President Jimmy Carter has appeared or been mentioned in seven of the almost six thousand dreams which I have recorded. His impact on me has therefore been noteworthy, and I wonder about his importance in my life.
Dream of:05 April 1977 "1976 Presidential Campaign"
I was at the House in Patriot (a cottage in the small village of Patriot, Ohio, where my maternal grandparents lived when I was a child). The kitchen/living room had been converted into a class room and a man who looked like the professor of a psychology class I had attended in my first quarter of college at the branch of Ohio University in Portsmouth, Ohio, was standing in front of us. He also reminded me a bit of James Schlesinger.
Apparently the topic of the class was the presidential campaign of 1976. We were studying on a map, which the man had in the front of the room, the itinerary of vice-president Walter Mondale as he campaigned in 1976. Mondale was also in the room and stood behind me. At one point someone asked whether Jimmy Carter could have won if Mondale had been the vice presidential candidate for both Carter and Gerald Ford. The professor said, "No, Ford would have won."
At that point I looked around at Mondale, who seemed to agree with the statement. His tie was a bit askance.
The professor went on to show that Mondale's responsibility in the campaign had been to visit small rural communities in an effort to sweep up votes. He showed, using the map, how Mondale had visited one small town three times. I thought to myself that he had probably taken on a lover there.
Then, by use of another map, he showed that the population centers were in other areas and he displayed a large map of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. The map however showed that Pittsburgh had the shore of an ocean on its west side. Philadelphia was farther inland on the east side.
The professor seemed like a friendly person. Since the other students weren't responding much, I decided to ask a question. I asked what was the percent of urban compared to rural population in the USA. I had to pronounce the word "rural" twice, since I mispronounced it the first time.
He said he didn't know for sure, but would guess about 65% urban, 35% rural. I said I would have guessed about 60% urban, 40% rural.
The professor sat down in an easy chair in front of the class. I was sitting more to his left than directly in front of him.
The entire class now seemed interested and the pupils (most 17-18 years old) began raising their hands for questions.
One girl asked a question which I didn't understand. Bolata (a little girl about five years old who had once been a neighbor in Portsmouth) was sitting across the room from me. She asked a question which I couldn't hear. I placed my hand to my ear and asked her to repeat. She stood up and I noticed how white her little teeth were. She began walking toward me and loudly repeated the question. She seemed cute to me. I reached out and held her soft, little hand. Then I tugged her closer to me and gave her a kiss on the cheek.
She immediately began crying and ran toward the professor, who likewise was taken in by her childish beauty and gave her a kiss on the cheek. She likewise recoiled from him and leaving the room said, "You stink."
I was uncertain to which of us she was referring, but I thought although my clothes were a little dirty, I had taken a bath and I didn't think I stank.
Although I have kept abreast of political events and have chosen sides, I have never been actively involved in politics and know precious little about how the system actually works.
Dream of:09 September 1980 "Fighting Buffalos"
I had been elected to be a representative at a political convention taking place on my grandparents' Farm in Gallia County, Ohio. A large building stood where the milk house normally was, and inside 400-500 people were beginning to gather. I arrived early and then other people began arriving. My girlfriend Carolyn showed up and I saw her before she saw me. Although several other pretty girls were there, I made my way straight to Carolyn. She had a pretty blonde-haired friend (about 16 years old) with her.
We walked inside the convention hall and sat down at one of the long rows of cafeteria tables. Both Republicans and Democrats were present. Someone to my right began shouting, "We want Reagan. We want Reagan."
I began shouting, "We want Carter! We want Carter!"
Finally everyone quieted down.
Carolyn was seated to my right and her blonde friend sat on my left. I was attracted to the blonde, but I felt guilty because I knew she was Carolyn's friend and Carolyn was sitting right next to me. That fact apparently didn't bother the blonde, however, because she began stealthily caressing the side of my leg with her hand. She kept trying to entwine her fingers with mine and kept moving closer and closer until our bodies were right next to each other. I didn't try to stop her. Finally she had her hand between by legs. She put her face to mine and began kissing me.
