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By Love ReclaimedJEAN HARLOW RETURNS TO CLEAR HER HUSBAND'S NAME
By ADRIAN FINKELSTEIN VALERIE FRANICH
iUniverse, Inc.Copyright © 2012 Adrian Finkelstein, MD, and Valerie Franich, MEd
All right reserved.
Chapter OneDeaf to the Past
Being born in the late 1950s to parents who had been married with no children for sixteen years, I was born directly into the generational era of the 1930s through their life experiences. The possibility of having lived back then was not something I gave much thought about, due to being raised around family members and their friends who were directly connected to the Golden Age of Hollywood. I found the clothes, furniture, and overall themes of their lives seem to have an unexplained sense of "nostalgia" and familiarity for me.
I watched the movies of the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s with an unexplained sadness, but also with a sense of fun and excitement that I did not understand. I always thought that I just enjoyed watching movies from the era of my parents, grandparents, and aunts and uncles. The experiences depicted seemed very familiar to me as a young child, but again I mostly associated this feeling with the experiences of my family and their generation.
As a young child, I was always talking about Los Angeles and California in general. I liked the sunshine and spoke in the first person about how attractive the mountains, ocean, and overall area of Southern California were to me. I had not yet been to Los Angeles or California when I began talking about it around the age of six. I encouraged my parents to take me to California as I wanted to see the area. I told them, "I know how to get around there, and I know where to go if I could only get there."
Finally, after several years of hearing me talk exhaustively about California and Los Angeles, my parents decided to take me to Disneyland to see if this would make me happy and stop me from talking about the area. When we arrived in Los Angeles, I had a strong sense of "familiarity" and of "happy times." I couldn't explain how the very tall palm trees against the blue sky gave me a sense of joy. I just loved those palm trees. I was so happy being in the Los Angeles air and being around the energy of the Hollywood scene. As a young child, I was familiar with Hollywood and knew that movies were made in the area.
I was curious to see these places and begged my parents to take me on a studio tour so that I could see what went on inside the gates. They told me that it would have to wait for another time as I was wearing them out from all my high excitement from visiting to the area. Like any child or adult, I had great fun visiting Disneyland. But the entire area of Los Angeles was even more of a Magic Kingdom for this young girl, and I had a sense of wonder and curiosity about everything I saw there.
I convinced my parents to take me to Disneyland for the next four or five years in a row. My father liked to go to Disneyland himself, and he also liked the area, so it wasn't hard to convince him to go back again to Los Angeles year after year. I was so happy once I got to the Southern California area. People would ask me if I liked Northern California as well. I would tell them that it was a nice area, but Southern California made me happier and felt more like where I belonged. This seemed to satisfy their sense of curiosity. As a child, I couldn't explain this sense of familiarity about Los Angeles, and of course, I knew nothing about the concept of reincarnation, but now looking back, I see that my interest in 1930s films and familiarity with Los Angeles and Hollywood could have some connection to a past life there.
Another unique experience was waking up after having my tonsils removed at the age of six. Seeing an "oxygen tent" on my bed was very traumatic for me. I became anxious and begged in a weakened voice to have the oxygen tent removed, saying, "I do not want to die!" The nurses reassured me that I was not going to die, but the panic and anxiety of waking up in the oxygen tent stayed with me and left me with an odd sense of familiarity. I never really thought much about that until only recently, when I discovered that Jean Harlow had died of kidney failure while in an oxygen tent.
After that, my ears started to become gradually more and more infected and this developed into Cholesteatoma disease. I became more focused on feeling better and not having to deal with the terrible ear pain from the infections and the gradual loss of hearing that came with the disease. The wonderful feelings from visiting Southern California and Disneyland were eventually blocked out as I struggled to overcome these potentially life-threatening ear problems and hearing loss.
This was disheartening, but beyond that I was an unusually quiet and somewhat sad young girl. I always had all my needs met. I had all the things that a young middle-class child could want with many toys, dolls, and the overall comforts of a happy and protected childhood. But there was an emptiness that was ever present, an unexplained desolation that I could not explain or understand as a young child.
An interesting fact I only recently was made aware of is that the same embryonic DNA makes the tissue of both the kidney and the ear in a developing fetus. Could it be that the memory of kidney problems from a past life was triggered from being in an oxygen tent as a young girl with an ear infection and that to block out that extremely traumatic experience, I lost my hearing, or refused to hear about it, becoming deaf to the past? Based on my experience as a mental health professional, it seems that there is a possibility I could have wanted to be deaf to or not recall the past and the tragic and unpleasant experiences of a life that was cut short, also in an oxygen tent, in a hospital room.
