About that time there was an onslaught of weddings…

October 3, 2007 at 2:23 am | Posted in autumn, fads, family, friends, i win at life, luck, mad mad world, philadelphia, travel, wedding | 4 Comments

For the past three years or so, my wedding attendance schedule has been pretty regular – one a year. Coincidentally, the wedding three years ago was in December, two years ago was in November, and last year was in October. I fully expected to continue the tradition this year with a wedding in September, but that was not to happen. Instead, I have 4 wedding lined up for the rest of 2007, and THREE of them are in October. Even though all the travel may be rough, and it’s going to end up costing us an arm and a leg, I am really excited for all the nuptials. During the one weekend where I am not actually attending a wedding I’ll be attending a bridal shower. What better way to indulge in my wedding obsession than spending every weekend at a wedding related function?

The first wedding we’ll be attending is next weekend down in Rehoboth Beach, which is one of my favorite vacation spots ever. We’re lucky to be staying with friends of ours at their family’s beach house, which means we won’t have to fork over money for a hotel room for the weekend. The ceremony is at a church near the beach and the reception is at a vineyard outside town. It should be great, and I’m really excited for it. One of the interesting things will be the opportunity to see what choices the bride and groom made. See, before I started wedding planning I had no idea how many DETAILS there are in the ceremony and the reception. Everything from the music, the vows, the color, the food, the order of the dances, the seating, the silverware, the decision whether or not to throw the bouquet, the dress, the invites: they’re all flexible. Things I wouldn’t have paid too much attention to before – like the kind of flowers in the centerpiece or the filling in the cake, or whether or not they do a bridal party dance – are probably going to captivate me.

We’ll be home on Sunday, and then I have another 5 days to obsess about my own wedding until I hit up my cousin’s bridal shower, followed by her wedding the next weekend. Yes, the shower and the wedding are very close together, but with good reason. Her two older sisters both just gave birth for the first time in the beginning of August and one of them lives out in Vegas and won’t be coming to town until next Friday. Being brand new Moms and planning a shower on top of it can’t be easy.My cousin’s wedding will be very different from the first one we’re attending. For one thing, it’s on a Friday night, and it will be much smaller and more intimate. The church isn’t far from where she grew up, and the reception is at a well known restaurant/banquet facility just over the border in PA. The Old Boy and I are both taking the day off of work so that we don’t miss the 6pm ceremony and will probably spend the morning in our first pre-marital counseling with the new priest who will be officiating our wedding, so it’ll be an extra wedding-y day.

Last, but not least, is Jeremy’s older sister’s wedding in Philadelphia. This one is another weekender, since The Old Boy is in the wedding and we need to be up there for rehearsal on Friday night. Again, this wedding should be different than the other two because it’s taking place right in the heart of Philadelphia at an old Catholic cathedral, and the reception is at a swanky downtown hotel where we also happen to be staying for the weekend.In the midst of all this, I still have 71293164893217483 things to check off the to-do list for my own wedding, but instead I keep adding to it everyday. First and foremost must be the purchase of a dress, because with just six and a half months to go, I am going to be walking down the aisle in a bunch of white bedsheets that I fashion together with rubber bangs and safety pins.

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About that time a psychic gave me a message from my great-grandmother

August 23, 2007 at 12:46 am | Posted in breakups, family, fears, i can't believe that just happened, i win at life, luck, mad mad world, paranormal, travel | 1 Comment

So after reading about a spooky psychic experience over on Idle Ramblings… I became inspired to tell my own story of psychic creepiness. I can’t draw any conculsions from what happened to me, I can only tell y’all exactly what happened and let you be the judge. 

I was working in the cafe of a bookstore in New Jersey soon after moving there after college.  I was in that stage of my life where I had no idea what I wanted to do and was perfectly content with working for peanuts and talking to people about books and coffee all day. Like any other coffee shop, the cafe had a regular morning  crowd, a regular mid-day crowd, and a regular evening crowd.  It was kind of comforting to have regularity day in and day out, especially because I was hopelessly homesick. I’ll always think of New Jersey as being the Pit of Dispair, but that job wasn’t half bad. I got to talk a lot, and we all know I love to talk. I talked to college kids, dog groomers, stay at home moms. I talked to a woman whose father was the founder of a cult that she would never tell me the name of.  She changed her name, got a Phd, and has recently solved a very important mathematical theorum. But  she is not the focus of my story.

The woman I want to write about is named Sarah.* Sarah worked close to the bookstore and came in around mid-morning for a latte nearly every day. She was bubbly and sweet and loved to talk, so we got along swimmingly. Around Halloween she told me she was participating in a ghost hunt. I assumed that she meant one of those guided cemetary tours that pop up around October and lead you around by lantern light to “haunted” areas, kind of like one I went on in college. No, she told me, she was leading the hunt, because she was a psychic. Now, when someone says something like this to you – especially when you’re not expecting it- it kind of leaves you speechless. Not wanting to be rude, but not really having time to think of anything to say I just kind of nodded and said “Wow, really?”

Now, let me take a break in the story to let you know that “Wow, really?” is the quintessential thing that I say when I have no idea what else should come out of my mouth. It’s especially useful when listening to someone with an accent so thick that you have no clue what they just said. Usually people just respond with a “yes” and you move on. And we did just that. Several weeks went by and she never mentioned anything about ghosts or psychics, and I never brought it up. One morning, she came in as she usually did, we made small talk, she paid for her drink, and then turned to leave.  Before making it out the door she stopped, turned around, and came back over to the counter.

“Would you be uncomfortable if I told you something that is coming to me from a paranormal source?”

