Josephine and Albert
Have you ever met someone, and just had the feeling that you've known them before? Or had a friend that you just know you were friends with before you actually met? I think that just about everyone has at some point or another had some sort of a de ja vu experience, but one of my favorite stories along this line is the story of my paternal grandparent's friendship, courtship, and marriage. I own a photocopy my grandmother Josephine's story of her life, written in her own beautiful, school teacher penmanship, complete with photographs. This handwritten history is many pages long, but here is a bit about how she and my grandfather Al felt about their relationship:
"I have said nothing, so far, about how I met my husband and how we fell in love, and finally married, etc. Well, I think we must have first met in the pre-existent world and decided, if God was willing, we would like to come down to this world and work out our probation together, because we were born within two weeks of each other and our parents lived less than two blocks apart and our families were old friends although his parents were younger than mine. We grew up together, went to the same school, attended Sunday School and Primary and later M.I.A. together and both sang in the Ward Choir. It was during this latter period we started dating, and on our Wedding Day, mother told us that before either of us was born, in fact, just shortly after Al's father who was the youngest and last of his family got married, one day Al's grandfather said to my mother that he wished he had another son to marry one of mother's daughters. So his grandson did it instead. And in Al's Patriarchal Blessing* he was told that he would find the mate to be his companion through life that he had chosen in the Spirit World."
My grandfather Al's life story shares the same sentiment about having known my grandmother Josephine even before they were born . . .
"Now I guess you who have bothered to read this are wanting to know about my courtship, as that is always interesting. Well I believe that must have started before we came to this earth. As I said in the beginning, we were born the same year, the same month, the same ward, the same street, our fathers had the same name and we knew each other from the time we can remember, and we were married on the same day.
"I believe the first time I knew about it was when I was a boy of about 16. My father and I were out in the field hauling hay, and I was on the load when she came along the street on her way home. She had her books under her arms and a feeling came over me that she was to become my wife. Now I don't know why, because I hadn't been thinking about such a thing, and girls didn't bother me for some years after that, but I always felt that she was sacred to me. (I have never mentioned this to a soul before.) . . Then we (grandpa and his friends) finally started getting dates, but I never thought about asking her to go, because I thought she was a serious type and wouldn't care for such foolishness . . . (about a labor day outing in 1915) . . . I didn't have a date, so I called Josephine Smith. I thought maybe I would get turned down there on a trip of that kind and it being late too. But I was successful . . . and from then on we saw more of each other. We went to shows and dances and trips and buggy rides. I found out that she liked the same kind of fun as other girls. This went on until January 30, 1918 when she said "I do." And she has. She has been a true loving, helpful wife ever since."
Albert and Josephine
Of course, as a young girl, when I first read these two life stories of my paternal grandparents, I thought that the idea of my grandparents courting each other before they were even born was very romantic, and I've never stopped thinking that. I love the idea! And I love knowing that my grandparents are still together, have recently celebrated their 100th wedding anniversary in their heavenly home, and have been enjoying each other's company for the past 41 years ever since my grandfather's death in 1976. It had been sad to see him bravely carrying on alone for the four years after Josephine's death in 1972. Maybe that's why I've always loved this song, Circle of Our Love from the musical production of Saturday's Warrior . . . I've seen that smile somewhere before . . .
It has made me stop and think many times when I meet someone new or encounter a stranger . . . "Have I met this person before? Were we friends before we were born?"
Have you ever had an experience where you felt you knew a friend before, in your pre-earth life?
* Patriarchal Blessing: Every worthy, baptized member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is entitled to and should receive a patriarchal blessing, which provides inspired direction from the Lord. As a person studies his or her patriarchal blessing and follows the counsel it contains, it will provide guidance, comfort, and protection. Read more about Patriarchal Blessings here.