I learned to read lips and find ways to read people and their body language in order to not be singled out as a deaf person, since growing up in a small town in the 1960s and 1970s, being "deaf" and "dumb" were linked together. I knew I was a smart person, and being labeled as such by an educational system would have had detrimental effects on how my abilities and cognitive skills were perceived.
I also learned at this time how to develop my intuition. Later I was amused to hear that one needs to "quiet his or her mind" to be able to listen to his or her inner voice and begin to trust what comes to him or her. Being deaf did make quieting my surroundings easier for me than may be the case for other people.
However, being deaf does not mean that the world is quiet, as your mind can be very active and have many things going on. I learned to process information that came to me at a rate that I learned later was faster than how most hearing people talk. People tend to learn how to talk and speak from the people around them, and this gives each person his or her own accent, native language, and rate of speech.
As a young girl, I never really thought much about how my voice sounded, but I did indeed talk progressively louder over time in order to hear my voice when I was speaking. My hearing loss was progressive; eventually, I lost most of my hearing, and I had to read the lips of people around me and figure out from my memory the sound of their voices. The processing of information through my mind seemed to then remind me of how the voices of people around me sounded. Before my hearing loss was diagnosed, I wondered why other people's voices in junior high and high school seemed so distant. It was then that I was taken to my godfather, who was a family physician. He had previously looked at my ears and treated the infections with antibiotics, but he now needed to refer me to a specialist.
I then met with an otolaryngologist, who informed my family that I had very serious disease in my middle and inner ear area called Cholesteatoma and that I had lost 85 to 95 percent of my hearing in both ears due to the infection and disease. He explained to my family and me that I would need to learn to read lips and do whatever I could to hear as much as possible. He asked me what I could hear, and I replied that I could hear the deep voice of a new singer playing on the radio, Barry Manilow. He said it may be helpful to listen to that music as much as possible. I liked listening to Barry Manilow. However, this was controversial due to his style of music; some people were critical that the voice of a Jewish person was being used to help me hear.
I was curious about the facial expressions some of the people I knew showed when the topic of Jewish people came up. I became interested in Jewish culture. I read about the Holocaust and the events that occurred during that very tragic period of time. I made contact with various survivors of the Holocaust and their families, and they informed me that my pure intention and desire to know of their life events had given them a light in a world of darkness. That is what I learned from them: no matter what, there is a light that can obliterate the darkness of your problems. In retrospect this is again telling when I would later learn that after my life as Jean Harlow, I was born into a Jewish family and perished in the Holocaust as a young boy of six.
After numerous surgeries and antibiotic treatments, I eventually overcame the disease that had taken much of my hearing. Inexplicably, I eventually gained a good portion of my hearing back, and after working with speech and language therapists, I could talk fairly normally and felt better overall. I then wanted to learn more and to go back to a more structured learning environment. I had several people help me with the skills I needed to eventually go on to college and eventually graduate and then to earn a master's degree.
As a young child with medical problems, I was unable to go out as frequently as I wanted and to have fun like many other children. I did play outside with others and had fun, but it did not come as easily as it did for other children. For that reason, after graduating from college, I wanted to go out and explore places and be around areas that had palm trees and sunshine.
I considered having a career working within the area of deafness. I went to school and studied to be a teacher for the deaf and counselor to help guide the deaf and the hard of hearing toward living a positive life.
I applied to teach in various places in Western states where sunshine predominated. I wanted desperately to live in Los Angeles, but I did not get offers to work there. Now, having a good understanding of psychoanalysis and unconscious memories, I cannot help but wonder if I unconsciously sent out some kind of vibe to be unable to live and work in Los Angeles. It is something I have thought about in recent times; to be attracted to a place so much but somehow blocked from living there could be a past-life sign.
I accepted an elementary teaching position working with deaf children in Phoenix. I was given emotionally and behaviorally challenged deaf and hard-of-hearing students. After having dealt with my own medical problems and even after going through extensive graduate-school training, I did not like the work and became frustrated with the duties and lack of positive experiences. I decided to resign midyear, and then I found a position working at the first relay service to help deaf and speech-impaired individuals easily communicate with the public.
This less stressful position gave me the opportunity to explore the area and have more time to go out and enjoy the sunshine and palm trees, which was something I had always wanted to do. For some reason, though, I did not get a sense of "home and familiarity" in Phoenix. The area was similar in many ways to Los Angeles, with its sunshine and palm trees and outdoor lifestyle, but without the ocean. It just did not have the inner resonance of what I was intuitively trying to understand from a natural setting.
