Rifle

Well, I recently acquired a rifle.

It’s not the first time I’ve had a firearm but owing to unfavorable circumstances I haven’t always been able to keep one. But my life and finances are now stable enough that I can get back into shooting as a hobby.

The rifle is a Chinese Type 56 Carbine, a variant of the venerable SKS rifle. Mine has an interesting story. It was made, according to the serial numbers, around 1966. It was sourced from an armory in Albania, a country that produced its own unique SKS variant from 1967. Some in this batch had stock carvings, including one I heard of that was looted from an armory in the 90s by a notorious bank robber after the Albanian economy collapsed.

Mine has no such trench art; it’s in very good shape overall with matching serials and good bluing. I had to melt a ton of cosmoline off it (tip: a hair dryer works great) but all in all it’s very nice and I’m seriously thinking about getting into curio and relic collecting now.

Still haven’t had a chance to get to the range. I don’t know how I’ll react emotionally when I load it as it uses stripper clips like the SMLE.

I do know that I tried the old rifle drill (at ease, port, shoulder, present, fix bayonet) and it came so naturally I was a little shocked. My husband was more taken aback by how serious my expression was.

Gonna try to get some range time in. Finding a range in the Portland area that meets the needs of casual centerfire rifle shooters is a challenge.

In Search of Lost Time- Bon Voyage Charlie Brown

I’m not done playing devil’s advocate with what I thought were recollections of a past life. Far from it.

I don’t know how old I was when I first saw “Bon Voyage Charlie Brown,” a slightly obscure Peanuts movie. It was on an old VHS of other stuff my parents or grandparents had taped, probably between 1984 and 1986. In it, several of the Peanuts gang travel to England and France after Charlie Brown gets a mysterious invitation.

The invitation turns out to be from a girl who lives in a chateau with a cranky old man who doesn’t want Charlie and his friends around. Later on it’s revealed that the reason for the invitation was that Charlie’s grandfather, one Silas Brown, had met the little girl’s grandmother.

It’s a movie I have forgotten about twice but maybe it’s been more influential than I gave it credit for.

For example, I already knew what a Citroen 2cv looked like (the cars had made an impression on me as a kid living in Spain in the 80s) but this movie no doubt kept my longing for one alive until I finally got one in 2000.

I already wanted to see the UK and France (any number of things could have fed into that) but I think this film enhanced that a little when I was younger. In fact when I finally got the chance at age 16 (a little while after I got my Citroen) I had a wave of nostalgia for this film after all but forgetting about it.

Also, there’s just something about the reveal at the end; there’s not even a hint about reincarnation and the events prior to the film took place in WW2, not WWI, but there’s something about the mood of the scene that makes me wonder if there wasn’t a degree of cryptomnesia.

Oh, yes, then there’s Snoopy and his roleplaying as an American GI which to my younger mind no doubt ran together with his WWI flying ace schtick. Though I do have to wonder, if it was Snoopy to blame all along, why didn’t I seem to recall the glamorous life of a pilot instead of the gritty life of an infantryman?

Watch the film and judge for yourself if it was all childish nonsense that percolated out of a half-forgotten animated feature.

Part 1:

Part 2:

In Search of Lost Time- 3 Musketeers

So I’m a bit behind on the whole Netflix thing and it’s only been about a month since I got started watching “Stranger Things.”

In S2 there’s some close-ups of a white 3 Musketeers bar wrapper with a picture of the Musketeers on it.

When I saw it I swore I had seen that style of logo in the very early 90s but unless they carried on using it for the fun size versions a little longer, best evidence I have is that it wasn’t used after 1988. By 89 they seem to have gone to a chrome wrapper without the Musketeers on it.

I would have been 4. I don’t know if I would have been allowed a whole candy bar at that age.

I think I do remember this commercial from that year though. I remember it because the 57 Chevy was one of the first classic cars I could recognize.

Memory Fragment from childhood

I haven’t been updating much because I haven’t been remembering anything from past lives, nor have I been keen on allowing myself to believe in such things. I tend to bury any thoughts or feelings or memory fragments from before 1984 because it’s just too painful to think about. I would rather believe, at this stage of my life, that it was all self-deception.

