now, parents talk about their kids with one another, this is something that kids know, so, I just sort of clammed up after having answered the question put to me.  What happened next was such a relief to me and made me love my Aunt D deeply till the day she died.  "So, are you using your mouth, or are you two talking in your heads?"  At first I thought she was making fun of me, but, her energies were telling me that she was seriously asking which type of talking I was doing, so, swallowing hard and taking a big chance, I told her, "We are talking in our heads.  But, please don't tell Mom and Dad.  That'll get me in trouble - again."  Bless that dear woman's soul, she laughed the best laugh ever and just hugged me till I thought I would burst into pieces.

"Child, your Daddy could see dead people when he was your age, and he talked to them too.  So did  your Granma.  Heck, even I know when there are ghosts and things around.  And both of your uncles could too.  Your Granma came from a line of folks with Indian blood in them and that's part of your heritage.  We just don't talk about it in front of your Momma because she has a hard time with all kinds of things since Sister died.  And your Granpa knows about it, but, with his upbringing, it's something he's not to keen talking about.  Okay now.  So, you go on outside now and play with the other kids.  It's our secret."  And then she gave me a big old winky eye and swatted my butt gently to urge me outside.   WOW!!!  Not only was I a weirdo, but my Dad, Aunt D, their two brothers and Granma were weirdos too!  I wasn't alone in the world - but, I still couldn't talk about it in front of anyone or to anyone with few exceptions.  Oh well, that was still great news and made the vacation even better.

Uncle J raised fighting banty roosters in addition to the regular chickens that laid eggs.  He and Aunt D also raised a few pigs, a few calves, had a milking cow (a lovely little Jersey named Hilda) and a sway-backed mare named Fern.  It was so interesting to watch those critters interact with one another and the 15 cats and assorted kittens, 4 hunting hounds and an old half-blind collie named Smooch.  Everything ran loose around that place.  The term these days is "free range".  Back then the phrase was "J's too damned lazy and drunk to keep the fences mended and the buildings fixed, so the critters pretty nigh much have run of the place except for the lane to the big roads."  Anyway, the critters all ran loose except down the lane to the big roads which had the one solid fence and gate in the whole place.  It was a glorious cacophany of critter sounds and messes.  "Go fetch the eggs in" meant you wandered over about 5 acres following where the flock of chickens had been to find their eggs.  "Milk Hilda" entailed finding Hilda, milking her wherever she was and gingerly carrying the buckets back to the house.  It was an absolute hoot!!!  Loved every minute of it.  I really did.  I wanted to stay there "forever" because it was okay to sit for hours and watch the critters doing their own critter things.  I was a kid, it was summer, and it was okay to goof off except at chore time. 

The banty roosters were some of my favorite critters to watch and listen to.  Forgive the pun, but, they were really cocky little birds.  They definitely spoke their minds quite clearly and with great opinion.  They really despised my Uncle J because he was a drunkard and he was rough with them.  They didn't like the fighting thing much either from what I could gather.  Roosters are a bit odd anyway, and listening to their thoughts was kind of tough because their field of vision is so different and so hard to grasp what they were saying. 

The hens were a noisy lot, both actually and mentally.  Jabber, jabber, jabber, jabber.  They really didn't like loosing their eggs to the humans, but, since they got to run around loose, they accepted it as part of the deal, so to speak.  But, they were so incoherent most of the time, that I got tired of them fairly quickly. 

Hilda and Fern were really neat though.  I could just sit near them and they would just wander over and stare back at me, or, if they really wanted to talk, would lay down next to me and just "be".  It was really neat to talk with them.  Hilda would let me lay next to her belly and rest my head between her udder and her ribs and just lay there and rest.  We'd talk about the weather, the other critters, Fern, the family - you name it, we talked about it.  She would follow me anywhere I walked, something she never did with anyone else, before we came to visit or after we left.  Fern was awesome too.  That old sway-backed old mare never let anyone ride on her bareback.  Never, well, except for me.  I'd bribe her with an ear of dried corn and she'd walk over to a place I'd tell her in my mind and up I'd climb and we'd walk all over the place like that.  No bridle, no saddle, just me, Fern and the halter that was always half off her head.  Mom about had kittens over our agreement when I asked Fern to "run" and she did - at full gallop - for about 5 minutes with me holding onto her mane at the withers.  Both Fern and I were having such a good time "running" that we didn't realize that it was scaring the bejeezus out of the adults - even Aunt D.   Mom screamed at Dad to "do something!" Uncle J stood there slackjawed and went, "Well, I'll be damned!"  So, Aunt D took a dish towel from the laundry line and stood in our path and waved it up and down a few times to get our attention.  Fern flashed me a warning to hold on tight with my legs and hands because she was going to slide to a stop in front of Aunt D.  WOW!!!!  We slid 50 feet quite literally.  It was terrific!  Mom was having kittens all over the place.  Dad was laughing so hard he was crying.  Uncle J reached for another cold one.  My siblings and cousins were all asking how I got Fern to move faster than a walk, and Aunt D was just grinning like nobody's business.  "Did you two have fun running?"  "Yes ma'am, we sure did!"  I so much wanted to tell her what Fern was saying, but, I think she already knew that the "old girl" had had the time of her life as well.  "Well, climb on down from there, take Fern over and give her a good bath, feed her and put her up for the night, okay?"  "Yes ma'am!"  The rest of the kids helped with that assignment, prying me all the while for my secret as to how to get Fern to (a) let them ride bareback, and (b) how to get her to run. 

For the rest of our vacation, three days as I recall, I wasn't allowed to ride Fern at all.  But, I got to sit and talk to the critters a lot.  It was great.  The other kids wanted to go swim in the river - the Mississippi River - but, I didn't like to and so I didn't have to go.  When they'd come back from their jaunt to the river they'd ask, "What are you doing now?"  "Listening to critters talk" was always my answer.  They thought that meant just sitting and watching the goings on of the menagerie that inhabited my Aunt and Uncle's place.  It didn't.  It meant I was sitting and listening to critters talk.  It's a trait I can still employ at times but, I am far more comfortable using my ability to sense energies to communicate with the critters around me these days.  It doesn't take as much translation, and, it's still as much fun as listening ever was.