I broke away for a moment and looked at Carolyn, who had seen everything. Obviously she was hurt, although she acted as if she weren't.
When I turned back to the blonde, she was gone. I was sitting on the beige dress she had been wearing and at first I thought she was still in it. Upon closer examination, however, I realized she wasn't here. I arose and began searching for her under the tables. Then Carolyn also disappeared.
I walked back up to the Farmhouse where I found quite a few people. I found a suit of German war clothes, put it on and marched around dressed as a German soldier. Someone hollered and I walked back into the yard and found a half dozen or more buffalo fighting each other. It was a fascinating sight to watch two large buffalo with their long sharp horns bash into each other. One even climbed up onto the porch and almost pinned me in a corner.
I escaped back into the Farmhouse, where I encountered a fellow who seemed to be a bit insane. He was inside one of the cabinets and seemed to be stealing something. I accosted him and wrestled him to the ground. He had a few things in his pockets. When he said he had some blotter LSD, I became immediately interested. I asked him to give it to me. At first he demurred, but finally produced it. I took it in my hand and headed back down the hill. It was snowing and I began thinking it would be nice to take the LSD in my Cabin (a one-room cabin located on the Farm).
Instead, I returned to the convention hall. The main election hadn't taken place yet, but another smaller election had. I saw the Scioto County district attorney, Grimshaw, there on the stage. There had been an upset. A young man named Otterbein had been elected and he was in the process of giving his acceptance speech.
Although I enjoy reading history, I do not enjoy actually participating in the historical process. I have never developed a well -defined vision of where the world is headed.
Dream of:14 October 1981 "Admiring Courage"
I had failed all quarter to go to a torts class in which I was enrolled at Baylor Law School and which was being taught by former president Jimmy Carter and my law professor Morrison. Two days before finals I took my books home and began studying in hopes I would be able to cram enough to at least make a D and not have to take the class over again. The material was so voluminous, however, I obviously had only a slim chance of making a D.
I looked in my torts book, found a chapter on maxims and read some. I skipped through the book and came across words like "intention" and "negligence" which I barely understood.
The day of the finals arrived and I went to class. I saw Tom Campbell (a law student) in the hall and told him I hadn't been to a single class or read a single case all quarter.
Everyone walked into the classroom and the exams were passed out. Jimmy Carter began giving some instructions. The exam was to last an hour and a half and we could take the exam in another room if we wanted. After the instructions had been given, I picked up my papers and headed for the other room.
Outside in the hall I met a girl I had known in Chillicothe, Ohio who had worked in the manager's office of the Census Bureau when I had worked there in 1980. She showed me a list of names on the wall. At first, I thought it was a list of names of people who hadn't been to class and who therefore weren't to be given credit for the classes they had missed, but then I saw it was a list of names of people transferring to other colleges. She showed me my name wasn't on the list even though I was planning to transfer. I told her it didn't matter.
I walked into the lounge and sat down in front of the television. A boxing match was beginning between Sugar Ray Leonard and another black man much bigger than Leonard. Although one of the men was obviously Sugar Ray Leonard, I thought his name was Leonard Spinks.
The fight began; the large black boxer hit Leonard hard. Leonard toppled to the ground, but he managed to rise again and the fight continued. The big black fellow then kicked Leonard and then began kicking the referee. The referee managed to throw the boxer out of the ring and declared Leonard the winner. I looked at Leonard; I couldn't help admiring his courage in contending against someone so much larger than himself.
I looked at the clock; 20 minutes of my hour and a half had already elapsed. I felt like forgetting about the test; but I would hate to have to take that course over again. I walked back to the test room. I had my books with me; I was uncertain whether I could use them during the exam. As I read the exam, I realized how futile it was going to be; I felt like walking out and forgetting the whole thing.
Over time, I have definitely developed a callous attitude toward politics. It is an interesting side show, but I remain uninvolved.
