THE GYPSY PROPHECY
IN THE DESTINY TRILOGY
THE QUAKER MEETING
Written by Rick
Rick Archer's Note:
written three books about Fate which
cover 70 years of my life.
Simple Act of Kindness covers the immense problems I
faced throughout childhood, high school, college,
and graduate school. In particular, I explain
how the kindness of several key individuals enabled
me to overcome the serious emotional
handicaps caused by my tough childhood. This
book also explains how I first became interested in Fate.
Magic Carpet Ride picks up where the first
book leaves off. It covers a ten year span,
1974-1984, which explains how a series of uncanny lucky
breaks created SSQQ, the dance studio which became my life
Gypsy Prophecy covers an unusual event in
2001 which strongly suggests my marriage to Marla
no way to prove the existence of Fate 'scientifically'.
That said, I believe the unusual events of
my life offer strong empirical evidence to suggest Fate plays a vital role in our lives. I am not alone in
this hunch. Many people report odd events in their lives
which have led
them to wonder if
certain things are meant to be.
point in the Age of Man,
80-90% of Americans believe in God. That
number drops to 40-50% when asked if they believe in
Fate. After reading my story, I predict it
will be extremely difficult to ignore the
possibility that Fate plays a prominent role in the
affairs of Mankind.
Life can only be understood backwards; but it
must be lived forwards.
-- Søren Kierkegaard
you will meet two versions of myself. I tell
each story from the point of view back in
the days when I was young and stupid. However,
if the story involves a potential example of Fate, my older
self will usually break in to explain what I came to
understand as my life progressed.
I am 70
years old as I put the finishing touch on the
Destiny trilogy. I
have led a
very unusual life.
In 1977 a job
as a part-time dance instructor fell into my lap.
For two months I taught line dances to ten students
one night a week. Then Saturday
Night Fever came along and suddenly I was
teaching every night of the week. I was so overwhelmed
by the surge of interest that I found myself woefully unequal to the task.
thanks to a highly suspicious series of lucky breaks, I was
able to extricate myself from one jam after another.
Despite the uneasy feeling that my continued success
was well beyond my talent level, I created a dance studio known as
SSQQ (short for Slow Slow Quick Quick).
SSQQ was a pretty wonderful place if I may say so.
In fact, there is good reason to believe SSQQ was the largest
independent studio in the country at the turn of the
I was reluctant to take too much credit. Sure, I had
some good ideas, but who can say where 'Inspiration'
really comes from? In my case, all I had to do
was follow a series of Stepping Stones.
In hindsight, these stones diagrammed a
preordained path called Destiny. Or at least
that's the way it looked to me.
Convinced these stones had been laid out by a Divine
I concluded I was leading a
However, I did not dare tell
people my secret. It had nothing to do with
false pride, but rather a fear of being laughed at.
Who wants to be written off as crazy? But then
something terrible happened, a 2012 failure that
prevented me from resuming my dance career.
Now I was confused. Early in my life, I
believed God wanted me to teach dance, but this
insurmountable obstacle suggested God wanted me to
do something more important. Instinct told
me it was time to share my story.
Some people use their imagination
to write a book. In my case, that was
unnecessary. Over the years, I kept
careful track of every
incident that struck me as out of the ordinary. By
the time I began to write my books, I had a List of
Suspected Supernatural List which contained over 100
events. I covered the first 25 incidents in Book
One, A Simple Act of Kindness, which
concluded upon my graduation from college.
Carpet Ride starts with getting kicked out
of Graduate School, the great failure of my life.
Oddly enough, that eviction led to my dance career.
Magic Carpet Ride covered the 70
events which helped me create the dance studio. For
ten years I endured a nerve-wracking rollercoaster
ride marked by a constant obstacles that threatened
to end my dance career. To my astonishment,
every time I faced a crisis, some sort of Lucky
Break occurred to allow me to continue.
I knew something crazy was going on, but I was too
busy coping with problems for any serious
Then something kind of odd
happened. One day in 1984 I realized I had
nothing to worry about anymore. The studio was
so well-established its future was guaranteed.
At that moment, the unusual
events ceased to occur. The coincidence was
too serious to ignore. To me, it seemed like
the Divine Architect concluded the house was built,
so it was time to leave. There were no more
Mystical events for 17 years.
My Supernatural Dry Spell ended
the moment I met my future wife Marla.
