The Blue Teal Rock
Every Sunday morning, Calvin would get up at 6am and run mercilessly around Morro Bay beach at least 7 miles. It would be his spiritual healing. A way to ease his pain through another week of stress. In addition to cleansing his soul, it also made him physically fit for the California Army National Guard's physical training test. The first thing he had to prepare himself for was stretching his tired muscles from sitting in front of a desk of problem accounts. From the tip of his hands to the abdominal region to the quadriceps to his toes, he'd make sure his tension was lost for the trek around the beach.
There were the normal precautions Calvin would have to make. Being that Morro Bay, California was a coastal town situated 250 miles south of San Francisco and 230 miles north of Los Angeles, fog turned out to be a major problem every morning during the winter. The temperature would stay around the 50 degree mark in the morning. Afternoons would be about 65, so pleasant it would be that you would be able to take a stroll after a late lunch or early dinner. Just watch out for the fog after 5pm. Calvin would start the first 3 miles real slow to start his pace. Careful that he doesn't wind himself out. Then he'd speed up a tad during the next 3 miles. Then it was full steam ahead in the last mile. Today was no exception for Calvin. Donning his PT gear, stopwatch, towel, and sports bottle filled with water, he left his apartment on Apple Court. A gorgeous 2 story Victorian with a beautiful view of the 1,000 foot rock that distinguished the town. Calvin had the top floor complete with a studio and kitchen. It was rented to him by a lady, 80 years young, named Ethel Mason. She was a native to the area. Her husband of 53 years passed away 8 years ago and she needed to use allot of the space for extra companionship. The house was paid up 3 times over and she never did it for the money. "Sending some more flowers to your granddaughters again, Mrs. Mason?", Calvin asked her as he went down to his car. She responded, "No, its growing too big." "what's growing too big?", he inquired. "My bulbs! I gotta bring it down some more!" She was a garden enthusiast with a passion. Every chance she got, she was in the front yard taking care of business. Calvin said, "Don't over do it. I'm gonna go running and then I'm off to the store. You want anything?" "Just get me some " She was a big "It's still hard for me to imagine you doing such a habit being that you're age and all." "Boy, I've been doing this since I was 17 years old." "But don't you worry about getting cancer or something worse?" "In my 80 years, I only went to the hospital once, and that was to give birth to my child. And I don't intend on going back, either." "O.K. Mrs. Mason, I'll be back around 10:30 to 11, whatever comes first." Calvin went off for his awakening.
The road was foggy as usual. Headlights were a safety precaution for Calvin. As he approached the parking lot to the beach, he plotted his usual course. "7 miles? No sweat." He said to himself looking over the rock. It was an ominous sight. "You'll never get the best of me.", he muttered out taking only his keys and leaving everything else locked in his black 1986 Ford Mustang. He did some more stretching for 15 minutes to combat the muscle tightening from sitting down driving to the beach. He then took off at a horrid pace as if it was a race for the gold. While running, Calvin would reminisce over the times in his life. His past was nothing to look back on. He never made the best out of his life when he was living in New York. He never had a good childhood growing up. An alcoholic father made it only worse. He was subjected to various road blocks like bullies and so called friends who were only out to gain for their own. School never helped, either. Teachers looked at him as a failure and never helped him get straight. He never participated in any school functions. No dances or proms. Nothing mattered to Calvin. He never had any motivation for anything in his life due to growing up in the coldness of the Big Apple. Nothing made a difference until he joined the military. There, they taught
what he never learned in school. Self reliance and responsibility, he was the only person responsible for his life. He spent 8 years in the active Army going to places like Germany and Korea specializing in communications. A tour in Fort Ord, California finally gave Calvin a place to live for good. He made a life for himself after so much discontent in his younger life. He left the active army and went into the California Army National Guard going to drills in Camp San Luis Obispo. He found a full time job in the San Luis Obispo area in a hospital business services office. His new job was doing patient billing or making sure that the insurance was sent out so the hospital would gain revenue. Slowly but surely, Calvin grew bored and unmotivated by the spontaneous effects of the same old work. The people surrounding him, though not as aggressive as
the people in New York, tended to be more of a hindrance. But he had no choice in the matter at hand. He needed the money for survival. Plus he truly loved the sight and sounds of the majestic California central coast. Every Sunday he would try to prove to himself that he was better than anyone. And he was, too. As he finished his run, he thank god for bringing him another day to live. He looked up at the large monstrosity of rock and got on his knees. He prayed up to god, "Thank you for relaxing my mind, my body, and my soul. Please lead me in the right direction, lord." He got up and drove away to the store to get what was needed for the rest of the day.