Monday, March 15, 2010

two things you don't want to be when you are growing up, smart and "different" and I was both of them.

Okay, so you've heard about the birthday party, and, given that set of circumstances, why I'm none too keen on ever having a party of my own...   Anyhoo, it was not easy being me at that age, or any other one for that matter, because of my "gift" and my native intelligence.  Yepper, two things you don't want to be when you are growing up, smart and "different" and I was both of them.

Fourth Grade, weird times and adjustments were there for me throughout the school year.  First one came when I was moved from one class to another because of my "smarts".  Talk about your unpopularity on two fronts.  The kids in the class I left because I was now "a smart kid", and, the kids in the class to which I was moved because I was a "new kid" and was lousing up their close-knit, been together forever clique by being placed, albeit unwillingly, in their class.  Yep, fourth grade was a lot of fun.  Not.  My folks weren't behind my being moved from one class to the other.  That idea came from the teacher's after my assessment scores came out.  Swell, just swell!  Being in the upper percentiles intellectually should have been a blessing, but, it really felt like a curse.

The course work was a bit more difficult.  Not that I couldn't do it, just that I didn't want to do it.  No one asked me what I wanted to do, so, I rebelled in about the only way I could.  I didn't do homework, I did lousy on classwork because I wouldn't pay attention to directions, or do things properly.  Needless to say, there were more than a few parent-teacher conferences over my now abysmal grades and attitude.  Mom took the situation in hand after about the 5th conference in as many weeks by having a private chat with me that went like this:  "I don't know what your problem is, and, right now I really don't care.  You will straighten up and behave yourself in school like you are supposed to.  You will not goof off in class.  You will bring your homework assignments home and do them.  I will sign them and you will take them back to school the next day.  You will do this until I tell you differently.  Your Dad and I are totally through with your attitude and your behavior.  This new class will help you use your mind to its highest level.  Don't you want that?"  Pardon me for laughing my butt off here, but, no one, seriously no one, in their right mind should ever ask a kid that question when that kid has real feelings on the subject.  The outcome of that question is never the response that is expected to be parroted back to the asker.   So, stubborn, willful child that I was, I answered the only way I knew in my heart how to answer - honestly.  "NO!!!  I don't want that.  I want to be with my friends!  I 'm tired of hearing all the things the kids in the new class say about me in their heads and out loud all day long.  I want to go back to my friends and do the things that make me happy."

Well, that was a guaranteed wrong answer in thought, word and deed.  At first Mom just stood there, mouth open, looking horrified at me that I dared to have thoughts on this matter of my own.  After she stopped turning, purple, red, orange, and then fading slowly back to beige, she cranked her neck around a few times and asked me "What in the name of all that's unholy, do you mean all the things the kids are saying in their heads about you?  I thought you were all through telling people you could hear things that they were thinking...  aren't you?!?"  "Well,when the whole crappy class (bad phrase for a 10 year old) is thinking you shouldn't be there and that you are a 'dork' and a 'jerk' and a 'weirdo' it's kinda hard not to hear what they are thinking!  And, they are saying it out loud to me too at recess and in class when the teacher isn't looking.  So, you tell me, how do I turn it off?"   Whether that was a legitimate question or not in Mom's universe, it was in mine.  That, however, didn't count for much when the punishment for being a "sass mouth" was handed down.  Nope, didn't help one iota.  I saw a lot of the inside of my bedroom, which in 1960-1961 was filled with my bed, the bunk beds my sister and brother slept in and our 3 dressers, an alarm clock radio, a small school desk and a small bookcase full of reading books.  No toys, no record player, no dolls, nothing fun whatsoever.  That's where I went every day after school "to think about my 'sass mouth' and the trouble it got me into at home and in school.  Didn't really care.  It was quiet.  No one was talking to me verbally or telepathically.  It was sheer heaven.  And, my siblings had to stay out of the room because I was being punished.  "Shucks!" she exclaims as she snaps her fingers in delight!  If this was punishment, I wanted more of it.

Of course, my parents, being true to their determination to assure their children received every educational advantage available to them, insisted that I be kept in the new class to which I had been assigned.  This was after they shared with the teacher that I didn't want to be in the class and that I didn't want to do the work and that I just wanted to be with my friends.  Swell, just swell!  Now the teacher had my folks behind her.  Just what I really needed to make me the unhappiest kid in the fourth grade.  Until...  music class in the Spring of 1961.  Then, I became a total pariah.

It started like this. The music teacher wheeled her piano from room to room with the help of student assistants. The day in question the teacher's 2 assistants happened to be twin brothers who were black.  Once they wheeled the piano into the room, the "Hey, who dipped you guys in black paint?" and many other less kind comments were thrown their way.  I could hear their minds as clear as day, "I'm gonna ignore them dumb white kids and not punch their faces in!"  "Momma would whoop my butt if I hit you, jerk!"  These boys were also responsible for helping the teacher set up her musical charts for the class, which they were having an horrendous time doing while shaking with rage...  so, being the kind-hearted kid I was (and still am) I got up, went to the chalkboard and helped them with their task before settling back in my seat.  Their minds were going a mile a minute between themselves about how nice to them I was and how much they appreciated it.  When I told them I'd always be nice to them, by using telepathy, the smiles on their faces were HUGE!  So was the smile on mine.  It felt nice to use my "powers" for good and make someone feel better.  So, at recess, which followed music class, my classmates decided to quite literally back me into a corner and try to beat the crap out of me for being nice to "Negroes" and other imagined crimes.  Only thing is, the twins came to my rescue and beat the crap out of the bullying boys and girls for me and with me.  It was a glorious day - even when I was sent to the Principal's Office for fighting along with the twins and the bullies.  Bloodied lips, bruised cheeks, 2 skinned knees and some bruised knuckles were my badges of honor that day.  The whole time we were all in the Principal's Office, the twins and I talked back and forth mentally.  It was nice to know that I wasn't the only person able to do that and that they didn't think I was crazy or weird for being able to do something that they had been sharing with one another since birth.  Losing recess for the remainder of the semester was no big loss to me.  Nor was having the bullies told in no uncertain terms that their behavior was hideous and reprehensible and would not be tolerated.  My new friends and I had to sit out recess in the Office sitting on hard wooden chairs staring at one another.  Loved every minute of it and that's what made me a pariah.  I refused to disrespect 2 boys whose only crime was being a bit different in skin color and I wouldn't back down when cornered.  It was glorious to have the voices of the bullies in my new class silence.  It was glorious that 2 other kids could do what I did - hear and talk with their minds.  And, if no one in my new class liked me for it, well, that was okay too. 

