||June 14, 2010
An extraordinary true story of family, loss and love. The story of a little girl growing up in Buffalo, New York during the 1940s and 1950s in and out of foster homes, all while she struggled with troubling paranormal experiences and a "sixth sense." In a raw tounge-in-cheek coming-of-age story Canfield narrates her turbulent youth, perplexing psychic encounters and her early marriage.
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A Rose for My Mother
A Rose for My Mother follows Canfield from birth to adulthood. As a little girl, Canfield tries valiantly to understand the meaning behind her parents' confusing words and silences. The childhood vignettes are laugh-out-loud funny and then there are times when the tears well up.
Entering into an early marriage at seventeen, her paranormal experiences increased, leading her into a lifelong study of parapsychology. What would happen in the days following includes an invitaltion from world renowned, psychic investigator, Allen Spraggett, inviting Nancy to participate in the 50th anniversary seance at the Harry Houdini Museum in Niagara Falls, Canada. Soon after that, Mike Randall of WKBW-TV dubbed her a "Ghost Buster," after she successfully resolved the problems in a house that was claimed to be haunted.
Following the divorce of her perplexing marriage , Canfield has a whirlwind romance with a millionaire playboy and has to make a choice-should she accept the marriage proposal which would insure her a life of luxury or, should she continue with her research into the world of the unknown where she investigates claims of haunted houses and communicates with spirits?
Breathing the air in the basement was like breathing terror itself, but I wouldn't allow myself to panic. I remembered what my father once told me: "Your only afraid if you think you're afraid." I reached for the gold cross on the chain I wore around my neck. It was the cross that I bought in the Vatican gift shop, blessed by the pope. I always wore it- it made me feel safe.
As Brenda headed up the stairs, a blue, glowing, iridescent orb began to form in the far corner of the basement. The orb just hung in the air. I thought I could keep it from moving toward me as long as I kept my eyes on it. Soon, it became a battle of good against evil.
The bulb that dangled from the center of the basement went out. I was in total darkness. I tried to remain calm while I kept my eyes on the blue orb that seemed to grow brighter. A strange feeling at the nape of my neck gave me goose bumps.
"Brenda, turn the lights back on," I yelled!
"I didn't turn them off," Brenda yelled back!
The blue orb became larger and brighter as it came toward me. I felt a deep jolt in my stomach and a trembling in my legs. It whizzed past my ear with a cold rush of air and the harsh guttural whisper "One ~ not ~ three." It was a message that it wanted only one of us. Which one did it want?
An account of one woman's turbulent childhood and her paranormal awakening. Canfield's parents Ralph and Lorraine meet as teenagers in South Buffalo and quickly create a large family when children keep arriving despite the pair's inability to care for them, either financially or emotionally. Even when Ralph had steady work at the arms plant during World War II, money was tight, and as work dries up after the war, the fanily's situation deteriorates. Ralph and Lorraine argue and drink too much, leaving the children to largely fend for themselves. The family splits up and Nancy Lee is sent to live with her aunt and abusive uncle for a short stint before being placed in numerous foster homes and eventually an orphanage. After a few years, the family reunites under one roof, but Nancy Lee is much changed, scarred by her experiences. She eventually marries the first man she meets, who is 23 to her 17, out of clear desire to escape the highly toxic and dysfunctional family home. By 20, Nancy Lee is the mother of three children and the wife of a man who physically and verbally abuses her. Knowing that she is trapped, she repeatedly tells her husband that one day she will leave him. After 20-plus years, Nancy Lee finally keeps her promise and files for a divorce, explaining that a key component in her ability to make such a bold move is the inner strength she has developed through harnessing her paranormal sensitivities. Nancy Lee is a highly sensitive person with psychic abilities, signs of which are seen throughout her childhood. The author's tell-it-like-it-was memoir is moving because of its lack of sentimentality; she neither demonizes nor idealizes her parents and depicts the people in her life so vividly that at times it's easy to forget that this startling tale is nonfiction. While the paranormal details, coupled with some purple prose, may make the book hard for some readers to swallow, on the whole, Canfield's story is an incredible account of childhood neglect and her power to triumph in a life riddled with obstacles. An inspiring, unsentimental tale of overcoming the odds.
MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW
Out of a broken home, it can be hard to come to terms with one's upbringing. "A Rose for My Mother" is a metaphysical memoir from Nancy Lee Canfield as she states how parapsychology led her to come to understand her mother and her own turbulent life that didn't exactly go as planned. "A Rose for My Mother" is a strong choice for metaphysical readers looking for how parapschology has changed lives.
The best New Year's resolution anyone may make: sit down and read a book...thoughtfully...peacefully. Research proves (well, mine anyway) that regular, deliberate, varied and open-minded book reading leads to (and these may seem a bit redundant) peace of mind, balance, serenity, contentment and development of the cranium. Scanning the word in print for edification or entertainment also helps anyone avoid endless hours with Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz, "The Doctors," Oprah or other less meaningful if well-intentional folks on the box tied to a remote. Of course, if you do feel the need for reassurance, psychological or parental support if not doctoring, you can always pull out and take time to meditate upon one of the new crop of helpful volumes. Books have been companions and good therapy for thousands of years, long before the TV tried to tell us how to think.
One such inspiring offering is "A Rose for My Mother" by Nancy Lee Canfield (iUniverse Inc.) It is a good example of why one should look beyond the cover (or hype from the publcist) to find reading of merit. The advertisig blurbs bill her as a parapsychologist and tell us that the book spells out her route to a life with the paranormal. If this all sounds a bit too spooky, and it should, look beyond the cover to a story of a tough childhood, life in foster homes and orphanages and searches for finding herself. How do you tell a little girl "you won't be needing your church dress anymore" because she will not be coming back to that house?
The writing style is very open and descriptive. Canfield makes appropiate use of dialogue, movement and setting to help the reader visualize an exolving and changing, if hurting and searching person. Canfield as a youngster or young adult often felt betrayed and had low self-esteem. But even though eventual husband Joe offered little or no support, she managed to raise three successful and rather emotionally healthy offspring. The real vision of the little volume is not in how it sets the reader up to believe in parapsychology, but the view that it gives us of Canfield's own inner strength -- her ability to cope and her belief in herself and in others. Even if the reader is not a believer in parapsychology and the forces around us, the book does make us a believer in the forces within us, the perseverance and self-analysis we all need. The author's self-doubt is overcome by faith, looking ahead rather than back, and taking action. She's not a bad role model for anyone in the new year.
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