Sometimes several coincidences occur in my life that make me stop and wonder what the meaning might be. Most of the time, I can't find a meaning and this is one of those times.
When I was about 12 years old, my mom’s step-sister and her son lived in a duplex in Beaumont. The people who lived next door had a daughter named Penny. I remember her name because, that summer, Penny Lane was a big Beatles hit. I also remember that she loved the Cowsills which I found odd. I never knew anyone who was obsessed with the Cowsills.
Many years later, I got a job in Beaumont and the building I worked in was in the same neighborhood where I remembered my aunt and Penny’s houses to be. I always wondered if I could find those two houses. I knew I would recognize them because my aunt’s house was a brick duplex and Penny’s house was a wood frame house with a little porch on the side facing my aunt’s house.
Several months ago, after working in this building off and on for the last twenty years, I was looking out of my fifth floor window and it hit me like a bolt of lightning. There were the houses. I had a direct view of them from my office window. I had always thought the houses were on Liberty or Laurel when they were actually on Broadway. I've had this office with this view for about three years and never noticed the houses until sometime late last summer.
When I got back to work after the evacuation for Hurricane Rita, I saw that a tree had fallen through the roof of Penny’s house. Sometime around Christmas, I watched as they finally hauled the tree away and this week they removed the blue tarp and repaired the roof.
Along with my revelation last summer that the houses were right outside my window, here are the other coincidences which really started piling up this week into one surreal moment:
- For my birthday last September, my sister found an old Beatles poster we used to have hanging in our bedroom when we were teenagers and she had it framed and gave it to me as my birthday present.
- For Christmas, Cory and Jamie gave me the two DVD set of the Concert for Bangladesh. I had been looking for it for years and I didn’t even know it had finally been released and Cory didn't know I had been looking for it.
- Cory and Jamie also gave me the new Beatles biography for Christmas and this week I read a passage about Penny Lane (the actual street in Liverpool, not the song).
- That same night, my cousin Zina sent me an e-mail telling me that one of the Cowsills died in New Orleans sometime during Hurricane Katrina and his body was found this week.
- The next day, after reading the passage about Penny Lane, I came to work and as I watched the workers patch the roof, the song Penny Lane played on my satellite radio, which I had bought for myself for Christmas.
Penny Lane playing on the radio, as I watched the men work on the roof of Penny's house, after reading about Penny Lane the night before, was strange enough, but then I suddenly remembered Penny's fascination with the Cowsills. When I had received the e-mail the day before from my cousin, I hadn't thought of Penny. I was only thinking that it was another sad story from New Orleans.