When I was almost 5-years-old my parents sent me off for a Labor Day weekend with my favorite aunt Katie, who was only twenty-two. A striking brunette full of mirth, Katie had been in her teens when she had kids. So, in many ways, Katie felt as much like a big sister as an aunt.
Katie had a new boyfriend with kids too and we all piled into an old Chevy station wagon and drove from St. Francis, a quaint blue-collar neighborhood in Milwaukee, for Devil’s Lake. The way Katie lovingly dealt with her boisterous kids in the crowded station wagon, rather than beatings or harsh words my dad used to create order, was as new and wonderful to me as the alien worlds I would one day as an adult visit on the astral plane in meditation.
Some in the family thought less of the child-mother Katie than me. Grandma Agnes, in her thick Irish brogue, would often criticize Aunt Katie,”You’re raising these kids like a damn bunch of wild Hooligans!”
Yeah, I was happy to be in this fearless new tribe from the car ride on. It was the first time I was away from home. Aunt Katie gave me more hugs and kisses on that 5 hour car ride as I’d had in my whole 5 year life, aside from Grandma’s. As the Wisconsin countryside flew by the station wagon windows I even daydreamed about Aunt Katie adopting me and freeing me from my abusive father and ice-cold depressed mother.
Labor Day was passing as fast as the pine trees out the car windows, like the whole weekend had been that had seemed to pass like a single day in my stressful home. I was doing my best to hide how deeply sad I was that this was my last day with Aunt Katie and the happy kids and cousins before returning to my raging father and the frightened mother who let my father hurt me each and every day lest she share my fate.
Every painful day for the 21 years of my home life, it seemed my father’s only joy was hurting me. Lots of therapy would be needed to overcome this tortured life my soul had chosen to strengthen me for the planetary healing work I would do 40 years later. Yes, I accept my father was doing what my soul had chosen him for. Even if he seemed to a bit too good at his job of trying to break me. Indeed, if you are ever in a jam at the end of the world, a zombie apocalypse, financial collapse, I am the calm cool character you want in your corner. I fear nothing as an adult. So as you read take heart for the brave little Ken’s suffering in this story, He’s far more than he appears. He’s an angel that lit up a dark family and no victim at all.
Sometimes, when Dad was away and I kept my mom company, her little accomplice in a conspiracy to hate my father without his catching on, Mom would see my hands trembling like a Parkinson’s victim and she then always say, “Why are your hands shaking, Kenneth? You look sick and pale.” I really did not know then. Now I know the crushing stress of a crazy father was getting expressed by my body, though my mind was in total denial, both consciously and subconsciously. To my parents, sibs, and friends, except for my tremors, I acted and appeared a happy kid.
It’s part of the reason I am a recovering hypochondriac as an adult. One who now errors on the other side, ignoring health issues until they become life-threatening. Right now I am undergoing a nebulizer Abuterol lung therapy for a HVAC poisoning I let get the better of my health. I got in this 2014 health pickle by ignoring symptoms too long, hating being that sickly young kid staring out the station wagon windows.
Snuggling up to the easy-going Aunt Katie, my hands were steady, my stomach not in a knot. It was bliss for the five-year-old me. Finally Katie’s boyfriend, Rusty for his red hair, pulled the station wagon the Devil’s Lake parking lot and the kids all piled out and ran for the water. But I clung to Katie and helped carry what little things I could. Finally, after this clinging went on for sometime, Katie said, “Kenny, go swim your cousins. Um, Rusty and I have some grown-up things to talk about.”
I didn’t want to leave Aunt Katie but something in Rusty’s eye told me to go. The cousins welcomed me into the lake with splashes and giggles. As I played in the shallow waters of Devil’s Lake, named for steaming springs at certain times of the year, with my now forgotten cousins, I stole some looks at Katie. She was laughing and drinking a Pabst beer on the beach with her boyfriend Rusty. A boyfriend who tried to be friends with me, but because of my dad’s abuse I feared adult males at that time and Rusty gave up on me eventually.
