Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Gaze Into My Crystal Ball

I like to say that I have a little closeted hippie living somewhere deep inside of my lipstick loving, hair bleaching, underarm and leg shaving, toenail painting, meat eating, Republican voting, materialistic wanting self. “Hippie” really isn’t the right word, but it’s the one I use because it personifies the alternative, peace, love, save the world, spiritually open minded kind of person that I like to think I can identify with on an infinitesimally small level.

Now don’t get me wrong – this is strictly learned behavior on my part. It certainly isn’t natural to my being like singing gospel music and eating pork ribs. It all kind of started with Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, which I wrote about yesterday, and my friend Beth.

Beth has one of the most amazing stories I’ve ever heard. Ever. Best of all, it’s ALL TRUE. Some people might think she’s made some of it up, but if there is one thing I trust in this big, cosmic ball of confusion it’s that Beth won’t (ultimately) lie to me. She might try to bend the truth, or omit a less-than-flattering detail, or embellish here and there for the sake of a good story, but in the end I know that our friendship is such that the truth, in all of its gory, ugly detail, will eventually come out.

So Beth’s story is true and it made me a believer. A believer in what? I’ll get to that a little later.

When she was one month old, Mary Margaret Fagan was adopted from the Methodist Missionaries Orphanage in New Orleans by a nice couple who later named their new baby Elizabeth and set into motion her whole rather odd life. I’m sure like most adopted children, Beth always had a burning curiosity about her birth parents but the nice couple honestly couldn’t tell her anything other than her birth name because that was back in the days when adoption records were sealed and orphanages didn’t release any background information to the adopting parents about the birth situation. The only reason they knew her birth name was because they were given her birth certificate – but no parents’ names were listed.

When she was 22 and already beginning to feel unsettled in her new marriage Beth reached her breaking point and decided that it was time to confront her worst fears of abandonment and instability. She knew the first step to dealing with this demon was finding her birth parents and learning their story and reasons for giving her up. At the time, Beth was a television news reporter and had finely honed her instinctually super sleuthing skills through years of rummaging through public records, court documents and asking questions. Knowing that her birth name was Fagan, coupled with the fact that she knew her exact birth date and that she was adopted in New Orleans, Beth figured she had enough information to ultimately lead to the answer she was seeking.

But her searching continued to lead to dead ends – the orphanage had been closed for over 20 years and no one could seem to locate where the files had been transfered, the Methodist Church was no help citing the lost records, and she couldn’t find a single lead at any of the hospitals in Louisiana. She said that she collected phone books from the different state parishes and called every Fagan she could find, but nothing registered. After a year of intense research she finally decided to give up the search and fell into a depression.

One day she was driving to work listening to the radio, and the DJs had a guy named Ron Williams (I think that was his name) on the show who professed to be a psychic. As you can imagine, they were engaged in all of the expected morning show shtick – having people call in with their questions about their love lives, jobs, and friends and getting answers from the psychic. Apparently his callers were really “ooing” and “ahhing” over his responses being so accurate. On a whim that to this day she can’t explain, Beth wrote down the psychic’s name. Later that day, acting on this same unexplained compulsion (which she later credited to Divine intervention) she called the radio station and asked for Ron Williams’ phone number. Somehow she managed to coerce it out of them, telling them that the television station she worked for wanted to interview him for a news segment that night.

Acting on impulse, Beth called this guy. After introducing herself and exchanging a few pleasantries, she got right to the point telling Mr. Williams that she heard him on the radio that morning and she had a very serious question to ask him – could she make an appointment? She says he was a little bit reserved but basically friendly and said there was no need for an appointment, just ask the question. He said that physical proximity had nothing to do with the way his “third-eye” worked – it had something to do with sound vibrations or energy levels in her voice or some such thing. While my skepticism would have sent me into the dry heaves at that point, Beth proceeded. Ron Williams didn’t ask from where she had been adopted, her birth date, her Zodiac sign, nothing. He just tells her to ask the question.

“Where are my birth parents?”

She said there were a few moments of silence and he said “Jackson, Mississippi.” She was kind of floored and didn’t really know how to respond but he went on to say that he couldn’t tell her anything about them but he knew they were in Jackson, Mississippi. “Good luck and good by” and he hung up.

Beth had never considered that she might have been born outside of Louisiana. Driven by this unexplained force that seemed to be making her do these irrational things, she decided that it wouldn’t hurt to investigate Ron Williams’ claim a little bit so she mustered up the courage and called all of the Fagans in Jackson, Mississippi. Nothing. No one confessed to know anything. Now the average person would probably give up at this point, but not Beth. She decided to try one last, desperate thing – she placed a classified ad in the main Jackson newspaper that was to run for seven days. It read, “Born Mary Margaret Fagan, August 30, 1967. Seeking information about birth parents. Please call [her phone number].”

Four days later a woman called her! Saying she wanted to remain anonymous she identified herself as a retired nurse from the XYZ Hospital in Jackson and told Beth that she had been there during her delivery, which she clearly remembered because she personally knew both the teenage girl and boy who were Beth’s parents. She told Beth both of their first names, then she said, “Here is Mary and Joe Fagan’s [unlisted] phone number” and she hung up. That was before caller ID was widely used so Beth had no way to get back in touch with the mystery lady.

Feeling dazed and confused and giddy and terrified it took awhile for the woman’s words to sink in… “Here is Mary and Joe Fagan’s phone number”. They were married. Her birth parents were married. To each other. Beth had always sort of figured that she was given up for adoption because her Irish Catholic teenage mother was young, scared and unwed.

It turns out the young and scared part was right. But they were married and actually had two other children. Beth has a full-blood brother and sister and parents who have been married for 39 years.

The rest of the story is really personal and it’s Beth’s to tell, so I’m going to end it here but my reason for this long retelling is because hers is an amazing story where something beyond the physical realm was at work. Was it God? Yes, I think so. But did He use someone with the ability to process information differently than you and me – a psychic – to deliver the message? Yes, I think so. This is what I believe. And this belief sort of opened my mind to the POSSIBILITY that there are true miracles and unexplained phenomenon that are just as real as what we can physically see, touch, hear, smell and taste.

Just thinking about this awesome possibility stirred to life a little bitty part of my soul that identified with this “alternative” way of thinking. My inner hippie awoke.

As a post script to this bizaar story, Beth has never been able to find Ron Williams again. It’s like he disappeared. She’s wanted to thank him, and heck, get a few more answers to some difficult life questions, but he moved on to points unknown.

Stay tuned for the final installment of My Life as a Hippie when the Dotopotamus returns!


  • At 1/12/2014 , Anonymous Anonymous said...!/ron.willams

    i think this is your guy and good luck


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