Excerpt for The Story of Mary: Mayhem, Mirth and Miracles by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

The Story of Mary:
Mayhem, Mirth and Miracles

Carolyn Franklin M.A.

voicedynamicscf@yahoo.com

All Rights Reserved 2017
No Duplication Without Written Permission

Contents

The Story About Mary

About The Author

Other Books By The Author

Is there is a quota on miracles? If so, I’m ‘way over my share. This is the story of Mary, her two major accidents, the people who came from everywhere to help her - phone operators, doctors, nursing staff, pastors and their churches, the Rabbi and his congregation, priests and their congregations, friends, musicians, the visions, the visits from the spirits on the other side and visits from the people “up there” – extra terrestrials – every word is true - I couldn’t make this stuff up. Truth is stranger than fiction.

Worcester, Massachusetts, 1937, I was six years old. Mother enrolled me in a public school - I got to sit next to a gypsy - the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. She had on a red sari decorated in spangles, bangles - anything that sparkled or shone. She wore a veil and a red mark in the center of her forehead - I was besotted.

Our phone had just been installed on the kitchen wall, Aunt Rose, the matriarch, called. She never raised her voice–the iron fist in the velvet glove, “Carolyn, how was school today?”

I stood on my tip toes to reach the speaker, “I got to sit next to a gypsy!”

Our family, devout Catholics, immigrated from Naples, Italy, 1898. There was early mass on Sunday; they attended any and all required Holy Days of Obligation to lessen their stay in Purgatory. We had a shrine to ward off lightning strikes from Massachusetts rain storms.

Therefore, the next morning I found myself entering a formidable two-story brick building; grim-faced women in ominous black gowns and black veils floated on stairs and hallways - no gypsies in evidence. It was St. Paul’s Catholic School across from St. Paul’s Cathedral on High Street – I was pinned in.

8:00 a.m. prayers, salute to the flag, smelly cod fish stew at lunch, more prayers, then mercifully let out of school at 4:00 p.m. Saturday Catechism 8:00 a.m. Children’s mass Sunday, 8:00 a.m. Saturdays at confession I dutifully recited the list of 8 sins the nun gave us. At number 7, “I did bad things,” the priest, in his rich Irish brogue, would explode, “You dirty thing!! You dirty thing!!” - I’d get a stiff penance that took much of the afternoon.

I always wondered why I was a “dirty thing” when I had a bath every Saturday night – and I was first in the family tub.

I hated mass. I didn’t understand the Latin words. What does the ringing bell mean? My knees screamed in pain from kneeling, when the ache in my back became unbearable, we got to leave.

To occupy my mind during the ritual, I’d observe the huge, stained glass windows where saints in 3-D, spilled deep red blood on flowing blue robes, their faces distorted in agony as they raised their hands to God in adoration.

They scared me. I was terrified someday God would make me be a saint and I didn’t want to live like that. I prayed with all my heart, “Please, God, don’t make me be a saint.” I’ve since learned God does listen to prayers – I’m not a saint.

I had no problem accepting mysticism, of course there were saints, angels, virgin birth, the host at mass was actually the body of Jesus – why not?  The nuns said we each had a guardian angel that went with us everywhere and took care of us. These concepts were told to us as simple facts and accepted as such. Also these esoteric beliefs have carried me far into the future; many times I would have fallen from despair without their strong – physical - support.

One day I started to cross a city street lined with huge elms and charming colonial homes - a bucolic setting. As my mind was focused on the beauty around me I stepped between two parked cars. A large, strong hand hooked the top of my head and roughly turned my head to the left. A car was rapidly bearing down, I stepped back and the car passed without incident.

I was “alone” – no person in evidence, but the hand that turned my head was real. It was my guardian angel and I thought no more about it - we became very close friends. Many times, my guardian angel physically saved me from an untimely trip to the Other Side.

This acceptance of faith was crucial to bear the crushing burdens that were to come.

As a girl at the movies, the film would sometimes show passing time as pages flying off a calendar so fast they were blurred. I wondered, does time really fly fast?

Yes, it does.

1944, age 13, I was visiting Aunt Rose. Her son Jack, was studying to be a pediatrician. Medical books, casually spread on the dining room table displayed gruesome scenes of childbirth - blood dripping from women into basins, anguish on their faces. The text explained all the mothers (in the textbook) died in child birth. I was in shock - I understood ALL mothers died in childbirth. Horrified, I decided I’d never have children – I didn’t want to die.

Time flashed by - December 1950, I was 19, newlywed and pregnant. There was no turning back. I knew I would die, remember? The textbook said so – all women die in childbirth.

