It’s Not Your Mother’s Oldsmobile…Or Is It?

Recently I wrote about my brother-in-law receiving a “sign” from his wife on the day she passed away, letting him know she was safe and that he could move on with his life.

I’m a big believer in things like this, even though I’m not what you’d call a religious person.  See my post “The Orthodox Agnostic” for the particulars.  Even so, I do believe we are connected to the spirit world.

I used to do Tarot card readings by email years ago and had close to one hundred of them under my belt before I took down my shingle, not because I wasn’t helping people but because too many folks had become dependent on me for advice.

The cards weren’t “powerful” or “magic.”  My view of them is they’re similar to a search engine.  You ask your questions and the answers pop into your head while you look at the cards.  I’d hazard a guess that if folks in biblical times could have seen someone using Google, they would have stoned them for heresy.

It’s the same with signs from the dearly departed.  My late father used to leave feathers for me over at my mother’s house as a way of telling me he appreciated what I was doing for her.

But my mother has been gone these past nine months and I hadn’t really received anything that I could definitively point to and say it was from her.  I chalked it up to the fact she always, always hesitated to try anything new because she had this fear she would somehow make a mistake and screw it up.

So I asked that she and my dad get together on this and let me know they were, indeed, together again.  A joint metaphysical effort, if you will.

And this time I asked for something quite specific.

The “sign” would be an Oldsmobile from the late 1940s or early ’50s like the one my parents had when I was a kid.  It was a light baby blue and the car my mother used when she learned to drive at the advanced age of about 35.  I remember lying in the backseat (no seat belts, of course) getting kind of nauseous from going around and around in an empty parking lot as my mother practiced her driving under my father’s tutelage.

This sign could come in any form—verbal, pictorial or written.  Didn’t matter.  I just knew that if I encountered it in some way, that would be it.

A couple of weeks went by and I gave the sign only occasional thought.  The thing about it is—you really can’t go “looking” for it.  It has to come unexpectedly, which is part of the thrill of having one turn up.

So, I was at our local park having lunch after one of my exercise classes and decided, on a whim, to walk around a bit in town and look at some of the shops.  We don’t do this nearly often enough because I’ve found that living in what is essentially a tourist town tends to make hermits out of us locals.  We go out of our way to avoid driving or parking on the main drag because it’s just that—a drag.  Consequently, we only do the “tourist” thing ourselves sporadically.  And it’s a shame because we have some great shops.

I’d gone up one side of the street and was almost down to the corner of the other side where I would go back across to the park, when I decided to go into a shop that I’d enjoyed in the past but hadn’t visited in a while.  It had an eclectic mix of stuff I like—funny, quirky and artsy-fartsy. I wandered in a counter-clockwise pattern from the door and found myself in front of a display of Christmas ornaments and decorations.  It was now September but I knew this display was kept up all year.

Last year, about a month before my mother passed away on Dec. 22, someone broke into a storage unit where we were keeping a lot of our stuff while we prepared to move from our place out in the country to our new house in town.  Luckily, this unit was the “overflow” one of the two we had and it didn’t have a lot in it of value.

However, the thieves made off with all of my Christmas decorations and ornaments, ones I’d had for fifty years or more.  Irreplaceable things my kids had made, or I had made when they were small, and old ornaments belonging to my late in-laws; also some my mother had when she was young.  Gone, too, were my daughter’s red baby socks with white pom poms on each cuff from her first Christmas when she was just a month old.

Yeah, Mr. Grinch.  I’m lookin’ at you.

I stood wistfully in front of the display.  I couldn’t have a Christmas tree last year because of the pilfered ornaments and my other holiday decorating was somewhat listless and not really in the spirit of things.  Understandable, given the situation with my mother.  So I gazed at the ornaments and gradually discovered that a lot of them looked like the old ones I’d lost.  They were undoubtedly new, but they were “antiqued” to look old and some were reproductions of the old Shiny Brite brand of which I had quite a few, thanks to my in-laws.  There was a wreath made with these “old” ornaments that was remarkably similar to my dear, departed decorations.  Even though I couldn’t take all of them with me, it felt like a reunion of sorts.

As I turned and started to walk back toward the door, I spotted a standing display of knitted Christmas stockings.  Each stocking was nearly two feet long.  My stocking from when I was a kid only came up to mid-calf on me.  It was red and white striped cotton and kind of grubby, but I’d kept it for over 60 years until it also disappeared with the rest of my things.

When I looked at the cuff on these new stockings, I found they had the same Santa figure standing in front of the fireplace saying “Merry Christmas” just like mine did.  Probably a pretty popular design from that era, but it strengthened the feeling of being reunited with my lost belongings.

I sighed and turned back toward the front of the shop.  A few steps away were some revolving racks with greeting cards.  These were all from independent card companies, not Hallmark, and they had vintage black and white photos on the front with funny sayings inside.  I picked up a couple and had to laugh.  Then, I picked up one that had a car with two ladies in ’50s attire standing proudly next to it.  I did a double take.

“Seriously?  An Oldsmobile?”

