My grandmother and her sister—Gunhild and Helga—were what were once known as ‘witches’, and now known more aptly as psychics. However, they would have both had a conniption fit if they were referred to with either of those phrases, for they were both devoutly religious. My grandmother was a strong influence on my life, and I’m surprised I haven’t written much about her here before—perhaps because she is so close to my heart and upbringing that I don’t even think to speak in a detached manner about her. She left behind a lot of materials, both written and spoken, that I want to sift through when I finally get my stuff out of storage, and I will then write in detail about her amazing life and stories, as I think it’s about time.
But right now I wanted to introduce you to a story that she loved to tell, because it is all about me, and after all, that’s what this blog is mostly about, right?
When my father excitedly called his mother with the good news that another baby was on the way–two girls had already been born–my grandmother said, “Oh, I already knew about that.”
“And how did you know that?” my father inquired, bewildered.
“Helga has seen it in a dream, and she’s not sure, but she thinks that it is going to be a little boy.”
Yes, indeed, a full year before I was born, my great-aunt Helga had had a dream in which she foresaw my birth. She had not seen it fit to announce this dream to my parents, but she obviously believed enough in its veracity that she called and shared it with her sister Gunhild.
Sure enough, soon along came little Manderson, his peepee a-flapping in the florescent hospital lighting, popped out on the exact day, as a matter of fact, that his sister had come out two years prior.
So I was henceforth referred to by my grandmother as “the dream boy,” and she was so impressed with her sister Helga’s prescience that she felt the need to share this story about me to complete strangers. She would wrap up the story by pointing her finger at me and dramatically stating, “And there he is!” I was an extremely shy child and this always made me feel mortified, though perhaps vaguely proud, as if I’d somehow done anything other than just be birthed. She even felt the need to reiterate this story at Helga’s memorial, and as she wrapped up the story with her standard climactic finale, leveling her wobbly finger at me, all the random nursing home folk that had come by for cookies and gossip at the advent of another death turned around in their seats to get a peep of this mystery “dream boy.” I smiled weakly and hesitantly waved my hand at them, feeling that perhaps I was a disappointing sort of child to have been predicted. This trauma, perhaps, may explain my prior hesitancy in bringing up the story on these pages.
Gunhild’s sister Helga was a quiet lady who lived on her own in Los Angeles, and she tended to speak to my grandmother in Swedish and keep to herself, so I don’t know what other psychic events may have transpired in her life. But my grandmother had bucketloads of stories that could either be termed psychic events, or manifestations of God, depending on your inclination. I will re-tell some of these stories as time goes on, as they are simply too priceless to not be shared.
My grandmother has been on my mind some lately, so I had been remembering some of these stories, and I figured that I might as well share my little “dream boy” snippet. As you can perhaps imagine, having this story told about me constantly tainted me for some time with a slight insecure messianic complex, as I felt the need to somehow live up to that sense of promise and prophecy. I felt that I had to have some kind of purpose, that I should have been announced telepathically before even forming within my mama’s fallopian tubes. Now, however, the story is simply one of humor to me, in remembrance of my grandmother and her sister’s playful psychic abilities.