Cautiously I studied the women around me, many were mothers - alive! How did that happen? There must be exceptions to the rule. Maybe some of them actually lived. Mother lived. I took courage. Every day during my pregnancy I went to church; I prayed to the Virgin Mary to take care of me - she was a mother and she lived! She’d help me.

In discussions with the Virgin Mary, I decided I’d have Melodie - a musician. I hoped it would rain the night she was born – I love the rain. But, she was due in August, in California, where it never rained in summer. I hoped I’d have my hair in braids and have on my favorite plaid pajamas.

You know, just passing thoughts.

In those days prenatal care was casual - considered a way of life, sort of like when you fall off your bicycle and bang your knee. You get up, get a bandage and get back on the bike.

My husband arranged my first prenatal appointment at the Palo Alto Clinic. I was lying, nude, on an ice cold metal table, legs in the stirrups, one knee pointing to Maine, the other pointing to California - a sheet over Canada.

A handsome young doctor walked in, positioned himself in the center of my hemisphere; he probed and chatted, probed and chatted, then said, “I’m getting a colleague for his opinion - I can’t tell if you’re pregnant.”

Another young, good looking “kid” entered, they stood between my legs, probing, chatting - I was dying a thousand deaths!

Finally, the first doctor looked helpless, “I can’t tell if you’re pregnant or not – I’m a bone doctor!”

OH MY GOD!! I was beyond furious! I threw the sheet over me and stormed out of the room.

In those days they didn’t specialize!

I got a “real” doctor, one who could do babies. Prenatal visits consisted of weighing me in, take my blood pressure, send me home. The doctor did comment I was rather large - was my husband large? Yes, a runner up for Mr. California. I ballooned up 45 pounds from 115 - all in front.

Many times people would stare at me – it was annoying – haven’t you seen a pregnant woman before? I’d step in front for a good look - they’d walk away.

CAVEAT: The following information is not for the feint-hearted. It’s a graphic description of a Holstein bellowing and berthing in the bathroom – sort of.

July 11, 1951, all day my back hurt - it got progressively worse as the day moved on. I was constipated – no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t “go”. I took two large glasses of Milk of Magnesia - no results.

I was miserable - my back felt like someone was bending me in half. Again I sat on the commode and tried to “go”.

Suddenly I felt something odd. I looked between my legs - a little foot was sliding up and down trying to find something to step on. I was fascinated. I showed my husband the little foot.

He fainted.

July 11, 1951 about 11:00 p.m. we headed for the Palo Alto Hospital. I knelt on the front seat and rode backward – the little foot kept sliding up and down. It was lightly sprinkling – so unusual – it just doesn’t rain in California in summer! My hair was in braids - I had on my favorite plaid pajamas. Extraordinary! I was pleased at all these “coincidences”.

At that time the Palo Alto Hospital was an unimposing, two-story red brick building. The emergency entrance was locked - I got out of the car, banged on the emergency door. A man slid opened the door slot, “EEEEEeess?”

It reminded me of the scene in The Wizard of Oz where Dorothy knocks on the door of the Emerald City. Frank Morgan opens the door slot and says “Yeeeees?”

“I want to come in – I think I’m having a baby.”

“How do you know?”

“The little foot slipped down.”

“Show me.”

So, I did.

The man came out from the locked door, I pulled down my pajamas - showed him the foot - he ran inside to get a gurney.

Remember, I’d put on 45 pounds all in front - the gurney bed was waist high. I backed up against the gurney, tried to get my legs up to sit on the bed. No luck - but I couldn’t “sit” anyway. I grabbed the sides to roll up, not possible. I thought I’d get a leg up and kneel – no luck.

The two men, my husband and “Frank Morgan” stood, quietly, watching me. “Frank” finally went inside and got me a stool. I got on the gurney.

Up in the prep room, Dr. Cohen, rousted out of a deep sleep was extremely angry - rude. He ordered the nurse to take the vital signs while he injected the epidermal shot.

Looking at me, he barked, “Get on your knees!”

Get on my knees? I don’t have a medical degree but even I could see there was no way to get on my knees! But, Dr. Cohen was not one to brook insubordinate behavior!

The doctor and nurses stood patiently by while I slowly turned over and maneuvered on all fours, sort of like a camel kneeling at a water hole with the hump facing the sky.

The shot done, back on my back, the the nurse listened for the heartbeat. Dr. Cohen stated the heart beat was on the left - the nurse, surprised, said the heartbeat was on the right.

Dr. Cohen glared at the nurse - turned her to stone.

In the delivery room I was under a large, chrome lamp that acted as a mirror. I could watch the whole procedure - fascinating.

