Clairvoyant Calendars and Other Phenomena

I told my daughter that one of my goals when we moved into the city was to revive my Spanish language skills that had lain dormant for three decades. So, for Christmas, she gave me a “Learn to Speak Spanish Phrase-a-Day” calendar. It seems this calendar is clairvoyant. Either that, or there are spirits here, watching me.

In a previous blog post, I wrote about the day the calendar declared, “Hay mucho polvo” : “There’s a lot of dust.” Okay, I’ll admit, that declaration would have been true on any given day in this old place. But last weekend, just before we started buffing and restoring the living room floor, I turned to this calendar entry:

“Voy a barrer la sala.” It means: “I’m going to sweep the living room.”

Coincidence? I think not.

Seriously. Why would a “Learn to Speak Spanish” calendar even contain such a random phrase? And isn’t it strange that it appeared on the day we were, in fact, restoring (and of course, SWEEPING!) the living room floors?

And last Sunday night, after two exhausting days of buffing, sweeping, mopping, and polishing floors, I was ready for a long, hot shower. But first, I sat down in my home office to check emails. While I was there, I tore off the previous day’s calendar page to reveal this: “Voy a darme una buena ducha.” Translation? “I’m going to take a nice shower.” How did it know? Weird, huh?

I can’t help but wonder if Ruth has something to do with all of this. After all, we felt a “spirit” here from the first time we walked through this old home. She loved this place so much, she couldn’t bring herself to part with it, even decades after her mother died. This was her family’s home for nearly 90 years. Her father bought this home in 1923, and her parents were married standing in front of the fireplace whose bricks and hearth we just restored. I often wonder how Ruth would feel about what we’re doing with “Mama’s house.” I wonder whether she’s watching us as we sweep and sand and paint and clean. I hope it makes her happy to know that we are trying to breathe life and “spirit” back into this place, so that it can hold another 90 years of family memories.

As I’m discovering from the records of Ruth’s life that the Salvation Army turned over to me, Ruth’s family memories were a mix of happiness and heartache. There are photos of a spirited-looking little blonde-haired girl hugging a black and white spotted puppy in the back yard. And there’s a hand-written account of how her parents separated when she was seven, and Ruth was sent off to a girls’ boarding school. There are love letters spanning more than a decade between Ruth as a young woman, and a man named Lee. And there’s a newspaper clipping of Lee’s engagement to someone else. There are photos of Ruth holding the babies and hugging the toddlers of her many married friends. And there’s a hospital bill for the radical mastectomy she had when she was still of child-bearing age. All the day-to-day phenomena (definition: observable experiences) of a life well-lived; of love, laughter and loss; of hopes and plans and pain. All wrapped up in these walls.

Strange phenomena. Ruth’s spirit remains here. She’s watching. I know it.

The latest evidence is in today’s “clairvoyant calendar” entry:

“Hoy no tengo ganas de hacer los quehaceres. ” It means: “I don’t feel like doing household chores today.” You see? How did she know?

I rest my case.

Posted by Melanie Tagged as: ruths story home renovation

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