Chasing Smallwood .45. All Good Things…

[A book with four interlocking themes:

  • how to communicate with the dead;
  • the life of a 19th-century American;
  • the massive task facing us today, and
  • the physical world’s place in the scheme of things.]
  • .45. All Good Things…

    Monday, February 27, 2006]

    (11:50) Wonderful material, Joseph. You know how it moved me, and why.

    Yes, and you learned something about yourself, though actually I believe you came to know it a while ago.

     Yes. So what happened to you after Johnston’s surrender? This version.

     Well, you know, not all that much for the next couple of weeks. We was part of the Grand Parade of army veterans in Washington city in May – we from the west was the second day, you know all that – and we made a special effort to look polished – I don’t think! In our minds, yesterday was spit and polish (though we didn’t call it that) and today we would show ’em what real soldiers looked like when they were soldiering. I told you earlier there was a lot of bad feeling between the Army of the Potomac and the western troops, but I’d been both places and didn’t share it, and I wasn’t the only one had been moved from one to the other, of course. All the Army of the Potomac ever needed was lots of training and better generals and the chance to fight Braxton Bragg instead of Robert E. Lee! And being further away from the capital wouldn’t have hurt any, but in an age of telegraph there wasn’t but so much you could do anyway.

    Well, it took till the spring of ’66 for me to get out of the army. Could have resigned my commission and left earlier, of course, but it wasn’t like I had other things to do, and anyway somebody had to do occupation duty. I mustered out in Tennessee, Nashville to be exact, and there I was, only 43 years old, 44 I guess, or nearly, and the greatest things in my life behind me. What was going to trump Oregon and marriage and the war? Sort of hard to get excited about things.

    If I’d been a private soldier, 20 years old when I got in, it might have been different.

    I though about going back to Oregon, but that seemed like too much trouble, and anyway it was twenty years on; I couldn’t expect things to be like I left ’em, and maybe I had a feeling I didn’t want to see what it looked like, built up more. I went back to my family, but the years hadn’t been good to them, and there too things weren’t the same. Something had taken the heart of out ’em, and they were sort of going through the motions. It was depressing. And maybe I was different, too, after four years in the army. Maybe I was seeing ’em different, feeling cramped in a way I hadn’t earlier.

    What with the railroads and the way things were busting out all over the northwest, and the changes just in my family, and years of being a soldier and an officer – I didn’t belong there any more. I told ’em goodbye and I was gone that next spring – which come to think of it is when in another version I left ’em by dying. These things have got their own logic to ’em, not usually obvious.

    So I went back east, back up to New England to poke around and see if there was anything for me. There was my brother, he’d got through the war okay, and of course my parents were dead. I actually did think for a minute or two about looking up Emerson and paying him a call but of course by 1867 he was a much bigger man than 25 years before, and also he was getting old, older than his years. It was only a fleeting idea anyway. I kind of wish I’d done it, though – he was still in his right mind then. But of course I didn’t have any way to know what he would be getting senile and linger on in the body while his mind was elsewhere.


    Okay, now I have no idea where you are going next and I find myself casting about, thrashing around. I actually got the idea – maybe he went to England! But I know it is all as blank as any of it has been beforehand from the beginning.

    Should you not find that reassuring? You know you can’t both make it all up and not make it all up at the same time! You feel it when you skip things because you don’t know ’em even if it don’t matter – like for instance where I was stationed doing occupation duty. But it ain’t important and certainly not worth the work of fighting what you think you know, to decide whether you can accept a given detail as probable. How probable is every part of your life? But it happened, didn’t it? Somebody from another time looking at it is just naturally going to ask you things you can’t answer because it involves too much – and is not going to understand what you can say, sometimes, because it involves too much. But that’s the whole point of this whole communication anyway – the process of communicating and the process of learning how to understand what you do get. So, it ain’t like any of this has been wasted.

    But my part in it is pretty near over. I am a lifetime very close to you in many ways: American, Transcendentalist, the healing experience, the public killing of the president on a Friday, the whole era, the west, the Indians – it has been a pretty easy one for you, not stretching you too much.  Suppose you’d tried to start with a French ballerina, how far do you suppose you’d have gotten?

    I’ll finish my story just to round it off, and of course I’ll always be glad to communicate with you but it won’t necessarily be this way.

     I could use these entries to write An Experiment in Guidance, couldn’t I?

    You could do worse. All right, after the war I didn’t have an exciting life and didn’t expect one. I wound up in Worcester, Massachusetts working as a sort of store clerk. Selling is something I knew, you see. I did get my dictionary published, and maybe you’ll run across it sometime. I died in 1871 like you got long ago – this version. Nothing special, just looking to leave and left. Of course it didn’t look that way to them left behind – to them I took a bad cold, it went into my lungs (pneumonia) and carried me off in March. And that was that, not a bad life at all.

     Could a two-star general wind up as a sales clerk?

    He could wind up begging on the streets if he didn’t rustle something up for himself. Why not? It wasn’t like I was regular army. And it was only brevet rank, at that. I was a colonel, really.

     So many blanks to be filled in.

    There’s easier ways than scribbling in a notebook – though this has worked out pretty well. Just work on your control panel, you’ll figure it out. Goodbye for now.

     Goodbye? Never. Hasta luego, at best. I look forward to further chats in whatever new way opens up. Thank you, Joseph.


5 thoughts on “Chasing Smallwood .45. All Good Things…

  1. Found myself feeling sad at his going! He’s very good company, and I think we all learned a lot. Thanks so much for giving us this experience. I enjoyed every minute. Do you have more of him you’ll be sharing?

  2. I had a long series of dreams this morning no doubt influenced by Joseph Smallwood and Frank and the various threads of information regarding other lifetimes and alternate timelines.

    In one of the dreams I was in a hotel lobby with a group of people, some who are my co-workers in the 3D. Someone pointed out a woman in the group and told me that she had a connection to some secret group/conspiracy connected with Marie Antoinette. I thought to myself, I don’t think so. That’s a little crazy. As I continued to look at the woman suddenly I could see and the feel her back in that time period. I saw what she looked like and how she was dressed back then. I got the word “pompadour” for her hairstyle. Napoleon and Josephine came into my mind as further connections to that time period. I knew for sure she was connected in some way to that place and time. I surprised myself at how clear I saw and felt the connection.

    A few more dreams went by and then I had one where I became lucid. I found myself on a road with vivid green grass and trees on either side and a cabin up ahead. I walked into the cabin. It was empty except for some items sitting under a semi-transparent clear tarp. I noticed my father was now with me. I pulled a canvas bag out from under the tarp. It contained a coin collection in plastic pages. I knew it was not my own coin collection because I kept my coins in collector books not loose plastic pages. I then pulled a photo album out. I realized it was my album. I was in every photo however I only recognized some of the photos, other photos contained people and places with me that I didn’t recognize. I thought this is an album of an alternate lifetime, some events are the same as in this lifetime but some events are different. I noticed a scrap of paper in the album that had the French words “mon bon ami”. I thought oh in that alternate lifetime I still took French in school. Unfortunately I lost my lucidity at this point and woke up.

    Thank you Frank for sharing Joseph Smallwood and his story. I read the book a few years ago but re-reading it has brought more insight and more experience.


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