“I had too much to dream last night, too much to dream. I wasn’t ready to face the light. I had too much to dream, last night…” Electric Prunes
Calling all spiritualist and dream interpreters! I need some help. I had quite an interesting dream the other night, It was extremely vivid and in technicolor! I don’t always remember dreaming in color, but this one I remember. Dreams have been said to be a reflection of our lives, but I have absolutely no idea what this dream could possibly mean! Like many dreams it had no definitive beginning and just sort of started, kind of like when you change the channel on the TV and come upon a movie or program that’s already in progress.
In the dream I find myself walking north up Azusa Ave, the main street of my old hometown. I seem to be walking right up the middle of the four lane street. There’s not a single car on the road except for those parked along the curb, and not a soul in sight. The sky above me is a rich shade of blue and cloudless, and the San Gabriel Mountains ahead look incredible clear and close enough to reach out and touch. The sun, somewhere behind me, feels warm on my back and neck and I’m casting a long dark shadow on the roadway ahead of me. It all feels very surreal.
On the northeast corner of Azusa Ave and Sixth Street the doors of Ruthe’s Barber Shop, the largest in town, stand wide open but all seven of the barber chairs are empty, there are no barbers, nor customers. Next door, the old Village Theater looms ominously, the box office window is open but there is no one inside. The lobby is dark except for the yellowish light of the large old fashioned popcorn machine behind the counter which is at work popping kernels. The lights of the marquee are on but not very noticeable in the bright daylight. Two comedies, “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World and “The Three Stooges Go Around the World in a Daze” are advertised on the marquee. In the dream I remember seeing the movies at a Sunday matinee with my cousins David and Jeff when I was about 12. It was then that I realized I was dreaming.
Isn’t that an odd feeling when you realize you’re in a dream? Across the street La Dues Cafe stands open, all the lights are on but there is no one inside. I walk over to the cafe and go inside. It smells delicious, like fried hamburgers. I call out to see if anyone might be there, but in the dream I don’t hear myself calling. Finally I grab a doughnut from the glass display case on the counter and leave the cafe. Once outside I continue northward toward Route 66. It was all so weird. I was definitely in the Azusa of my youth, circa 1963 /64 but I was all alone.
Then suddenly I found myself standing directly in front of Whites Funeral Home on Foothill which looked like it had been abandoned for years the paint was chipped and faded and the plaster was badly cracked. The green shutters beside each window were rotted and in complete disrepair, and most of the panes of glass had been broken out. The large “Whites” sign out front had been knocked over and pieces were scattered across the lawn. As I stood there staring, the air raid siren near city hall suddenly went off, it’s deplorable, whiny scream filled my head. It was all very eerie.
There I stood on the sidewalk in front of the dilapidated “Whites Funeral Home ” building with that damn air raid siren blaring in my head, then just as quickly as it had started, it suddenly stopped. It stopped so abruptly that I wondered if I had really even heard it at all. I looked around trying to make sense of what was going on. Across the street the Presbyterian Church and Baker’s fast food were in good repair and looked perfectly normal, but Whites looked a hundred years old. I knew it was all just a dream, but it was all so strange. And where the hell was everyone?
All at once I was walking east towards St. Frances of Rome. There were cars parked everywhere around it. As I got closer I began to hear crowd noises, people talking, loud laughter, music and children screaming in delight above the low roar of machinery. I picked up my pace, then there on a light standard was a cardboard poster advertising the St. Frances of Rome Festival.” So that’s where everyone is,” I lied to myself, knowing full well that downtown would not be completely deserted because of a church festival.
I raced across the street and hurried towards the parking lot on the other side of the church where the festival was being held. When I got there I found that the festival was indeed taking place. There were an assortment of game and food booths, a Ferris wheel, several kiddie rides and a few larger thrill rides for the older kids. There was only one thing missing, people! The place was deserted! Where had they all gone? I’d heard them just moments before, they were here having the time of their lives and then just like that, gone.
Like I mentioned before, I knew I was dreaming, which is strange enough already but still the whole thing was kind of freaking me out, I think I would have been better off not knowing. I walked through the parking lot just to make sure there was no one there which was a waste of time. then I got this crazy thought that they were in church. Really? I mean the church is gigantic but to think that the citizenry of Azusa was inside was just plain ridiculous. I mounted the church steps and reached for the door but before I could open it my dream setting shifted yet again.
I found myself peddling my bike like a bat out of hell down the alley behind Central Market headed south. How I got my bike is beyond me, but anything can happen in a dream. As I crossed Third Street I passed between my grandma’s house on my left and my uncles house on my right. from the corner of my eye I thought I detected motion in my grandma’s yard so I turn around to check it out. Sure enough as I turn the corner in front of her house I see my Grandma Pepita out in the shade of the old avocado tree, raking leaves. I leap from my bike, nearly in tears and give her a hug and try to explain to her what is going on. Using the little Spanish that I know I tell her excitedly “no aye nadienne mas aqui in Azusa! No aye nadienne!” Which I’m hoping means there is nobody else in town!
My grandma looked at me with a “estas loco?” (are you crazy) look on her face and asks me in Spanish what I’m talking about. I repeat my phrase to her again and she say’s “mira! look!” and point behind me. I turn to look and can’t believe my eyes! There are people waiting for food at Ozzie’s Burger’s across the street and a group of kids running through the Farmer Market parking lot behind Ozzie’s. I’m amazed, no, I’m shocked at what I see! Where’d everybody come from? they definitely weren’t there a few minutes ago. Just then a group of cars went speeding by on Azusa Ave. What a frickin’ dream!
My grandma must have felt my pain because she put her arm around me and asked, “quieres comer hijo?” (do you want to eat son?) we walked back to the house and feasted on frijoles del oja with butter (freshly made pinto beans and broth) and her home made flour tortillas. They were delicious! even if they were only a dream meal. And that my friends, was the dream.
They say dreams pass in just a matter of moments. Dreams that seem to last for hours and cover great stretches of time actually take no more than a few minutes and usually no longer than twenty minutes. I’ve never had a dream quite like this one. Oh I’ve had my share of dreams in which I was alone before, but never anything like this. I’ve had dreams where I’m all alone being pursued by someone and though I never see my pursuer I know he’s there. I’ve also dreamed about having the ability to fly. And then there’s my re-occurring dream in which I’m walking through a field of bright, yellow sunflowers under a brilliant blue sky as happy and content as can be, when suddenly I step off into emptiness and am falling in super, slow motion, tumbling, twisting and turning, silently screaming as I pass the different layers of rock, clay, and sandstone. It feels like I fall forever, but my free fall always ends with me waking up before I hit bottom.
Strange indeed, but not nearly as strange as the “alone in an empty Azusa dream.” this was a very different kind of alone dream. What the hell it was all about or what it means I have no idea but I’d sure like too. Any suggestions would be helpful…
Just a dream…