Happy Thanksgiving!

November 24, 2010

(Above: Want to come over for dinner?)

As those of you here in the US know, it’s Thanksgiving weekend. And I have so much thanks to give that I’m going to have to take a vacation from blogging. I’ll be back on Monday with past life reviews and a little something special as well.

You Were: The Witch

November 24, 2010

I’m not certain which years I’ve seen, but they were dark. The events I’ve witnessed could have taken place in any country in Europe. A deadly disease was sweeping across the land. People lay dying in the gutters. Those who were still alive were busy looking for scapegoats—sinners to blame for the terrible fate that had befallen them. The first person most towns killed, tortured, or threw in jail was the local “witch.”

The lord of your lands had been looking forward to getting rid of you for quite some time. You were a healer, and your hands could repair most injuries. More often than not, that meant healing wounds inflicted by the lord himself. Wounds, it probably goes without saying, that he didn’t want to heal. That was enough to earn you the title of witch.

However, there was also the rather touchy subject of the lord’s son. (And I do mean touchy.) You two had been madly in love since childhood. Your beau managed to keep you alive and fed, but he was forbidden to marry you. His father, the lord, did not want his family’s legacy fouled by peasant blood. So when the town called for a scapegoat, you were the first person he imprisoned.

You watched from a cell in a dismal, damp tower as the peasants died of disease. You’d seen enough to know what it was—and how to heal it. But there was no way to spread the word. It seemed hopeless—until the lord’s son fell ill.

The lord had assumed that the dreadful disease only struck peasants. When he saw his son lying in a pool of sweat and blood, he finally started to panic. Not for his son’s sake. For his own. You were called to the castle and forced to listen as the lord begged you to save his life. You agreed on three conditions.

A year later, the town had a brand new clinic. The land had a new lord. And that lord had a wife beloved by her people. (Only a few jealous biddies still called her a witch.)

You Were: The Very Good Girl

November 19, 2010


You were born in 1718 to a wealthy merchant who lived near Milan. As a child, you were pretty, delicate, well-mannered, and docile. Your parents adored you. Your servants adored you. Heck, everyone in town adored you. Strangers who saw you riding around in your father’s carriage would gasp at the sight of your big, blue eyes and strawberry-blond ringlets. You’d acknowledge their stares with a sweet little wave, and their hearts would melt into big globs of goo.

When you disappeared, there wasn’t a dry eye in town.

Fortunately, your kidnappers were as foolish as they were evil. They figured a pretty little girl like you would be worth a handsome ransom. And it would be much easier than kidnapping an adult. They assumed you were too small and sweet to fight back. They were very wrong.

I’m not suggesting that the sweetness was all just an act. You were a genuinely wonderful human being. But that didn’t make you a doormat. Until that time, you’d lived a sheltered life. You’d never had to fight any battles, and you’d been looking forward to your first for an awfully long time.

As your kidnappers raced away from the scene of your abduction, you calmly assessed the situation. There were two kidnappers, both hulking males. There was no chance of overpowering them, so you’d have to outwit them.

They hid you in a hovel in the middle of the woods. Just as they had expected, you sat on a chair and bawled for your mamma. They didn’t need to watch you that closely. Which was a good thing, since the kidnappers were busy battling a demon that had followed them home. First, the thatched roof caught on fire. Then their wine was replaced with turpentine. One’s dagger disappeared from the sheath on his belt. The other man sat on the dagger and received a rather embarrassing wound. While they scrambled to clean up the blood and dress the wound, the horses were set loose and the cat went crazy.

Finally, the men came to the conclusion that the demon had something to do with you. They were too frightened to kill you, so they set you loose in the woods and hoped hunger or wild animals would do the job for them. But you’d paid close attention on your ride to the hovel. It took you two days to retrace the route, but on the third morning you arrived at your parents’ door with the world’s sweetest smile on your face.

You Were: The Eminence Grise

November 15, 2010

In 1922, you graduated from high school and took a job with the local paper in Sudbury, Ontario. Your hero was American journalist Nellie Bly, and you wanted to follow in her footsteps as an investigative reporter. On your first day in the office, you were informed that you’d be the paper’s new advice columnist.

You weren’t pleased, but you decided to take the job seriously. Some advice columnists try to be funny or folksy. And most never say what they really think. But whenever people wrote to you for love advice or professional guidance, you gave it to them straight. You never hesitated to tell them to quit their jobs, leave their spouses, empty their savings accounts, or flee the country.

At first people found your style a little too . . . honest. Then they started taking your advice. Soon, Sudbury was the happiest, most productive town in Canada. That’s when the government of the United States took notice. (Yes, Canadians. We’ve always been watching you.)

Warren G. Harding was a terrible President—quite possibly one of the worst. But at least he knew it (which is more than you can say for some that we’ve had). Before he went into politics, he’d been a successful newspaperman, and even as President he kept his eyes on the papers. That’s how he found you. A week later, on the last day of July in 1923, you were sitting across from him in the Oval Office.

Harding told you all about the scandals and corruption that plagued his presidency. And one by one, you offered solutions to his problems (not all of them professional—Harding was known as a ladies’ man). If he’d followed your advice, Harding might have gone down in history as a much better leader. Unfortunately, he kicked the bucket three days later.

Of course that wasn’t the end of your career in politics. You were an advisor to every President from Harding to Kennedy. (Though some leaders paid more attention than others.) FDR was referring to you when he said, “I’m not the smartest fellow in the world, but I can sure pick smart colleagues.”

Though you married a movie star (long story), you lived your own life in the shadows, and your contribution to the world has gone unrecognized. But if you look closely at photos taken of US Presidents at historical moments, you’ll find the same attractive blond lurking somewhere in the background.