My father’s ship docked at the port of Charleston, S.C., in early October 1945, and he boarded a train headed for Lincoln, Nebraska. He had been at the Normandy invasion and was to visit his parents in Lincoln during shore leave of two weeks.
Due to a scheduling mix up, rather than going straight northwest towards Nebraska, he headed southwest from Charleston towards Alabama. When he arrived at Terminal Station in Birmingham, Dad went to the Western Union office to send a telegraph to his parents letting them know he would arrive in Lincoln a day later than originally scheduled.
At the Western Union office worked a pretty teletype operator with wavy brunette hair and blue eyes. Her name was Lounell and she had turned 20 years old in April 1945, just six months before the late afternoon when my dad stood before her to send the telegram to his parents. He was instantly smitten, or perhaps he’d developed a suave pick-up line during his 10-year stint in the U.S. Navy that he now delivered to Lounell, “How long do we have to know each other before we can get married?”
This series of events would lead to my psychic awareness awakening in March 2016.
I was born in the early 1950s and came to observe that my mother’s father, Claude, treated my brothers and me differently than our cousins. My memory is that he showed no affection, he was grumpy all the time, and he conveyed a sense of resentment towards my father, me, and my two brothers. As I matured, I grew to believe that Claude resented my father for taking his daughter away.
After leaving Birmingham during his shore leave, Dad continued to Lincoln, but he returned to Birmingham a week later and married Lounell. The newlyweds traveled to Charleston, my dad boarded his ship, mom stayed in Charleston and began the life of a military wife and mother: frequent moves, one child born in Bethesda, one in Norfolk, me in San Diego. Visits to see her parents, my grandparents, were limited to major holidays at best.
Molly the medium
In March this year, my life partner Nicky went to a psychic medium and I went along, just to escort her to the appointment. We walked in and the medium, Molly Brown, said to me, “You have people with you, you have some psychic ability, and you have junk in your trunk.”
I laughed and replied that I didn’t know what she was talking about, that I didn’t have any unresolved issues in my life, and that I wasn’t interested in a reading. A few days afterwards, lying in bed early morning, I thought to myself “Okay, go ahead and open up to whatever is out there.” That was the first time in my life I’d acknowledged the possible existence of a different dimension.
The Ouija board
Immediately after college I stayed a few days with my friends Frank and Sandy. Sandy liked to ask her Ouija board questions and insisted that I participate with her. One evening, a spirit named “Wu” took over control of the board, said he was with me always, and that I had lived in China and been killed with an urn. I was pretty uncomfortable with the whole Ouija board conversation, but over the years I joked about having Wu along with me.
Having grown up Southern Baptist, I was taught that anything involving a connection to the spirit world had to do with the devil and demons, and was not to be messed with at extreme peril to one’s soul. From childhood on I was pestered by uneasy feelings, touches at night, scary visions, pulls on the sheets in bed, and waking up from sleep several times just as my soul was easing back into my body. I assumed that everyone experienced these sensations, and if such phenomena were ever given credence, one would become possessed or worse. So, I was always cautious about admitting the possible existence of metaphysical activity or having anything to do with it, and I certainly never considered actually inviting spirits to come visit me!
The night after extending my invitation to the spirit world, I woke up at 2 a.m. and heard footsteps on the second floor of my home, in the room directly above my bedroom. The sound of the footsteps entered the bedroom above me, walked across that room and stopped. I was terrified, and put my hand on Nicky to see if she was in the bed with me or if, in fact, it might’ve been her walking in the room above.
As soon as I touched her, she said, “I heard that, it woke me up, what is it?” I told her I had no idea. Then I remembered my invitation to the spirit world the day before, and I told Nicky about it.
“You’re taunting them, what were you thinking, how could you do that?” she said. We turned on the lights and more or less went back to sleep until, while just waking up at 5:55 a.m., there came four sharp tugs on the sheet covering us.
I said aloud, “Leave us alone, you’re not welcome here,” which awoke Nicky. She didn’t feel the tugs but suggested I call Molly, the medium who first pointed out the possibility of my spiritual intuition, and ask her what was going on.
Listen to them
Molly assured me that, in spite of my terrified feeling, nothing dangerous was going on, that I shouldn’t be afraid, and that the spirits wanted something from me. All I had to do was listen to them. Then, in a moment of psychic realization, Molly exclaimed, “Oh my word, you’re a medium!”
Although I studied business in college and went into a business career, I always had an interest in developing my inner strength and enlightenment. I’d tried meditating as a younger person, and I had read a few books such as The Teachings of Don Juan, by Carlos Castaneda, The Bhagavata Gita, Tao Te Ching, and books written by Dr. Wayne Dyer and others. I studied Kung Fu, Chi Kung and karate, working on developing chi and ki, grew away from my religious upbringing, and developed my own notions about God, nature, and the Universe independent of any organized religious structure. Overall, I thought karma made sense, so I tried to be a good person.
But what Molly told me created a new path to pursue, other than the all-business career and attendant lifestyle I’d lived in the 30 years since college. I felt it must be time for me to step out of what I’d been taught and look at life through a new and different set of eyes.
