Last Days at the Hemingway House

Yesterday, I went into Onset Village for a tarot card reading. For someone who’s a little skeptical of psychics and the mystic, I sure spend a lot of time and money finding out what they have to say.* My hope is that someone will finally get it right. The closest I’ve come is when Maeve, Mom, Dad, and I saw Maureen Hancock at one of her smaller venues. She walked by our row, stopped, looked at the four of us and said, “Does the name ‘Francis’ mean anything to you?” Tippy’s middle name was Francis, as well as Dad’s father, AND it was the middle name of Maeve’s fiance, Dustin, who had recently passed away from cancer. Dustin was the reason Maeve was there. She needed to know he was OK. Maureen got so much right– right down to my brother’s nickname. “Timmy?” she had said, and then, “No, that’s not it… Tippy? Tippy. Did you call him Tippy?”

I nearly shit myself.

Maureen is the reason I return time after time, to connect with people who have died (and list continues to grow), even though logic tells me mediums aren’t real. There’s no way to contact the dead. But I want to believe.

While reading the guestbook at the Hemingway House, I discovered there was a tarot card reader nearby, and the past guest wrote that it was a great experience. Ebb and Flow is located a short walk from the Hemingway house, and the the spa lobby was bright and welcoming and full of new-agey merchandise. I met with a woman named Chris who led me to a small room with two large armchairs and a small round table to separate us.

I won’t go into too much detail about the hour-long reading, but I will say Chris got a lot right. She knew I was a writer working on a nonfiction book. She said self-help, but I told her it was memoir. “Your book will be a success,” she said. “It will inspire many people.” And I laughed, thinking about the mess of Word documents and folders, and page after page of writing that wasn’t particularly good.

“No,” Chris said when I doubted her, “keep writing. Your book will be wildly successful. One day you’ll come back here and tell me I was right.”

I still think she was just saying that to be nice, but I have to admit, it was encouraging.

One of the cards that stuck out to me was this one **:

Six of Cups

When I asked for more of an explanation of this card, Chris said it represented being stuck in the past. “It could also mean you’ve reconnected with a person, maybe a friend who you haven’t seen in a long time, and that person isn’t the same anymore. Does that make sense?”

I nodded. “I’ve been reconnecting with a younger version of myself while writing,” I told her. “It’s like writing about a person I don’t know anymore.” This is what has made the writing so difficult lately. Nineteen-year-old Tara was a very different person than thirty-six-year-old Tara. I still have trouble tapping into that part of me, and often times I don’t like what I see.

Before I finish writing about this experience, I must also add that Chris knew my brother’s name. She asked who Timothy was. I asked if he was young or old, and she said he was a teenager. “That’s my brother,” I said. “That’s Tippy.”

“He’s always with you, you know,” Chris said. “He helps you write.”

I smiled. Chris continued. “He said it was a mistake to get into the car. He says he’s sorry.”

“Well, what can you do, right?” I said.

We wrapped up the reading after that. Chris gave me a hug and wished me luck. I left the reading feeling pretty great

When I got home, I reconnected with Lauren. We poured some wine, ordered a pizza and submitted work to literary journals. This was Lauren’s first submission anywhere, and when she sent her story out into the world, we clinked glasses and hoped for the best.

Today, I sit at the kitchen table writing this post. We’re leaving in an hour or so, and I still haven’t fully packed, so I’m going to wrap this up.

Kathy, the woman who rented the house to us, had asked we leave a book behind with a note. Ideally the book would be one that the writer has published, but that doesn’t apply to either Lauren or me yet. We left books that are meaningful to each of us:

I didn’t post a picture of what Lauren wrote in BAE because she’ll share that on her website/Instagram, but I will tell you that her inscription was lovely.

I hope to keep up the blogging even though I’m about to return to real life. Probably won’t be quite as often, but who knows? Thanks for reading.


* This is a link to The Bridge, the literary journal Lauren and I worked on in college. An essay I wrote about my visit to a spirit medium is on page 31.

** All the images of tarot cards were lifted from the internet. The ones pictured are from the same deck Chris used, which is called Crystal Visions by Jennifer Galasso.


1 thought on “Last Days at the Hemingway House”

  1. OMG I love this! And if I ever go to the Hemingway House, I will def have to visit Chris. I also feel like an impostor bc clearly, if anyone should be publishing an essay about mediums, it’s you!

    Liked by 1 person

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