I’m not exactly sure , but I think my obsession with “Lost” has propelled me into an alternate reality. One where things out of the ordinary happen and my path is illuminated every day. This timeline that I’m now on is perfect and I feel very connected to my own island. However, instead of the tropical background, my electromagnetic force is a house in Rayne.
To avoid vague rambling, I must start with an update for those who may be unaware of the recent year of my life. Last May I graduated from UL Lafayette in General Studies. I then took off with a friend and traveled throughout the West; 7,000 miles in four weeks. I returned for my sister’s wedding/godchildrens’ birthday on June 27th.
I chose to live at home for a bit to figure out my next step. I started to wait tables again at Zea. I freelanced for 008 magazine. I worked a temp job in an office and had daily battles with a copy machine. I had swine flu right after Halloween. Then I met Jon.
Jon lived in Portland, Oregon. We had a mutual uncle (WE’RE NOT RELATED!) who gave him my number. After working out one evening I had a missed call on my cell phone from a Portland number. I thought it was the cops calling me about some parking tickets I had received a few months earlier, but it was Jon saying that his uncle told him we would enjoy exchanging at least a few conversations.
Those conversations seemed to happen every day for two months. By Christmas week, he managed to score a plane ticket to come here for two months to see if he liked living in Lafayette. I adjusted to having a manly boyfriend around all of the time and he enjoyed the Cajun hospitality. My temp job ended on January 31st and by the end of February we flew to Portland to meet his family and pack up a U-Haul to move him back to Louisiana.
Upon our arrival home a discussion with my grandmother, Mom Mary, set the plot into climactic motion. Her 94-year-old mother Lena, went into the nursing home. The insurance company would not cover the house if it were empty and since I was living with my parents, she asked if I would want to take care of the house.
I had always been fond of the little red brick house with the screened-in back porch. In fact, during my travels when I pictured home, I pictured that house. However, I saw my great-grandma there with me.
So, I began cleaning the house. It was in excellent condition. Mom Lena was very organized and was always a hard worker–she spent 38 loyal years at the historical Mervine Kahn Department Store. She loved being in her yard. When she was in her late 80’s we passed by the house one day and she was on her roof sweeping, “Because it’s dirty!”.
But as I cleaned the blinds and walls I felt the curiosity to know more about the history of the house. I asked my mom and dad for details and this is what I was told:
My great-great aunt Louise built the house in the 1960s. She was an Arceneaux and had come from oil money. She was never married. She was engaged once, but her fiance died. She taught first grade for years and during her summers off, she would travel. When she fell ill at an elder age, she no longer had siblings to care for her, so she went into the nursing home on Robert Street.
The house sat empty for over a year.
It was 1980 and my parents had just married and spent their first year in Lake Charles while my dad finished at McNeese. They wanted to move back to Rayne and eventually start a family. They talked to my Uncle Donald, who was in charge of Aunt Louise’s house, and he agreed to let them live there.
They spent the next few years in the red-brick house. I was conceived there and spent the first two years of my life toddling around on the orange carpet. Right before my third birthday, we moved into our house in the country. My mother used several of Aunt Louise’s concepts to design the house, which as I sit in it now I realize why it feels all too familiar.
As we moved out of the house, my great-grandmother moved in. She was a strong/stubborn woman who liked to stay busy. I remember her holiday being Christmas day. We would go for dinner every year and fill up on fudge.
She has two children, my grandmother and uncle Sherman. Once Mom Lena was too old to get her yard work done, Sherman would tend to the handy work, but she always raked her own leaves. It was one of her favorite things to do. About a year ago, she was next door trying to clean the neighbor’s yard, when she stepped on a piece of metal and sliced her foot. Because of her age, her body took longer to heal. During this time, Sherman had a stroke. With both of them in recovery, Mom Lena decided it was time for her to go to the nursing home on Robert Street.
Now I sit in this house and feel the “her stories”. It’s unusual for a house to have such a strong feminine vibe in South Louisiana. It’s the first time I consciously feel like a woman, and it’s in the home I took my first steps.
One more odd twist.
I had about an hour and a half before Ellah was to arrive one afternoon, so I flipped through the Instant Movies on Netflix to kill some time. I ran across a movie that instantly struck a memory, “Somewhere in Time,” starring Christopher Reeves. I remembered my mom saying that’s where they got my name. Intrigued, I hit play.
The plot is about a young playwright who falls in love with young actress, Elise MaKenna. . The kinker is that she lived in a time period almost 100 years before him. He discovers a way to go back in time on…June 27,1908.
My heart stopped. I called my mom on the spot.
“Mom, did you watch ‘Somewhere in Time’ while you pregnant with me?”
“Uuummmm. Chuck. Was I already pregnant with Elise when we watched ‘Somewhere in Time’?.
Mumble in the background.
“Yes, we did.”
“So you mean to tell me that you were pregnant with me, sitting in this very living room, watching this movie and the date he goes back in time is June 27?!?!”
“Yeah, oh that’s kind of neat.”
“Kind of neat?! Mom, it’s the date the connects everything for me! And it was set in stone while I was in your womb!”
“Hhmmm. You are the one that would figure that out.”
We talked a little longer and then I sat shell shocked. Is it destiny that I’m here and the house is reminding me of my true path? Or will I suddenly realize that I’ve really been dead all along?
Either way, I signed my papers yesterday. I will be a fifth grade teacher for a private, Catholic school next year. I bet you didn’t see that coming. Neither did I, but the journey is interesting. Especially when you follow the signs.
I’m just trying to move her-story along.