Reconnecting to our Déjà vu


What's to be learned from reconnecting to our past? Just back from my place of origin, Kalamazoo, Michigan on what I call my déjà vu trip to reconnect with I left behind for other adventures out in the world. This looking back can become a catalyst for propelling us forward or quite simply reminding us "from whence we came". Paul was generous and willing to experience and share my excitement even when I giggled and squealed. His observations and comments shed new light on things I hadn't considered...ever!

As we sat outside my first Kazoo home, I was reminded of the wooden table and chair set up in the kitchen where Mom could keep an eye on me while carrying on with her chores. In my recollection, I'm at my kid size table with an enormous hatbox in front of me. Scissors, glue, no doubt made from flour and water, and rolls of wallpaper are waiting my first collages to be created. Who knew I would come to love collage. My preferred glue, scissors, art materials, found objects, may have been upgraded but the seed was planted here with something to follow. And then I made the connection that this cottage style house in downtown Kalamazoo was a pre-curser my now home. It's starting to feel like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.



Jill-Sally-smallThe old stories were shared with my high school friend Sally, cousin Cynthia, and the couple who now live in the house my family built. Paul wouldn't let me just walk along the property line but insisted I knock on the door. We were rewarded with a warm welcome and a tour. I've heard of people doing this but to actually do it was heart warming and rather sweet.

Déjà vu at Camp Merrie Woode

I started going to camp at age 5. My Mother bribed the Girl Scout Council director to allow me to go on the trade that she would be the Brownie leader, if and only if, they'd let me go. The camp is thriving and now runs 12 months a year. Camp ranger, Nancy, and I totally bonded while Paul got an earful about this powerful sisterhood. We walked into what's now called the Old Lodge. Of course, it had shrunk in size from my memory. I remember my nervously standing in front of the now not so massive fireplace to lead the group in one of my favorite songs. This singing experience was by no means a pre-curser to a singing career but more likely a beginning of the courage to stand before a group and take the lead for the presentations, talks, and workshops that would come later.



The next déjà vu experience will be going back to Paris for an art trip, travelling with my French girlfriend Monique, and revisiting Normandie. Having now practiced, I will courageously knock at the gate of my previous home and ask for a visit to my studio. As Paris is so rich in my earliest dreams of having lived on the Left Bank looking across to Notre Dame, I won't be surprised at what turn I'll find more that will connect me from back to front.

What's in your history that wants to be reconnected? What's the passion, the thing that's humming in your head that wants out, to be voiced and to be shared? A friend recently mentioned her jewelry business as her "best kept secret" and I said, "I didn't know this about you, you're a jewelry designer?". Having said that, I realized I felt cheated not knowing this part of her creative expression and I very much want to know more!

I had forgotten the hat boxes, leading the song, how much fun was my high school pal, Sally, how much I had loved our lake house and what fun it was to share my history while coming back feeling reconnected and energized to go forward. What might your déjà vu trip look and feel like? Is it time for a visit to your Kalamazoo?