Ethel was in her home watching television as Calvin came in though the front door. Calvin had to check in through the back of the house. It enabled him to keep an eye on how she was health wise. He didn't believe her story about being at a healthy state of grace. "Here's your stuff, Mrs. Mason.", Calvin handed her the she craved for. "Thank you, son.", she most graciously thanked Calvin to continue her most. "Could you open it for me, my arthritis is kicking up again." Calvin did her the favor and opened up the can. He was amazed at the amount of history his neighborly landlady had compiled over the years. Artifacts like tables and chairs over 60 years old. Mounds of pictures of her family. There was even a portrait of her grandparents made back in the turn of the century 1890's. "This is like going to a museum.", Calvin said with enthusiasm. "Everything is like brand new." "Lots of tender loving care went into making those pictures.", Ethel said. "You've experienced allot in your day." said Calvin. Ethel looked at him and said, "Can you keep a secret?" Calvin said, "Sure, what is it?". "Follow me.", she said to Calvin and they went outside to the shed in the back of the house. She asked Calvin to open it and what she had surprised him without prejudice. It was a brightly lit stone of blue teal, about 5 by 6 inches in diameter. A magnificent glow of immeasurable proportion. "Its incredible!", Calvin replied of the stone's presence. She continued, "I found it 6 years ago when I went walking by the large rock on the beach. I was grieving for my late husband went I came upon it one summer night. I picked up the stone and it was almost immediate that I found myself back in my childhood. All I did was think about it and I was there. All of my memories, being relived before my eyes. When I dropped the stone, everything stopped. I wrapped the rock around my sweater and took it home. Whenever I think of my husband, I come here and I reminisce of my life. I don't know where it came from, but I'm glad I found it." Calvin said, "I'd like to try it out some time." Ethel then said, "You must promise that you do not tell anyone about this. Absolutely nobody! I'll let you try it once and that's it." Calvin picked up the slab of blue teal and within the spur of a moment, he found himself back in midtown Manhattan. The reality of the trash and traffic jams, loud noises from cars and obnoxious people clogged his spirit and anxiety set in. Calvin looked to see what street he was on as he was not in the small town in California any more. "33rd Street & 7th Avenue? Penn Station? Madison Square Garden?", Calvin replied with astonishment. "This is unreal! I'm back in New York!". He saw a newsstand a few feet by the station entrance. The date on the latest edition of the New York Post said, Wednesday, October 12th, 1984". He wanted to believe this was a dream, but was it real? The clock display in the front of the legendary arena said, 7:46pm. The sun was almost gone from the Manhattan skyline and the nightlife was ready to begin. Calvin noticed the blue light glowing softly in his coat pocket. He thought it best not to take it out cause lord knows what could happen next. He didn't want to make a scene. He went down stairs to the Long Island Railroad ticket booth. "How much to Hempstead?", Calvin said. "$4.75 one way, $9.25 round trip.", the ticket lady mentioned in that classic New York dialogue. "I'll take a one way ticket." Obviously the lady was real because Calvin could talk to her. Unfortunately, physical contact was impossible because of the glass separating each other and the glass opening where he put his money and got his ticket. He left the ticket booth and looked for the display of the next train to Hempstead. It said, "8:05pm, track 17". He went down to the train scheduled to leave out the station and got himself a window seat. As he sat patiently for the train to leave, he said to himself, obviously there was a reason for this time period happening again. He desperately wanted to go back in time and straighten
out all of the rights and wrongs in his life. Maybe this is a once in a lifetime chance for him to change all of the problems in his past. 1984 was not a particularly good year for him. That was year in which he was a senior in high school. Without a doubt, it was the worst of times for Calvin. He had a hard time fitting in at Uniondale High School. Whatever was happening to him, Calvin was going to make the best of it. Revenge was going to be sweet. Calvin used to live on a quiet street where everyone knew each other. The house he lived in was called a "Levitt" house because all of the houses were built the same way. They were the mainstay for soldiers coming back from World War II trying to find a house cheap so their families can live. They had your basic front lawn and a back yard, a basement and a second floor with two bedrooms. And there was you're usual gossip about who got what, where, when, why and how. That was natural for any neighborhood and something Calvin had to deal with. The train dragged into the Hempstead station at 9:13pm. The bus terminal was a block away from the LIRR station. Calvin remembered when the next number #40 bus south on Nassau Road and caught the bus right on time. As he went down the final trek to his old nesting place he wondered what he would find once he got there. Would his parents recognize him as a teenager or as an adult? Will his former enemies do the same old thing that aggravated him and set the pace for his lifetime? He got off at Northern Parkway and Nassau Road right on the
border line between the town of Hempstead and the unincorporated village of Uniondale.
