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Reincarnation Stories

When I was a very young boy, I lived in Okeechobee, Florida. Okeechobee was a small town. We lived in a little pink house and used to go swimming in Lake Okeechobee. I remember having an "imaginary" friend named Shrami when I was there. I never talked to Shrami, nor did I ever see her. I just knew Shrami.

One day I was on the back porch while my mom was making me lunch, and I was very upset. I was crying my heart out for Shrami. I felt as though if only Shrami were there, everything would be better.

As it does, life marched forward, and Shrami became nothing more than a distant memory. A couple of times in my life, my Mom has brought Shrami up in passing, telling me that I used to talk about her all the time when I was a little boy.

So here I am, a full grown man, a grandfather, remembering those early days. I decided to Google Shrami. I found out that Shrami is a fairly common female name in India. I am not sure how a four-year-old boy in 1960's Okeechobee, Florida would know that name. But it really got me to thinking about it. Every time I say the name, it brings some sort of comfort to me; I get a chill over my skin.

Last week, I was watching a documentary, and it showed people living in one of the slums in India. Before I had time to process the thought, the words "I miss Shrami" popped into my head, and I almost broke into tears.

This experience made me start thinking of my own son. He was born in 1990, and at a very young age, certainly as soon as he could start forming coherent sentences, he was talking about his son "Jim." We thought it was cute; he had an imaginary son named Jim!

When he was in first grade, we had a meet-the-teacher night. The kids had all made paper dolls of themselves and they were pasted up around the classroom. The parents were supposed to go around and find their kid's doll. My wife and I made several long laps around the class but found none that looked like our son, so we asked the teacher. She said,"OH, you're HIS parents! Right this way." And she pointed out a doll that looked like an old black man with grey hair. We had a good chuckle over that.

But that wasn't the last time our son identified himself as an older black man.This trend continued at least until his high school years. It even bled into mundane activities such as video games; his World of Warcraft characters all looked like Morgan Freeman! I'll have to talk to him about this now, when he gets out of the army.

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Posted March 24, 2013