Saturday, October 17, 2009

My mother, the bird

During the 1965/1966 TV season, NBC aired a show called “My mother the car”, starring Jerry Van Dyke (brother of Dick Van Dyke)

The show lasted just one season, and in 2002, TV Guide proclaimed it to be the second worst show of all time, just above The Jerry Springer Show:

talk about a dud

Although the critics hated the show, it was a very popular show for children.Lost in the criticism of the show is the fact that it “brought to life” a very ANCIENT topic: reincarnation.

Belief in reincarnation dates back roughly 4000 years, to the early Hindus, and people as prominent as Henry Ford and George Patton firmly believed that they had made life’s journey on this planet at least once before.

Their comments are listed below:

haven’t I seen you someplace before?.

Henry Ford

Henry Ford was convinced he had lived before, most recently as a soldier killed at the battle of Gettysburg. A quote from the San Francisco Examiner from August 26, 1928 described Ford's beliefs:

"I adopted the theory of Reincarnation when I was twenty-six. Religion offered nothing to the point. Even work could not give me complete satisfaction. Work is futile if we cannot utilize the experience we collect in one life in the next. When I discovered Reincarnation it was as if I had found a universal plan I realized that there was a chance to work out my ideas. Time was no longer limited. I was no longer a slave to the hands of the clock. Genius is experience. Some seem to think that it is a gift or talent, but it is the fruit of long experience in many lives.

Some are older souls than others, and so they know more. The discovery of Reincarnation put my mind at ease. If you preserve a record of this conversation, write it so that it puts men’s minds at ease. I would like to communicate to others the calmness that the long view of life gives to us."

George S. Patton

General George S. Patton was a staunch believer in reincarnation and, along with many other members of his family, often claimed to have seen vivid, lifelike visions of his ancestors. In particular, Patton believed he was a reincarnation of Carthaginian General Hannibal.

Despite the title of this story, I am in no way suggesting that my mother has come back to life as a bird of the air. However, what I found interesting is that there are some remarkable similarities between the Irish farmer’s daughter who brought me to life, and Mission San Juan Capistrano, which was established by the Spanish Francisco fathers on November 1, 1776.

It is the oldest building in what is now California that is still in use:

don’t look up when the birds are flying by

Like many old buildings, the Mission has its resident ghosts, named Magdalena and Teofilo, and, like many old buildings, it has an interesting historical twist.

For centuries, the cliff swallows have traveled from southern Argentina to San Juan Capistrano. They ALWAYS arrive on the feast of St. Joseph, March 19, which is the day that Mae Brennan returned to Heaven. In the fall, the swallows leave for Argentine on St. John’s Day, October 23, the day my mother was born in 1913.

when the swallows come back to Capistrano

According to Mapquest , the mission is located about an hour’s drive north of San Diego, and is very close to both San Clemente (remember Richard Nixon?) and the Marine base at Camp Pendleton.

During WWII, mom worked for Consolidated Industries in San Diego, at a plant that made airplanes for the U.S. Air Force. Although she didn’t rivet any planes together (to my knowledge) she probably worked with women who did:

Rosie the Riveter

When the war ended, mom boarded a train in San Diego, and traveled to its final destination point, the main terminal in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Meanwhile, on the East Coast, her neighbor from Hastings, Minnesota (Larry Brennan) boarded a train in Dover, Delaware.

Its final destination point was St. Paul, Minnesota.

Through a twist of fate, Larry and Mae arrived at the train station in St. Paul at almost exactly the same time.

Roughly a year later, they were married at Guardian Angels church in Hastings, and moved to St. Paul to start their lives together.

At this point, October 23 really isn’t too far into the future.

On the morning of October 23 (less than a week from now), the swallows will once again start heading south to Argentina, and at least some of you will wake up thinking “I’ve just been waiting for this moment to arrive”

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