Thursday, October 11, 2012

Five Crazy Things: Old Souls

Barbara: Yesterday’s post about souls was too evocative not to play with a bit more. Let’s put aside the question of old souls and new, and pick—if we could pick any through time (and let’s be cavalier with this, we won’t deeply examine all the nitty-gritty of those lives, but only the good, interesting parts)—which 5 lives would we want to have lived?
1. William Shakespeare. Gotta love the writing, writing, writing. Being in that bliss to that degree. Yummy.
2. Cleopatra. I know I said we wouldn’t deeply examine their lives, but obviously there is a lot of crap in this woman’s history. I still have to pick her because being a ruler and a woman in those crazy times must have been incredibly interesting.
3. Darwin. Man, talk about focus and problem-solving and observation and “being one with nature”.
4. Galileo. Again with the science and problem-solving. Also the whole idea of exploring outside the box and against all beliefs (to his great suffering, I know. Forget that part!). Fascinating.
5 Leonardo da Vinci. Oh, to be a painter and a thinker and to paint and think like him. Yeah, man.

1. Mary Queen of Scots—to have that grace in the midst of terror.
2. Barbara Streisand at the pinnacle of her career.
3. My husband’s first love.
4. Doris Day in the middle of Pillow Talk.
5. The human who discovered fire.


  1. I wouldn't want to live another person's life in the way that y'all gave specific names. I'd want to have my own life and identity but in the following lives/times. Also, I'd always want to be a woman. I can't really imagine choosing to be a man.

    I guess I'm kind of boring because none of mine are ancient. All are relatively recent. Also, all but one are American.

    1. World War II and the Shoah, Europe: I'd want to be a Righteous Gentile of the Holocaust. I'd want to do work like Corrie ten Boom and her family did, like Irena Sendler did, and save Jews from the Nazis. And, add in the Rom, gays, the disabled, and others who were marked for death.

    2. 1900-1920, The United States: I would want to be a Suffragette and actively campaign for Women's Suffrage in the United States. I'd want to be one of those trouble making, muck raking, improper women who fought for the vote! I'd protest, write, rally, and be all scandalous and liberated.

    (to be continued)

  2. 3. Pre-Civil War 1800's on the Atlantic Coast (maybe even one of the islands), either South Carolina or North Carolina, the Underground Railroad: I would be a strong, tough, competent, devout farm wife. And, I'd be an abolitionist. I'd have strong arms and weathered hands from reliably and skillfully seeing to my children, gardening, preserving food, fishing in the ocean/rivers/swamps, tending the animals, and helping my husband farm. But, I'd have a 2nd, secret life as our farm would be a stop on the Underground Railroad. I would want to help escaping slaves make their way north to freedom and safety. And, come Civil War times, I would gladly help provide intelligence to the Union forces by passing along information on Confederate movements and such.

  3. 4. World War II, Washington, DC: I would want to be involved in espionage to help support the Allied war effort. I would be someone under the radar, a low key person in a woman's stereotypical role of that time. I'd be one of the many hundreds of women hired by the FBI during the war to process fingerprints. I'd be a secretary in an embassy. I'd be a cook, seamstress, or such. But, I'd be a spy. I'd channel information, secure copies of documents, work dead drops, etc. Please note that I choose not to be glamourous, work embassy parties, ply the society circuit, etc. I could never, even if thin and pretty and for a good cause, use my body for espionage, seduction for gain. I can't imagine using sex as a tool or weapon. I am incapable of separating sex from love/relationship. (Or, in terms of a different war, I'm not a Mata Hari!) I would do drudge work in my public life and be a clandestine spy in my secret life.

    1. Fascinating list, Rigel!! And I love the idea of not naming names but finding women who would have existed and lived incredible lives, just without all the great press :)

  4. Real life calls. I'll finish with #5 in a little while.

  5. Ohhhhh LOVE THIS!

    1. Walt Disney, because well his imagination....was just.....AWESOME!

    2. Leonardo Da Vinci. For the same reason you chose him Barb!

    3. J. K. Rowling, when she started writing Harry Potter

    4. Esther Hicks, I would LOVE to experience the Abraham journey!!!

    5. And...most important! One of your daughters and Deb's son. I would loooove to be either of your child And Love to experience how AWESOME you two are as Moms!