This area was so familiar to him. The bright red lights from the radio towers that flickered on and off all the time located a quarter mile away in the southwest sky was the most common landmark. The cemetery located where the bus stop is was very ominous. On a quiet, autumn night, its eerie location could scare anyone. But not Calvin. He had a mission. He had to find out if this was a charade or a reality check. He arrived at 718 Macon Place at about 9:45pm. That was the home he lived in during his young life. The moment of truth had come for Calvin. He didn't have the key to the door so he rang the
bell. What was to come of this? A face peaked out of the pain glass window to see who it was. It was his mother. She opened the door and said, "Where's your keys? Don't tell me you lost them." "Yes, mom. I lost my keys.", Calvin answered her. His mom was a short, but deliberate woman in her middle 40's. Everything she said goes. Even Calvin's father didn't matter. She got the last word on all matters important or unimportant. O.K. mom", Calvin answered. "I'll pay for another set tomorrow." "You damned right you gonna pay for another set of keys. That's the second set you lost in a couple of months." Calvin's mom said. "I'm not payin' for anything. Get upstairs and go to bed. You got to go to school tomorrow!". "Good night mom.", Calvin said, as if he really was going to high school again. Everything was as if he never left home. The bedroom was just as he made it up growing up as a seventeen year old kid, messy and disgusting. His mother would say, "What a pig sty!" or "It looks like a cyclone hit it!" The pictures of sports legends from years past filled the bedroom. Everywhere you looked, there was a picture of Lawrence Taylor or Phil Simms in action (Calvin was a big New York Giants fan and a football junkie in general.). Class Papers and dirty clothing surrounded the room. Yes, it was just like old times. Calvin wondered what would tomorrow be like. Going back to see some of the people that made his life a living hell was definitely not his cup of tea.
But knowing what he knows now will be a chance to change all of the things that made his life miserable. Just as instantly as he found himself in midtown Manhattan, he found himself back in high school. "Clear your desks, please! This test will not be open book nor will it be a cake walk!" It was the Social Studies teacher he hated, Mr. Wanker. Arrogant and self centered, this man was only there for the simple pleasure of aggravating young school kids. Calvin remembered the day he needed help for a particular test. He never got it from Mr. Wanker. The teacher only gave Calvin a couple of chapters to read and that was it. Mr. Wanker's words were, "If you would have read the chapters like I said, you wouldn't be asking me for any help." This was a chance to get even with him.
All of the help Calvin needed and never got would be avenged. Calvin stood up and said, "I'm not taking this test!" Mr. Wanker lashed out, "Get out of my class, Mr. Grant!" Calvin returned, "Why don't you go and shove it!", and simply walked out of the class. He went into the boy's room where he ran into some of his old rivals. Boys who would pick on him on a daily basis. Gil was the leader of the pack. He was always seen with a cigarette in his mouth and he didn't care who he messed with, even the vice principal. He was surrounded by 2 of his partners. Riff, who was the same size as Gil and always packed a knife in his back pocket. Boo was a big lummox 6 foot, 3 inches and all. Gil said in an arrogant tone, "What the hell are you doing here? This bathroom is reserved only for cool guys, not for little young punks like you, boy." Little did Gil and his band of merry jerks know that this was a different Calvin from what they were used to, a man who was now skilled in martial arts with the help of the military and private instructors.