July 12, 1951, 3:01 a.m. Melodie was born. I was pleased to have my girl. The chastised nurse came with the stethoscope, “There’s another one in there.”

I said, “HUH!” and tried to sit up for a better view - they pushed me back down. Another girl arrived - a gift from MARY, who else! I was elated – I named her Mary, of course.

At this moment the Milk of Magnesia worked – very well.

The nurse screamed – “OH, SHIT!!”

She was quite right.

Mary arrived at 3:07 a.m.

The girls adored each other. Crawling on the floor they’d grab each other’s diaper and pull each other down, a constant source of raucous laughter. Their own language was babble, eye-to-eye.

Fraternal twins, impossible to tell apart - often I fed the same one twice. When they did something wrong, I’d ask, “Who did that?” The reply, “Mamie did it.” They were one person.

With silver hair, golden skin, green eyes – they were extraordinarily beautiful - extra terrestrial - people stared.

The doctor said they had jaundice.

At a few months old, they had slight differences to help tell them apart - Melodie had a tiny mole, a beauty mark, just above her lip on the left side.

Mary had a wart behind her right ear. The doctor at the Palo Alto Clinic had me hold her steady on my lap while he removed the wart. She SCREAMED - LOUDLY. I thought it was the needle prick from the anesthetic. Later, I found out he used NO ANESTHETIC!

I was beyond stunned - no words – I sat, in shock. To this day I have nothing good to say about the Palo Alto Clinic.

At 3 years old with best friend, “Eenie May” (Edith May) they’d rip down the sidewalk on tricycles, yelling war hoops - Eenie May leading the pack.

As Mary pumped away on her tricycle, wild birds flew down, rode on her shoulders or head. She paid no attention, peddled full speed ahead - birds riding high.

This was no ordinary little girl.

Age six, a group of school psychologists studied responses of twins. The girls were in separate buildings, given a series of questions, asked to draw a chicken. The twins drew exactly the same chicken - forgot the legs, went back, added legs - they got identical scores on all tasks - beyond coincidence. I then realized they communicated by telepathy.

There were marked differences in their personalities. Melodie “hid” behind Mary, rarely asserted herself to meet others – Mary carried the show, she loved being stage center.

Christmas, their father and I each took a twin to separate locations so the girls could pick out a gift for each other. We didn’t want them to influence each other’s choice. Their gifts were identical dolls – they were annoyed they got the same gift!

Also at this time they asked to stop being twins. I said “No” - they accepted that – I thought.

A second time they asked if they could stop being twins. I explained in 6 year old terms, two single eggs made two separate girls born at the same time – you cannot change twins.

The third time they asked, I said, “Sure”…..why not?

With a war hoop they changed clothes – that was all they wanted – to dress differently from each other! I never thought of that!

Melodie Mary

Even though similar in appearance, Melodie was my “dark” child, rarely smiled, preferred to observe, stood back emotionally. She’d spend hours, alone. It worried me. Often I’d insist she join us, just to be in the general noise and daily events. She’d do so, but didn’t smile or emotionally join in –I worried about her.

Mary was a beam of sun, a joy to be around, always happy, never took anything seriously. She charmed everyone with her laughter and easy smile. When I learned that Mary was in several rear-end car accidents and no one held her accountable - my stomach turned over!

She was stopped numerous times for speeding - never got a ticket. The officer was always charmed by her beautiful smile. Mary was fey, a sprite, not of this world.

Melodie told me of the usual twin-mixup in high school. They were standing in the school hallway, a girl walked up, stood in front of Mary and asked, “Which one are you?”

“I’m Mary.”

She turned to Melodie, “Which one are you?”

“I’m Mary, too.”

The girl walked away completely confused.

At 12 years old, when their braces came off the teeth were so beautiful the orthodontist took the girls on a tour of dental offices to demonstrate what perfect teeth looked like.

I was exceptionally proud of their teeth.

Pride goeth before a fall.

Now it was the middle ‘60’s - I was a single parent with two 12 year old girls living in Mountain View with my parents.

At St. Timothy Episcopal Church our musical talents blossomed. The priest, Father Dwight Edwards, was a musician, a tenor and pianist who preferred classical anthems. He was the quintessential spiritual leader - a rock to lean on –a true representative of Christ.

Both girls were natural musicians, heard something once, had it memorized, had perfect pitch, played piano, guitar, recorder, tambourine and sang beautifully. They joined the Folk Group at church led by Adele. Under her guidance they formed a folk quartet called “Son Light” with Adele’s two girls, Jackie and Tessa, both extremely talented musicians.


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