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When we arrived at the farmhouse, the first thing we did was to explore the abandoned buildings on the property. The strange thing that struck us was that nothing at all had been moved out of there. Rusty old farm equipment still resided in the barn, old tools were left lying about, and there was even an extremely old racoon pelt stretched out by nails to dry, decades ago. (My brother still has this, which to this day is evidence to myself that all of this occurred in reality). Whoever had lived there several decades earlier had left very hastily and took few possesions.
As soon as we entered the house and began taking dust covers off the old furniture, I realized, however illogically, that I knew this place...very well. I began to ask my Mom when we had been here, and she argued with me that we never had.
Undaunted, I walked around the living room and into the kitchen remembering everything, except much newer. Before going into the kitchen, I told her I specifically remember playing with my brother in the woodbin in the kitchen, jumping in and out when we were little, and being yelled at that it was dangerous. "What woodbin?", she asked, and I walked in and pointed it out, but noticed how old and rotted it looked now. I told her how her and Grammy used it to feed the woodburning oven. I continued, running up to the sink yelling that someone had removed the hand pump for the well water. Sure enough, there was a hole in the counter at the edge of the sink where a hand pump could have been mounted.
I went on and on leading my mother through the house, as if taking her on a guided tour, until she was frightened to tears telling me to stop, and that I was scaring her. She kept remarking that we had really never been there before. That's when things got really weird. I turned to her and asked her, completely convinced myself by this flood of memories, if she didn't remember when I was drafted? I told her about having to leave for boot camp and the teary goodbye from my childhood sweetheart, and then returning on leave before being shipped to Europe. I recall clearly painting my bedroom window with a gaudy blue and white barberpole pattern, inside and out, all the way around the window frame and sill, to the dismay of my mother, and promising to come back after the war because I have to, so that I can paint it back the way it was because it looked so awful. My Mom didn't believe me but promised she would if we went into the bedroom that we hadn't yet toured, and see for ourselves. I kept repeating that I'm home, I've finally returned home after all this time.
We went into the bedroom, and my mother turned pale when she saw for herself that the window was painted the barberpole blue and white pattern, but was horribly cracked and peeled from weathering and age. I went pale too, because my last memory came in... "It was World War I, Mom", I explained. "I remember that I wore a brown/green wool-like uniform, with high-top brown boots, and a platter-type helmet. And I remember dying one damp grey day in a trench somewhere in Europe... Mom...I never came home, did I?"
I never believed in reincarnation until then. To this day I've wanted to return to Stevens Point and go to the Public Library and try to find out who I was, at least what my name was.
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