Out of nowhere I experienced a
sudden flurry of new coincidences and highly
suspicious events. They were linked together
in a Synchronicity known as the Gypsy Prophecy.
2000. Sunday evening.
As the joke
goes, no good deed goes unpunished. On Christmas Eve
2000 a simple
act of kindness on my part backfired in a very unusual way.
An unlocked door reawakened my fascination with Fate.
I was raised a
Quaker. There are two
branches of the Quaker Religion. 90% of Quakers belong
to the branch which includes singing, pastor and prepared
sermon. I grew up in the No Frills 10% branch.
No singing, no preaching, no leader, no nothing. Quaker Service consists of
members who sit there quietly for an hour. They
meditate and perhaps ask a prayer. Once in a
while someone will stand up and offer a brief thought, but
this is not common. Quakers believe if one can silence their
mind, they open themselves up for God's inspiration.
still small voice of God will offer a suggestion on problems
and spiritual development.
I like the
Quaker Religion. Whatever they
do, it works. The Quakers I have known are peaceful,
highly conscientious, very caring. They make the world
a better place. In particular, the principle of skipping the preacher
and looking directly to God for inspiration has always
appealed to me. And yet at the same time, this
wonderful principle might explain why the off-shoot branch
has not exactly thrived. Let's say it is Sunday
morning. You have worked your butt off all week and
now it is time to go to church. You wake up, the
spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. According to
Quaker principles, you could just as easily go sit in a
quiet corner of your house for an hour of reflection. I sometimes
wonder if the Quaker 'do-it-yourself'
philosophy is counter-productive.
reason, the Quaker Meeting of my youth was small, 30 or so people
on a good day. Back when we moved to Houston in 1955, the group was so tiny
that meeting for worship was held in someone's house.
And so we fast-forward to 1995. 40 years later, Quaker
Meeting was still 30 people on a good day. After
changing locations a dozen times, they still did not have a
day my mother explained the Live Oak Friends
Meeting was having trouble
financing a new meeting house. I was well aware of the
ongoing headache. Wandering from location to location,
the local Quaker Meeting was a
collection of nomads who spent more time looking for a home
The desire for a permanent meeting house was always there,
but the funds were lacking. In 1995 the Quaker Meeting had
located an affordable property in the tree-lined
Heights area of town. Even better, famed artist James Turrell, born a Quaker, wished to
beautiful Light ceiling he had created specifically for the
new building. However, as usual the members were badly
strapped for cash. The dream of owning this very
special Meeting House
seemed just beyond their reach.
I immediately saw an
opportunity to pitch in.
The kindness of people I met
through the Houston Quaker Meeting had
rescued me from a rough childhood on many occasions.
This was my chance to return the favor.
I told my mother my dance studio remained empty on
Sundays until 4:30 pm. Why not let the Quaker Meeting use my
studio for free and stop paying rent
at their current location?
The Meeting accepted
my offer in a flash.
By the time the Millennium
SSQQ Dance Studio had served as the
Quaker Meeting House for several years while their new home
was being built. As it turned out, the Quakers loved
the arrangement. The privacy and absolute silence of my dance studio was
perfect for their needs.
Although I had a
soft spot for my Quaker friends, not once did I attend
Sunday Meeting held at the studio. The demands of running the studio were
so great that Sundays were indispensable as my only chance to
get some rest.
last thing I wanted was to be back at the dance studio on my
day off. Knowing these people were trustworthy, I
gave them a key. This
me to stay home on Sunday mornings.
Quakers were gone by 2 pm. However, in Year 2000, Christmas Eve and Sunday coincided. Since there were
no dance classes scheduled on Christmas Eve, the Quaker Meeting
had the studio to itself all day long. The group held their traditional
Christmas Eve candlelight service at 11 am. Next up was a sumptuous Potluck
dinner with an extended social gathering to follow.
was a splendid celebration. Good tidings, comfort and joy
was excited because their new home would be ready soon.
was only natural they stuck around longer than usual to enjoy
the warmth of the day and expectations of the future.
To be honest, I don't even know who forgot to lock the door.
What I do know is this harmless mistake initiated a chain of
events which led to the
Prophecy', one of the three most remarkable Supernatural
events of my
So what went
wrong? The person with the key had
absent-mindedly left the premises without locking the door.
Two people who had stuck around for an extended chat made
the discovery a half hour later. Uh oh.
