Fair warning. There is a lot going on in this story. It has to do with the ways so many pieces of my life have come together to form one landing spot where I’m convinced the universe wants me to travel. And I’m one who meets any goals the universe has set aside for me. That’s how I roll.
Synchronicity is not a word I ever had on a flashcard in school, or that I’ve used much in my writing or storytelling. It’s not the word prudent, for instance, which I’m fond of using often. Synchronicity happens to all of us but we have to recognize it when it does. The word synchronicity came to my attention during the reading of Julia Cameron’s The Artists Way, an amazing book I discovered during the pandemic, although it’s been around for decades. I, along with a group of women whom I had never met – women who are in fact artists – undertook a sort of book club approach and huddled during zoom calls every Saturday for 12 weeks beginning in April, at the height of the global shutdown, to discuss the creativity that lives inside us. Based on their input, by the way, I learned I too am an artist, but that’s another story for another blog. These synchronicities happen in our lives and often we don’t make the association. However, now that I’ve been to the “school of Julia,” I recognize these mostly delightful – and always teachable- moments.
Case in point. I knew scant little of my father’s family because of his, well, abandonment of our family when I was a baby. His mother died when I was 3 so I essentially didn’t know her. In my 50’s, after my father died, I wondered more about his family and went in search of my paternal history. I recalled my mother telling me when I was little – on a day when I was insisting she answer questions about my paternal roots which I did from time to time – that my grandfather was from New York. Of course, I feared the worse – that I would discover he was a Yankee fan. But she had mentioned the Finger Lakes area and that he was born close to Ithaca (I can live with the Buffalo Bills). And then one day I saw it on the Ancestry site where I had begun my search…Seneca Falls. It was spelled Sinica, but I remember her saying those two words when she tried to piece it together from her memory…Seneca Falls. I vowed that one day I would visit the town where my grandfather was born. Walk the streets he walked and learn as much from the locals as I could. I contacted the town clerk and received birth records for my family members who were born there. I’ve talked to church administration workers who have also emailed me baptism records. I later learned that his mother, my great grandmother, was born in nearby Geneva but lived in Seneca Falls. I joined the Facebook Page for Seneca Falls where former residents post their memories, mostly from the 1950’s. My grandfather left there in 1910 so, why go there? Never underestimate the power of family connection that didn’t exist but should have. There is an emptiness that pulls me toward the town. I put a trip to Seneca Falls on my bucket list which I filed away for another time.
Now let’s fast forward to pandemic days and a writing class I’m taking where my coach is urging me to find a theme for my storytelling; Choose a path, Find my passion, she encourages. I journal and journal and journal every day (Morning Pages, Julia. Every day). I think about my passion and work through my thoughts and writings and just like that, one morning I realize I have always been passionate about Women’s Issues. I’m drawn to the unfair treatment of women throughout history. I’m still upset about the fact that women had to fight so hard for the right to vote. I’m angry every year when someone posts that picture on Facebook of the female Boston Marathon runner being pushed out of the race prior to the finish line. Seriously, women were barred from running in a marathon because they were a woman? I’m angry when I recall the local exclusive Business Lunch Club that didn’t allow women in their main dining – even in the 1970’s. So, I’m feeling a little “I Am Woman” about these issues. I ask questions like: Why hasn’t the Equal Rights Amendment been ratified? Why do women still make less than men for the same job? Why are there different rules for insurance coverage of Viagra than there are for birth control? These are issues that I hope will be resolved in my lifetime. I can let go of the wrongs of the past but women are still treated unfairly in the present. And so I’m passionate about fairness in Women’s Issues.
In my free time I begin to peruse organizations where I might be able to find these answers or at least get more education on the topics and I come across the National Women’s Hall of Fame. Now I know about the Hall, as many of the best and brightest women in our nation have been honored with admission. So, it’s no surprise to me that it exists and a number of women from my home state have been inducted, even a couple I’ve actually met. But I want to visit and get a hands-on experience. Maybe attend the next induction ceremony after the pandemic. Perhaps the Hall will be an excellent resource for my learning experience. And what do I discover? The National Women’s Hall of Fame is located in none other than… Seneca Falls, New York!
Yep. The town where my grandfather was born. And this is where synchronicity comes in folks. This is a message from the universe if I’ve ever gotten one. If it wasn’t for the pandemic, I’d be in my car today headed to the Finger Lakes region for an extended stay. Because now I have two reasons to visit Seneca Falls, New York as soon as we are free to move about the country. It wouldn’t be prudent for me to ignore the call of the universe.
Note: This blog was updated on 2/10/2021