Yep, two things you don't want to be when you are growing up, smart and "different".  I was both of them, and, I was learning that I'd be "different" for the rest of my life whether I liked it or not.  Social outcast, yes, I was headed there as far as the kids in school were concerned.  Smart, well, my folks saw too it that I learned to use my intellect whether I wanted to or not, and I came to appreciate it.  Who wouldn't love passing tests one barely studied for?  Pariah for sure, but, hey, I was already a shy kid, so I just learned to live with it and went on.

Monday, March 1, 2010

"She's Weird!"

Writing this blog is very cathartic for me.  As one dear friend has said, "a private journal made public."  Over the weekend I gave a great deal of thought about the things I've been writing and how they effected me then, and how revisiting them now effects me.  It was an interesting study in contrasts, that's for sure.  These days when someone tells me I'm weird, I usually agree and laugh or say "yeah, so what!" and go on.  Then, not so much.  It crushed me deeply and dearly to be thought weird and shunted off to the side by peers. 

Back to the story about the family reunions and meeting Cousin's Kids who also heard and saw people and things that no one else admitted to seeing and hearing.  That was a huge blessing to a young girl who was routinely made fun of when she mentioned that she saw and heard ghosts and spirits.  It was like heaven on earth.  If my folks would have let me, I would have stayed right there in the mouth of that cave and lived out the rest of my formative years in a place where other kids understood and knew what I was talking about and where no one thought I was weird - including the adults.

The same year as the family reunion, I was invited to the first and only birthday party I would be invited to by a girl named Linda in my fourth grade class.  It was a huge deal to me especially since I had never been invited to anyone else's birthday party ever, except for my cousins.  So, on the appointed day, I walked the 7 blocks to Linda's house with the present I had personally picked out and wrapped.  Wore my best dress - the one usually reserved for Sunday School and Church.  Mom did my hair so that it was pretty and shiny.  I felt like a pretty little girl going to a swell party.  It was the top of the world to be invited to that party.  When I arrived, Linda's mother opened the door and said, "Oh, you came!  Well, come in."  That should have been a clue, but, to an excited fourth grader, clues like that go over their heads.  Party games ensued as they do at birthday parties.  Couldn't help but notice that I was always the last kid to get chosen for teams and the first one to do things that had the potential for getting dirty and/or embarassed.  But, hey, I was at a birthday party and Linda wasn't a cousin.  It was still fun, sorta.  Until Pin-The-Tail-On-The-Donkey.  I got to be the first person to play - not a good sign that even I couldn't ignore.  Blindfolded, spun around so rapidly and so long that I nearly barfed and then told to find the donkey and pin on the tail.  Yep, it was a disaster of epic proportions!  First, was directed toward the punch bowl which I proceeded to knock over and spill on my dress.  Then, guided by the rest of the guests' words, fell over a hassock and busted my lip.  Still foolishly game and wanting so much to fit in, I ventured on to where I was guided to jab that donkey's tail into the target.  It ended up being the backside of Linda's mother!  Not funny to her.  Not funny to me.  And definitely one of the earliest total humiliations of my young life, not to mention the now ruined church dress and my now fat lip that I would have to explain when I got home.

After she yowled in pain from me sticking a straight pin in her butt, Linda's mother took me upstairs to doctor my lip and wash my tear stained face.  I screwed up all my young girl courage and asked her why she had said, "Oh, you came." when she opened the door.  Reluctantly, she told me that she had told Linda she had to invite everyone in our grade to her birthday party - even the unpopular kids, of which I was one.  Linda told her she didn't think any of the unpopular kids would come, so, it surprised her when I showed up.  There weren't then, nor are there now, any words for how crushed, embarassed, humiliated, and just generally despressed I was at that news.  But, I decided to find out why Linda didn't like me, so, I asked her mom that very question.  Not knowing the answer herself, she called Linda upstairs for a quick chat.

I wished afterward that she had stayed downstairs and that I had never, ever, ever shared with Linda a her gaggle of giggling friends that I could see dead people and hear them talk in my head and all the other parts of my "gift" that I knew about.  When asked why she and the other more popular kids didn't like me, Linda replied, "She's weird.  She thinks she can see ghosts.  She talks to them in her head.  Well, we thinks she's crazy and we don't like her because she's just too weird!"  Prompted for a better explanation by her mother, Linda went on to say that the fact I always knew the answers to the teachers'  questions in school, was always trying to be nice to everyone, even the Negro kids that were new to the school (don't get all politically correct on me, it was the 50s and that was the language of the time) and that I thought I could talk to dead people was just too much and that the whole group took a vote and decided which of us should be voted the person who needed to be stayed away from the most - and that I was the person that won that vote.  Lucky me.  (Anyone want to know why I hate politics?)

Monday at school my life became a living hell, even after the teachers and the principal took my tormentors aside and told them to knock it off.   "Hey weirdo, who do you see today?"  "Pinned the tail on any donkeys lately?"  Being pushed and shoved on the playground was nothing new, but, it did reach a new level of intensity and deliberateness.  The other 6 or 7 girls who were also among the unpopular even stayed away from me because they were afraid of what delicious hell would be visited upon them should they be foolish enough to have me as a friend.  Fourth grade recess sucked and it sucked big time until...

