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The color purple and me Richard Peña | Sat, Jun 14 2014 12:00 PM

People who know me quite well, particularly members of my family, might say that I wrote last week’s column about jacaranda trees simply because I like their color. And they would probably be right.

I have always had this affinity for colors that are blue or that are blue associated. As a result, I favor lavenders, coral color, purple — particularly purple — and, of course, most shades of blue.

An art teacher would tell us that these are the cool colors, as opposed to the warm or hot colors, such as red, yellow or any other shade that might depict fire. And the psychologist or analyst would say that those favoring the cool colors might have a quirk in their being, something missing, that is, in their psyche.

But then they would probably say the same thing about the lover of warm colors, so that makes us even. The color blue, with its infinite shades, however, is the one that does things to me.

From time to time, I might see something in a blue shade and my mind will trigger a sort of a deja vu feeling as if I have seen this color before, but not know where or when.

Perhaps I am a candidate for that psychologist. He, however, would probably tell me that this is a normal reaction, that many people have such manifestations and that it is nothing alarming.

Of course, secretly he would be saying, “For goodness sake, get a life.” And, as far as that life is concerned, we are reminded of many folks who had this liking for the blue shades, particularly the purple.

I used to have a card with a famous poem on it: ‘Warning’ by the British poet Jenny Joseph. The poem listed of all the things she was going to do when she got old. One of these was wear purple all the time, purple dresses, hats, and, I suppose, purple overwear such as scarfs or serapes.

She was also going to do many other things. She was going to learn to spit between her teeth, run a stick along a picket fence and go grocery shopping in her bare feet.

She was, in effect, describing the free spirit, a bit eccentric, it is true but, nevertheless, someone who did have a life.

And purple was at the root of it all.

Some years ago, I did a story about Point Loma Nazarene College, which is located on the ocean side of Point Loma.

Coupled with my interest in the school was the college grounds themselves, a few acres of land that were unlike any others in San Diego County.

Long before this area was a college, it was the center for a group that had certain beliefs founded on a premise that originated in India. This was a group known as the Theosophical Society.
It was founded locally by Katherine Tingley in 1896. The idea was to locate it on the extreme western edge of North

America oriented toward India, the spiritual center of Theosophical beliefs.

The hallmarks of these beliefs were Victorian morality, a blend of confidence, a love of antiquity and Indian spirituality. They expressed all these in a unique type of architecture of which some is still visible at the college campus.

I recall reading a bit about Tingley at that time. For one, she was very insistent on the color purple. Many of the buildings on the site had that color, perhaps not wholly, but at least with a trim.

It is said that she, like my lady of the card, dressed in purple and could be seen from a couple of blocks away.
One other thing about Tingley was that she believed people came back in some other form after death. She thought, for example, that her dog, was really her late husband and that he had come back to the compound so she could spend her last days with him.

The dog, apparently, had many characteristics that reminded Tingley of her mate, hence she had her proof. We can attest to the purple buildings and some of Tingley’s philosophies.

As for her dog/husband, I don’t know. One thing we know for sure. She would not need a psychiatrist. Any lady who loves purple has a life.

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