Drummers In The Rain
A few years back, during a very hot summer day, my wife and I decided to take in a movie after work. The problem was we were working downtown and the theater was in the suburbs, just over an hour away. The bus stop was eight blocks from where we worked and to catch the bus, we would have to leave work exactly at 5:30pm, and then run to make it as it came by about 2 minutes later. Luckily, we worked at the same location. We just managed to catch the bus, but then it was an hour long trip, standing up, in the high heat of summer, through rush hour traffic. When the bus reached its first destination, we had to get off and run to make our next bus connection, and from there, it was a short five minute ride to the theater and a three block walk, or should I say run. We arrived with just 20 minutes to spare.
We found seats, and while my wife ran off to get popcorn, I started to take in my surroundings. The theatre was cool compared to the stifling heat outside. I was exhausted and covered in sweat. Didn't think we would have made it but we did. I noticed the light conversations around me and the soft music coming from the hidden theater sound system. I leaned back, closed my eyes and slunk down in my seat.
Suddenly, I could hear heavy rain and a faint drum roll. I remember thinking that was very odd. The sky had been clear blue all day and also very hot, and yet, I could hear a heavy rain falling. Where was the sound coming from and what was the source of the drumming? I saw myself walking down a corridor with white plastered walls. There were light dirt smears at knee height along its course. It occurred to me that this was a breezeway and I could hear my footsteps on stone. I looked down at my feet and saw I was wearing white pants with knee high black boots. The surface I was walking along was made of stone and I became aware of the sound of boots behind me. I was leading a procession of people down this corridor. Ahead I could see light coming from an open doorway around the corner to my left. As we walked the drumming and the sound of the rain grew louder. When I rounded the corner, I realized I was in a farm. It was a European style farmstead with high white walls, red tiled roofs, and an open courtyard with an open gateway at the back. The instant I came into view, someone barked out an order in what sounded like German. The courtyard was filled with rows of Grenadier soldiers. In one single unison, all the Grenadiers snapped to attention, clicking their heals, and did a "present arms". Very impressive to see, actually. Rain was falling heavily and I saw to my left, as I viewed the Grenadiers, four or five young drummers pounding away on their drums. The drummers couldn't have been more than 14 years old. The front most Grenadier I focused on had a thick black moustache and had his hair tied back in a short ponytail. Although I haven't studied this time period very much, I am familiar with it. This was all correct, and quite typical of Grenadiers from most nation's armies.
The Grenadiers wore uniforms from around 1740 and 1762 (I looked it up). They appeared to be Austrian, although I have been told that French Grenadiers looked very similar. However, I do not feel these men were French nor Prussian (Prussian uniforms were dark blue, whereas these fellows wore mainly white). In the vision, I felt I was Austrian. Their uniform jackets were white, with white pants (matching mine), white waistcoats, white belts, silver or gold buttons, with black spatz and black boots. They wore mitre style black fur hats with silver or gold face plates. The regiment had orange/salmon colored facings and cuffs, which, if I had the right reference book in hand, and knew the time period, could tell me what regiment this was as each regiment was assigned a unique facing/cuff color. The drummers wore identical uniforms, only smaller, but on their sleeves, they also had several strips sewn on, in the same regimental facing/cuff color, denoting that they were musicians. Because these were Grenadiers, and by the looks of it, a full company, this could have been the regimental colonel's personal bodyguard. Grenadiers were considered "elite" soldiers, and as such, only the strongest and tallest available men were recruited. Usually, as I understand, each full regiment had two such companies of men, numbering between 80 and 100 or so men (battles and disease can reduce this total during a campaign). A single company was often used as the personal bodyguard of the regiment's colonel. It was early morning. The entire company had waited, in the heavy rain, until it was time to march off. At a signal, the drummers started drumming, their colonel came out, with his support staff in tow, the guard did their salute, perhaps the colonel addressed his junior officers and men with a short speech or salute, and then they would march away to look for trouble. I was an Austrian officer and this was apparently my regiment. This could have been a scene of my life during the Silesian Wars (1741-1745) or the Seven Years War (1754-1763), or even from an earlier period, all presented in full HD color with sound. I do not feel this was the Napoleonic period (1799-1815) because I have little to no interest in that time period and the uniforms were "baggy", which contrasts sharply with the Napoleonic period's tighter fitting, or more form fitting, uniforms. Fashions do change over the years. I am not really sure what triggered this memory. I have never had a memory from this period before, nor since, and although the period has always been of interest to me, I have never studied it in depth.
In an instant, I was back sitting in the movie theatre. I could hear the same quiet conversations around me with the same music coming from the hidden theater sound system. No one noticed where I had been or what I had seen. The drumming and the rain had stopped. The vision had lasted about 10 seconds.
The above image (center figure) is very close to the Austrian Grenadier I saw in the vision. I never did see the uniform I was wearing, but I was wearing white pants and black knee high boots, which corresponds with what Grenadier officers wore during this period. My boots did not have the buttons on the side as they were one piece (again, this was regulation officer issue or what officers were expected to purchase and use in the field) -- the soldier (image) above is wearing spatz over his boots, which required buttons. The regiment I saw had orange/salmon colored facings and cuffs, while the above soldier is sporting red facings and cuffs. Orange/Salmon was a color used in most armies of this period, especially in the Austrian army.
This time period has always been of an interest to me, from as early as I can remember. I feel, as souls, we are drawn to the time periods we once lived, with some of those lives, especially if it were traumatic, with issues still to resolve, calling out to us for their attention. If they were important or enjoyable lives, these lives, or time periods, may be in foremost center of our subconscious, attracting thought and dreams. My two more important life times seem to have been the First Crusades and the American Civil War, but I can map out other time periods I have lived by how much they interest me. I have many memories of past lives, some lives create more memories than others. We are have had similar experiences, so in many ways, this is not unique.