Saturday, October 22, 2011

On Clairvoyance, Age, & Unlikely Friendship

Clairvoyance runs through my mother's family. My late Aunt Gin and I have been the most recent clairvoyants that I know of, but there were always stories of others. Unfortunately, my aunt's unusual sensory perception was much the same as mine - not so good for important things, but fun and surprising to others, much like sleight of hand. As a child, I was really in tune with it, and could always win games with friends, especially at birthday parties. There I'd be, buzzed from eating all the roses off of everyone else's white lard cake, red mustachioed and Hawaiian punch drunk, with armfuls of prizes when my parents picked me up. I could always "see" the right number in my head, or draw the right straw, or card, or guess whatever was being hidden. As an adult I've lost my edge a bit, but I can still use intuition in certain arenas, horse races being a favorite. I don't indulge often, but I've done well on the rare occasion that I've placed a bet. For example, I picked the long shot Real Quiet some years back, pocketing a tidy sum and shocking my friend who attended the race and placed the bet for me. But clairvoyance is just a part of this story, not the whole story, and this story is true; I have witnesses.

I met a child named Heather about 25 years ago, when she used to show up at pick-up time to fetch her little brother Jake. (See more about Jacob Foran in my Favorite Artists at top of blog!) She had a "can-do" attitude as she lifted her brother onto her bicycle to ride up our hilly driveway toward their home. She was responsible for her brother at that time of day, and one could tell that she took her job seriously. A few years later, I met her again during the worst time of my life. My twelve year-old son Nick had died suddenly, and the cemetery was packed with mourners on a sunny August day. People were spontaneously saying a few words about Nick. To my surprise, this little girl stood and told a little, sweet story describing Nick at school. It gave me this beautiful little secret insight into my son's secret life with his friends at school, and the best thing was, it brought me the first chuckle I'd had for many days.

A few more years went by and I took leave from teaching and opened Cafe Cody. Guess who applied to be a barista? A sixteen year-old girl named Heather.


Photo Credit: Lindsey Fortney

As I've mentioned in a previous post, the cafe was just supposed to be a coffee shop. It evolved into something way beyond that, and before we knew it, we had a restaurant. Heather was with me all the way, a right-hand man. She and I could sync so well that we still laugh about times where we were so swamped, but the two of us could run that whole place by ourselves if we had to. She learned to waitress, cook and bake, and charm customers with her big smile. We had many regulars...the guys who had the same breakfast each and every morning, and hung their own coffee mugs in an old cabinet. We also had our usuals who came for fantastic espresso drinks that we made with our completely manual espresso machine - run shots 18 - 22 seconds every time! One of our favorites was Fran, a nature fellow of about my age. Heather called him her "Woodsy Guy." One day as she was preparing his latte, I sensed an energy, and when he left, I announced to the crew: "Someday Heather's gonna marry that guy." Well of course my group of teens fell apart, and Heather laughed the hardest and said, "Yeah right, someday I'll marry my Woodsy Guy." 
Time passed and eventually I closed the cafe because I couldn't handle the physical work load. It was a sad time. Heather had put herself through U of I working for me, and working a highway job at night. She received her anthropology degree and took off to trek the world. It seems she went everywhere, and did these things by herself. Hiking New Zealand, India, Thailand, Australia, and more places that I don't remember. She had many boyfriends as beautiful young girls do.
Heather and Gerardo one of Cafe Cody's cooks (not a boyfriend, but could I tell another story...)

Heather in an ice cave in New Zealand

When she returned from her travels, I was delighted to learn that she was seeking Montessori certification, and in a couple of years, we were working together again. One could not ask for a better employee or truly professional guide of young children. We have a ball together once again!
Heather is currently supplementing her Montessori education with Infant Toddler Training.

I need to make this long story short, but the title says something about age, so just a few words. Just one of my many criticisms of traditional education is the way children are lumped together by age. This just breeds a hotbed of competition, while they constantly rate themselves against others instead of acknowledging differences and helping others. There. Heather is my dear, dear, friend and she is decades younger than I am. Age doesn't matter! My father fell in love with my mother when he was 49 and she was 19 - you can bet they were the talk of the town! Age didn't matter to them either. Where am I going with this? A couple of weeks ago, Miss Heather and I did our usual Monday morning sharing of what we did over the weekend. I told her some boring stuff I did, and she replied with a smug grin, "Guess what I did this weekend?" I raised my eyebrows. "I married Fran Harty out in the woods!" 
TA DUM!!! Yay! When she called her sister to say they'd eloped, her sister reminded her of the time I predicted she'd marry him some day... Briefly, Fran, (Woodsy Guy) and Heather ran into each other a few years ago, became friends, became camping friends, and now they are husband and wife! I still get nice little goosebumps and tears thinking about how this all unfolded. Cool, huh?
MR. AND MRS. FRAN HARTY with children from Metamorphosis Montessori School, counting mussels on the Sangamon River. The Woodsy Guy is a naturalist with the Nature Conservancy.


A small marriage keepsake that I made for Heather from rose bronze and original bronze. When Fran saw it he asked me to make their wedding rings. This is a tall order, a challenge, and an honor. I predict I can do it. We've come full circle.

1 comment:

Jeannie Mussatto said...

Love this reading about the very interesting, adventurous, & exciting life you have lived! Love you dear friend!