While I was living in Phoenix, a friend wanted to visit the Los Angeles area since he had never been there. I enthusiastically volunteered to join him and be his tour guide. We took a week-long trip from Phoenix to Los Angeles, in which I experienced driving through the desert and around the Southern California area. I was happy finally to be able to drive in and around the area of Los Angeles area. I could not understand my sense of contentment at just driving there. I did not question the feeling. I was just happy to be able to go to the area and enjoy the feeling, much as I had before I became sick as a young child.
I took my friend to the major attractions in the Los Angeles area. We also went to the studios and saw various live tapings of TV shows, which had a very positive effect on me. I was aware of the lighting and stage areas with a keen sense of when things were not correct. Other things did not have a sense of familiarity, such as the newer film technology that is used today for TV. I now wonder if this has to do with the advance in video technology used compared to what was used in Hollywood in the 1920s and 1930s.
Los Angeles has many nice areas within its borders, but Beverly Hills has always been a place that I sensed I felt a calling to visit. I made numerous visits to Beverly Hills, visiting various popular tourist areas. I had a strong, strange sense of déjà vu, which was more curiosity than a motivational intention for anything specific.
I suggested to my friend that we drive through the neighborhoods to see the homes and get a feel for the geographical appearance of the area. At first, everything was fine, and I drove around as if we were in any other neighborhood. Then my friend said that I began to slow down at various homes and to give first-person descriptions related to each of them. He thought that was somewhat odd, especially since it wasn't once or twice but continued for three homes. It seemed as if I was in some sort of semi-hypnotic state, though I was still able to drive and be alert to our surroundings.
My friend reported that I seemed to be somewhat quiet and giving out information matter-of-factly in great detail, as if dictating a letter. He did not detect any big difference in my personality, but it was as though I was reciting from memory what had happened at various places. As we left the neighborhood, I then became more myself again with my typically lively personality. He was not alarmed or surprised, just curious about the nature of the information I was giving out about houses I had not lived in.
I can remember a similar kind of situation in college. I was involved in several theater plays while I still had some hearing loss. I was able to perform with great ease and familiarity, instinctively knowing the blocking for moving on a stage. There was a quiet sense that came over me which was similar to the semi-hypnotic state I experienced driving around Beverly Hills with my friend.
The fascination of this experience encouraged my friend to go back to these particular homes, note down their addresses, and write down what I told him about them. We then decided to keep driving in the neighborhood, and we stopped another time after I gave him an address and also some information. It was on a street in one of the canyons where there was no home visible from the street, but I reported that "a very sad and bad thing happened in the area."
Since this trip took place in the late 1980s before the advent of the Internet, information was not yet so readily available to the general public. My friend thought about how to access public records, and after painstaking research of the area, he found that all the homes had one thing in common. The 1930s movie actress Jean Harlow had lived at each of them. The house at 9820 Easton Drive, where I had the sense that "a very sad and bad thing happened," was found to be the home built by MGM executive Paul Bern, who had died there two months after his marriage to Jean Harlow.
When my friend informed me of this "Jean Harlow" connection, I did not have any visceral or emotional reaction. In looking back, I felt the nonchalant attitude that I would later learn was so typical of Jean. I believe that information can be unconsciously blocked until someone is ready to deal with it. A few years later, I did feel sad when driving alone in the neighborhood again, and dreadful feelings came over me.
Over the years, I became curious about many of the blonde movie stars of the Golden Age of Hollywood. I had a fond sense for the actress Jean Harlow, but I never thought much about any kind of other connection or affiliation to the actress. I felt she had great comedic timing and had a great stage presence in the movies I saw. I grew up in a strong Catholic family and knew what the Catholic church taught about spirituality, ghosts and other paranormal topics, and reincarnation. I would frequently ask priests and did ask several archbishops about their thoughts on paranormal activity. I reminded them that the movie Exorcist had a Catholic priest who came to exorcise the devil out of the young girl. These "men of the cloth" were not Baptist ministers, Presbyterian ministers, or rabbis. One of them did confirm that the Vatican does study the various topics and is open-minded about them, but he also said that they do not teach or openly encourage church members to look for answers beyond the church doctrine.
Excerpted from By Love Reclaimed by ADRIAN FINKELSTEIN VALERIE FRANICH Copyright © 2012 by Adrian Finkelstein, MD, and Valerie Franich, MEd. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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