    I LOVED YOUR LISTS...I was gonna say Van Gogh..but OHH did he suffer!
    And Deb...I LOVED YOUR LIST. 3rd one made me...AWWWWWWWW

    1. BTW either of you can still adopt me! ;) I'm coming there next year anyway :D

    2. Eleanore Roosevelt
      Jane Fonda
      Gloria Steinem
      Betty Friedan
      Margaret Sanger

    3. These were the first 5 that popped into my head. Not that old but heroes to me in so many ways.Their evolution and their importance in different areas of my life and how lucky I am as a woman to have had these women before me.

    4. You're adorable, Shalaka, although I have handed in my mom card, remember? Time to live my "next" life!! ;)

      Madge, love your list. And I always think first five that come are somehow the right choices here. After all, it's not homework, right?!

  6. OHHH AND...

    Albert Bierstadt , I could REALLLY use the great mind of a landscape painter right now!

    John Lasseter, when he was creating PIXAR and Toy Story

    And Since Deb wanna be the human who discovered fire. Can I be the human who discovered firewood and gave it to her because I was too stupid and lazy??

  7. 5. The Roaring 1920's, New York City: Flapper. Broadway. Pre-Depression, inter-war frolicsome frivolity. A life of glamour, music, sexual freedom, and fabulousness. A dance on the decadent side. Jewelry, men, theatre, and a devil-may-care attitude. Being given over to a time and place, a lifestyle. There's nothing worthy or noble about my #5. It's selfish indulgence, just a craving for a life radically unlike my own - the allure of wild abandon.

    I'm glad Barbara included the clause about being cavalier and not focussing on details and negatives. Concerns like deodorant, dental hygiene, birth control, menstrual products, medical care, and regular bathing would kind of suck the joy out of this exercise.

    But, there is a practical concern I do choose to address. By choosing #1, #4, and, to a slightly lesser extent #3, I do realize that I would be, in all likelihood, choosing an early death. I would still choose them, even with eyes open to the risk of lethality. Because, it would be a noble death. I am very comfortable with the idea of a noble death. If I were living #1, #3, or #4, every morning when I awoke, I would make peace with that day bringing my death. I would resign myself to assassination and count survival as a surprising bonus prize. It would be a privilege to die with honor in the service of a greater good.

    If I could be picky, though, I would hope that I'd know death was imminent. I'd rather not be poisoned or snuck up upon with a pistol to the base of my skull and a bullet I didn't know was coming. I'd rather get to face my last few minutes before death. This could be very useful depending on the situation. There might be evidence that needs to be destroyed for the protection of others. There might be a fire or an explosive that needs to be set, or a last message that must be sent. If I could go down fighting, I could buy time for compatriots to escape. If I could die in the process of shielding another, his/her survival would give further meaning to my death. Also, if I could go out fighting, I would fight to take my murderer(s) with me. I might die, but they'd die, too. And, therefore, they would not survive to murder any more of my colleagues. In my death, my murderer(s) death(s) would've protected my allies left behind to continue the cause. It would have to be a may God have mercy on my soul situation that my last act was to kill. My only hope would be God honoring the greater good. If I were in a torture situation, I could only hope that I'd have the strength and integrity to realize that I was going to be killed anyway in the end whether I provided information in a plea for my life or not. I would hope that my last acts, my last words before succumbing to death would be to seemingly provide information in a bid to save myself but to, instead, be providing carefully crafted information (well rehearsed in case of such event) full of misinformation and devious distraction that would mislead my killers and help protect the greater good. But, if I couldn't have that strength or if I knew I was going to be drugged or such, I hope I'd have the fortitude to find a means to kill myself before my torturers pulled information from me that would compromise the greater good. Also, if my early death for a greater good was being executed by a man who also chose rape (we are talking war crimes here, afterall), he'd damn well better be a necrophiliac because the only way that's going down is once I'm already a corpse. And, I'd try to the very last moment to get a thumb into his eye socket or bite off his ear or strike a fatal blow to his larynx. I'd be facing certain execution anyway so I'd just hurry things along.

