They’re not always jointly rooted in the past and present

This sequence, from my time in the Pacific Northwest, remains eerily prescient.


DRIVING THROUGH ALLEGHENY FORESTS “out east,” I come into a small city. At an oblique Y intersection, I veer to the right and am struck by a large three-story apartment building with stately columns and porches on the front. Not that different, really, from one on Far Hills Avenue in my past. While this intersection initially seemed like the downtown, it’s only a prelude for a real downtown a mile or so further on.

After moving back, to eastern Ohio, I went driving one day into Pennsylvania and came into Warren via a route that eerily matched the dream. The sense of déjà vu was overwhelming.


I’M THE GROOM IN a Quaker wedding. The event moves outdoors, under an impressive beech tree and golden pools of sunlight. In the background is a large, old house of an unfamiliar style, part of a sedate farm. The bride’s off a bit, the center of attention, somewhat blurred but with distinctive flaxen hair stretching well-beyond her waist. I’m deliriously happy – so much so, I awakened with the cry (at least in my sleep), “But I can’t be doing this! I’m already happily married!”

Later, after my first wife had left, I was traveling from North Carolina to Philadelphia and, crossing through Delaware, came upon my first three-story federal-style house that I was aware of. A few months later, I became engaged to a woman fitting the one in the dream. She was Quaker.


AHA! I FIND MENTION in my journals of climbing a fire tire in Allegheny National Forest and coming out into Warren, Pa., noting, “how weird! the town seems to have three downtowns (no suburban malls) and one comes to an intersection … just like a dream I had (but I didn’t meet the ‘Quaker girl.’)”

In the decades since, I relocated to a locale where such houses are common and then in a Quaker service married a woman who easily fits the dream, though her hair is less flaxen.

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