"Words and Images of the Past" - Photo by Meredith Eastwood

A Dream of Train Tickets Leads to a Treasure Box

“All day long I have exciting ideas and thoughts. But I take up in my work only those to which my dreams direct me.” – Carl Jung  in Memories, Dreams, Reflections

“Real magic consists of bringing something through from a deeper reality into our physical lives, which is why Active Dreaming is a way of natural magic.”  – Robert Moss in Dreamways of the Iroquois

Dreams often offer glimpses into parts of our lives we have forgotten, ones that send us on journeys of discovery that change our lives for the better.  By researching aspects of a dream, the dreamer can make conscious the magic of her life that might otherwise remain unknown. And perhaps that magic will involve ancestral legacy.

This blog post is about a dream that inspired me to open a box of old letters and photos belonging to my Great Grandmother Nella Seymour, my Grandmother Floi Tyler and my Mother Katharine Grey.   After I recorded the dream in my journal and shared the dream with others using The Lightning Dreamwork Process, I determined what the dream meant for me. When I became the final authority of my dream, I experienced great joy bringing the results of its meaning into my waking life.  Below I describe the way I worked through the dream and the things I learned after putting the Action Plan into place.

DREAM: 1-14-2016

Title: “Changing Trains”

DREAM: I am standing in line with my mother at a ticket counter in the Chicago train station.

I ask her, “Why are we changing trains, and why do we need to purchase a new ticket?”

She answers me, “To see your grandmother and great grandmother in Wisconsin, we need to change trains, and we had to take a taxicab from another station to get to this station. It’s important to remember your grandparents.”

I pause briefly and glance behind us. I see the door to the street where we had stepped from the taxicab onto the sidewalk. Marshall Fields is on the other side of the street. I am puzzled because I recall that I have a Jeep parked in a hotel parking lot that I can use to drive to my hometown. Then I realize I am dreaming because the famous department store is not next to the train station. Then it dawns on me, my grandmothers and mother are deceased. I muse, “Somehow the worlds of the living and the deceased are mixed up.”

Feelings: I wake up curious.

Reality check…First Associations with waking reality:  I was born at my grandmother’s home when my father was deployed to London during WWII. When I was child my mother and I would visit my grandmother and great grandmother in Wisconsin every summer.  Between the ages of 9 and 16, my family lived in Oklahoma City. So my mother and I made our trips by train. We took a Santa Fe Railroad train overnight from Oklahoma to Chicago, sleeping in pull down beds in private compartments prepared by porters.  Then in the morning, we had to change not only trains but also train stations as well. Our next leg of the journey from Chicago to Central Wisconsin was on the Green Bay and Western Railroad, a company where my great grandfather and grandfather had careers.  My mother and I often stopped at Marshall Fields on the way home. I remember my father saying that when I returned from my trips, I was a different person. After I moved to Indiana during my 20’s I drove a utility vehicle to my grandmother’s house every summer.

Could any part of this dream happen in the future? Yes, I have pondered the possibility of taking the train from Indianapolis to Chicago rather than driving a Jeep. I wonder if there is a train available from Chicago to Central Wisconsin.

If it were my dream feedback:  Sharing my dream with others, I received a number of “if it were my dream” feedbacks, including symbolism of trains, changing tracks, grandmothers and a possible visitation from my mother. I arrived at the decision that I needed to revisit information related to family interactions and relationships that involved my grandparents and great grandmother. Little did I know when I began researching, I would discover symbolic pearls (and real ones) at the bottom of a box of old letters and photographs. And I am reminded that only a dreamer can know the meaning of his or her own dream. For me the meaning of this dream had less to do with train stations, tickets, and changing tracks than with the destination of those train trips and the treasures of the past hidden there.

Action Plan: Find photos, letters and other memorabilia from a box stored in the garage, one that I had left unopened following my mother’s death.

Follow Up Story:

When I carried out my Action Plan, I discovered those letters and photos which included the following:

•   A stack of letters artistically scripted and poetically expressed, written to my mother by my father during WWII.
•   Lovely cards and letters written during 1950-51 by my grandmother, great grandmother and grandfather to my mother.
•   Several photographic albums and loose photos which included pictures of my growing up years while at my grandmother’s house.

After reading the letters, I possessed new information about how my great grandmother and grandparents lovingly supported my father, mother and me after WWII.  When my father returned in 1946, it was difficult for veterans to find housing. He had obtained a position with the Orchard Field Airport (ORD), only a few years before it became O’Hare International Airport. We lived in an apartment in a neighborhood of Chicago that was on the other side of the city, one my parents thought might not offer a good school for me, an only child and grandchild. I learned in the letters that my grandfather and great grandmother assisted my father so that he could move us to our first home in Arlington Heights.

Though I had found some letters written by my father from London previous to this dream, I had not seen these particular letters. The following are a few phrases.

 Great Grandmother Nella Seymour, Grandmother Floi Tyler, My Mother Katharine Grey, Meredith Eastwood

Four Generations (l to r) – Great Grandmother Nella Seymour, Grandmother Floi Tyler, My Mother Katharine Grey, Meredith Eastwood.

Some of my grandmother’s words to my parents before my father’s deployment to London during WWII:

“Your arrival, the wedding and all seems like a lovely dream….we all fell in love with you, Carl…Do you mind? Has anyone ever told you what a pleasant speaking voice you have? You make a lovely Bride, Kay. I can’t have the grade of paper I ordered for the announcements. It isn’t patriotic. Well, my dears, our love and sincerest wishes for your happiness.”

Some of my Father’s words to my mother aboard ship in a convoy to London during WWII:

He tells about smuggling a dog aboard the ship that had been previously adopted by the company, “How they managed to get her onboard is a mystery because dogs are strictly prohibited.” And this poignant closing sentence, “I have one more thing to tell you and that is by far the most important. I have told you before, but I am telling you again. I love you darling. As always your devoted husband.” (In other letters after my birth, my father talked about looking forward to meeting me.)

Some of my grandfather’s words to my mother in 1950:

“I am sending you a like amount…I know you will be a lot happier and be in a far better location. Love from all, Daddy.” (Seeing the word daddy on a letter from a grandfather I barely remember had a profound effect on me.)

My great grandmother’s words to my parents in 1951:

“Dearest Children…we are all so pleased that you are really going to get settled in a home of your own…..One has to be ever on guard these days to protect the life of a growing child….These days one gets used to waiting and while we wait we improve our own environment and be just plain happy where we are, Americans. And let us pray that we’ll remain free Americans. We must learn to see the Universe that God sees and no other.”


The letters I read were filed with words of love for one another and for me. I felt blessed reading them. Heartfelt words written on stationary from my earliest childhood family members changes how I feel about my life. I am grateful I paid attention to a dream that might otherwise have been tossed aside as a meaningless figment of memory stored in my brain.  And gratitude for my mother, who was the “messenger” in the dream.


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