The car, although a convertible, was shown in three-quarter view with the rear end facing the viewer.   The iconic Rocket 88 insignia on the trunk unmistakably proved it was an Oldsmobile from the era I’d requested.  The photo was in black and white but the car was light colored—perhaps baby blue?

The impact of this encounter didn’t really hit me until the next day when I had an email exchange with my son in California.  He’d sent me a photo of the spot in the Pacific where he’d scattered my mother’s ashes, as per her wishes.  I half-mentioned that I’d received a sign from my folks and in several back and forth emails I finally told him about the Oldsmobile.  He said, “Oh, now I get it…I’m scared…but I get it.”

I’m not sure if he’s scared for my sanity or scared about the general “woo-woo-ness” of the experience.   Probably both.

Anyway, my folks came through for me (thanks to Dad) and maybe now I can feel better about moving on.

It may not have been my mother’s Oldsmobile, but it was good enough for me.


57 thoughts on “It’s Not Your Mother’s Oldsmobile…Or Is It?

  1. I believe in signs. Have had them from both my folks after they passed.
    A while ago I got some not to great health news that threw me for a loop.
    I kept on keeping on and still worried a lot.
    I play golf (not great but often) as we were leaving the green I noticed what I thought was a coin laying there.

    Thinking someone had forgotten to pick up their ball mark, I put it in my pocket and didn’t give it much thought.
    That night when I emptied my pockets I took a good look at the “coin” .
    It has a cut out that looks like a bolt of lightening in the middle.

    On one side it says “Strength” “Blessing ring.”

    On the other side it says “Never give up”. Look within yourself”.

    I now wear it on a chain around my neck. Blessings to you and yours.


  2. What a lovely post! I am very glad that this has been resolved to your satisfaction. Could you please explain the back story about the feathers from you dad? The only thing my mom left me after she bought her rainbow was a voice in my head that sounded identical to hers screaming, “Clean up your room!” I like to think that’s more a memory than full blown schizophrenia.


    • Hey, I still get the sound of my mother’s voice saying, “Stand up straight!” so it can’t be just you! The feathers I would find after I did mundane stuff like take out her garbage can to the street. I’d walk back and there would be a feather lying in the way where there hadn’t been one just moments before. Little things like that.


  3. A year after my mother in law died, she spoke to me in a dream. Nothing earth shattering. I told her that I could see her..and she said she could see me too.

    It wasn’t a typical dream. I could even smell her.


  4. Great post. I’m so happy you saw your Oldsmobile – and the Christmas stuff – an added bonus! I’ve received many signs like this too and it’s so comforting but I agree with our son, a bit scary. (scary in an unexpainable mystery sort of way). Love your screen name – too funny! Looking forward to reading more.


  5. Liked your post very much.
    My father died in 1996 and has come to me in my dreams, looking young and well. I had a heart scare 4 years ago and he visited me…. as I reached for his hand, he faded away as if to tell me it wasn’t my time yet. He still comes, usually when I am anxious about something.
    My father-in-law died in 2005. He was not what I would call a happy man, and Mum-in-law wasn’t easy. He’s come to me once in my dreams to pass a message on to my husband that he had ‘found someone’. We were both so happy for him.


  6. I believe it was your mom’s Oldsmobile. Your piece hit home. I often ask for signs as well. My mom passed away 20 years ago this September and my dad 45 years ago. I still think about them a lot and sometimes I am reminded of things they would have said given a certain situation. I find myself repeating their words verbatim sometimes.
    I want to believe they are together because they were very much devoted to each other. I will definitely ask for a specific sign next time. I will let you know how it turns out. Thanks for your post.


  7. I also believe in signs from the dearly departed. My grandmother passed away on Valentine’s Day about 17 yrs ago when I was living overseas, and I wasn’t able to come home for her funeral. I was sitting alone, feeling very sad, when it occurred to me that she might somehow appear to me. The thought of this was terrifying to me (it was nighttime and I was home alone). So I said out loud, “Grandma, I love you, but I don’t want to see you right now.” I didn’t see any sign from her that night, but one year later, on Valentine’s Day, I woke up early in the morning and felt something cold and smooth pressing against my cheek. I sleepily thought it was my husband messing around, but when I opened my eyes, he was sound asleep beside me, facing the other way. I believe it was my grandmother, somehow reaching out in a way that she knew wouldn’t frighten me, and it was somehow comforting.


  8. I love the way you tell your story.. I believe in signs but there is also a doubt somehow and I dont know why. What you experienced here is wow! Never thouht you really find your sign. It does give a feeling of relief and contentment that what your going to decide backs it up. I hope you’ll have a good christmasthis year and oh, your mom is with Jesus. She’s safe and in peace 🙂


  9. i believe in signs, i also believe in family members being your guardian angels. Your mum is looking down at you every night. She is the brightest star in the sky xx


    • Thank you, Dadicus Grinch! I agree with you wholeheartedly about being receptive. I think we should all pay closer attention to what our intuition is telling us. How many times have we ignored it, only to say later “If only I’d listened to my gut instinct.”


