Ghost Writer

“Lindsay, today is National Daughter’s Day. Let’s go on an adventure, just you and me,” I said.

Intrigued, she asked, “Where do you want to go?”

“There is this bookstore that I’ve been dying to go to in Ojai, which is a darling town with lots of shops. Besides, if you see something you like, I’ll buy it for you.” I sold it by wiggling my eyebrows up and down like Groucho Marx.


Minutes later, we were on our way. Not to miss out on a teachable moment, I took this opportunity to talk with my high school senior about what lies ahead of her in life. How does she want to make her mark on the world? I talked at great length about the great women in history in my attempt to inspire her.

Once we arrived, I looked for a parking spot. Randomly I chose this street to turn onto, and bingo – found one!

Immediately, Lindsay spied a spiritual crystals store. After making a few purchases, we tucked our crystals into our pockets as instructed, embracing the artistic, mystical Ojai vibe wholeheartedly. Had we only found a palm reader we would have been all hands on deck.

“Mom,” Lindsay said, looking up from her phone, “that bookstore is right down this street.”

Sure enough, our random parking spot was yards from the bookstore. Coincidence? Hmmm.

It was just as I imagined. This brick house, built in the 1960s, was now transformed into a bookstore with built-in bookcases wrapping around every available wall space. Each one filled with thousands of interesting books, old and new.

Lindsay and I split up and began aimlessly perusing. 

I was standing all alone when suddenly a book flew off the shelf and landed at my feet. I looked around to see if someone dropped it. No one was near me. I looked at the shelf where it had rested only to see the space the book had occupied and the solid brick wall behind it.

I’m well aware that I embellish stories, but this time I swear I’m telling the truth. I don’t take this sort of thing lightly, especially with the loud thud the book made when it hit the floor.

Casually, Lindsay strolled up to me, “Did you find something?”

“It found me. Literally, that book just flew off the shelf.”

Lindsay gasped at the book on the floor, “DON’T TOUCH IT!”

The title, Other Powers –The Age of Suffrage, Spiritualism, and the Scandalous Victoria Woodhull, piqued my curiosity.  The cover art was a photo of a Victorian woman’s hand on a Ouija Board.

“DROP THAT BOOK!” Lindsay screamed.

“Are you kidding me? I’m buying it.” I made my $7 investment into this medium. 

I had never heard of Victoria Woodhull, so I Googled her and shrieked, “Today is her FREAKING BIRTHDAY!”

I had to learn more about her accomplishments, which included being

the first woman to run for president – her 1870 platform included working people rights, 8-hour workday and abolition of the death penalty

the first woman broker on Wall Street

the first woman to address Congress 

a leader in the Women’s Suffrage Movement

a well-known clairvoyant (which explains the flying book)

a believer in free love

The book’s introduction reads, Her spirit is with us still.

“Lindsay, pick up her flag and march on!” I declared.

Live with waffletude

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