Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Penny Lane is in My Ears and in My Eyes...Very Strange

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:
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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).
  4. 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.
  5. 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.



Lorna said...

Just before I clicked on your title on my blogroll, I was humming Penny Lane---seriously. I have that turkey skin all over.

LG said...

Now Penny Lane will be playing in my head all day... Hey, this came out today too, about music listening:

Turnaround in Terrestrial Radio

According to initial results from a continuing Audience Attrition project by Bridge Ratings & Research, AM/FM Radio listening is returning to former high-water marks as a result of both the medium's lower commercial load policies and a growing segment of MP3 users who after some time immersed in their new technology toy, become fatigued with their time spent with the MP3 player and return to terrestrial Radio among other sources of audio entertainment.

Other updated findings include:

- Terrestrial audience erosion to alternative audio entertainment continues to occur in young demographics though at a slower rate than seen previously in 2005.

- Erosion rate halted for the time being among the 25+ age group.

- Where a 15 percent decrease in terrestrial Radio use by 12-24 year olds was reported for Q3 2005 vs Q3 2004, by Q4 2005 use had increased by two quarter hours per week per person resulting in only a 4 percent increase when compared with Q4 2004.

- Listening to traditional Radio by Adults 25-49 has risen from 65 quarter hours a week (Q4 2004) to 67.

Jen T. (that's me) said...

Totally weird. Is Penny's house the one that I knew someone that lived in it, too? The one that you can see from your office?

Laurie said...

Lorna - No way!!! Holy crap. That is very freaky. What can all this possibly mean?

LG - Good news for you about the radio ratings. MP3s and CD's are great but, it's like I said before, that's only going to give you music you already know about. Radio is still the best way to find out about new music, IF the stations will expand their playlists.

Laurie said...

Jen - I forgot about that. I'm not sure if I had realized that the house you were talking about was Penny's house at the time we had that conversation.

Isn't is weird enough that both of our ex-husbands were from the same VERY small town in Mississippi!!!??

Ed Abbey said...

While on vacation in England, I found myself in Liverpool and because I was bored and obviously out of my mind, I decided to go on a Beatles Tour in a Mystery Bus. As it turned out, I was the lone American on a bus load of Brits. We ended up on Penny Lane where the signs were all painted on now like in your picture instead of those nice brass ones of the Beatles era. I asked the bus driver why and he told me that people kept stealing the brass ones and the residents of Penny Lane had complained. About thirty seconds later, a pot bellied Penny Lane resident ran out of their house in his underwear holding one of those brass Penny Lane signs above his head as he circled the bus and ran back inside.

The tour guide then asked a trivia question. What is the most famous song that the Beatles own the rights too? Everyone in the bus guessed some Beatles song or another but I was the only one who correctly guessed "Happy Birthday." I thought I would get a Penny Lane sign as a prize but the tour guide just looked shocked and said congratulations. And so ended my fascination with the Beatles.

Sophmom said...

Pretty weird, Laurie. BTW, Barry Cowsill was seen alive but apparently living on the streets after Katrina. He had a couple of conversations with family in the days after the storm and indicated he would leave, but never did. His body was found not too long ago, but it is thought that he lived for quite some time after the storm. I haven't heard if they've figured out how he died. Really sad.

Marinade Dave said...

That's funny. I've been listening to the Beatles all day on iTunes. Hey Jude is playing right now.

Na na na na na na na...

A penny for your thoughts.

Laurie said...

Ed - That guy running around the bus is hilarious!

Sophmom - Thanks for the details. That is very sad.

Dave - Naaaaa, na, na, na-na-na, naaaaaa...

Zina said...

I read a book a long time ago called the CELESTINE PROPHECY that talked about how people get random coincidences throughout their life and that most of the time they write them off as just that: coincidences. This book advises: Never ignore the coincidenices in your life.

glad I could contribute.

Abby Taylor said...

Wow! And just before I read this I was playing a Cowsills mp3 on iTunes!

Okay, that's a lie.

Abby Taylor said...

Wow! And just before I read this I was playing a Cowsills mp3 on iTunes!

Okay, that's a lie.

Abby Taylor said...

The comment so nice

She made it twice

Feel free to delete at will.

Zina said...

oh yeah, it wasn't Jessica Lange that was playing PENNY it was TILDA SWINTON.

Tonight, I was watching the 70's show and Foreman was thinking about messing wround with his cousin Penny.

verify: XKKLT.

Laurie said...

Zina - I read that book. I think coincidences mean something but, like I've said here before, there isn't much I don't believe in.

Abby - You had me going there for a minute.

Abby - You had me going there for a minute.

Abby - You had me going...oh, okay.

Zina - I've never heard of Tilda Swinton. Maybe the name or the object Penny is the connection that I'm supposed to be getting here. I'll think about that.

Zina said...

Tilda Swinton is in the CHRONICLES OF NARNIA. I'm sure you've seen her picture she's the WHITE WITCH. She's most famous for an off the wall movie made some time ago called ORLANDO.

Laurie said...

Zina - I IMDB'd her. She definitely looks familiar.