Wednesday, February 10, 2016

A Young Perspective

I lived in St. Petersburg Florida as a young girl going to school.  
I was attending Azalea Elementary at the time I experienced this very strange happening.
I remember many odd things happening to me at a very young age. Most were extremely bizarre as I look back at them now. At the time, I didn't know what bizarre meant. I also didn't know that it was happening to me and not everyone else! I thought everyone had these "incidences" happening to them. So I believed it was normal. It was certainly normal to me! I found it strange that no one ever mentioned anything to me about them  having odd experiences however. I always waited for someone to say something first. I thought, sooner or later someone will share something with me, then I will share what happened to me. That day wouldn't come for many years.
So, I was in the 5th grade and walking home from school one day, I lived farther than most of the other children from school so I was alone, as usual, for about nine or so blocks on my trek home everyday. 
While heading home alone on this day,
I heard a mans voice call my name?
I clearly heard it, right in my left ear, "Teri". It seemed as if he were right behind me, and extremely close. His voice seemed real friendly, definitely a mans voice, and he seemed older, like maybe he was someone who knew me,
so I wasn't alarmed at all.
I stopped walking, and looked around. I didn't see anybody behind me. I fully expected to see a man standing there, someone I knew because the voice seemed friendly, but there was no one in sight.
I wondered why I had heard my name called? It didn't make any sense. I walked toward home many times after school alone and never heard anyone call my name before. "Nobody around here even knows me", I thought to myself. Oh well, I thought, It didn't seem to alarm me at all. There was no friendly man anywhere so I just kept on walking,
I didn't get much further down the sidewalk and I hear the voice call to me again. Same voice, "Teri" clearly in my left ear! But again I saw no one! And again, I wasn't really startled, I don't know why I wasn't afraid. It somehow seemed like a friendly voice.
When I stopped again this time, I was next to a big green bush I passed everyday walking home. I remember this so clearly and completely, as I always stopped here to smell the leaves on this particular bush.  (I would crack the leaves in half and smell the wonderful fresh fragrance of the plant. I just loved the fresh, clean scent. I would always grab a few to crack and smell as I walked home. I don't know why I did this, I just always did).

As I stood there smelling the leave I had just cracked open, I kept looking around. Where was that mans voice coming from? I looked in the yard beyond the green bush, no one was there. I looked across the street, no one was there either. No one behind me, but the voice sounded as if it were in my ear. So close. Just then a car drove by and I remember thinking, everything is OK, there is no one here, so I kept walking again. This time though I remember thinking "where is this voice coming from"?
Then I heard the voice again, It clearly said, "Teri" a third time!  It then continued, "are you going to be a good girl or a bad girl"? Well that was a silly question I thought to myself and
I said right out loud as I continued walking down the sidewalk, "Oh, I'm going to be a good girl", (very matter of fact, I said this as if it were an actual well known fact)! and I kept on walking towards home. I didn't even stop to answer. I just kept on walking.

I have literally wondered about this incident all my life!
WHY would a voice I could not see poise this question to me on my walk home from school in broad daylight?
While I was just a child?

I had answered as if I were talking to the "Man or Person" asking me this question, but I was very sure there was no one there. I know I never saw anyone! I had simply heard a voice.

I never told my Mom about this, and I'm not sure why.
It was just another strange incident in my life that never really made any sense to me. I often kept these odd happenings to myself. I will never understand why I didn't confide in my Mom. That has never made any sense to me. It's as if these odd things would happen and I would simply ignore them.
They became so common place.
 Maybe you have had this sort of odd thing happen to you?
I guess I could say I've always known I would be "Good".
It was in my heart to be good from an early age, I don't understand why I knew this, but I did. I remember other strange affirmations of this, and on this day in my life I spoke that into the universe very matter of fact! 
Life is clearly not as it appears to be. Seems we have choices to make in this life that we are aware of at a very young age. There are many things that happen to us along our path from birth to death that we may never truly understand. This was one of them for me.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Bridge

The New Bridge

The Old Bridge
On May 9, 1980, tragedy struck Tampa Bay when a 600-ft cargo ship struck the Sunshine Skyway Bridge  causing a segment of the bridge to collapse.   Seven cars and a Greyhound bus fell over the edge and 35 people died. 

