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Atlanta
I grew up in a family of Southern storytellers. Back in 2004, I started Whole Bean to continue the tradition in a new medium. Over the years, I've written about families and friends, peculiar situations, extended road trips, recalcitrant home appliances, and many things for which I'm truly grateful. I hope you enjoy your time here.
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Estelle's Dream


Early this morning, I awoke from a most unusual dream.  It seems that I was once again on a mission to find my old house in Charlotte.  As so often happens, the house I found did not physically resemble the house I actually lived in while in Charlotte.  I have had this dream fairly often:  for a two-year period in the 1990's, I lived in Charlotte in a wonderful house, but due to repeated acquisitions and mergers in the industry in which I was working at the time, I decided to resign from that position and take a new job in Atlanta.  We sold the house after living in it for only twenty months.  I believe that left me with a somewhat unresolved issue which, for whatever reason, continues to surface in my dreams.  But what made this morning's dream different was that its focus turned out to be not the house, but instead my grandmother's presence there.

My grandmother Estelle, my father's mother, passed away in the 1980's, but while alive, she was a true matriarch.  Several years ago, I published a short essay about Estelle on my Whole Bean website, and I commented there how Grandma had moved from Tennessee to California after my grandfather's death to live with my uncle and his family.  At first, she balked at the notion of moving out West, but in later years, she grew to appreciate the West Coast lifestyle and adopted it as her own.  (The last time I saw Grandma, she had abandoned her traditional signature flower print dress in favor of a lively orange muumuu.)

In my dream, it turned out that the house I was looking for was not in North Carolina but was rather in the hills above the San Fernando Valley in southern California.  It seems that this is a recurring theme in my dreams -- a familiar house is set in a different location.  (I'm not completely sure what this means, but I'll leave that to the "dream experts".)  It turns out that Grandma was living in this house and indeed, she was quite comfortable there.  She gave me a tour of the house and grounds, walking so quickly that I could barely keep pace.  She'd had a system of elevators installed, because even though she could walk fast, she occasionally had trouble getting up and down the stairs.  I cannot remember exactly how many people were in the house, but I do recall that at least a couple of her friends were there with her.  All in all, she seemed perfectly in her element.

I awoke this morning with a feeling of quiet contentment, knowing that Grandma, wherever she might be, was happy, and that made me happy as well.  Owing to the physical distance between us, I did not get to visit with her as often as I would have liked in the last few years of her life, so maybe this dream was a way of the universe telling me that things turned out well for her, or maybe Grandma herself was actually giving me a window into some kind of afterlife -- I'm not really sure.  But whatever the reason, I'm thankful that the spirit of a person seems to live beyond their years and that sometimes, when you least expect it, you receive a welcome personal visit.  

Yes, I miss you, Grandma, but I'm glad you are OK.