Meeting my Grandmother
By Marcia Berg Haskell
My first psychic experience occurred while I had Scarlet Fever at age 3 1/2, but it took me another 28 years before I recognized it for what it really was. Life was very different in the early 1940s. There were no antibiotics so if you got diseases such as Scarlet Fever you waited it out and hoped to get better. Many of these illnesses were highly contagious. If you had one of those, you, along with everyone else who were unlucky enough to be inside at the time, when the doctor made his diagnosis were quarantined and the rest of the world was locked out. My father brought my Scarlet Fever home after one of his students came to school with it. Of course my father was the one locked out. In hindsight, that seemed grossly unfair.
My home, at that time, was a four-room apartment – kitchen, living room, my parent’s bedroom and my bedroom. Let me describe my room as it was before my illness. There was a child’s dresser, about 48 inches high; a ‘big girl’s bed without side-rails; a bookcase, even at three I had to have my books; a chair with my five foot teddy bear sitting in it; and blocks, toys and puzzles in the toy chest. The top of the toy chest was covered with dolls of all sizes and shapes.
The Scarlet Fever produced nightmares and hallucinations. Of course, being 3 ½, the words ‘hallucinations’ or ‘nightmares’ had no meaning for me – the aches, the hotness and chills, and being locked in the house while my father was locked out were what had meaning. My throat being too sore to swallow and the ice cream tasting bad had meaning, but not the crisis or other concerns the doctor and my mother whispered about. I had been sick for days.
This particular day, I must have fallen asleep, I remember being in a dark forest, the trees so thick that I had to move back and forth to get around them. My thoughts were on how confusing it was to be in the forest, and where was this forest anyway and why weren’t there any birds or animals? Weren’t there supposed to be birds and animals in a forest? Suddenly a large black bear was chasing me, running on his hind legs. Despite running as fast as I could, the bear kept getting closer and closer. He was going to eat me, I just knew it!
Suddenly there was a lady in front of me. She wore a blue dress and seemed to be surrounded by white light. She put up her hand and the bear stopped, then vanished. The lady seemed to know me and we spoke for a while. She told me that she was my guardian angel and had taken care of me since I was born. She also spoke to me of beauty and being sure my life was filled with beautiful things. I remember her words, “Whether you are buying writing paper or clothes or books, always get that which is most pleasurable to your senses.” She made me repeat that several times. I timidly told her that I didn’t know what that meant. She replied, “Just remember, some day it will have meaning.” I asked her if I had to tell my parents about our talk and she said “No! This is for you, not them.” I fell in love with her at that moment. Finally she smiled and said, “It’s time for you to go home. You’ll be fine now.”
Waking, I heard the doctor say, “The crisis is over. Her fever has broken and she’ll sleep for a while. The worst is over, but she’ll be weak for some time.” Within a
few days things were back to normal except that my clothes, bedding, stuffed bear and lots of my toys were gone. My mother said they had been burned. My father was home again so I was only mildly upset at losing my things, and I did get new clothes.
Over the next years, I frequently went to sleep sick and woke to say, “My lady said I was fine now” and, of course, I always was. When my parents asked who ‘My Lady’ was, I carefully explained that she was my guardian angel. My parents wondered where I had heard that phrase, since no one they knew would have used it.
It was several years after my initial dream before my family and I learned the identity of ‘My Lady’. On one of my monthly visits to my father’s father, he lived in a one-room apartment and, this day, he had a new picture on his chest of drawers. Walking into the room my attention was instantly drawn to that picture. It was ‘My Lady’. I recognized her soft smile and her way of standing, as if the rest of the world didn’t exist. Becoming extremely angry and agitated, I kept demanding that he give me that picture. Telling him he had no right to the picture I stated ‘it can’t be his, he can’t have it.” My grandfather, in turn, got angry at my ranting and raving and demanded that my father shut me up or take me home. I went home in disgrace, but my father relented enough to tell me that the picture was my grandmother. She had died long before I was born and I was named for her. Seeing and speaking with her was my first psychic experience.