This article is found in Fate
Magazine for February 2001
How interesting this is!
In late November 1995, I was fired from
my job as a motel desk clerk. I was devastated because
I had always given the job my best and did not feel that
I deserved to be fired. I became quite depressed, and the
approaching Christmas season just made me feel even more
miserable as I pondered being penniless for the holidays.
My friends Mary and Rita and I were in the habit of visiting our friend Pat in
Scranton every Thursday night. Pat was home-bound do to poor health, and we would
always stop at a particular pizza parlor to eat before we went to her house.
It was the first Thursday of December. We took our usual seats at the pizza place,
and I noticed a tape player on top of the soda cooler. As we ate, the Carpenters'
Christmas Portrait tape was playing at a moderate volume. For some reason, it
seemed to sound better than should have been possible, given the modest player
being used. In fact, with each passing song the magnificence of the music seemed
to increase until I could have sworn that Karen Carpenter herself was standing
next to our table singing with all of her heart and soul. By the time the song "Christ
is Born" was played, I half wondered if the people eating would burst into thunderous
applause at the end due to how stunningly awesome the performance was. It didn't
happen, but I was so impressed that I bought a copy of the tape the next day
in spite of my economic condition, and I played it constantly thought December.
I found that it cheered me up quite a bit.
A few years later, Rita's husband died. He had asked Rita to call one of their
acquaintances in the event of his death, but she was unable to find the name
and address or phone number of the person, though she remembered her husband
had written it down on a sheet of paper. Rita decided to if she could reach her
husband through automatic writing to locate the missing information. She asked
Mary and me to join her in the attempt in case she herself wasn't gifted that
As it turned out, she seemed to be very good at it. Her husband
"came through" with the location of the paper, and commented on
a number of other things. Then he said, "Tell Bob that Karen is
here. She's a singer."
I sat for a minute trying to think of who this "Karen" might be, when Rita suddenly
said, "Oh, It's Karen Carpenter."
I was stunned, particularly since I had never known her personally, and in fact,
hadn't been much of a fan of hers. Yet she apparently had wanted Rita's husband
to tell me she was where ever he was the time, as if she knew me and wanted me
to know she was saying hi.
I went home that night, and played the Christmas Portrait tape. When "Christ
is Born" came on, and I heard the line "Hear the joyful angels singing," I got
the cold chills. I suddenly realized that, in fact, I had heard one quite clearly.
---Bob Shortz, Dallas, Pa.
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