Monday, May 20, 2019

May birthdays and other happenings

More pictures from Pittsburgh and New Orleans need to be downloaded for my posts.  But I am back in Georgia now and my main camera is in Nashville.  Today I'll write an eclectic post.   Before I left Nashville we celebrated my little granddaughter's 6th birthday.  She is growing so fast and is almost as tall as her brother, who is about 2 years older.  Below are some photos taken last month while she was on holiday with her mother visiting friends in Malaysia, Singapore and Borneo - am not sure where each of the photo was taken.

Her May birthday was on the 10th.  Her father, my son-in-law's birthday is May 25th.  My own father-in-law's birthday was May 9th and my sister-in-law's birthday is May 30th.  My late mother's birthday was on May 12th and I wrote a post on it in 2009: "Mother's Birthday, l'anniversaire de maman" (birthday in French is anniversaire.) Click on title to read it.  Mother loved hydrangeas, so I'd always give her one, a different color every year.  Now I have hydrangeas growing in the front yard in Georgia.  I'll need to move them to Nashville.

My birthday was last March, on the 26th.  In my post of February 2nd, Books in the Mountains, I mentioned that Nancy Pelosi was born on March 26 as well.  Then strange things started to happen.  I am not making them up, because what would be the use.  Since I am going through my late husband's books to give away, I usually pick up one or two to read while in Georgia.  That one evening I found 3 books by an author I did not know.  Her name is Amy Blackmarr.  The three books were: "Going to ground: a simple life on a Georgia pond," "House of Steps" and "Dahlonega Haunts: Ghostly Adventures in a Georgia Mountain Town."  I started to read the ghost book on Dahlonega as my husband and I went often to that little town in the mountains, then decided it might be too spooky for that evening.  Instead I started Going to Ground.  In it, Amy Blackmarr was recounting how she went back to live in her grandparent's cabin, far away from people.  I checked to see how old she was when she moved there and found out she was born, as me, on March 26, but in 1958.  Coincidence.

I took all three books back with me to Nashville.  As I remember, I was tired that evening after the long drive, February 10th, and decided to watch the 61st Grammy celebration which was in progress on television.  Diana Ross, the American singer, record producer and actress, came to perform.  They mentioned that they were celebrating her 75th birthday, one month early.  I wondered what day she was born in March.  I looked it up - she was born March 26, 1944.  Another coincidence.  Pictures below are hazy, taken from my television.

I returned to Georgia in March.  That first evening I was ready to read some new books from my husband's collection on the long bookshelf in the upstairs hall.  I picked up 2 at first:  "Collected Poems" by Robert Frost and "Memoirs" by Tennessee Williams.  Then I saw a book on the floor with a shiny cover, "The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins.  As I picked it up I saw an old candy bar stuck behind the shelf, a Stuckey's Pecan Log Roll, certainly ancient.  I started the Robert Frost book and it opened on the poem Ghost House ...

I dwell in a lonely house I know,
That vanished many a summer ago,
And left no trace but the cellar walls,
And a cellar in which the daylight falls,
And the purple-stemmed wild raspberries grow....
...I dwell with a strangely aching heart,
In that vanished abode there far apart,
On that disused and forgotten road ...

OK, enough I thought.  I am back here in my old house in Georgia and don't need to become even more gloomy.  Instead I picked up Tennessee Williams's Memoirs and started to read it.  I wondered where in Tennessee he was born, because of his name.  I looked it up - he was not born in Tennessee, his father was.  Then I saw when he was born: March 26, 1911.  Another coincidence again, thought I?  So I checked Robert Frost, why not - he was born March 26, 1874 (the plot thickens?) Just to make sure I also checked Richard Dawkins - he was born March 26, 1941.  I was apprehensive when I checked when the pecan log merchant, Stuckey, was born.  I found out that Williamson Sylvester Stuckey, Sr., was born on March 26, 1909.  Too weird.  All right, enough, I decided not to read but to listen to music.  I went to bed and played music on my cell phone.  It was Beethoven's Romance No. 2 - so beautiful and soothing.  At least I knew Beethoven was not born on my birthday, I thought he was born in December.  To make sure I checked - yes, Ludwig van Beethoven was baptized on December 17,1770.  But then I saw it ... WHAT? and I got goose pimples.  Beethoven died on March 26, 1827.  Am I going crazy? Is someone playing with my head?  What is this?