"Hey weirdo, who do you see standing behind me today?" screamed Angela.  Taking about 2 seconds to really look, I saw her grandmother standing there frowning and crying.  She was tall, plump, had her hair in a bun on the back of her head and was wearing a calf-length dress with lots of pintuck pleats on the front of it - and I could see through her so I knew she was dead.  So, I screamed back, "I see your dead, tall, fat Grandma and she's crying and frowning."  "Lot you know, my Grandma is alive, you jerk!"  Only thing was, she wasn't.  She had died that morning just about the time we were all at recess.  Angela's mom came to school to get her about half an hour after the end of recess and told her her Grandma was dead.  Angela turned pale as paste, looked at me and asked, "How did you know that you weirdo?"  "I told you I saw her, didn't I! Maybe now you guys will believe me."

Whether the group ever believed me or not, I learned that having my gift could sometimes shut people up when they were tormenting me.  But, most of the time, it was that "weirdo thing" that kept me from having popular friends and I was really starting to not like it at all.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Family Reunions, Family Secrets, and Skeletons in the Closet

My Dad's folks and their families were from a very small town in rural Illinois.  They grew up together.  Several siblings from one family married siblings from the other family.  All of the family members in each family was familiar with the family lives of all the other family members in either family.  Everyone in the town, and the county for that matter, knew everyone else and everyone else's business.  That's just the way it was.

The town was an interesting place for us to visit as kids.  We had never been anywhere where everyone still went into town on Saturday night and walked up and down the sidewalks just to see who was out and about and who was doing what to whom.  It was a place out of an old movie - almost.  Except, in a movie, people wouldn't have known my dad's family and its lineage on both sides for several generations.  How do I know about all of this you ask.  Quite simple.  My Mom and Dad took us on an adventurous trips to the joint family reunion several summers in a row back in the day.  His dad's family, his mom's family, his sister-in-law's family and the family of my dad's sister's first husband all got together for a huge family reunion every summer.  It lasted for days and always took place at someone's farm home or on a large farm property under lots of old shade trees.  It was the best time ever to learn about all kinds of family secrets and skeletons in the closet (not just talking secrets here - but a real skeleton!)

The first family reunion I remember us going to was such a delightful event.  Sunshine, a small stream to go polliwog seining in, caves to explore, family horses to ride and fall off of, more fried chicken, mashed potatoes, real gravy, beaten biscuits, pies and cakes, lemonade and homemade pickles than you would think possible to see covering a tabletop anywhere.  And the things you could hear from people's minds without even trying to listen were amazing!  Who knew that my dad was considered an "ornery little guy with big ears" by his aunties growing up.  I didn't until the thoughts from one of his mom's sister's mind came screaming out of her head. "My goodness!  For such an ornery little guy with big ears, he sure grew up to be a good looking man!"  What was amusing to me was that her mouth was saying, "G, it's sure nice of you and your family to come to the reunion this year... glad to have you."    Now of course, by that time, I had learned not to tell anyone that I was hearing things that weren't being said aloud.  That wouldn't have been acceptable, let alone prudent on my part.  Well, let's say, I didn't tell my folks I was hearing things that weren't being said aloud.  I did, however, share them with Dad's Cousin's Kids when we were all crawling into cave entrances we weren't supposed to be near upon penalty of death.  Their response was to tell me that sometimes they could do things like that too.  Not believing them, I asked in my most serious tone, "Are you kidding me, or do you mean it?"  Blessings and surprises, they really meant it!  Other kids like me - WOW!  So, for a few hours the eight of us sat in the mouth of one of the caves talking about how and when we learned we could talk with our minds to the dearly departed and hear things people were thinking when they were really thinking hard, and about how much no one believed us.  And, best part, we practiced talking in our minds.  That was really the neatest part!  No words aloud, just minds chatting back and forth as we were able. 

Suddenly, one of Cousin's Kids jumped up and said, "We gotta get back on the horses and get to riding.  They're lookin' for us and if they find us here, my ma will smack my ass!"  The rest of us did as we were told, because after all, Cousin's Oldest said so.  Then it dawned on me to ask how he knew they were looking for us.  His reply was that he had heard his dad's mind yelling "If he's in that cave again, I'll skin him!  And, if he's taken the city kids in there, their parents will skin him worse!"  Well, wish I could say we escaped unscathed by parental wrath for being gone for hours with the horses and not telling anyone where we were riding off to, let alone "not coming back in good time so the other kids could have fun riding before it got dark."  Oops!  But, our backsides being sore not withstanding, it was interesting to learn that Dad's mom came from a long line of  people with "the gift" because Grandma's family was part Indian not too far back in the line. (I'm not politically correct here because this was the family explanation for "the gift" and I remember it this way.)  No one ever had mentioned "the gift" to the 3 of us in my family.  No one.  So, I asked my cousins, Dad's oldest brother's kids, if they had ever hear about such a "gift".  Nope, not them either.  Nor my Aunt D's kids, nor my Uncle J's kids.  So, we all decided to set out to learn more from the Dad's Cousin's Kids. 

Come to find out, there was a lot about things spooky and weird our folks didn't tell us about, in addition to not telling us about "the gift."  According to Cousin's Kids, all of the kids in the extended family were able to sense "them" and hear "them" and sometimes even see "them."  Most of the time though, it was kept pretty much a secret because the preachers at the Church of Christ where the families attended services deemed those things "wicked" and  "wrong."  And, it didn't seem to help either, that all of the kids at one time or another in each of the families were given to talking in tongues and other odd types of things (spontaneous trances, for one)  that weren't really looked well upon.  Coming from the family situation I did, that explanation made sense - except the part about the preachers, but, then again, I never talked to our minister about my abilities, so, to me they were probably right about how the religious bosses saw things. 

