Pondering Suess, The Leatherman and Little Known Things

Every day I learn something new. If that’s one of the secrets to beating Alzheimer’s, then I’m on my way to healthy cerebral senior health. Not that I’m a senior yet, I’m in my forties…but it’s a god preventative,eh? Anyway I enjoy amassing facts. As a Ruzzle, Words With Friends, and miscellaneous word games addict, as a wiki-phobe and self proclaimed information hoarder, I learn new things on purpose but sometimes (the ‘die-hard-never-miss-a-Jeopardy-episode-fan that-I-am’); sometimes new stuff just floats my way.

Take for example the Leatherman story. I’ve known about him for years because I live in the Tri-State area that he tramped about in, but how many of you know just how fascinating he was? (More about the infamous Leatherman later.)

Here’s an example of a few intriguing stories that I’ve happened upon  by chance while doing something else entirely…And I’m so Zen-ny that I’m inclined to think it was spiritual destiny, I was meant to happen upon these stories. Here they are:

Those Beguiling, Mourning Bees

Margaret Bell, was a beekeeper who kept bees in Leintwardine, about 7 miles from her home in Ludlow, Shropshire (England). Her life would have gone down on record as fairly unremarkable, were it not for what happened following her death in June 1994. Soon after her funeral, hundreds of bees settled on the corner of the street opposite the house where she had lived for 26 years. The bees stayed for an hour or so before buzzing off over the rooftops. The local press ran a photograph of the bees hanging on the wall in a cluster.

Folks don’t even get me started on bees, as my kids will attest. Bees are our nation’s future. Sadly their numbers are declining and without them we will lose crops we take for granted. We need to pay attention to this, people. Long live bees!

Miracle Crosses

Believe in miracles? There’s been a phenomenon for decades going on worldwide that baffles, moves, humbles, inspires and awes everyone who encounters it firsthand. This is even occurring in remote villages where people have no knowledge it has been going on elsewhere in the world. I can’t say why it’s happening, I just know it has. Just google “miracle crosses of light” and you will see what I mean. I’ve posted some of the pictures here.

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From the site:  http://www.share-international.org/background/miracles/MI_crosses.htm

First cross of light
The first cross of light appeared in 1988. “Last weekend,” the Pasadena Star News wrote on 27 May, “residents reported seeing a cross shining through a bathroom window of an apartment in El Monte.” Eye-witness Mona LaVine stated she saw: “A cross of a pale golden light — and simply beautiful.” Margaret Romero, owner of the place, had the glass replaced by a neighbor’s window, but the cross kept shining. Within days, 12 more crosses appeared around the Los Angeles area.

 White and gold light
Two years later, four foot-tall crosses of white and gold light appeared suddenly in the bathroom window of a 61-year-old pipefitter living in a suburb of New Orleans.

 No hocus-pocus
In 1991, the crosses reached the Philippines. Reporters of Newsday Philippines got hold of a piece of glass with such a cross of light. News editor Julian V. Cruz wrote: “It was mid-afternoon. With a score of neon lights on and sunlight streaming through two windows, there could be no occasion for hocus-pocus. The piece of glass was set up on its box like a picture frame. It looked exactly like any other piece of frosted glass, almost opaque, one could not see through. A flashlight was pointed at it and switched on and there appeared this even-armed cross of light seemingly within a diamond-shaped aura. Somebody placed another switched-on flashlight beside the first and two crosses appeared. The flashlights were switched off. The crosses disappeared. They were switched on again, the crosses reappeared. The usually boisterous newsroom was silent. The phenomenon was awe-inspiring, or, at the very least, intriguing.”

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As a person who collects crosses, among other things it IS intriguing. Specifically and to the point, I amass photos (taken by myself) of crosses found naturally in the environment. That means I don’t add “pictures of crosses on church steeples” to my file, because those crosses were put there on purpose. I am especially taken by the crosses we see in the overlapping of a tree limb over another branch, or shadow play that accidentally forms a cross…or let’s say you’re in an old building and some molding intersperses with a shadow or cracked plaster….-joila! A cross! So naturally this story beguiles me, but on to the Leatherman.

The Leatherman (was he Jules Bourglay of Lyons, France? We can only speculate.)

From roughly 1856 to 1889, (that’s over 30 years people!) a “vagabond” wearing a handmade suit entirely of leather, regardless of weather, traveled a route between the Connecticut River, Ct., and the Hudson River in New York. His identity remains unknown, and controversial. He walked a 365-mile route (taking 34-36 days which in itself is amazing…he never stopped walking…) in western Connecticut and eastern New York. Living in rock shelters and caves along his route (some within 20 minutes from my present home), he stopped at towns along his 365-mile loop about every five weeks for food and supplies.

It’s interesting to note that he never varied this route.

                             He Just Kept Going.

It is unknown how he earned money. One store kept a record of an order: “one loaf of bread, a can of sardines, one-pound of fancy crackers, a pie, two quarts of coffee, one “gill” of brandy and a bottle of beer”.

Leatherman was popular in Connecticut (where I reside.). He was reliable in his rounds, and people would have food ready for him, which he often ate on their doorsteps. Ten towns along the Leatherman’s route passed ordinances exempting him from the state “tramp law” passed in 1879.

The Leatherman spoke broken English, was supposedly a jilted Frenchman with a broken heart…and upon his death a book was found in his possession having something to do with French bible study. The well loved alternative band Pearl Jam, has devoted a song to this man entitled (what else?) “Leatherman.” His identical, never varying route circuit covered the following towns listed below. He stopped only to acquire supplies, or to sleep at his selected areas for shelters, mostly caves. He traveled the following towns:

Of these towns, I have been to 36 of them, some quite frequently and one day I will visit some of his actual caves/rock shelters.

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The following inscription was carved on his original tombstone:

FINAL RESTING PLACE OF
Jules Bourglay
OF LYONS, FRANCE
“THE LEATHER MAN”
who regularly walked a 365 mile route
through Westchester and Connecticut from
the Connecticut River to the Hudson
living in caves in the years
1858–1889

NOTE: I assume the above picture of the leatherman (the only one I know of, is in public domain, if not please let me know, and I will seek permission and give credit)

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So many people have gone before us, most are forgotten, presumed unordinary in their pursuits, but wholly interesting and worthy of note. I have always said that all lives are extraordinary. Imagine the stories out there of people long gone; who led unrecorded lives and in the end left little legacy, if any.

How many of you knew that Dr. Suess did many fascinating, funny, sometimes serious adult drawings? Ever seen the book “The Seven Lady Godivas?”

What a whimsy this book is! He’s got others for adults too. I own one.

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I leave you with his wisdom:

“So be sure when you step, Step with care and great tact. And remember that life’s A Great Balancing Act. And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed) Kid, you’ll move mountains.”
― Dr. SeussOh, The Places You’ll Go!

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