Dream of: 06 February 1987 "Life And Death Drama"
I was riding in a car being driven by my father. My mother and my brother Chris were also in the car; we were headed for the Gallia County Farmhouse. We knew in advance we would have to park the car about two kilometers from the Farmhouse and walk the rest of the way. Walking so far would be difficult because Chris (due to his muscular dystrophy) would have to be carried; we also had some other things which needed to be toted to the Farmhouse. I suggested we first drive the car to the Farmhouse, unload everything and then I would drive the car back to where it had to be parked and walk back alone to the Farmhouse. My father thought my idea was great and he wondered why he hadn't thought of it himself.
As we rode past the old Shelton farm (about five kilometers from the Farmhouse) I saw an old white church on the left side of the road. About a fourth of the church had been cut away like a piece of pie, exposing the interior, which appeared to be in very good condition. It looked as if the walls were covered with fine-looking, light-colored paneling. I thought maybe someone was remodeling the church.
As we rode along, I began reading a magazine. The cover displayed a picture of president Jimmy Carter who had been shot in the chest. The pictures inside the magazine seemed almost lifelike.
In a flurry we arrived at the Farmhouse and when I walked inside I found Jimmy Carter in a back room being tended to. He still had the bullet in him and some men who were apparently doctors were hovering around him. The man who seemed to be in charge was Guinn (who had been my Constitutional Law professor in law school).
I wanted to help and I thought I would even like to know more about medicine to be able to assist in emergencies. I stayed with the doctors. At one point I walked out to the living room for a moment and saw my father reading a newspaper or magazine on the couch. He seemed completely uninterested in the life and death drama in the next room.
Even though I don't feel drawn into current political processes, I still feel the need to understand and comment upon history in general.
Dream of: 01 March 1987 "Impressionist"
I was sitting in a room where a man was standing at a podium. Many other men were also sitting in rows of chairs in the room and a friend of mine was sitting next to me on my left. The speaker announced that each person in the room was going to act like some famous person and do a caricature of that person. The speaker began calling out people's names and as he did so, each person called acted like some famous person. Some people's acts were better than others. One fellow sitting in front of me acted like Jimmy Carter and he received a fairly good response from the crowd.
I was trying to decide whom I was going to act like. Finally I decided I would play Ronald Reagan and I wrote his name on a piece of paper. I had seen impressionists play Ronald Reagan before and I thought he would be fairly easy. Finally the speaker called out my name.
I had also developed another little plan. I thought as part of my act I was going to act as if the speaker was George Washington and I would conduct an interview of him. I began speaking in a raspy voice which I thought would approximate Reagan's voice, "Well first I would like to say I would like to conduct an interview of you, Mr. Washington."
A roar of approval went up from the crowd. It seemed everyone had immediately recognized whom I was imitating. I then made it clear to the speaker that he was also part of the act and that he was to play George Washington. His position seemed to dictate that he go along and he immediately assumed the role.
I began asking questions as if I (although still Ronald Reagan) were a reporter conducting an interview. I tried to make the questions as amusing as possible because it seemed that the main goal of what we were doing was to have fun. The speaker answered and the audience laughed several times. Since I didn't have any prepared script, I had to think up the questions quickly. Some met with more success than others.
I remembered a story I had recently read in a news magazine and asked, "Mr. President, there have been some reports that some of the rooms in the White House are haunted. And Nancy, who is a little (I made a motion with my eyes and a kind of humming sound as if to say that Nancy Reagan was slightly mentally unbalanced) anyway, sat out in front of your room one night and said she saw your ghost three times. Is that true?"
The speaker answered the question. I was thinking that I also wanted to ask a question about Abe Lincoln, to see if Washington ever came in contact with Lincoln in the world where he was.
I continued asking questions and at one point when the speaker answered, the audience broke into a deafening laughter. I hollered out, "So you're the one who is responsible for the mess today?"
The noise was so loud, only a couple people right next to me could hear me. When the room finally quieted down again, I thought it would be backward to say the same thing, so I rephrased it to say, "Do you take responsibility for the situation today?"
He answered and I continued asking more questions. I tried to make sure I said "Mr. President" instead of "Mr. Washington" when I addressed him, since I thought that was more proper, but I slipped a few times and said "Mr. Washington." Gradually he had moved around the room and was finally standing not far from me on my left. I thought the interview had probably already lasted about 15 minutes, which was long enough, so I said, "Well, I'm going to close the interview now. But before I go, I'd like to know, Mr. President, if you could give me some constructive criticisms. But No. No. Forget that. I never ask for criticism. Thank you. Good bye."