Katie made out with the breast-groping Rusty with a sexy abandon I never saw between my mom and dad, who always seemed more like enemies in a truce between battles rather than lovers. I was, I admit, more than a little jealous of her red-headed boyfriend Rusty, who sported a handlebar mustache.
Some of my cousins and the other kids who were old enough to swim wanted me to go out in the deeper water with them. I watched in amazement how they windmilled their arms and kicked the water and swam like fish.
DARK SWIM LESSONS
My only swimming lessons up to then had been from Dad in our little backyard pool. He’d dunk me underwater and the only way he’d let me up to breathe was a deadly game of breath holding; I had to then see how many fingers Daddy dearest was holding out beneath the water’s surface and stick my arm out of the pool, while my little head was held tight under by his massive welder’s hand that wrapped around my skull like an octopus. Then I’d anxiously wave my arm to Dad, showing how many fingers he was showing me underwater. Only then was I allowed up from the pool to gasp for breath. Then he’d jam me back under for more “swim lessons”.
Once my mom finally said tentatively, “Bill, you’re not teaching anything but to see underwater. What the hell good is this without teaching him to swim? All you are teaching Kenneth is to hate you.” That got mom a beating. She was less helpful after that in questioning my dad’s parenting skills.
To win Katie’s attention back, I imitated what her kids did to swim with the kicking and arm strokes and lo and behold I was swimming! Of course, with only my father’s mean swim lessons, the first wave took me under before Aunt Katie could see how cool I was. Swimming went from joy to terror. I’d only swam far enough to reach the deep water and I sank like a rock. However, my father’s dark swim lesson did allow me a great underwater view of the bottom of the lake I was sinking for. In some crazy way my father’s lessons on holding my breath were my only hope. I kept holding my breath on the bottom of the lake. I could see the splashing feet and arms of my cousins above, oblivious to my sinking disappearance. I tried an underwater shout and swallowed some water.
I felt a strange tingle in my fingers and toes. I knew from my water torture from dad that lying still meant being able to stay under longer and live. Soon, despite and my aqua-man tricks learned under great pain, my consciousness was fading. I pushed off the lake bottom, but it was a sandy muck and I sank again, more out of air. Fear started to leave me as I began to see amazing shapes and colors, like tiny angels and animals in rainbow hues dancing in the sunlight on the lake’s surface above me.
I was fully aware I was dying but no longer afraid. I even calmly thought, “Well, at least I won’t have to suffer Dad’s beatings anymore.”
I had already run away from home a few months earlier. Only a kindergartener, I made it just a few blocks away before Dad recaptured me along with my little bit of food wrapped in a handkerchief on a stick like I had seen done in a 50s TV show about hobos. Dad broke that hobo stick of mine over his knee, like he tried to break my spirit, like the South Koreans he trained for combat as a US Army drill sargeant. “You little fag gook!” he would call me when enraged, forgetting I was a white kid, his kid. Somehow, even his training by the US army could never break my spirit like his recruits. And it frustrated him to no end to his dying day of bladder cancer in 2011.
Death lost all it’s sting. Dad zero to my many victories. I was ready to die, happy in that knowledge that I’d won as life left me deep beneath Devil’s Lake .
The light of the watery world grew dimmer and dimmer when a beautiful woman appeared over me, lighting up the water. Her bronze hair shimmered with an inner golden glow as she floated majestically above me, smiling. As I smiled back she said telepathically, “Ken, do not give up. Help is coming. Hold on, young one.”
I was filled with more love than I can describe at this beautiful face smiling down on me. More love than I had for aunt Katie or Grandma,”Who are you,?” I said in my 5 year-old mind back to her, as though taking telepathically was a normal as Grandma’s amazing apple pies.
The beauty smiled. Her glowing gown of green seaweed swirled as a wave passed overhead. I felt cozy now on the sandy bottom of the lake as a shocked fish darted past. I peacefully began to close my eyes.