Would I be uncomfortable? The first thing that came to my mind was: please don’t tell me I’m going to die, please don’t tell me I’m going to die.” But what came out of my mouth was “No, not at all.”

“Well, okay. I’ve been wanting to tell you this for quite some time,” she started. Please, please, no death, I thought. “I’m not going to talk about death!” Now she had my attention. Was it the look on my face that gave me away, or was she really picking up on what was running through my head? “First of all, I need to know the connection to the rose.”

The connection to the rose? Where do I begin? Well, for starters, Rose is my middle name, I explained. “Because from the first time I met you, I’ve seen roses all around you and I don’t think it’s just because of the name. It’s connected to the older woman who I sometimes see hanging out near you.” Now I was spooked. Rose is the name of my fabulous great-grandmother who is sadly no longer with us. For most of my life, I’ve felt that Rose was indeed still hanging around me, but more on that later. I explained the connection, and Sarah nodded. “Well, she really wants to let you know that even though things are tough and you miss your family you’re going to be home soon enough.”

At the time, this didn’t seem like a possibility. I was in a relationship, hence the reason that I was in New Jersey in the first place.  He had a local job, and he seemed to like it, and while I didn’t really have any direction in life and hated nearly everything about the Garden State, we didn’t have any plans of leaving in the immediate future. to the contrary, the plan was for me to go to graduate school, and I was in the process of being certified as a social worker in the state. When I started to explain all of this, she cut me off. “There is a little bit of bad news…” Again, no death, no death.  “Rose wants to let you know that she doesn’t want you to stick around with this guy. He’s going to be up to no good if he isn’t already.

“What kind of no good?”

“The kind of no good that involves some other woman.”

She must have seen the look on my face. Somewhere between shock and disbelief and utter dispair. She reached out and touched my hand. “Still, it’s the best thing that could happen.”

And then the conversation was over. Just like that. I didn’t know what to think for a long time. The Rose connection was eerie, but I wasn’t completely sold. She could have heard me talk about Rose, she could have heard me mention my middle name. Hell, I could have told her my middle name and just not remembered the conversation. Still, it always stuck in my mind because how could it not?

I didn’t really believe it until about a year later, when the guy I was dating, who I thought was the bees knees left me abruptly. For someone else.

The connection to my great-grandma Rose and myself has three and a half other quick stories, each one of them kind of eerie.  The first happened when I was very young. We were on vacation during the summer, and I  was asleep with the bedroom window open. At some point during the night my Mom came to check on me and discovered that a trail of big, red, fire ants had made their way in through a small tear in the window screen and were all over the headboard of the bed I was sleeping in.  As she ran over to grab me, she swears that she heard Rose’s voice saying – clear as day- “Don’t worry gal, I didn’t let any bugs get on our baby.” Sure enough, there wasn’t a single bite on me, even though the ants were all over the pillow and the bedsheets.

The second story happened when our family first moved into the new home my parents built during the 1980s. I was at school and my Mom was putting away laundry. She walked upstairs into my room and as soon as she entered the threshold, she smelled her grandmother. Sometimes there really isn’t an accurate way to describe the way someone smells. It’s a mix of shampoo and perfume and laundry detergent and body chemistry, but after awhile it becomes familiar. She knew what it was, and she got the feeling that Rosie was checking out the new house and making sure everything was okay.

The third incident also involves my Mom and the house.  A few months after the second experience, she was walking through the kitchen and noticed a yellowish square of paper on the white linoleum floor. My Mom is kind of nuts about being clean, so she picked it up on the tip of her finger and flicked it into the trashcan. Hours later, there it was again on the counter. She picked it up on her finger once again, flipped it over, and discovered it was a photo. Of Rose. It was just Rose’s face, and it was a photo she had never seen before. The shape of it and the lack of centering made it implausible that it was cut for a locket, but there it was all the same. This time, she put it safely in her jewelry box, where it stayed for several weeks until one day it suddenly wasn’ t there anymore.  We still have no idea where it came from. Maybe it was just Rose’s way of letting us know she was still checking up.

The last story is the one I call the half, because I’m really not sure if it was related to Rose or if I just want it to be.  In late June of 2004, I got into a really bad car accident on my way to work. My car was hit by an 18-wheeler on a highway and completely totaled. There wasn’t anything left of the back seat of the car, the windows were all smashed in, and yet I walked away without a scratch. If there is someone watching over me, then they brought their A game that day. In the ambulance on the way to the hospital, I talked to the driver, who happened to have grown up three houses down from the little red house on Hutton Street in Jersey City where Rose lived for the better part of her life. Later that night at my parents house in Delaware, while I was looking through a bunch of old files to get my insurance papers in order for the rental car I needed, I found a letter my grandmother Lore had written me talking about her mother, Rose. In it, she wrote “When Grandpa and I got married, we bought our first car. We probably didn’t need it, but it seemed like the thing to do at the time, and we were thankful for it when he got transferred to California. Mama was TERRIFIED of cars. This came from never having driven one herself and never having the need for one in the city. She always told me: I can’t stand the way buses and truckers drive! They’re gonna kill someone, and it won’t be me because I’m taking the train! When we would pick her up to bring her to our place for a visit she would make Grandpa put a medallion of St. John the Baptist on the mirror.”

Saint John the Baptist. The patron Saint of Highways. So there you have it. Like I said, I can’t draw any conclusions for you, but this is my story. Maybe I’m reading in to it too much, but maybe I’m not. Regardless, I hope that one day when I have a daughter (who I will undoubtedly give the middle name of Rose to)I can share it with her as well.

*Name has been changed.

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