That is what this 5 pm phone call was
about. When my wife Judy hung up the phone, she turned
to me with the bad news. The studio door needed to be
was very irritated, but not at Judy. Suffering from extreme burn-out, this mistake
meant I would have to take an unwelcome trip
on a day when I did not wish to be anywhere near the
studio. I was resting in the comfort of my home only to
be forced to waste an hour of my day thanks to someone's
dumb mistake. I
immediately began griping over the inconvenience.
were my responsibility, it was my duty to go. But Judy
went instead. As I
vented my frustration, without warning Judy
grabbed her keys and stormed out the door. Shocked, I stared at my
9-year old daughter Samantha who in turn stared back at me.
We were both taken aback. After several moments of silence,
Sam asked, "What is Mom so upset about?"
I shook my head. I was
just as confused as Sam. Yes, I had raised
my voice at having my Christmas Eve disrupted, but my words
were not directed at Judy. This was not Judy's fault.
Nor did I ask Judy to handle the problem.
Consequently I had no idea why she decided to go instead of me. My instinct
mood was much darker than the moment
called for. As it turned out, I was right.
hour later, Judy returned. She
got right to the point.
"I want a divorce."
Judy was my
second wife. My first
marriage in 1984 was short-lived, a year and a cup of coffee.
Pat was an interesting woman. I could write a book or I
could write a few paragraphs. Let's settle for
paragraphs and save the book for another time. On paper,
our marriage was perfect. Pat had a lot going for her.
Attractive, very talented. However, Pat had two fatal
flaws. She was jealous and liked to argue. In my opinion there was nothing to argue about. We
had money, health, good jobs, and security.
We didn't drink, smoke, gamble or cheat. So what was there to argue about?
Pat's jealousy was unnecessary. I only had eyes for
her, but Pat didn't trust me. In her mind,
thanks to countless women at the studio who she suspected of
flirting with me at the studio, it was just a matter of time. Infuriated by
needless bickering over Pat's persistent fear that I
would stray, over time the tension became insurmountable.
It was a shame
this marriage failed. Due to an incident in my past, I
was strongly opposed to infidelity. My father had an affair with
the office secretary when I was 8. Desperate to
marry his mistress, Dad insisted on a divorce. Mom said
no. The ensuing year of arguments drove me crazy.
I was so upset that my performance in the 4th Grade was
abysmal. My father was really angry at me.
Since he was a genius, how was it possible to have such a
stupid son? They took me to a psychiatrist to have me
tested. The psychiatrist suggested a very unusual
solution... put the kid in a private school where he will be challenged.
My father flipped out. No way he was going to spend
that kind of money! Besides, if I could barely pass
4th Grade in public school, I was sure to flunk out at St.
John's, the toughest school in the city. Forget it.
with my father for a year, my mother made a Devil's Bargain.
If my father would pay the expensive St. John's tuition
for three years, he could have his divorce.
Bad news for me. Dad quickly forgot I existed. My new stepmother was an evil woman
who drove a wedge between us. I saw the man four hours a year for the
next nine years. Basically I exchanged my father for a
good education. In a way, I lost my mother too. She
became a nervous wreck who couldn't hold a job. At age
9 I was forced to begin raising myself. I didn't do
Here is my
point. The consequences of my father's affair turned me into an emotional cripple.
Thanks to my dance career, I eventually overcame my
childhood handicaps. But I was still bitter
about the cheating incident that ruined my childhood.
This explains why I swore
to Pat I would
never do something like that to her. But Pat refused
to trust me, choosing instead to nag constantly. It is
one thing to stray and be punished, but I
deeply resented being flooded with warnings for a crime I
had not committed. I
tried to appease her at first, but grew weary of Pat's
constant vigilance. Finally the day came when I
refused to tolerate her tongue-lashings and further. I told
Pat to knock it off, but she defied my demand. This
is when the sparks flew. Since neither of us was willing to bend, the only solution was
to give up. One night I came home and Pat was gone.
For the record, I never strayed. That is not who I am.
I married Judy.
During our ten year marriage, we raised our precocious
daughter Sam and built SSQQ into a behemoth. Judy
played an impressive role in the studio's phenomenal growth.
Thanks to her tireless work with the Swing, Salsa and Ballroom
programs, SSQQ was
teeming. At its peak, 1,400 students
streamed through our doors every week. This amazing
total is why I believe SSQQ was the largest
independent dance studio in the country in 2000.