It seems Dad's family lived in a haunted tenant house for a time, till it nearly drove my Grandpa nuts, and they all moved out without ever looking back. This too, was something that had never been shared with Sister, Brother or myself.  Curious for more information than Cousin's Kids had, we and our cousins started asking Grandma's sisters about the house that was haunted.  Aunt R relayed the story this way:  The family was living in a tenant house on a farm when the kids were growing up.  The boys shared a room, Aunt D had a room to herself, Grandpa and Grandma had their room and there was a room at the end of the hallway that no one used.  Period.  No one used it.  Aunt R explained that the room was always freezing cold, even in the heat of August.  There were swarms of big black flies that would buzz around the room and drop dead.  And, worst of all, some nights, there were all kinds of loud bangs, knocks, noises and shouts coming from that room.  Since this was back during the Depression she told us, my grandparents weren't being fussy about where they lived as long as they had a roof over their heads and a place to raise their kids.  Until...  the night the door to that room slammed open and the noises and bangs and knocks manifested themselves in the hallway outside my grandparent's room.  As she described it, Grandpa got up, yelling at the boys to behave and go back to bed.  As he stepped out of his bedroom, he noticed the boys were cowering in the doorway to Aunt D's room staring up the hallway toward him and the swirling mass in front of him.  The mass swarmed over Grandpa and knocked him off his feet then returned to the room and the door slammed shut behind it.  That rather shook up the whole family.  And it continued to do so for a number of nights thereafter.  So, Grandpa being the tall, strong, stubborn man he was marched into the hardware store bought large spike-like nails with the milk money and proceeded to nail the door to that room closed.  It didn't stay closed that night, or any night thereafter despite Grandpa's best efforts to keep the door closed.  Aunt R told the enthralled group of cousins around her knees that this went on for several more nights until the night the whole thing came to a gigantic conclusion.  There was apparently the loudest banging, rattling, cursing, screaming and carrying on coming from the room that had been experienced by Dad's family.  Then, the spikes came flying one by one out of the 2x4s that were nailed in an "x" across the door frame.  The boards quickly followed and were shoved into the plaster lathe walls  the opposite end of the hallway with such force that the plaster broke loose from between the lathes.  The cold that engulfed the entire upstairs of the house was filled with the stench of death itself.  Grandma told Aunt R that the mass was almost as strong as a tornado as it roamed up and down the hallway to accompanying bangs, noises and knocking.  As far as Grandpa was concerned, that was the absolute last straw.  He bellowed at the family to gather their stuff, all of their stuff, and to get outside immediately.  They weren't going to be staying there any more.  And they didn't.  They left that night and never went back again.  Period. 

This was such "cool news" that we had to ask Grandma about it.  She and Aunt R had a few brief words and then Grandma told us that yes, this was indeed a true story.  And, while she was at it, she confirmed that "the gift" was something that seemed to travel around in her family tree.  She didn't see the problem with it, but, since Grandpa was a Deacon in the Church of Christ, it would be better not to say to much about being curious about such things at the reunion "because you never knew who would be listening in and wanting to make trouble."  Then, my Cousin D leaned over and asked me if I had heard what Grandma didn't say.  For once, I didn't.  Cousin D told me that she had heard Grandma's mind say " 'The gift' isn't something to be afraid of.  My family has used it for years with no problem.  It was part of their ceremonies and such.  It keeps you connected to the Earth and to the Spirits around us!"  WOW!  Grandma had a big secret.  Then she told us that Cousin D's dad, my dad, Uncle J and Aunt D had all shown signs of having "the gift" when they were younger, but, because of Grandpa's beliefs, they didn't use them and that we shouldn't ask them about that sort of thing, not matter how nosey we watned to be.  And, then we had to promise we wouldn't talk about those sorts of things in front of Grandpa and we did.

The other really cool thing we learned at the family reunion that sometimes when someone in the family tells you there are skeletons in the closet, there really are skeletons in the closet!  Hard to believe I know, but, t'is true.  One of Cousin's Kids let it slip that during the story about the haunted house that the house he lived in had skeletons in the closet.  Real ones.  And, that sometimes they, the skeletons, talked to them.  Now, that sure sounded far fetched to us, but, hey, we were talking about a haunted house, so, why not! 

The story went that his folks moved into the house to take care of it for an older farmer who couldn't live by himself any more and needed someone to take care of him, the house, and the farm.  So, in the whole family moved.  The only stipulation was that the family was not to use the closet under the front stairs for any reason.  Seemed a simple enough request, so they agreed to it.  Then, "the gift" kicked in one day, and Aunt W heard voices coming from the front entryway.  She went out to see who was there and found no one.  Not one living soul.  Went back to the kitchen and back to her cooking.  She heard voices again only more loudly the second time.  No one present at all.  After about 6 months of this type of thing, she asked the older farmer if he ever heard voices in the entryway only to find no one there.  According to her kids, she was absolutely dumbfounded when he told her that the skeletons of his parents were in the hall closet in boxes and that that might be what she was hearing was his folks arguing in death like they did when they were alive.  Being ever curious, Cousin's Kids found a way to sneak a peek into the front entryway closet. Sure enough there were 2 boxes full of bones sitting on opposite shelves marked with the names of his parents!  So, to prove to us that they weren't lying, Cousin's Kids helped us sneak a peek at the boxes of bones in the closet.  Fascinating and weird all at the same time.  And our parents were horrified to learn months later that we had sneaked a peek at the skeletal remains of Older Farmer's parents.  To me, it was one of the coolest things ever.  Proof that the dead talked coming from distant family members and then seeing the bones that were helping cause the talking that was being heard. 

I might not have been allowed to use "the gift" or to talk about it in front of my folks, or most of my friends, but, it was part of my family's past and part of my bloodline.  What a better way to learn more about your family than at a huge family reunion where you could learn family secrets and find real skeletons in the closet.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

"She's just shy"

Last night, driving home from work, I remembered something that had laid hidden and quite dormant in the dark recesses of my mind since I was younger, much younger.  The mind is a wonderful thing.  It protects you from stuff that has the potential to really screw you up permanently.  What, you ask, could be such a big deal that you didn't remember it till last night?  A friend of my folks that, as a young girl(10,11,12 or so), I couldn't stand to be around. 

