Jo Ann Jaacks: Reinventing a life after nearly losing it

Jo Ann's wrecked car. Fortunately she has recovered well.

I left Connecticut at an early age and spent several decades happily living in South Florida. Then, one afternoon in Pembroke Pines when I was preparing a small Thanksgiving dinner for two with roast goose, I broke into tears. Since my family members lived in Connecticut and I only saw them when they came to visit Disney World and during sporadic visits back home, the holidays spent with friends were delightful, but just weren’t the same. I had missed seeing nieces and nephews grow up and I missed the four seasons although we lived in a paradise of impossibly blue skies and warmth.

When I told my husband that I wanted to move back to Connecticut, his first comment was “There will be winter there.” He grew up in Hamburg, Germany which is basically the same lattitude weather-wise as Connecticut, so he was familiar with cold winters. I reminded him that the turn of the Millennium was fast approaching and I had a feeling this change was meant to happen now. My psychic had predicted there would be massive climate disasters such as widespread fires, tornadoes, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis pretty much everywhere but Connecticut. That clinched the deal for me; my husband was still skeptical.

We began using our Lufthansa Airline points to fly into Bradley Airport on weekends, looked at several towns and finally settled on Litchfield. Our intrepid Realtor showed us every kind of available house in every imaginable style of architecture. I vacillated between deciding which one I liked best and my husband didn’t like any of them. He finally showed some interest in a 1930s Cape Cod high on a hill, surrounded by forest on three sides and a magnificent Japanese Maple tree in front. The appeal was that he could do major reconstruction on it — his favorite pastime. It reminded me of my grandmother’s house on a high hill surrounded by forest. We agreed to think about it.

Shortly after that, while driving home from Fort Lauderdale, I stopped at a red light. I was driving a GEO Storm, a small sports car, when I was rear-ended by a large dually truck going 60 mph. My little car flew across three lanes of traffic, jumped a curb, tore through some brush and slammed into a tree. The car was so badly damaged that glass shards from the back window were embedded in my skull. I spent several days in the hospital with serious injuries and then checked myself out against medical advice. I was limping but declined to leave in a wheelchair.

When my husband opened his car door, a man walked over to me and said “You look familiar.” I smiled and shook my head. “I recognize you! I was one of the first responders to the scene. None of us thought you would survive that crash. I’m glad you’re going home.” I gave him a big hug.

I called my Realtor that afternoon and 24 hours later we received the message that the seller of the Cape Cod on a hill had accepted our offer. We moved into our new home in Litchfield just before the turn of the Millennium, and some 20 years later, only a tiny hurricane came our way although there certainly have been cataclysmic climate disasters across the globe. Listen to your psychic, listen to your heart.

Connecticut Media Group