The audience began laughing and applauding very loudly. I was really surprised that they had liked me so much. As they applauded I also noticed they were making a sound which sounded like "Mmmmmmmmmm." Since I didn't know what that meant, I turned to my friend sitting next to me and asked, "What in the hell does that mean?"
He said the sound meant they thought what I had done was delicious. I felt good. I thought maybe a prize was going to be given for the best impression and I had a good chance of winning it.
Dreaming about historical figures has proven difficult for me. It is a task, however, which definitely needs more attention.
Dream of: 05 October 1992 "Tying A Knot"
While sitting in a classroom being taught by George H. W. Bush, I dozed off and had a dream. When I awoke, to everyone's surprise, I volunteered to tell the class my dream. I knew that wasn't something which was usually done, but I also knew I was a dream-teller and I felt it appropriate for me to do so.
I recounted that I had been at a baseball stadium. George Bush was down on the field. There were some life-size balloon figures of Jimmy Carter in the stands, but they burst. Bush pulled a name from the thousands who were in the stadium and called it out: "Steve Collier." It didn't surprise me. I rose and walked down to where Bush was.
He gave me a rope which I was supposed to tie onto something. But I was ashamed because I only knew how to tie one type of knot.
As I recounted that part of the dream, I thought it had special meaning. I thought it was saying that there were some things I knew how to do, but that I needed to learn to do others.
History is not simply a series of events, but also a series of changes. Although I have never been involved in effecting any changes, perhaps I should be.
Dream of: 14 December 1996 "Harvard"
I was on the campus of Harvard, where I was planning to start classes. This was the first day and all the new in-coming students were supposed to attend an assembly at which I would give a speech because I was the designated "president-elect" of our class. I wasn't exactly sure what being "president-elect" meant, or how I had been chosen; I only knew such was the case.
Several other people would also be speaking at the assembly, and I was supposed to simply stand and give a short speech. I continued walking around the campus, trying to figure out what I would say. I walked past the place where the assembly was scheduled to occur, and I saw people already starting to gather. The place looked like an outside auditorium. Only a few people were already there, and I kept my distance, still trying to decide what I was going to say. I thought the assembly would somewhat resemble a commencement ceremony, and I tried to think of the kinds of things which might be said at a commencement. As I began trying to go over in my mind the points I would try to make, I wondered if I should write down my thoughts so I wouldn't forget them.
I might mention that I had once before been on Harvard campus and that I had walked around there. In fact it seemed as if I had walked around there two or three times before. However I had never thought I myself would end up going to Harvard. I knew I had already gone to college elsewhere, but now the idea of actually taking classes at Harvard was exciting and pleasing. I was in an extremely good mood at the prospects of studying at Harvard.
I thought in my speech I might say that I had come from humble beginnings, that my family had been very poor, and that I had never thought I would make it to Harvard. I might also bring up that I had received a scholarship from the National Endowment for the Humanities which would pay for my entire first year of studies – all my tuition, room and board. It seemed like the total amount for the first year was around $420,000.
I also thought that during the speech I would bring up the issue of the legalization of drugs. This was an issue which was close and dear to me, and I began trying to think about how I would broach the subject. I quickly decided that it would be best not to talk about the legalization of all drugs, that I should concentrate only on the legalization of marijuana. I thought I should say that during the next four years – the time during which all these students would be at Harvard – it was time for marijuana to be legalized.
I knew I myself didn't use drugs, and I thought perhaps I should also add that drugs were dangerous. But then I decided it wouldn't be a good idea to say that drugs were dangerous, because I didn't think that was actually a true statement. I however thought I should say something like, "But as long as you are here, don't do drugs, because it'd be punished severely." I would then point out that even though the students didn't actually take any drugs, they should still work toward the legalization of marijuana.
I didn't know how this speech would be received, and I didn't even know whether I should talk about it, but I thought that the legalization of marijuana was still going to be essential in my message to the students.