    Anyway, I'm fine with an early death. A noble death for a greater good. But, I do have preferences for how that goes down. *shrugs*

  8. Runners-Up that didn't get listed in the Top 5:

    6. Teacher in a rural, farmland, one room schoolhouse during the Great Depression: the kind of teacher who quietly made sure that even the poorest child had a pair of shoes come winter, who stealthily provided food baskets to the needy families of her school children, who instilled in the little girls that they have just as much value and right to education as the little boys (no matter what their male relatives may say), who fought to never let a single child believe s/he was dumb, and who made sure that all of who school children became readers.

    7. An Army nurse in Vietnam

    8. A barmaid with a heart of gold in a fishing village at the ocean's edge

    9. An urban aid crusader and social reformer like Jane Addams in Chicago in late 1800's/early 1900's

  9. Women who influenced my choices:

    Jane Addams:

    Corrie ten Boom:

    Irena Sendler:

  10. 1.Rosa Parks(I love rosa parks because she stood up for womens rights)
    2.Emily Dickinson
    4.Queen Elizabeth(I think it would have been cool to be queen)

    I put Rosa Parks,Dickinson,and Sakajawea,as my first three becuase I love them the most and have studied them the most.

    The other two I just think are cool.

  11. LOVE 5 things!!

    ok this reminds me of the question people sometimes ask about the people , dead or alive, you would invite to dinner, except now we get to live their lives!

    1. Amelia Earhart. I have always been interested in her since we had a assembly on important women in history in like 3rd grade. Plus now if I live her life I would at least know the details of where she ended up, something I have been pondering since 3rd grade : )
    2. Phyllis Diller. I am too young to have watched her when she was performing but since her death I have been making myself familiar with her comedy and can't stop being amazed at her determination and sheer briliance!
    3. Teller.(Penn & Teller) Because I am a sucker for figuring out the trick behind magic and his shadows trick amazes me and stumps me and he grew up in Pa/Jersey so I wouldn't have to move really far away.
    4. Guy or Gal who came up with cheeroies. I mean how awesome would that be? Plus I am having them for breakfast right no so they are on my mind.
    5. Stephen Fry. Crossing gender barriers here, well I guess I did with Teller too and maybe the cheerioes too. oh never mind. Simply because he is brilliant and someone I look up to : )

    I didn't pick any historical characters like a lot of you guys did but I would say that anyont living in ancient Athens or Sparta would be cool. Also just to be on the boat that Darwin was on when he did alot of his research and theorizing would have been quite interesting: )

    1. you got good taste in Stephen Fry and Teller Kelly . i would love to have been either of them too . in tellers case not so much to know how a trick is done but more to have his intelligence . same with Stephen Fry too now i come top think of it .

    2. You're right they both are like walking encyclopedias!

    3. Teller. AWESOME choice, just out of the ballpark with that one. LOVE IT! And because of you, I just found out that Penn was born in Massachusetts. Mighty cool.

    4. I agree, Dawn, so out of the ballpark. LOVE that one too (well, love all of them of course)

  12. Souzan Rezai from Vancouver, BCOctober 11, 2012 at 12:04 PM

    1. Rita Wilson; so I could have married Tom Hanks

    2. Shirley Bassey; Being able to sing like that for 75+ years, and frankly look like that after 75 years... hot damn.

    3. My mother; it would be amazing to see her through her life, which was hella hard.

    4. An actual ninja; BECAUSE THEN I'D BE A NINJA

    5. Nora Ephron; there's really no explanation needed, is there.

    bonus round:

    6. I'd be myself, but born in the 60's, and then have met Young Tom Hanks BEFORE Rita Wilson, and become married to Tom Hanks.