I told Molly that the spirits were “creepy” and her sensible reply was, “Stay calm, don’t say ‘creepy.’ They expend a lot of energy to come to you. You’re like a beacon that they are drawn to. You’ve always had it and now you’re strong enough to accept it. You need to recognize it as a gift and be strong.”
Within a few days I identified one of the spirits who visited me: my mother’s father, my grandfather who had passed 30 years earlier. He came to me in the night. His visits were preceded by goose bumps starting at my feet and crawling up my body. He was attended by several people, including a woman, an angel who came along to monitor his visitations and make sure he didn’t get out of line.
During one of his visits I experienced in my brain a blinding flash of intense hatred and misery, which thankfully lasted only a microsecond. With Molly’s help, we figured out that this was Grandpa’s way of showing me his feelings, that this was how Grandpa felt every minute of every day of his life on Earth. I saw that he did love my dad, even though dad had taken away Grandpa’s precious daughter Lounell — but he had heartache and his personality made it hard to show love.
His visits now were to help me: figure out that he was a piece of the puzzle of my life; learn how his puzzle piece fits into my life; and in my own time and my own way forgive him for his treatment of my father, me, and my brothers. Grandpa knew when he ended this life that he wanted to stay spiritual. To do so, he had to go back and pay a visit to everyone he had wronged in life, and ask each of them to remember anything positive or loving he’d done for them. So, from the time he passed in the 1970s until his visit to me in 2016, he had been trying to get my attention to help him gather the evidence he needed to cross over. But my religious teachings as a child kept me from admitting his spiritual presence.
Love and affection
Once I realized what my grandfather wanted from me, I made a concerted effort to set aside my intense dislike for him and replace that emotion with feelings of love and affection. At first I thought it would be an impossible task. When I was 4 years old, my grandparents came to visit in San Diego. They wanted to go see the Pacific Ocean but my mother couldn’t leave the house, because my brothers would be arriving home from school. So Mom had me ride with my grandparents to show them the way to and from the beach.
We got to the beach, and when it was time to leave I asked my grandparents if we could stop and get a bite to eat on the way home. My grandpa said “no,” but I didn’t back down. In fact, I told them that I wouldn’t show the way home unless they got me a hamburger. My grandparents relented, got me a burger on the way home, and all was well as far as I was concerned. But now, looking back on the incident as an adult, I almost couldn’t blame my grandpa if he had negative feelings towards me for my insolent behavior, compounding the feelings he already felt about my father.
My Grandpa Claude was afflicted with the black lung disease as a result of many years working in the Alabama coal mines. He constantly complained of “smothering” because he wasn’t able to catch his breath. My brothers and I were somewhat insensitive to his breathing difficulty, primarily because we were confused about Grandpa’s behavior: He chewed tobacco and chain-smoked cigarettes throughout the day, which was incongruous to us in light of his breathing problems and overall health.
Looking back, I regret not having more empathy for his situation, and for not better understanding the terrible malady he toiled under daily. As I further reviewed my fond memories of Grandpa, I recalled the time he showed me how to carve a whistle from a small tree branch, and then I realized this was a moment of wonder and creativity when I learned how making such a simple toy brought such joy to me — and to my children, as I taught them the exact same way to carve a whistle in later years.
Another time, Grandpa took me — no cousins or brothers included — to a baseball game at the local ballpark in Birmingham and we sat and watched several innings together. What an amazing and special memory for a little boy. Then I had a recollection of Grandpa taking a small fish off a hook, one that I caught. I still enjoy fishing today, and perhaps the fondness for that sport goes back to the first time my grandpa took me fishing and showed me how to release the fish.
These memories had always been with me, but I never looked at them as significant or meaningful until I felt compelled to call upon them to help Grandpa’s mission to pass over to the other side. Focusing on these memories over several days, my heart softened and I began to see Grandpa as a truly loving person, sharing the most wonderful times with his grandson, and that maybe he saw in me some spark of similarity to his beloved daughter, Lounell.
Love in my heart
The visits from Grandpa stopped after the reconciliation of love in my heart towards him. In the few months since, I realize the experience with my grandpa opened up my consciousness to a dimension I had never been willing to admit existed. I’ve had many people come to see me, some nights so many that my spirit guide helps organize the visitors into an orderly line, one-by-one as I take their hand, affirm their existence, and lead them gently to the light. Some nights, when I was mentally wearied, I asked my spirit guide to request that the spirits stand down.
I was so pleased to learn that my spirit guide is Wu — yes, the same spirit I first met 30 years ago on my friend Sandy’s Ouija board. Faithful, ever friendly and infinitely patient, walking in the light, Wu and I have conversations together every day.
Lately, I’ve been reviewing my life, the hurts and transgressions against others, looking for closure in so many situations I’ve experienced, hoping to heal the thump of my heart into a soft purr of spirituality.
And while I’m sad that Grandpa is busy elsewhere and not visiting with me, I’m elated to know that he has found, I pray, the solace that he so deserves after trying to get my attention for many decades. It weighs on me to think I was the cause of his discomfort for so long since his passing and maybe even the last few years of his life, but now I understand that Molly probably was correct when she told me that I had to fix the “junk in my trunk.”