Feeling as if it was getting close to the time for the assembly to begin, I walked closer to the auditorium, where I could see the students already beginning to gather. When I looked inside, I was surprised that although some of the people were sitting down, most were on their feet and dancing. Everyone appeared to be in a happy mood because they were getting ready to start college.
Finally things began to quiet down, and people began taking their seats. An announcement was made that the first speaker should now come to the front stage, and that the first speaker was Jimmy Carter. I saw Jimmy Carter walking toward the stage. Realizing the assembly was beginning, I hurried to a place behind the stage which was reserved for the speakers. As I reached the row of chairs where the speakers were sitting, I could see more quickly out into the auditorium, which now looked more like a huge outdoor stadium completely filled with people.
As I took a seat among the row of speakers, a woman asked me who I was. I told her my name, and that I was the president-elect. She indicated she understood who I was. I then asked her if she knew what I was supposed to say when I gave my speech. She seemed unsure, so I just sat there and listened to the other speakers, waiting for my turn.
I listened to several different speakers make short speeches, and I tried to get an idea of what they were saying, still trying to decide what I would say. When one of the speakers spoke, he pointed to a tall black student sitting in the front row. I thought the student might be a basketball player. When he was pointed out, the black fellow stood and began singing a beautiful soulful song. The song was short, and when he was finished the black student sat back down.
Continuing to look around me, I noticed that to our right was a wall made of glass. A tall strong-looking Hispanic man, probably in his mid 30s, was standing on the other side of the wall. He was dressed in work clothes which made me think he might be a window washer. When I gave my speech, I might point to the man, and mention my affinity to Hispanic people. I could mention that I spoke Spanish, and I might even holler out to the Hispanic man and speak to him through the window.
However, mainly I was still planning to concentrate my speech on the issue of drugs and the legalization of drugs. I felt that this should be a rather liberal body of people with whom to talk, and that the students should be receptive to the idea of legalizing marijuana. I hoped for a good reception.
I might also pepper my speech with accounts of the time when I had been in jail for quite a while in Iran. Plus I thought I had been in jail on other occasions, and I could mention that. It might be entertaining to talk about how a person could go to Harvard after having been in jail. However, I wasn't completely sure it would be wise to bring up the fact that I had spent time in jail.
I also wondered whether I should bring up the fact that I had been to law school and that I was a lawyer. Thinking of this fact, I thought I might even practice some law while I was going to Harvard. I knew I wasn't licensed to practice law in Massachusetts, but I still had my legal knowledge which I could put to use. In my speech, I might even mention that if someone had a legal problem, he or she might ask me for advice. However, I wasn't sure that was a good idea to bring that up either.
My thoughts were interrupted as the man who was presently speaking turned around, looked at me and pointed to me. The speaker said something to the audience about the smile on my face. Only then did I realize that all the time I had been sitting there, I had had a big smile on my face, and that even now I could just not seem to stop smiling. But I felt so happy, and the smile just seemed to reflect how I felt. I was extremely happy, and I could just not seem to stop smiling.
Now everyone was looking at me and my smile. Even though I was happy, I didn't think I had a particularly pretty smile, and I thought perhaps the speaker was making fun of me. But slowly I realized the speaker wasn't making fun of me, that he was simply pointing out the I was a very happy type of fellow. When a couple other people also spoke up and said something about my smile, I thought I should say something back. After all, I was at Harvard now, and I couldn't just sit around and not say something. I was expected to contribute in some way. Finally, trying to be humorous, I blurted out, "You can't even smile at Harvard?"
I had tried to speak loud enough so the people in the audience could hear me; but there was no reaction at all. I hoped someone might laugh at my humor, but no one said anything. I quickly concluded I hadn't been very funny after all. I also noticed that when I had pronounced the word "Harvard," I had pronounced the word with the Midwestern accent with which I had grown up. I hadn't spoken the word the way someone from Massachusetts would have said the word. I reflected that I would probably soon modify my accent and begin talking more like the people in this area.
I admired Jimmy Carter as president. Although I do not share his activist life style, I have felt inspired by his efforts.
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