That sounds like not such a big deal, right?  Wrong.  Mr. B and his wife were good card-playing, Saturday night get-together, church member friends of my folks, so, it was a huge problem for me.  Even if I had wanted to, I couldn't avoid him entirely.  Wherever the folks went for fun, all of us went too. For several years, the Bs and my folks were steadfast friends and did lots of stuff together - card parties, church outings, cookouts - you know, the stuff all suburbanites did back in the late 50s and early 60s.  The rest of the crowd the folks hung out with were great people.  All of us loved them like family members.  Mrs. B was okay, but Mr. B and his son were to be avoided at all costs.  Mr. B was creepy, at best, and his son was becoming a miniature version of him.  The mere thought of them makes my skin crawl to this day.

One particular evening at the Bs popped into my head while driving home last night.  The one my mind protected me from remembering.  It was a summer night cookout and card party combo deal.  So, that meant there were quite a few kids around besides those in the B's family.  About 10 or 12 of us plus theirs.  Playing lawn darts, hide and seek, badminton, croquet, you know, typical kid fun for the time.  We hooted, hollered, ran, played hard, had a great time with one another until it got dark and we were all called to come inside and go upstairs and watch tv with the Bs kids.  Again, not a big deal.  Until you get to the part where Mr. B scooped me up and tried to carry me into the house.  It wasn't just that he scared the crap out of me coming up from behind me and grabbing me - we kids had been doing that to one a another the whole time we were playing and he was "just doing what the kids were doing."  It was that he put his arm over one of my shoulders and grabbed me up between my legs and held me extremely tight against his body to carry me toward the house.  That creeped me out deluxe and then some.  Especially when the thoughts and pictures in his mind came through to me as clear as day!  YUCK!!!!  EWWWWWW!!!!!   GROSS!!!!!  I squirmed and wiggled and kicked and screamed "Let go of me!" as loud as I could.  Caught him in the groin with me feet - YEA!!!  He dropped me like a hot rock and I ran into the house, upstairs to the bedroom where the tv was and wrapped myself in a blanket so tight you'd have thought it was my second skin.  Even the Bs son didn't tease or torment me that night like he usually did.  I think he thought I might kick him too.

Mom and Dad were up the stairs like a shot to find out what my "problem" was that I had kicked Mr. B in the nuts when he was just trying to 'play with us kids and hurry us up at the same time.'  I told them how he had grabbed me up, and, for once, they didn't tell me that I was wrong to do something to stand up for myself.  They told me to stay upstairs and watch the movie and try to get as calm as I could and everything would be okay.  They promised.  It would be okay, they promised.  About an hour later, one of the other mom's called upstairs for all of us kids to come downstairs, we were all going outside to roast marshmallows and make s'mores over the grill.  Down the stairs we trudged and out into the backyard to get all sugared up on marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers.  Yum.  Down I went in the blanket all wrapped up tight like a miniature mummy.  When I was asked by one of the other parents why I was in a wrapped so tight in a blanket on a hot summer's night, Mom and Dad, to their everlasting credit answered for me.  "She's just shy.  When CB grabbed her up to bring her in the house, it scared her too much and now she's wrapped up like a cocoon sort of like a protective covering.  She's just shy."  What they didn't say, and what I distinctly remember hearing, was that their minds were saying things like "That perverted son of a b@#$% touched our daughter in the wrong place.  He scared the crap out of her to get his jollies.  I'd like to skin him alive and feed him to the vultures!"   Those thoughts that they had were one of the greatest comforts I ever drew from my ability to hear thoughts - even though I wasn't supposed to be using it any more.  I knew they loved me and wanted to protect me from Mr. B.  That was all that mattered.  They promised that everything would be okay.  Their thoughts were proof to me that it would be.

We, as a family, didn't spend much more time with the Bs after that.  The folks would play cards, and go for "grown-ups only" cookouts, but, we kids didn't see much of them after that at all.  Except in church, where, thankfully we didn't have to be near Mr. B or that weird son of his.  I always felt sorry for Mrs. B and her daughter after that night having to live with not just one young creepy guy, but, another one who was older, stronger and infinitely more gross, disgusting and creepier than his son.

So, what do I want you, dear reader, to take away from this odd story?  Just this.  Sometimes a shy kid isn't a shy kid just because he or she is socially awkward.  Sometimes they are shy because they can feel the emotions of certain people and hear their thoughts.  That creeps them out and makes them not want to be near those folks.  That's what I'd like you to take away from this story.  Socially awkward is one thing.  Avoiding creepy adults is another.  Learn to tell the difference for the sake of the young ones around you that you care about.  Even if you don't believe in "paranormal", "esp", "clairvoyance" and all that other "weird stuff", listen when the young one tells you that So&So is weird or creepy.  It might just be that she smells of garlic and dog urine, or, it could be that the young one truly understands and knows more than you do.  "She's just shy," was my folks polite way of dealing with the situation all those years ago.  My mind protected me, for whatever reason, till last night driving home when I was talking to a friend about taking out all my mental garbage so I'd have room to progress and grow.  I'm hoping that somewhere, someone reading will understand what I'm trying to say here, and use it to protect the lovely young ones in her or his own life.



Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Why can't I have an imaginary friend?

"Why can't I have an imaginary friend?  Sis has one!!!  I want one too!!!!!"  Stomping feet, hollelring like a banshee, being a little brat.  You can just imagine how thrilled my Mom was to have me whining that question every other minute...  like not at all.  Baby Sister had an imaginary friend named Deena.  As I remember Sis describing her, Deena was skinny, had brown hair, pigtails, blue eyes and a gap in her front teeth.  She was just a bit older than Sis and liked to play with her and keep her company.  Only thing is, none of us, including me, could see her.  It wasn't fair that she, the mere baby of the outfit, got to have something I didn't have. You can just imagine how much consternation it gave my Mom to have me whining about wanting an imaginary friend of my own when a) she didn't believe in them, and 2) if they did exist, she didn't want to know about it.  I wanted someone like Deena for myself.  Someone who made me laugh, and who took me as I was, not as I was told to be.