    1. Love the idea of being your mother! I can't imagine how much I would learn about my parents if I lived their lives! <3

    2. So much yumminess in this list! And, btw, I think Rita Wilson is pretty cool even without the Tom Hanks thing.

  13. 1. Sharon Olds. One of the best modern poets I've ever read. I crave her talent.
    2. Gilda Radner. My most favorite comedienne. She was fearless and brilliant.
    3. Any one of the Bronte sisters. Acton, Currer, and Ellis Bell are my homegirls.
    4. Nell Gwynn. One of the first stage actresses.
    5. Sylvia Plath. Despite all the tragedy of her life, I just want to understand her more. She seems to understand how minds like mine work, anyway.

    1. It's interesting how many here picked people who did suffer and had early deaths -- even so wanting to understand those minds. Such an evocative list, Julia!

  14. Not in any specific order:

    1. Catherine the Great (1729–1796)
    2. Pharaoh Sebekneferu of Egypt (about 1700 bce)
    3. Amelia Earhart (1897–1937)
    4. Lady Hester Stanhope (1776-1839)
    5. Nellie Bly (1864-1922)

    1. Thumbs up to Nellie Bly! Excellent thought!

    2. And the Pharoah. So much subtler and more interesting than Cleopatra, dang!!!

  15. 1. Laura Ingalls Wilder - have always been fascinated with that time period and she seemed to love her life with all the good and bad.
    2. Velma Johnston (aka Wild Horse Annie)- I know she's now known and I hope it counts. She was an amazing woman who was stricken with polio very young but overcame that. She grew up in Nevada the daughter of a rancher and she had a great love for the wild mustangs. After witnessing horrendous conditions in the capturing and trucking. She fought to "save" these horses even organized support and pushed legislation through Congress to protect the free-ranging wild horses.
    3. Katharine Hepburn's assistant-just so I could be in her company and learn from her. I would be such a better person for it
    4. Betty Endicott-someone I had the privilege to meet and get to know a little. She was a stand in on the set of Bonanza nearly from the beginning. If you watch Bonanza you can pretty much spot her in just about every episode. Just to have switched places with her and hang out on the set would have been wonderful. She told me a heartwarming story of Pernell and Michael that I will always treasure
    5. This is going to sound stupid but I wish I could do my childhood over again. But this time do it my way. My dad would never have left, I would have stayed on Long Island surrounded by my aunts, uncles and cousins. I would not have been seperated from my older brothers and sisters and been allowed to grow up with them and really know them. And my mom would have been a different person too. The only negative would be my youngest sister Nicole (my half sister) would not have been born : (

    1. They all count, Mary! And I was wondering about the Kate H assistant life too! As for #5, can you imagine??? I think this is a very true and honest wish (or wonder). xoxo

  16. Deb, you just broke my heart with "My husband's first love." I mean, WOW.

    1. Clarence Darrow, the lawyer in the Scopes Monkey trial who represented the defendant. To be able to speak so passionately about evolution and defend the right to do so... how powerful is that?

    2. Grandma Moses. I would love to be that productive and positive in my 90's.

    3. Loretta Swit. I want to play Hot Lips Houlihan and show her evolution.

    4. A piano player in the rag time era.

    5. Eddie's friend again. (Long story, not for now.)

    PS Deb. I want to be you for a day. However it winds up, I want to be able to experience that energy and passion. If it turns out to be a great day, I want to be able to blog about it and energize and inspire those who read it. If it turns out to be a bad day, have friends I can call up for support and to vent. (Plus, a longer from Colin. (serious blush))

    1. I meant to say (and thought I typed) a longer HUG from Colin. Jeez, it doesn't look right the way I left it, does it?

    2. lol Dawn!!!! Love the last one :D

    3. LOL Dawn, that's priceless!!

      Oh - you mentioning Colin has made me think of another one: I would love to have been a cameraman/woman on the set of Whose Line (UK or USA, whichever). To get to watch those guys goof around on set all day...I'd do it for free - if I knew how to operate a camera.

