Postal carrier recalls having his fortune told

November 17, 1994|By Joel Obermayer | Joel Obermayer,Sun Staff Writer

She knew everything about her mailman. And they had never met before.

Jim Fridley, a 53-year-old city postal carrier, was walking out of a doughnut shop last May when he saw a thin, short woman, almost frail, wearing a long dress and what looked like a silk bandanna on her head standing in a yard next door. Mr. Fridley said she approached him and he started to speak, but, like a wise old aunt, she stopped him.

"Don't tell me why you're here. I'll tell you," he recalled Deborah Stevens saying with a soft voice as she grabbed his hands and squeezed them rhythmically. "You're very troubled. You're having problems with a loved one. And I can see you've lost a lot of weight."

For months, Mr. Fridley had been delivering mail to Ms. Stevens, who was murdered yesterday. But the pair had never spoken. Mr. Fridley had broken up with his longtime girlfriend sometime before and by his own word was "extremely distraught." He said he had lost 30 pounds since the breakup.

"She insisted on looking directly at you as she spoke," he recalled yesterday, rubbing his chin and touching his glasses.

As were others who knew Ms. Stevens, he said he was shocked to hear of her horrific death. Neighbors said the psychic, despite her street sign, never seemed to seek out customers and was rarely seen coming or going.

Calling herself Sister Myra, she persuaded Mr. Fridley to come inside for a card reading. Her house was full of photos of relatives and pictures of people she had helped, as well as Bibles, candles and trinkets those people had sent her, he said. And she told her visitor how she had helped each one of them, Mr. Fridley said.

The woman led him to a large closet with a dark drape over the doorway, he said. Inside was a small table, two chairs and many candles. She sat him down at the table.

"She took both my hands again and squeezed them gently as she talked. It was almost eerie," Mr. Fridley said.

He stayed there for 45 minutes as she laid out cards, read his palm and gave him advice. "She suggested I read scriptures and told me to believe that things would work out, that's what she kept saying, things would work out," he said.

When they finished, she didn't ask for money, just a donation. She left the room, leaving a Bible there, and Mr. Fridley left $10 between two of its pages. She asked for his phone number. That night and two days later, she called him to check up on him, he said.

Mr. Fridley said he did take her advice and started reading his Bible and trying to think positive thoughts.

Since then he had seen her only four or five times, he said. But on those occasions, she had always waved or asked how he was doing. Mr. Fridley said he eventually got back together with his girlfriend. The two are now engaged and plan to marry in January.

When he told his fiancee about the experience, she wanted to meet the old woman with the soft hands and soothing voice.

Now, that will never be.

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