best friend's sister, Emily, looked different from the
rest of her family. For instance, she had different
posture and facial expressions than anyone in her family.
I knew she was of both Russian and Italian descent,
but she didn't have those particular mannerisms.
I was seven or eight, my dad hired a nanny for us from
Germany. It was uncanny, because the way she moved and
behaved physically, even the tone of her voice when
she addressed us, was exactly like Emily's.
I was around fourteen, I asked Emily's mother if their
family had a German ancestry, because Emily certainly
gave off that vibe. Her mother looked at me strangely
and then told me something that gave me chills. When
Emily was only two years old, she told her mom a story
about how "the other Emily" was on the streets
begging for bread to feed her little children, and how
"the daddy" was flying a plane over the town
in Germany. She told this story consistently over time
and in a very matter-of-fact tone. Her mother was stunned
because at that time her daughter had not been exposed
to any information about other countries or war or poverty.
When I asked Emily about it, she finally admitted that
she had dreams about Germany during WWII which she thought
were nightmares. She didn't like to talk or think about
it, and she "never wants to go back there."
hearing this, I let myself recall things that I had
remembered as a small child. My mother and father were
always very Christian and discouraged me from learning
about anything metaphysical. I always obeyed them, because
of how angry my father once got when I was around six
and I told him I might have had other lives. But now
I am recalling several things, such as how hard I'd
scream and how much I absolutely hated taking baths
when I was little, and how I always felt vulnerable
and out of place when my hair was done or when I was
in a dress, and how I've always had a passion for anything
French even though I have never been there. I've had
a few spontaneous recalls, enough to realize that I
was once a French businessman in the late 1800's/early
realization has always made sense to me, but it was
never really confirmed until about a month ago. I went
to Buffalo for the weekend, and while I was there I
was walking in a very old neighborhood where there were
rows of tall, skinny brick houses along the dilapidated
sidewalks. When I looked at a particular house with
brown-red bricks and a black spindly fence, I had a
very vivid flashback that left me as soon as it came.
was night time and I was coming home to my family. As
I walked up to the house, a little blonde girl about
nine years old and a little boy, who looked to be six
or seven with soft brown hair, were watching me out
of the front window. They were in their nightgowns and
the room was dimly lit by candlelight, and it was most
likely past their bedtime. But seeing their happy faces
lit with excitement as they waited for me to enter did
not make me cross at their being out of bed.
image faded in a mere second, but for the entire evening
I felt depressed. When I was asked what was wrong, the
very first thing that came out of my mouth was, "I
am so homesick." I was confused as to why I had
said this, because I didn't miss my home or anyone there
in the slightest. However, as I analyzed my feelings,
the image came back to me of my two sweet little children
watching me out the front window, and I began crying
hysterically. I never realized how much you could miss
someone or some place until that moment.
time passes, I remember more about my wife and my house.
I hope one day to go back to France. Apparently, I have
some unfinished business there.
C. B. Caldwin
Posted June 21, 2004