I’m using the laptop of a late acquaintance from Maine…soon I will be bringing his machine back to his home state. It runs Windows XP, but it will be perfect as a field laptop, since I am using mine as my main computer, now. This one is missing the “z" key, though you can still get the character by pressing on the space. It was cleverly removed to replace the “n" key…hopefully I won’t use so many words with “z"…
Really, I am just taking this for a spin, as I intend to use it for my next book when I am out in the field, tracking down sites connected with my past life as Mathew Franklin Whittier, there in Portland, and also in the surrounding areas. This means that finally my first book, “Mathew Franklin Whittier in his own words," is completed, because any new discoveries will be going into the second one. There may be very little, or I may stumble upon a new treasure-chest of information. Meanwhile, there will be my own subjective reactions to record. Although in my previous entry I commented that the most likely things to surface are yet more feelings and emotions, I have a hunch there will be one or more past-life memory flashbacks.
Right now, the logistics of the move are taking up all of my energies. I am keenly aware, not only of the personal nostalgia of moving to my old past-life haunts, but of the natural beauty of the area (I will have to dust off my camera), and, of course, the bitter cold. I am not a particular fan of cold weather, having grown up in Miami. There, it was exciting if it frosted one night out of the year! Winter was the dry season, and everybody worried about the Everglades. There was no particular concern about temperature.
Now, I am moving to a region where the weather hurts. Sigh…I think my feelings about cold may be Mathew’s own reactions to it. He must have gotten accustomed to it to a certain extent, in other words, but he never liked it.
I am preparing in every way I can think of, including watching YouTube videos on how to drive in snow, buying snow-rated tires, stocking the car, etc. The thing will be do-able, is all I can say. Probably my coxic will be insulted by several slips on the ice before it’s all done.
I talked to an antique newspaper curator up that way on the phone, for advice on how best to package my volumes of antique newspapers in extreme weather conditions. The conversation turned to my research, and for reasons of fatigue or insanity, I began summarizing the results (there’s the “z" key). When I mentioned that people stopped taking me seriously as soon as they realized I claimed to be the reincarnation of the person I’m studying, he also ceased to take me seriously, and quickly bowed out of the conversation.
I have realized (there are a lot more words containing “z" than one might think) that people literally can’t take me seriously. There is something hard-wired in the Western brain that triggers an automated shut-down response, when the “R"-word is perceived through the ears. It is far more powerful than you would guess. People think they have free will—I doubt that they do, in this respect.
Still, my website stats are interesting. A large number of people have been quietly reading my article about continuing a soul-mate relationship after one member of the couple dies. The searing pain of grief is a great motivator. All I am doing is suggesting it is possible—and just this is hugely radical. I totally missed this point, myself, when Abby was first trying to contact me. I simply assumed it was impossible, once I had identified my soul-mate but realized she was still on the other side.
People have tended to ignore my reincarnation work. There is no intense motivator there—not yet. There will be, but the time is not ripe. However, suddenly I see that no less than 14 people (if I remember correctly from earlier this morning, when I checked it) have watched my self-shot video interview. I say “self-shot" because I set up the camera, but had a friend of mine interview me, so I am, in fact, talking to someone. Normally there might be 3 or 4 people who check it out in a typical month.
As for my feelings of anticipation…I think that will sink in when I get in the car and drive away from North Myrtle Beach. I will be leaving the Meher Spiritual Center, which most followers of Meher Baba would do anything to live near. But I have been weaned away from it, because for the last six years, while I was caretaking for my mother, I haven’t been able to be a part of the life of the Center. I barely made it over there, and then, the work on my book was so intensive. My inner relationship with Baba remains as firm and powerful as ever; but I came here in 2007 to do some work for them, and for a related organization; that work was completed, and/or other people have filled my shoes in those positions. So it feels like time to move on, rather than to be attached to staying for its own sake.
I’m not directly answering my own question, because it goes very deep and it’s not entirely articulate. How I feel about Portland is that it is home…but it is a home which was not always kind to me. It is, or was, a jewel of a city by the sea. I think that Mathew was the original author of “Anabelle Lee," and that the “kingdom by the sea" in that poem was, in fact, Portland. (Originally, unless I miss my mark, it was written about “Abigail P----," precisely in Mathew’s whimsical style—a private tribute, probably never intended for publication.)* That poem will give you a feeling of what Portland meant to Mathew—it was the little jewel of a city that he took his young wife Abby to, to start their life over after the tragedy of losing their first child, and of being aggressively shunned for their anti-slavery views (and in her case, for her interest in mysticism and the occult). But it was the place where he lost Abby. It got comfortable for him, over the years, like an old shoe. But it shunned him and wouldn’t give him enough work to support himself. So the feelings are mixed. And, it was cold in winter.
So I don’t anticipate an entirely unmixed bag, here. I anticipate being at the epicenter of my quest, with the attendant good and bad. And I anticipate meeting some interesting people.
Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.
*Abby’s father was a marquis, and her sisters came and took her back to their family home in East Haverhill, Mass., where she died a few days later. So what appears to be fanciful in that poem was literal, for Mathew. Abby appears to have started tutoring Mathew when she was 12, and he 16; she fell in love with him at least as of age 13, but he put her off or humored her until she was 16, at which time they began courting in earnest, finally eloping (sans her father's permission) four years later. They moved to Portland in 1839, when she was 23; she died in March of 1841, at age 24. When their relationship began, she was literally a child; Mathew, being emotionally immature, was also a child, in that sense. Hence, “she was a child and I was a child" is private irony. In the one letter I ever discovered in Abby’s hand, she playfully describes Mathew as being (also) a “privileged child" after their marriage.
Audio opening this page, "Ethan Spike's First and Last Visit to Portland,"
read by Maine storyteller Vernon Cox