I was proud
of Judy. She had personally built the SSQQ Swing
program into something very special. We had been recognized
two years in a row as the finest Swing program in Houston.
One would think with this kind of success, our marriage would be
solid. Unfortunately, there was a fatal rift that never healed. The problem started in 1998
discovered a Swing instructor named
Carnell was teaching at a competing dance studio
behind our back. Even worse, Carnell had the nerve to
openly persuade his SSQQ students to come check out his class at
the other studio. Carnell knew full well I had a
rule against teaching for other studios, but did it anyway.
I had never encountered a more serious case of disloyalty.
And so I fired
Six months later,
Carnell created a major
scandal by accusing us of racial discrimination. I was incensed. This had
nothing to do with skin color. Carnell knew
quite well the reason I dismissed him was treachery, not race. I would later
fire a white country-western instructor for the same reason.
rumors about our so-called racism flying throughout the Swing Community, something had
to be done to restore our reputation. Since none
of the students at
SSQQ knew the true story, I wanted to write an article
to explain the situation. To my dismay, Judy said no.
Do not say a word! Judy was already
upset by the wide-spread hostility emanating from the scandal and feared the
added publicity would make things worse. I hate to say
it, but Judy was right. It would definitely have
worse before it got better. However, in my mind, we had to fight back! To
say nothing would allow this lie to remain unchallenged.
While Judy and I argued
over which direction to take, Sam was hiding in
her room and crying. When I realized how upset Sam
I was mortified. Oh my God, here I am subjecting Sam to
the same horror
my parents had
inflicted on me. History was repeating itself. As a child, there were many nights I fell
asleep crying from insecurity.
I vowed never to put
Sam through a similar nightmare. So much for good
intentions. Ashamed of myself for losing my temper,
gave in to Judy's wish. What
choice did I have? Judy had created the Swing program,
so she deserved the final say. Although every bone in
my body screamed to fight back, I honored Judy's wish and
kept silent. But that did not mean I agreed with her
decision. I watched in fury as the unchecked fall-out from
the scandal spread like poison. Over the next two years, we lost half our
Swing students to HSDS, the competing program.
Judy and I were now a house divided.
What a shame. Judy was a good person, a good mother
and a good business partner. She worked hard to
grow the studio
and deserved much of the credit for the studio's recent success. However, try as I might, I could not accept
her decision to allow this traitor to damage our reputation
and that of our studio. It aggravated me no end to be
considered a racist when nothing could be further from the
truth. And so I withdrew.
ensuing Ice Age, we drifted apart.
Neither of us were particularly happy, but
the relationship was cordial enough so we muddled along.
Since I was a 'stick together for the good of the child'
type, divorce was not on my mind. However, the moment Judy
asked for the divorce, I instinctively realized she was
right. The wound caused by Carnell
had festered for two years and I could not imagine how we
would ever heal the rift.
Judy, I will agree to
the divorce if I can have
joint custody of our daughter."
Judy nodded her
assent. "That seems fair."
Divorce is one
thing, but abandonment is far worse. Recalling how my
father's abandonment had broken my heart, when Sam was born,
I promised to be a better father to Sam than my father had
been to me. So much for wishful thinking. At
this point, I wasn't doing much better than my useless
My guilt over the impending divorce was overwhelming. I was upset that Sam
would suffer the same consequences of a broken home as I had.
Overwhelmed by an
encompassing sense of failure,
I needed to be
alone to lick my wounds. So I grabbed my keys and
drove to the studio for sanctuary. As I unlocked the
front door, it crossed my mind that if I
had driven here two hours ago like I should have, I would
still be married. Talk about irony!
Christmas Eve alone in this empty
building. Not my idea of fun.
With nothing to do, I had plenty of time for
reflection. Sitting here alone in the gloom was not
Christmas had been a time of many bitter moments during my childhood. Sure enough, throughout the night
a parade of ghosts of Christmas Past dropped
by to torment me. Gee, now I can add the memory of getting
divorced on Christmas to my growing list of Holiday Horrors.
There is no way
to wallpaper a divorce and disguise the ugliness.
As I sat alone in the dark,
I could not recall
feeling more miserable. Not only had I failed in two marriages, I had let my
daughter down. So much for that good
old Christmas Spirit.
PART ONE: THE GYPSY
LOVE IS BLIND