Sis had a great time with Deena.  They'd play for hours in the sandbox out back.  Tea parties and dress-up games forever and ever.  They'd take one of Mom's old purses, old hats and high heels and parade up and down the backyard walk like they were fancy ladies going shopping.  And Deena always made Sis laugh.  That was so important back then.  Knowing how to laugh.  Laughter after Lis died was almost a thing of the past.  Deena made Sis laugh.  Sis laughing made Brother and I laugh.  That was a good thing.  Why wouldn't I want a Deena of my own?

Deena lived with us for quite a while.  Even after Sis started school Deena was with us.  Sis was always warning people not to be mean to Deena by sitting on her or by walking through her.  She would get absolutely livid if anyone made fun of her for talking to Deena, or, for that matter, having a friend no one else could see.  I think my Sis grew up a more solidly grounded person because of Deena.  Really.  Nothing my folks could do or say would dissuade her from her certainty that she and Deena were friends.  NOTHING!  Looking back, I could almost envy her for that certainty.  But, I don't.  We each wrote our own path, and mine, for whatever reason did not include knowing for a certainty at a young age that I could stand up for myself and get away with it like Sis did.  Of course, she was the baby, and she was born just before Lis died, so, many of the things she wanted and did were indulged.  She was a "special baby".  If she said Deena was there, the folks indulged that "fantasy" and let it go at that.  Deena gradually faded away and moved on to other places where imaginary friends are needed more than she was at our house.  When Sis stopped talking about Deena, well, for those of us who were jealous because we didn't have imaginary friends, it was almost a relief.  But, looking back, there was something so very special about Sis and Deena's relationship that made Sis who she is today.  Strong, resilient, tough but loving.  She might not have had that had Deena not been around for her.

By the time Deena faded from the family existence, Mom had taken the stance that that was a bullet dodged and that her kids were "normal" and were going to act like it no matter what. No matter what. I longed to have Deena come back into my Sis's life.  All of us would have laughed again.  And felt like we were supposed to feel.  Instead, we learned to behave like "normal" children and not talk about the things we heard, saw, smelled and so on.
Sometimes now, as an adult, I think about all the kids in the world with their own little Deena's and hope and pray that they are encouraged to have their imaginary friends help them cope with the world around them rather than being told to "knock it off - there's no one there."  Pardon me.  I had to stop and chuckle at myself.  As I am sitting here typing this blog, I can feel my own "imaginary friends" - Singrha, Helene, Toshiyoki, Dr Ulee and all the others who help me with my work and my life - crowding 'round to read what I am typing as I am typing it.  They are as real as are you and I.  They have existed before.  They exist now.  They will exist again.  That I know for a certainty.  They help me understand my gifts.  They help me use them.  And, best of all, they make me laugh.  That's what "imaginary friends" are for.  I'm glad I have so many of them now.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Growing Up Weird

Well, we have established that I grew up a bit differently than a lot of other kids my age.  I talked to my dead sister, I heard thoughts eminating from other peoples' minds.  I saw people who were dead...   and I saw and felt things that weren't physically there.  Not things like a chair, or a book, or even a person.  No, nothing normal like that.  I mean like clouds of emotions, the presence of "something" other that what was physically present in the room with me - with the family - with friends.  I felt and saw"stuff" just like you could reach out and put your hand on it, felt and saw stuff.

We lived in a really neat house.  There was a gas fireplace in the living room, a landing at the top and bottom of the staircase that went upstairs, a great porch with a porch swing out front, a creepy walk-in attic, a cozy kitchen, a spooky basement and the dining room had a great big window you could stand at and see the entire back yard.  It was an awesome house.   I have such fond memories of that house.  My first memory of seeing and feeling something no one else saw was in that house.  It was the day of my sister's  funeral.  Back in the 1950's kids didn't go to funerals.  It just wasn't done.  So, my dear Granma babysat the 3 of us - my brother, my new baby sister and myself.  It is a clear distinct memory for me.  Granma was standing at the dining room window looking outside at the backyard and telling my baby sister about the birds at the bird feeder and the clouds and all the kinds of things one tells a baby.  Moving from the living room into the dining room to talk to Granma, I saw a HUGE black semi-transparent cloud filling the room behind her and the baby. It felt icky and heavy and really sad. When I asked her "Granma, what is that?" pointing at the by now GIGANTIC cloud of darkness, she looked at me with the most puzzled face and asked me what I was looking at.  "That's a cardinal.  This one is a sparrow," she told me thinking I was asking about the birds.  When I protested that I wasn't asking about the birds, she asked me what I was talking about.  "The cloud, Granma, the cloud.  What is it?"  Thinking it was the fluffy white ones floating in the sky outside, she proceeded to try to explain to a not quite 6 year old about real clouds.  "NO!!!!! The one behind you, going all over the room!!!!"  "There is no cloud.  I don't see what you are talking about," she patiently explained.  "But, Granma, there's a great big black cloud in the room I can see through!!!!"  "Sweetheart, Granma doesn't see it.  But, if you do, well, I guess you do," and off she went to change my sister's diaper.  Just like that.  Basically, it was like she lovingly "humored" her granddaughter because she herself didn't see or feel what I had seen and felt. 

That evening, after the funeral, when Mom and Dad came home, Granma told them about me asking about a dark cloud in the dining room.  She told them she thought it was probably just a trick of the light coming through the windows in the dining room and that it was nothing to worry about, just me grieving the death of the sister I adored and tried to entertain whenever I could.  How do I know this you ask.  Well, having missed my folks all day, I snuck down the staircase after I was put to bed to listen to them talking to Granma. I just needed to hear their voices to feel comforted that they were home. They were in the dining room and their voices were easily heard from the staircase in the living room.  It struck me that then that what I saw was something that the grown-ups thought was weird, unusual, odd - whatever.  Not even 6 years old and feeling weird, feeling different from the rest of the world because I saw and felt a dark cloud that no one else saw or believed that I really saw and felt. 

