On World Book day March 25, 1999 in a Folkestone bookshop situated on the Southern English coast, I discovered the photograph of a long dead Confederate soldier. The book coincidentally opened at the precise page, the name coincidentally was my name and the face coincidentally was my face, it was all far too much of a coincidence to be a coincidence!
Gazing into the looking glass of time I spied a familiar reflection; for I recognised the person in the picture. Incredibly he appeared to be me, me as I was 138 years ago in another time and another place. Then over the next two years with research and the use of emotional memory painting, the whole story unfolded in vivid emotional Technicolor. I had always felt that I did not belong in this time or place, a common feeling that many of us often have. This confusion of identity had reigned supreme in my life for 44 years, but now all that had changed.
With the discovery of the photograph and its associated story nothing in my life would ever be the same again. Suddenly all became clear, I had been right all along, my feelings and emotions had not betrayed me. I realised then, that this odyssey of understanding had begun some 35 years ago, when in the playground as a small 10 old I spied something familiar; the bright pristine images of a long forgotten war that happened then a century ago.
The year was 1964 and the conflict of a hundred years previous was that of the American Civil War. Coincidentally it was exactly 100 years to the day that a Private soldier named Alexander Baillie Kell, was fighting desperately in the ranks of the 5th Georgia Cavalry, as the epic Battle for Atlanta was about to reach its horrifying summer climax. The Civil War was to redefine the destiny of America and with it shape the major events of World history up until the present day. For we are still living with the reverberating aftershocks of the emotional trauma of that titanic conflagration. Little was I to know then that I myself might be one of those reverberating aftershocks, fall out from the bloodiest war in American history.