Is this what is called synchronicity?  Wikipedia says: "Synchronicity (German:Synchronizität) is a concept, first introduced by analytical psychologist Carl Jung, which holds that events are "meaningful coincidences if they occur with no causal relationship yet seem to be meaningfully related."  I checked several sites on the Internet.  Judy Orloff, MD, says "Synchronicity is a sign that we are intuitively attuned, not only to our immediate friends and family, but also to the greater collective."  Another site indicates: "Synchronicity is an unconscious awareness of life.  It is a set of messages.  Synchronicity is an unlikely or impossible coincidence that cannot be explained by luck and chance."  Another site says "Often mistaken as coincidences, these amazing synchronicities are actually universal nods, confirming that you are on the right track.  Synchronicities, when recognized, are meant to be road signs to help steer you in the best direction.  Quite helpful at times when you are feeling confused or lost in some way."  In an article on synchronicity in Psychology Today it said "When you're on the right path, the universe winks and nods at you from time to time, to let you know."  I like this, the universe nodding at me :-)  I searched for a photo symbolizing the universe - but I don't have one in my collection.  May be one of the secret paintings of Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel, Children's books author and cartoonist, American 1904-1991) can give some feeling about it?

This time, back in Georgia, I am reading one of my books, in French - the childhood memoirs of Marcel Pagnol (French novelist, playwright and film maker, 1895-1974.)  It was a magical time for him in Provence and a delight to read.  The Kidney Foundation called saying they would come by this week to pick up any clothes, books, etc.  During the days I have been busy collecting some of my husband's clothes.  There is so much of it as he kept everything.  I found a bag full of socks, at least 200+ pairs, some old, some brand new with tags.  I even found two uniform work shirts from when, as a teenager, he worked for a Coca-Cola bottling plant.  They are from 1955 at least.  They are in pretty good shape for being so old.  Here they are below.

Looking at some of the shirts or sweaters given to him for birthdays or Christmas was kind of sad.  I tried not to think about it.  But again, something happened.  I was not going to mention it, but since I told you about the happenings around my birth date I'll tell you what happened yesterday.  I had already filled 3 large black plastic bags with his clothes and shoes.  The 4th bag was almost full.  In the back of the closet was a green pair of slacks.  I knew them well, as he wore  them often on trips, usually with a plaid shirt.  Should I give them away?  I could not decide.  I cannot wear them and both of my sons-in-law wear different sizes.  With a heavy heart I placed the slacks in the bag.  Then I saw the plaid shirt.  I started feeling tears coming up.  No, can't do that.  I placed the shirt in the bag, then I took it out again.  Placed it in the bag once more, and finally took it out thinking I'll think about it tomorrow.  Moving the bags through the hall filled with books is not easy.  As I pulled this heavy bag, some books fell; I walked on a paper sack.  When I came back upstairs I stopped in the hall to pick up the books and the sack.  Several pennies had fallen out of the sack, a pencil and a piece of paper.  I turned the paper over - it was a photograph.  When I saw it I was completely bewildered.  I looked around, no other photographs anywhere.  I don't know how it got there in that sack.  I went downstairs with the plaid shirt and took the green slacks out of the bag to take a photo so I would not think I imagined it all.  The picture was of my husband wearing that exact pair of slacks with the shirt in front of an angel statue somewhere by the sea, I think in Mexico.  How in the world this happened, I don't know.  I took most of our old photos to Nashville and they never were in the hall anyway.  Another strange happening, or synchronicity?  What do you think?  Here is the picture below.  As I write this I still can't believe it.

I guess I should take this as a sign that it's OK to give away the clothes since I can see them in the photograph, and not be sad.  Actually my son-in-law, whose family is from India, has invited me to come to his cousin's wedding in Atlanta next weekend.  This will be a fun occasion - weddings from Indian families are big events, all the women wearing colorful saris, good food, dancing and more.  I have some Indian clothes but they have long sleeves and the weather predicts 97 F (36.1 C.) in the shade.  I bought an Indian made tunic with tie-die indigo stripes and will wear white linen slacks with it.  Most of my shoes now are sneakers because of my bad ankle.  I found a pair of white lacy Mary Jane style shoes and will wear them this week while dancing with some music so they become comfortable, like boogie shoes!  I used to have great red leather flat shoes for dancing, but they are long gone.  Here they are below with a white pantsuit, photo taken in San Francisco decades ago.  Also shown is the tunic from the catalog, and future boogie shoes.

My record player is still here with all my albums.  I found some old disco LPs so I can exercise a bit with my new shoes.  Here is a video of one of the tunes, from the 1970s - "Boogie Shoes" by K.C. and the Sunshine Band.  Might as well wink at the universe and end this post with a song!


Elephant's Child said...

Whatever you call it that is a HUGE string of coincidences.

DJan said...

The plaid shirt and photo gave me goosebumps, VB! And the birthday, too, but not as much as the angel and plaid shirted hubby. Sending you a message, perhaps? The veil between our departed ones and ourselves sometimes doesn't seem so hard to see through. Loved this post, and thank you so much for sharing it. You have brightened my day. Have a wonderful time at the wedding! :-)

Christine said...

Thank you for sharing this really interesting post. I hope you will share photos of the you say, they are always such colourful affairs.
Take care my friend

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

Coincidences often leave us wondering. There are many questions but no answers. I do love it when it happens, though, because it is fun to have a mystery.

Enjoy your wedding, and have lots of fun dancing.

bayou said...