So, it was the winter of 1980, The bridge tragedy had everyone in St. Petersburg Florida so afraid of crossing bridges we all were ready to forget ever going over one again.
I had a boyfriend named Lawrence at that time and he was working construction on the repair of the bridge.
Lawrence was dating me and another young lady in town and was really having a hard time deciding between the two of us.
I wasn't as serious about him as he was about me, but we were young and I felt I had plenty of time to figure out which direction my future would go. I just wasn't in any big hurry.
I always felt the other young lady was pressing him to make a decision quickly.
One night Lawrence and I were out on a date having dinner and afterwards we were just riding around wasting time.  He had the most beautiful GTO with an amazing sound system and all the coolest gadgets on this car. We loved listening to the music of the day and driving around with no particular place to go.
All of a sudden Lawrence said to me, let's go up on the Collapsed side of the Sunshine Skyway bridge and see what it looks like from the top at night where it collapsed. I immediately said, "No way"! I'm not into going up on that bridge at all! He said , Awe come on now Teri, don't be afraid of going on the part that is still secure. I said, how can anyone be sure there is a secure part at all at this point on that bridge?  I said again, No, I don't really want to go there.
Lawrence was driving on U.S. #19 already and started heading south out towards the bridge. I was very nervous and I asked him to please not go up to the bridge. He wasn't listening to me. He had a weird look on his face and said "don't be afraid".
I knew this wasn't going to be a safe trip. I was so nervous. I asked him to just take me home and he laughed and said I was acting like a big chicken.
I agreed whole heartedly.
I kept asking him to please turn around as we began the assent up the bridge. He wasn't hearing any of that.
It was at that very moment I was sure this was NOT the man I would spend the rest of my life with.
When we got to the area that was as far as we could go in the car, he parked his beautiful Blue GTO and said let's walk out to the edge from here.
I immediately said I didn't want to get to close to the end of the bridge! I kept thinking to myself, why is he doing this? This is crazy! It's so dark out tonight and truly I didn't want to be there!
Again he teased me and said come on, lets dangle our feet over the edge.
I was so afraid at this point I turned to walk back towards the car. Lawrence grabbed my arm and said come on with me over here near the edge, I just want to look down. I was 5' 6" and he was 6' 5" this wasn't a good situation. He was tall and strong. I felt very vulnerable.
He explained to me he had been up there earlier working and it was really beautiful. I didn't buy a word of it.
Sheer panic was setting into me and I wanted to run back to the car.
I didn't want him to see how afraid I actually was. I didn't want him making fun of me again.
Lawrence told me to calm down. He pulled a flask of some kind of alcohol out of his jacket pocket and started drinking. He offered me some and I thought to myself, maybe I should take a sip to calm myself down here? But again I was just so afraid. I wanted to just ease my way away from the edge of this bridge. I was sure we were not allowed to be here.
As we sat near the edge of the bridge Lawrence said, do you want to jump? I looked at him and said, "are you serious"?
NO, I don't want to jump. He said, come on Teri, go ahead and jump, let's both jump. Do you want me to push you? It was right at this moment I heard the voice that has often spoken to me in my life, It said clearly, "Lure him back to the car, NOW".
I changed the subject and said I wanted to go to the car to fool around, I started laughing and told him, Come on let's go to the car. I started to stand up and I began acting flirty and aggressive to lure him to the car.
He took the bait!
The next thing I knew we were back in the car. He finished drinking his whiskey and we sat on the top of that bridge for a good hour listening to Jimi Hendrix and flirting like crazy.
I finally got Lawrence to agree to leave and we headed towards home.
I came to understand later that Lawrence was so mixed up about dating me and this other young lady that he would rather have killed us both then made up his mind.
That was the last time I ever went out with Lawrence.
Once safe at home, I counted myself blessed beyond measure.
I didn't end up being pushed off that bridge that night .
I'm grateful for the VOICE that came to me and gave me a plan and encouragement and strength to lure this crazed young man off the raggedy cliff of the Sunshine Skyway.
To this day I cannot cross the new bridge without looking over at where the Billy Dean Bridge used to be and shutter a bit.
My life came so close to the end.
I could have been another bridge casualty!
Devine intervention kept me from a fatal ending that night.
I am truly blessed and I thank GOD!