Outside Looking In
As a high school junior in my hometown of Tracy, I loaded delivery trucks in the summer for the 7-Up Bottling Co., where my father had worked for over 35 years. The empty cases of pop would be unloaded and the delivery trucks parked next to a loading dock would then be filled with various kinds of pop. As I unloaded an empty case of pop one early morning, I noticed a small medallion had become wedged between a couple of empty bottles.
The medallion was a round, flat and made of aluminum. One side of the silver dollar-sized medallion was plain silver. On the other side was an imprinted picture of Abraham Lincoln with the words, "Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States,” printed below.
I wasn't into historical or political figures at that time, but I put the medallion into my back pocket anyway and continued my work duties. A few days later, I had a dream about Abraham Lincoln, likely sub-consciously triggered from the discovery of that medallion. The dream sequence was Lincoln lying in a coffin.
Although no other faces appeared in the dream, there were inaudible voices. It was very brief; less than a minute in length. Two nights later, I had a nearly identical dream. Apparently, it was Lincoln's wake or funeral, and again, the dream was brief. This went on and on for years.
At least once every couple of months, the Lincoln visitation appeared in my dream. As I got older, my curiosity about this recurring dream started to pique. I told very few people about this dream, in part because if someone had told me this happened to them, I'd likely have thought they were a candidate for the looney bin. I started to become more and more interested in Lincoln and began reading stories about him in magazines and books.
As I gained more knowledge of this fascinating historical figure, my interest in him grew much stronger. So, in the 1990s, I made a trip to Springfield, Ill., where visitors could tour the home he once lived in, the law office he once practiced in, and the tomb in which he is buried with his wife and three of his four sons. Inside the tomb, the marbled narrow walkway runs in a complete circle. Along the way to his burial site in the back portion of the tomb are plaques, statues, and famous quotes from Lincoln. Lincoln's large headstone is set back in a small roped-off room.
The scene is breathtaking and somber. I snapped a photo of the headstone before I left, then went to tour the other Lincoln buildings.
Since returning from that trip, I have never had any kind of a dream about Lincoln. But I began assembling what has now become an extensive collection of Lincoln paraphernalia, including several busts ranging from one-inch to two feet tall, as well as paintings, drawings, books, and much more. My home office looks like a small Lincoln museum. It wasn't a lifelong dream to have a Lincoln collection. But it was a dream that started it.