  10. Great post for sure. Ever since my childhood days, I was fascinated by signs and astrology. However, as it happens in any other catholic family, I had to face serious repercussions from all around for this.Though silently, my fascination for signs grew with me. Thanks for a good read!!


  11. My Dad died this past Sunday and I, like you, am looking for some kind of sign that he is at peace. But he was not like that…you know!! I never actually thought about requesting something.
    Will keep thinking about that one.


  12. Is it the color that you remember most? Do you have an affinity for “baby blue” in your life, in general? Such a lovely post. Thank you for sharing.


    • That’s an interesting question, Leatrice. I hadn’t thought about that before. I did like the color of the car. Maybe it’s because that color was popular in the ’50s and it reminds me of my childhood. Thanks for asking. Food for thought. 🙂


  13. Very nice job on this piece as I enjoyed it immensely. Thanks for the trip as I went along with you through the years, experiences and history we have al experienced. I like your writing style. Excellent delivery.


  14. I got two signs but I didn’t know that’s what they were until after the fact. My mom’s birthday is in late August. I had gotten her a birthday card a little early and for some reason I felt I HAD to get it in the mail right then or it was going to be too late. Then, I had a dream that my mother and grandmother were sitting somewhere, catching up on things and I was listening in. Grandma has been gone 25 years.
    Middle of the night the night after I had the dream, I got a call from my dad….Mama had died unexpectedly.

    She did get the birthday card in time to see it.


  15. My sister passed in Feb. this year, 2013. About a year before she passed, she had been staying with me for awhile while she relocated. She was wandering one day out in my yard and stumbled upon a marble embedded in the dirt. She picked it up with glee as a young child would and exclaimed, “Look, I found a marble!” She was 56 at the time. I got a big grin, because she felt she had really found a treasure. A one-of-a-kind trinket. She wasn’t disappointed much when I explained that I had had a bird bath filled on the bottom with them and had lost many as I had filled and refilled the bath and relocated it a couple of times. She just grinned. “Oh.” Of course, I had long been stumbling over them from time to time with no significance. Now I feel her with ever marble and we have a moment together. She also volunteered as a zinnia in my back yard. Her favorite bright pink. Right under my clothes line. Still flourishing though all the others have gone to seed in the front yard. Her little fairy self blew in the air to where she was sure I would see her every day. Can’t wait to see how she finds me next. Isn’t it wonderful?


  16. Really enjoyed your post. I have a friend whose mother had passed away a few years ago. Whenever she is anxious about something or is having a tough time making a difficult decision, she will sit outside in her garden and ask her mother for guidance. And each time, a butterfly will come and land next to her on the bench and my friend will talk her problem out loud to the butterfly. And she always finds a resolution. And yes, I realize butterflies in gardens are not uncommon, but my friend says the only times she sees them is when she asks for her mother’s help. Ever since my friend told me this story, I have put a butterfly decoration tucked into the bow of her Christmas present, as this was her mother’s favorite holiday.


  17. I read your post mainly because my husband and I have an Oldsmobile. It is 21 years old and something breaks every 3,000 miles.

    Anyway, I don’t believe in coincidences. My mother and I have celebrate our birthdays in March. Mine on the 11th and hers on the 27th. More often than not, there is snow on HER birthday. She died in May of 2010; on my Birthday 10 months later, I woke up at 5 a.m. to take my son to our friends house before school started and was greeted by 6 inches of snow on top of my car. I could have sworn that I heard my mother laughing. I DID NOT enjoy cleaning it off at that early hour. 2 hours later, the snow was completely melted. I considered it a birthday present from my mother-who loved a good practical joke. For the record, there was no snow on her birthday that year.


    • Thanks for the comment—and for the laugh! It reminded me of when my father-in-law’s mother-in-law passed away and he didn’t go to her funeral. (They didn’t get along.) Not too much later he had all kinds of trouble with the power windows in his Cadillac. They would do wacky things that were hard to explain. He swore it was Mamie taking it out on him for his non-attendance. Then later when we mentioned it to him, he denied thinking any such thing. Probably didn’t want to piss her off any further. 🙂


  18. I found your post as it was recommended to me by some WordPress engine thingy, as I am rather new to blogging and wanted to read some things other people wrote. I quite like your way of writing and even though English is not my own language, it wasn’t hard for me to read. I, too, believe in signs. A few days after my father-in-law had passed away, I was in the car on my way to my mother-in-law’s place with some appropriate clothes for the funeral. Suddenly, on my dashboard the warning sign for the airbag came on, flashed a couple of times and then went off again. It never had before and it never did again until I sold the car a couple of years later.

    There have been more signs in my wife’s family. My mother-in-law even had visitations a couple of times, both by her late husband and her late grandchild, my wife’s niece, who was a bridesmaid on our weddingday.

    Thank you for writing this. Once again I learned I’m not the only one believing “there’s more between heaven and earth”.


    • Thanks for sharing that. I think a lot depends on the personality of the deceased. If they were somewhat reserved in life, they may be the same on the other side. But we just need to be a little more open to the subtle signs they might be leaving us.


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