The lady of the lake shouted in my mind, “Gaia! I am Gaia! And you must live, little one.”
“Gaia? That’s a pretty name, pretty lady. Thanks but my father is so mean I don’t mind dying.” I said in shame at betraying my father’s dark secret. He beat us all in the family, from mom to me. Beatings were the cost of living in his home where he controlled all through fear and abuse.
“Your poor sick father William knows no better. He truly does love you and the rest of the family,” Gaia said gently taking my little oxygen deprived blue hand and kissing it. Warmth spread from Gaia’s lips through my little water chilled body when a man’s hand reached right through Gaia and pulled me through her body. All went black…
I flew for Gaia’s sweet call back from the galaxies, down to earth and through the clouds. My spirit hovering above, in the dimming Labor Day sky, I saw my little 5-year-old body slung over a tan man’s shoulder. He ran like a Greek god for the shore through the shallow water. The young lifeguard tossed me on the sandy beach where my shocked aunt was yelling at my oldest cousin, “Kenny’s only five! You were supposed to watch over him in the water!”
The gathered crowd to watch, locked in fear of losing one so young as me. I was telepathic to all their sweet concern and it brought me further down from the sky. This was 1957 and they didn’t do mouth to mouth CPR back then. The lifeguard pushed down on my abdomen so hard I felt I would explode the way my father tortured me by sitting on my chest until I screamed and often passed out.
“No. I will not go back to that life!” I said and my spirit turned and flew for the sun.
Gaia appeared in a cloud, blocking my flight and said this time not telepathically but out loud, “Live, little one. Please, live.” Her words and voice were so sweet that I flew straight for the beach without a word and dove back into my body. Water gushed from my mouth and as I choked my first breath. I was back in my 5-year-old body.
I sat up on the beach and the gathering clapped and hugged each other. My cousins danced for joy. I was picked up in the loving embrace of my beautiful aunt Katie. Black haired and blue-eyed like my dad, Katie showered me with kisses instead of punches like her sick brother. “Oh my god you scared us, Ken!” Then Katie added in shame, “Please don’t tell you father and mother about this. They’ll have my hide for almost letting you drown.”
Not knowing what a “hide” meant, I nodded agreement just the same, happy not to arouse my father’s wrath at this kind woman I loved. This I see now was my first enabling of an addict’s negligence. Poor beautiful Aunt Katie would die just after her 40th birthday, her good looks robbed by alcohol and drug addiction. The fate of many in my family lineage. Katie’s loss so young, she should still be here, is one I’ve never fully recovered from. Fighting family addictions that kill people I love is why in 2011 I donated 150 videos, a $50,000 value, in barter for a $500 a month room for a small room in a grungy North Hollywood home, office to Bradley Quick’s beloved Cool Change Foundation. Bradley would be the gateway to my opening to my spirit gifts. It was the best barter I ever made despite the bad deal money-wise it was for me.
Katie was only a 20-something when I nearly drowned that fateful Labor Day and my first meeting with Gaia. Katie and Gaia seemed the same being as Katie wrapped me in beach towels and warmed me with the best hugs of my life. My relieved cousins went back to swim in Devil’s Lake as Katie warmed me fully back to life.
“Here, Kenny boy, get some food in you,” Aunt Katie offered me fresh peanut and jelly sandwich. I gladly took a bite. Food never tasted better before or since, despite a little bit of beach sand that had gotten into it in all the commotion.
“I saw angels,” I said innocently to Katie as I enjoyed the sandwich. The world was more alive than I’d ever tasted or saw before or since. I can still close my eyes and see the sparkle of the sun Devil’s Lake reflected in Katie’s wide blue eyes.
“Angels?” said Katie looking very frightened in a way that frightened me.
“Yeah, Aunt Katie. Little rainbow-colored ones and a big one named…. Uh, named, um I forget her name. But the lady in the lake was pretty like you, but with golden hair and a seaweed dress,” I said like this was a normal as the sandwich I was loving.