Weird continued on from that day.  That was the night Lis started talking to me at bedtime.  That was the day that I started perceiving emotions and the ways they can manifest themselves in a household.  That was the day that I knew in my heart of hearts that I was always going to be considered a bit weird, different, odd or whatever.  It scared the crap out of me to be that different.  It was exciting to be that weird, but, it hurt that no one believed me...  or, as I found out many years later, that they believed me, but didn't want to say so out loud.  My folks were too busy trying to maintain normalcy in the household and grieving privately to have time for a kid who saw things, felt stuff, heard people that weren't there...  they didn't have the time, energy or inclination for me to be "weird".  I didn't understand why I was having all of these things happen to and with me.  They didn't understand or have the patience to either.  We were a mess.  I was growing more weird by the day.  None of us knew what to do with me...              and it stayed that way for a long time.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Why don't people talk in their heads?

You know what's really hard to comprehend when you are 6 years old?  Why folks living in their own skins  don't talk to you like the dearly departed do.  Seriously.  When Lis visited me and we talked, we talked in our minds and sometimes aloud.  That seemed perfectly normal.  We would just think things and understand what each other was thinking.  I knew that folks in their skins talk with their mouths.  Where the confusion came in after I discovered I could hear thoughts was that the living don't very often realize mind to mind communication is possible.  If I asked Mom and Dad once, I know I asked them umpteen million times, "why does so and so talk nice from her/his mouth and say such mean things in his/her head?"  The response was always one of "what are you talking about?  Hush, go play.  Stop dreaming things up!" and so on.  Typical parent responses to what must have seemed to them to be foolishness and a neurotic response to a sister's death.  It was far from it.  I was really serious.  It truly confused my 6 year old brain when I could hear the thoughts of others (especially adults) as clear as day in my mind and the words that came from their mouths were so entirely different in tone and meaning. 

So, confused and totally clueless, I learned to listen to thoughts and hear the words of others - children, adults, teenagers, old folks, even critters and pets.  I just didn't ask my folks about it after a while.  What was the use in that?  After all, they weren't hearing other peoples thoughts and hearing different words coming out of their mouths.  How could they begin to understand what it was I was experiencing?  They apparently couldn't do those things, so how could they explain the differences between how things worked when you can have those experiences and when you can't have them.  I learned at an extremely young age to trust my instincts and those little thoughts that dashed quickly and quietly through my head about events, places, animals and people.  It kept me from harm at least once that I remember, and made me, in many aspects, a shy child who made friends with great difficulty and didn't trust many people of any age for a very long time.

To this day, I am able to pick up on thoughts that others are having.  No, I don't go around eavesdropping on other folks thoughts.  That's rude, impolite and unacceptable unless permission has been granted to do so.  But, I do know when friends are ill, worried, in trouble, happy beyond all belief and the like.  The vibrations and thoughts that come to me from them call their names in my mind with a different type of vibrational tone and quality to them that give me a clue as to what is going on with that particular person.  So, for example, is Sally Sue is having an especially happy day, I'll hear "Sally Sue" over and over and over again in my mind in a bouncy, high, wind chime type vibration in my mind until I finally talk to her or she calls or visits and tells me the great news.  And, because I learned so young to trust my instincts and believe the thoughts that I felt and heard, I have, as an adult, retained that trust in my instincts and learned to read the subtle body and facial language clues that most folks ignore because they speak as loudly to me as minds do and are as truthful as mind speaking as well.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

My sister died and I became psychic

I've been trying to come to grips with the fact that I am a "psychic" for quite a long time now. Actually, most of my life would be more like it. I hear people who are not physically present. I smell smells that no one else smells. I feel the presence of the dearly departed and of spirit guides, angels and others. Using the word "psychic" to describe myself is a concept so foreign to me that it might as well come from the planet Uranus because "psychics" are those folks who do the lecture circuits and help police solve murders and mysteries - not me.

I am the oldest of 3 the surviving kids my parents raised. One sister died before I was 6 years old.  She was born with a tumor that turned out to be a then incurable form of cancer, Wilm's tumor.  She was the dearest, sweetest little sister a kid could have.  I remember her as a special angelic girl. She was also horribly sick for most of her life as I remember it.  When she died we kids were told that Lis went to live with Jesus and God in heaven and that we had to be very good children so we could live there with her after we died when we were much older.  I asked my folks several times why I had to wait to see her when I knew she was with us and trying to talk to us every day.  That went over like the proverbial lead balloon.  My butt sat in a chair in the corner for several hours over a period of days for that thought.  It was a truth, but, still, not something either of them wanted to here, let alone learn that I was experiencing it.

What really got me into trouble though, was my insistence that Lis was visiting me at night after I had been put to bed and told to go to sleep.  She really was coming to visit me.  I saw her.  I hugged her.  I laughed with her and sat talking on the bed with her from about 3 days after her death till she told me she wouldn't be coming back to visit any more because she had to move on.  For those of you curious as to how long she visited - 42 days - 6 weeks - the time it takes to go through the Buddhist Bardo of Becoming - that's how long she visited me every night.  That is also how long my parents would swat my backside once or twice and tell me for the 2nd or 3rd time to "hush and go to sleep for cryin' out loud already!"  Daddy told me once he did see her - one time - but, that I needed to stop saying that I was talking to her because Mom was so upset at her death my talking about seeing Lis was tearing Mom apart.  Mom never did see her.  Nor did she think it was a good idea to be sitting up on the bed every night talking to Lis about death, dying, what both of them felt like to experience, what it was like in heaven, what I would be when I grew up, and the fact that I would be something special to many people and be able to help them just by being myself.  That last bit didn't make sense to me then.  I'm still trying to figure that out all these years later.

So, to put it plainly.  I wasn't even 6 years old yet and my sister died.  I became aware that I was psychic.  It's an odd combination.  But it was just that.  She died and I became what I am now, psychic.