It tells again that there are many more things between heaven and earth which the humans don't know or can't explain. But so nice to get such kind of comfort, I think. Enjoy your dance practicing and all what comes next. xxx

Anne Jeffries said...

What an extraordinary series of coincidences. The Beethoven dates had me holding my breath. No, no, he couldn't have been born on May 26th but then you said death date and I was so relieved. You see, my son and Beethoven share a birth date (Dec. 16th) and my son is a musician. Serendipity, for sure. The synchronicity of dates lined up strongly in our family for the month of December.

December 14, 1947
I was baptised

December 15, 1943
My husband's birth date

December 16, 1979
Our son's birth date

December 17, 1977
The day we met

December 17, 1986
The day of our church marriage

I loved reading your train memories. Living only about an hour north of Memphis, we recently learned of the train to NOLA and plan to take a trip, I hope this year.

I'll visit again soon.

David said...

Hi Vagabonde, Wow, your granddaughter is really very worldly...great exposure in this interwoven planet that helps better understand the diversity and issues facing all of us. We have a couple of Oak Leaf Hydrangeas in our back yard that are in mid-bloom! Beautiful.

I will admit that I'd be completely 'spooked out' with all your March 26th 'coincidences'... There are many unexplained forces out there that we may never understand.

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Nadezda said...

Dear Vagabonde,
I was reading and it was so touching, dear. I didn’t know about the coincidence of birthdays, and I didn’t even hear what it meant.
But your story and Jim's plaid shirt and slacks really touched me with tears. I imagined you near this black bag. But when you found a photo of Jim near the statue of an angel - it became clear that this angel protects you, do not worry, everything will pass.
I hope you have a good time at an Indian wedding.

Jeanie said...

Before I forget, I love those shoes and wish I had a pair just like them.

This is such a touching, genuine post. I believe strongly in synchronicities and also in certain numbers recurring in one's life. What they mean is another matter -- I have no idea. But things "happen" and we never know why but there is often a reason.

I'm glad you kept the shirt and pants. I have a few things of my dad's I couldn't give away or toss. I decided (and haven't done it yet) that this year I will finally cut up that shirt and maybe the bathrobe make something of it. Probably Christmas tree ornaments out of the shirt -- little stars for my cousins and friends who knew my dad. Maybe placemats out of the robe. I'm not sure yet, but at least they would be more present for me. I had this idea a long while ago but I couldn't bring myself to cut it up. But now I'm ready.

Magic Love Crow said...

My friend, thank you for such a beautiful post! I am smiling! Happy birthday to everyone! Thank you for sharing all this with us! Keep smiling and trusting your soul and the universe! Big Hugs!

Roderick Robinson said...

So much stuff. I refuse to wish you happy birthday, not because I don't want you to be happy but because the words are bald and made almost meaningless by repetition. A cheaply contrived token. Instead I've re-read the piece on synchronicity and feel I must remind you that it is you that is drawing all these events and dates together; without you these entities would have have remained scattered and uncollected. You have, as it were, applied power to them and created an innovation. It's nice to exert power, provided the result is benign. You have a toy to play with.

I'd be interested in your reaction to The God Delusion. I let my granddaughter, Ysabelle, (in her late twenties) have my copy. She has a former mother-in-law who is a devout Christian and I wondered whether word would get back. Would I be seen as a corrupter? Did I mind? Not really.

Marja said...

Oh that's amazing so many birthdays on the same day. Definitely synchronicity and that photo Unbelievable. Love how the angel is with him in the photo.
I also had some amazing synchronicity experiences and absolutely love love the experience of it. Thanks for your story and will check out the link to the article

Kay said...

We have some strange numbers popping up with birthdays in my family too, but not quite like yours. That photo experience is a Wow! It's like your husband was sending you a message. Have a great time at the wedding.

sage said...

Happy belated birthday to everyone. I enjoyed Amy Blackmarr’s books and have reviewed at least one of them in my sagecoveredhills blog.

Jenny Woolf said...

That is really, really peculiar. I suppose we must just accept that these things happen sometimes, if everything that happened (including finding out peoples birthdays) was evenly spaced and predictable, we would have no surprises. And we know life isn't like that. But still...

Nance said...

Sometimes, when we need Comfort the most, it is provided. I'm glad you found yours. Take good care.

Trishia said...

I studied Jungian psychology a lot in my 30s and still have many books by Carl Jung and fellow Jungians (Robert Johnson is my favorite). So I'm quite familiar with the concept of synchronicity and have experienced it myself. Your intriguing story of your birthdate really caught my attention and makes me want to do more research. I don't understand quantum physics -- there is something about particles acting differently when watched?? -- so I can't help but wonder if there is a scientific explanation? In any regard, thanks so much for sharing your experience! In regard to your husband's clothes: have you heard of memory bears? Stuffed animals made from the clothes of a loved one. If you're not into stuffed animals, perhaps a pillow cover or a blanket/throw.

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