But I do occasionally throw memory fragments from my present life, from the mid 80s to the early 90s, a time period that’s becoming more and more distant as we lurch into the 2020s.

So I will start recording memories of my present life prior to 9/11/01 in hopes that I will keep this blog useful for something.

I won’t spill my whole life story though. If anything it will be full of little stabs of nostalgia and anamnesis of small things. A Proustian project.

Maybe the reader might understand who I am presently and how that relates to who I might have been. Alternatively, it might shed light on little things that helped me unknowingly confabulate past lives.

So let’s start with something innocuous on our search for lost time. A vacuum cleaner. Specifically, a dark blue Eureka Princess canister vacuum probably bought for my parents as a wedding gift in 1983. We took it with us to Torrejon, Spain. I remember riding it as a toddler. I remember the noise it made when you covered the inlet. I remember, as an older child, learning what the word “eureka” meant from a conversation with Mom started by this vacuum. I remember it being relegated to garage duty when Mom bought a gray plastic upright vacuum in the 90s. It finally died and was discarded in the mid to late 90s, little more than a rusty shell.

I had forgotten it, until by free association in a conversation with a dear friend, I remembered it spontaneously today. A memory fragment from childhood, a minor but constant background prop from my formative years.

Here’s one that cheated the years. Ours was the same color.

Dream About Boston

Last night I dreamed I was living in an old house in Boston. In addition to my cat I also had an adorable African bat-eared fox as a pet who curled up in a fluffy ball and purred when I petted him (yes, foxes do purr).

But this pleasant dream took a weird turn. I went into one particular room, a small parlor with a door opening out to a narrow cobblestone street. It had the sort of modern modifications you would expect, a bricked-up fireplace, white paint replacing the once rich colors of times past, and the hardwood floor had been completely redone. But I instantly recognized it as a room I had known in another life in the late 18th Century and it filled me with panic. There were other people in the room, asking if I was alright and of course I was playing off the eerie feelings with the usual “yeah, I’m fine,” etc.

I find it strange to have such a vivid dream about this. First of all I haven’t had a dream related to past lives in quite a while. Second I have serious doubts about the 18th Century Boston life as the narrative I thought my memories represented fell apart with research.

I don’t know. It was strange enough to warrant logging here I suppose.

Checking In

Just checking in though not much to report. The security job is going well. I have almost $2000 saved. After another year or two I might have enough saved for a down payment on a house.

As for past lives I’m in a doubting trough. It feels far away, which is good in a way because I feel like I have a “normal life.” Full time at the plant, a decent used car and my husband and cat to come home to. I don’t need much else.

Still haven’t published my fifth novel and my expectations for it have diminished quite a bit. I tried to make a silk purse from a sow’s ear and all I got was a purse that smells like pork. I am currently trying to salvage what I can of it though I won’t lie, it feels like an ungainly mess and I am completely out of love with the project. This was supposed to be the book born of my experiences in 2011-2013 but it’s hokey and boring and I’m almost embarrassed to publish it now.

September

This past month was the coldest September in Oregon in 71 years.

The weather is reminding me of autumns long ago. My thoughts have turned to Jack’s life again, and with it the urge to travel again to places he loved, fought, lived, and died in.

I am employed full-time now and recovered from the worst of the breakdown that led to these memories breaking in the first place, but I don’t know how much I can save. $25k a year doesn’t buy you much these days. A shared apartment, some new clothes, slightly better food, and enough cash to pay for vet bills or emergency car repairs. Luxuries like travel to Europe seems like a distant goal. But maybe I can convince family to help me now that I no longer need their help to keep a roof over my head. My father was at least sympathetic to the idea of going though as a military history buff he’s wanted to go to Flanders for a while now anyway.

Meanwhile, as I guard construction yards on lonely posts from dusk to dawn, the cold is beginning to haunt me and the ghosts of the past feel closer now than they have in many long months.