This made Katie look even more afraid. “All this stays our secret. You can never, ever talk to your mom or dad about angels or you’ll get aunt Katie get in big, big trouble. Your daddy might even hit me.”
“No…,” I whispered in terror. It was bad enough that I and my brother Fred, who got, I suspect, even worse than my beating by getting sexual abuse, at the greasy mechanics hands of my sick father, were being hurt along with Mom and Grandma. “Not Katie. I never wanted to bring daddy’s hitting Aunt Katie.” I thought. What I was too young to know was this fear was already too late. As my grandfather had died with my dad was only eleven, he had been the “man” of the family for a long time and was giving out beatings since long before I was born to Katie. God knows what else.
“So cross you heart and hope to die the angels and the lady in the lake is our secret, Kenneth?” said Katie, tears of shame in her eyes.
I knew when she said Kenneth, something Katie never called me like my mother did when she was mad, this was serious and so I said, “Promise, aunt Katie, a secret, I promise.”
PROMISE TOO BIG TO KEEP
Sadly, this was a promise I was not able to keep. Not because I was broke my word and told. The near death experience had changed me. I was seeing spirits of dead people and pets and the rainbow of angels everywhere now and talking to them all the time. My parents knew something was very wrong ever since Katie had brought me home. I was a very different kid now.
Eventually Katie confessed her neglect herself to the family in our little living room in our modest St. Francis home. Tears still burn in my heart recalling my father towering over Katie, “You drunken, bitch! You almost killed my boy with your boozing! Now, he’s seeing freaking angels and ghosts? Ken’s a retard now! ” My father slapped Katie so hard across the cheek her head spun.
Mom spoke up, something she seldom did when my father was hurling me around like a broken toy. Dad would break my arm a few years later tossing me across my bedroom into bed as punishment.” Leave Katie alone, Bill. She’s sorry.”
My father’s rage swung like a spotlight of evil doom upon my mother now. He raised a hand to strike her for speaking up against him. These family dramas went off like a spark in to firecracker warehouse and went to places no one dreamed. My father’s rage burned in his eyes, a forest fire ready to kill us all, himself included.
A Korean War drill Sargent my father was far stronger than he knew. My worst memory is him kicking my mother in the stomach while my mother was pregnant with my brother Fred. Fred was age two now. Fred cried loudly as my father kicked over a heavy coffee table like a toothpick hat was separating him from my mother.
“Please, Daddy! I promise never to talk to the angels again!” I shouted and jumped in between Dad to shield Mom from his menacing fists.
“Protecting the ladies, huh?” said my father as he backhanded me so hard I saw angels again dancing before my eyes. Blood from my cut lip mingled with the heavy carved maroon carpet up against my nose.
“Bill!” shouted my wise Irish grandma Agnes as she nervously puffed on a cigarette. “Enough is enough, son. I swear to make sure and teach Ken all I learned about the evils of the fairy folk. This sometimes happens when a soul crosses over. But Kenny is back with us now. He’s not retarded, Bill. Your son just needs a wee bit of time and my help to forget the fairies and pixies he’s met.”
Somehow, at Grandma’s profound pledge to break me of seeing visions my father’s rage cooled like an active volcano between eruptions. The women calmed and even my kid brother Fred stopped bawling.
And due to family repression worked upon me of an epic nature, all done from Grandma Agnes’ misguided love, so I have no regrets as it allowed me to enjoy an amazing normy life before my awakening, it would take until this very day, a vision on 6.12.14, eve of a full moon in June of 2014 to remember it was Gaia under Devil’s Lake I fell in love with at first sight deep beneath Devil’s Lake. I keep seeing more and more of mama Gaia since Antarctica 12.12.12 where I share now for the first time she knighted me. I dedicated my life to helping her save the human species, her proudest creation, that day on the stoney shores of Antarctica.
When he’s not meditating and doing planetary healing work Ken is a Hollywood filmmaker with PBS credits on IMDB and the owner of a socially conscious social media company.