Calvin said, "Maybe I am a cool guy what do you think about that, rat?" Gil said, "You tryin' to be comedian? You think your funny? Maybe you need your tail kicked. Boo, Riff take care of him. Both of them laughed as they walked towards Calvin. Calvin let out a high double kick hitting both of them in the face. Boo went down like a freshly cut tree. He was out cold. Riff was stunned and a bit staggered by the reaction of Calvin. As usual, he whipped out his 5 inch knife. Riff lunged at Calvin. All Calvin did was step to his left and Riff ran full force into the toilet urinal. With both thugs out of commission, Gil was a site of horrors. He was scared beyond recognition. "I'm sorry, man I'm sorry! I didn't mean to do this to you! You're cool! You're all right by my book!" Calvin just looked at him and said, "You ain't worth doing away with. I got better things to do. Calvin got up, went over to Riff and picked up his knife. He showed it to Gil. Gil must have thought Calvin was going to stab him. "No, man! No! No!! Gil said with terror in his eyes thinking the end was near for him. Calvin just broke the knife in two and quietly left the bathroom. Gil just passed out. Calvin had more confidence than he ever had in his life. I was like he had the ability to change the world's problems.
There was one girl he always wanted to be with. Angela the right name for her because she looked just like one. She was as pure as the winter snow. With shoulder length hair and clothing made out for Vogue magazine, she was the pinnacle of every teen-age boy's dream. There was a dance scheduled for that night. Calvin was very anxious to get there. Just as mysteriously as before with the Garden and the classroom, Calvin found himself at the high school dance. The music was blasting dance and rap. There were wall to wall students in the gym. People were dancing. The place was rockin' up a storm. Calvin looked all over the gym for Angela and finally spotted her in the bleachers. The old Calvin would back here.
I know he's gone, but this is a place where I can talk to him. "Ethel was almost in tears when she explained about the rock. "I've had this rock for almost a week now and it will come back to light after about a few hours. It gives me allot of spiritual and emotional peace." She then said, "When I go into the next life, I want you to have it. So that you can be at peace with yourself." Calvin said, "This is so bizarre. I can't do this for you. I'd rather you just get this away from here. This is too big. People eventually will know about this." Ethel was a stern woman of her age. She would not let Calvin get a hold of his feelings on the blue teal rock. Calvin got back on his feet and headed out of the shed. His head held low and his spirit drained, he pondered over the last couple of minutes spent looking at his past. He said solemnly, "It could have turned out so differently if I had it my way. My life up to now was a complete failure." Ethel heard what Calvin said. "That's why I want you to have this. So you can spend time within your past and change it into what you want it to be. The whole world ain't gonna be perfect but I can tell you this. In the 80 years I've been on this earth, 99% of the things that happened to me I could never change. That 1% is for everything that you do right for the future and trust me I got a long way to go in my life." That was the one thing about Ethel that Calvin could depend upon. The fact that she was in her 80's were irrelevant. The uplifting message of hope would always give him or anyone else the needed boost for life's challenges. The blue teal rock was still at issue here. Even though it was an object of strange & mystical powers, the origins of where it came from still made Calvin uneasy. The answers he got from Ethel were vague. He needed more insight into this phenomenon. The only clue of significance came from the rock in Morro Bay. Even though it was closed, Calvin went out to the beach that evening. The night sky was filled with a sea of mystic fog off the Pacific Ocean marking an eerie presence in
the air. There was only a single light within the parking lot so Calvin parked under the light-post for security of his car. Calvin sensed a strange presence of someone or something watching him knowing what he experienced, anything could happen. He brought out a tire iron from underneath the driver's seat of his car. Whatever was out there, Calvin was ready for it. He walked slowly toward the boulders in the bay by the towering rock. Calvin used the tire iron to over turn all of the stones he could lift up. The key was to find if there were anymore like it. Calvin looked all over the rocky area for almost 2 hours. Alas, nothing could be determined of any other rocks of the distinct blue color glow. Un-noticed to Calvin was that there was someone looking at him.
