|Ever since six-year-old Summer became an orphan, she was passed from relative to relative. Finally she ends up in the care of Uncle Ob and Aunt May. These two older adults don't have much to give
Summer except endless love. But the loving family is not to stay together for long, for Aunt May dies.
Ob is torn apart with grief and doesn't think he can go on. Then Summer and Ob meet Cletus, a
teenager, who claims he has had an afterlife experience and convinces them he knows a person who
can help them contact May.
In their grief both Ob and Summer seek out the spiritualist
but are destined to have their hopes shattered. Eventually the two are able to accept May's death.
With the coming of spring they put whirligigs in May's garden and dedicate them to her.
Ob has made a new friend, a young boy named Cletus. The two spend hours together and Ob enjoys the
new-found friendship. Cletus tells Ob that he died once from drowning and went to Heaven, where a
voice told him to go back home. Ob believes that this near death experience is special and that
maybe Cletus can communicate with those who have passed on, including May.
| Activity One:
Many people have had the kind of near death experience the Cletus describes. You can read about Wayne's experience at:
NEAR DEATH EXPERIENCE
Compare the experiences of Cletus and Wayne on a Venn
NEAR DEATH EXPERIENCE
Coping with Death and Grief by Marge Heegaard. Lerner,
Death and Dying by Pete Sanders. Copper Beach Books, 1998
|Activity Two: Messages from the Spirit World
Harry Houdini was a famous magician who boasted that he could escape from any
situation. One of his most famous stunts was to be handcuffed, tied with ropes and chains, put in a
padlocked trunk and dropped into deep water. Because of his reputation as an escape artist, Houdini
believed he could escape from the afterworld. He left instructions with friends that after his death
they were to gather in a certain place every Halloween and wait for a phone call from him. They are
still waiting! Read about Houdini and his amazing feats at:
Houdini gave his various escape acts mysterious sounding names like "Buried Alive" or "The Chinese Water Torture Cell."' What name
would you give his last attempt to escape from death?
|Activity Three: Elizabeth Kubler Ross
Elizabeth Kubler Ross is a well known expert on death and dying. Here are quotes from this famous woman. With which of these would Aunt May
agree and why?
- "Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself and know that everything
in life has a purpose,"
- "There are no mistakes, no coincidences, all events are blessings given
to us to learn from."
- People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the
sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is light from
May would most agree with #____because__________________________
The Great Houdini by Monica Kulling. Random House,
Harry Houdini: Master of Magic by Robert Kraske. Scholastic,
I, Houdini by Lynn Reid Banks. Camelot Books, 1991