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Francine, Spirit in the Door

2009 Jan 02

As her morning coffee perked, Emma B. idly browsed the kitchen of her apartment, part of a once grand historic Victorian residence. The building's new owner was fixing up the structure, so Emma was only mildly surprised to see that the kitchen's outer door, long sealed shut by built-up coats of paint, now opened easily. Emma went out to enjoy the morning air. Then she returned, closed the door behind her, and poured her coffee.

When Emma's cats showed up in the kitchen, she told them, "Here, kids, a new way to get outside!" Turning to re-open the door, she found it sealed shut under thick layers of paint...

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Emma called Linda S. wahlund and asked her for impressions. Linda said, "I have a very clear picture of a woman 'being' who is stuck in there. She showed her name as Francine - kind of a mix between Phyllis Diller and Joan Rivers in looks and temperment. A floozy in carpet slippers and ciggie ... Pretty funny, and not at all imposing."

Linda made a date to come have tea with Francine.

Francine's spirit is from the late 1920's or early 1930's. Linda envisions her with a bow pinned tightly in her hair, right against the scalp, and a long, long cigarette holder. Francine didn't actually live in the old Victorian, but had a loose relationship with a working man who rented its carriage house. When the residents of the main house were out, Francine would drift through, peeking out the curtains at the street and pretending the Victorian was her home. Francine had a challenging life, dishing out food to loggers at a local eatery. She was married for a while, unhappily, to a rough man. She had two stillborn babies, possibly due to venereal disease; Francine's morals were pretty loose for the times.

Francine didn't want to talk about how she'd died - too embarrassing. There were drugs involved; she knew her way around the opium dens in town, and liked to take a streetcar downtown to the saloon and bordello district on Second Street. Linda sensed that Francine had a foolish accident in the garden while impaired by some substance, and died while trying to make he way back to the house. Somehow, Francine's spirit took root within the doorway itself - the transition point between two worlds.

Linda planned to help Francine get "unstuck" so she could move onward to her next stage of being. But Francine was adamant - "Nothing doing. I have no other attachments. I like it here. The people that used to be here were pretty boring, but I like the woman who lives here now - she and her friends have lots of fun!"

True, Emma and her Pyrate for Hyre friends have some pretty boisterous gatherings! Emma says she's comfortable sharing her home with Francine, and any other spirits that wish her well. Is there anything Francine would like? "Flowers! I want a bouquet of flowers!"

Emma didn't have any fancy flowers on hand, but she brough in a slightly frazzled vase of carnations from another room. Perfect! Francine is pleased, and the vase will live on a table next to Francine's door. She and Emma expect to get along just fine...

Linda S. Wahlund
February 24, 2008