    4. Oh, Margo, great answer! I wouldn't even mind being the girl who brought Drew his soda refill. "More ale, wench!" LOL

    5. Yeah, I was wondering about "Colin's longer"....ummmmmm. Ha!!

      Anyway, I do love your list and think it is stellar. Eddie story one day???

    6. Eddie story: He was my first husband's best friend. As we got to know each other, he told me I'm not just John's girlfriend, I'm his FRIEND. He changed my tires a couple of times. (Came and got me.) I made him laugh his ass off.
      He drives an 18-wheeler and I'd go with him every so often to deliver potato chips to Maine. (Frito Lay had a place in Lynn, MA, and made and/or shipped from there.) I ended up falling for him. He's a classy guy. John and I broke up a month before Eddie got married. He got married on Halloween, and as we were all leaving and getting final hugs, I got FINAL final hugs. We both knew that "friends" thing with everyone wouldn't work as long as John was part of it.
      The bipolar thing was out of control for a while. He put up with a LOT of babbling and stuff. We really were friends. I miss him.
      Had a brief connection on Facebook before he deleted his account. Sigh...

    7. The mood hit and the story came easily.

    8. sigh. Even though it didn't get a perfect happy ending, it is so beautiful and romantic. sigh. I love all love, even the thwarted kind. True real connection is just so sexy, no?

  17. 1. James Herriot (Alf Wight in real life), Veterinarian in Yorkshire. Doing what you love, in the most beautiful countryside that you love, surrounded by people and animals you love. And then being able to write about it with such humour. (forgetting the awful hours, the cold, danger etc. for a minute)

    2. Temple Grandin, a woman with high-functioning autism and a Ph.D. in animal science. She's a leading figure in promoting the ethical treatment of animals, as well as a spokesperson for people with autism. I would love to be inside her head for just a little while. Or Kim Peek (the original Rain Man). Just to get a better understanding of what they go through.

    3. Having just watched the DVD for the first time: be one of the people in the crowd during the original 16-hour Live Aid concert in 1985. What a fantastic atmosphere that must've been.

    Going back in time.....

    4. a Druid in Celtic Britain (of the non-human-sacrifice variety of course)

    5. the person who designed Stonehenge - to finally get a definitive answer to the questions: "why?" and "how?"

    1. Yeah!! Awesome list. I want those answers/feelings too!!

  18. 1: George Stephenson for inventing and building the rocket . the first locomotive ever built as far as i am aware .

    2: mahatma Gandhi.

    3: John Lennon and George Harrison . they are genii

    4: Katherine Hepburn .

    5: sir matt busby . in case you don't know he is the one of the best managers manchester untied ever had . he built 3 really good manchester united teams . a post world war 2 team , the busby babes of the 1950's and he built a third team after the Munich disaster of 1958 where a lot of players died in a plane crash coming back to manchester from Belgrade .the most amazing thing was busby was also badly hurt in the crash but continued to work managing united .

    1. Oh! Carl Yastrzemski, one of the BEST Red Sox players of all time. Or a baseball player from the era BEFORE steroids were even thought of... Babe Ruth era.

  19. 1. Ryan Stiles-because he's like my idol ^-^
    2. Lewis or Clark-So I can experience seeing the what they saw for the first time
    3.Bill Gates: because I always wanted to be so rich that I could just go out and surprise a family in need of money with a check for a million dollars.
    4. Darwin (Sorry for stealing ^-^)- but i would love to experience all of his discoveries and what he...or I would learn.
    5. Rumiko Takahashi- She created a lot of AMAZING manga(aka books)and I just love all of the series and to be able to see how her mind works...well i wouldn't pass that up.

    1. ohhh!!! How did I forget Ryan??? NICE!

    2. Hey, you can "steal" all you want -- those guys are awesome! And luckily for the world and unlike so many other super-rich people, the actual Bill Gates is very giving (although I get what you mean about wanting to know what that feels like). Great list!

    3. Thanks ^-^
      And Shalaka, i'm sure you will remember next time a list requires awesome people. :)


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.