"Looking for something? he blurted out as if it was nothing. Calvin lost all composure and turned around with the intention of hitting the man. Calvin held off at the last second. "I'm sorry I scared you, Calvin. the man said. Calvin said in a bit of amusement, "Who are you and how did you know my name? Have you been following me?" The man said, "Don't be afraid. I'm a very special friend of someone you know." All of the sudden, Calvin recognized the face of the man. "You're the man in the picture with Ethel. You're Edward Mason. She told me you were dead!" Edward said, "In a way I am, but then again I'm not." "Are you trying to be funny? Calvin bloated, "'cause if you are you're making a bad impression on me." "No, Calvin. Edward returned and said with sincerity, "I'm not trying to make you laugh." "I am Ethel's husband. But I've just come back from a long journey." Calvin freaked out, "O.K.! That's it! I'm out of here! You're some kind of wacko that's who you are!" Edward said, "I know what I can do to prove myself to you." He was willing to convince Calvin that he really did ascend from the house of the lord. He reached into his trench coat jacket pocket and pulled out the blue teal stone. The same stone Ethel had at the house. "It's the rock! Where did you
get it? Calvin said strangely. "It's a long story. Edward said "Maybe I could tell you on the way home about what you're experiencing?" Very reluctantly, Calvin took Edward back to the house in the Mustang. As they drove back to the house, Edward asked Calvin, I went out to the site you were at tonight about 8 years ago and I saw the blue teal light in the rock. I brought it home to Ethel and she was astonished with the sight of its unique texture. We talked about our honeymoon in Atlantic City and all of the sudden, it seemed like we were back there again. It was just like the first time. "This must have been something special. I said to Ethel. We used the rock to look back at all the good times in our lives. I went back to Morro Rock the next night. All the sudden a bright light came in front of me and took me away to a far and away place. All of the while it was peaceful, like nothing would hurt or touch me. Then I saw him." Calvin said, "What about Ethel?" Edward said, "She knows I'm no longer here in material presence. I wanted to come back down to earth and bring her back with me because now its her time to come in. I wanted to be her when the time came." Calvin said, "You're mean she's gonna die?" Edward said, "Oh no, Calvin. She'll be going on a new journey. She'll be crossing the bridge into a brand new life. Envy her Calvin, cause she'll be going to a place where no body will touch her. Like a long lost son coming back home, the reunion between Ethel and Edward was an unforgettable scene. For Calvin, it was bittersweet. He would never have Ethel as a roommate anymore. Before Ethel left with Edward for the long journey home, they presented Calvin with the precious blue teal stone. Edward said to Calvin, "It's a gift of appreciation for the time caring for Ethel while I was away. Give it to your kids or grandkids when they're ready." Calvin was more concerned of the situation pending.
People were going to know that Ethel would not be home. Calvin said to Ethel, "But, what about your house? Your money? Who's gonna take care it? The neighbors will be suspicious. What will I say to them?" Ethel said, "It's all been taken care of. It's all in god's hands." Ethel hugged Calvin and whispered in his ear, Calvin started to realize the significance of her message. In fact, it was a message to help Calvin understand the ways of his past and how he could never change it. He could always look at it, but it would always be there forever. Calvin cried knowing that he would not be able to tell Edward and Ethel how much he appreciated suggestion. That message was what Ethel wanted for Calvin's future. The chance for him to finally look at life in a positive light and that he should not be afraid not to take on the emotions and hardships that were to come in his life. A message of peace, hope and goodwill to spread to his peers. Calvin found a picture of a young Ethel and Edward on the bedroom dresser. There was some words scripted in the lower right hand corner, "Niagara Falls Honeymoon, 1932. To my loving wife, Ethel. May our lives be one forever. Love, Edward." Calvin said to himself softly and with great pride, "Thank you Ethel and Edward for relaxing my mind, body and soul."