The Divine Mrs. Laurie

The above photograph shows the storefront of Mrs. Laurie, a fortune-teller. Her storefront is located on Cannery Row. Her front window placard advertises palm readings for $10 and tarot for $20. Anne questioned what the $40 complete readings entailed. $10 plus $20 equals $30, and not $40. Anne quipped, “Maybe, it is there to divine customers that can’t add?” 😉

Mrs. Laurie advertises, “European Psychic Readings”. Not being a connoisseur of the fortune-telling business, I could not even guess at what the differences are between European and American psychic readings, but I always prefer to Buy American, whenever possible. I also question the discrepancy in Mrs. Laurie’s name, between her neon sign and the placard. The neon sign bills her as a married woman. The placard is more ambiguous with the title of Ms. I wonder if there is a story there? I also noticed that she takes credit cards. Her tag line is, “You tell her nothing. She’ll tell you all!” I can only imagine after a $40 reading what her reaction would be if I hold my credit card up to my forehead and announce, “I am thinking of a 16-digit account number, a 4-digit expiration date and a security code.” If she rings me up, I’ll gladly cut my card in two.

In 1984 the California Supreme Court struck down the state law outlawing fortune-telling on a First Amendment basis. I’ve been somewhat snarky about Mrs. Laurie’s business. I was just exercising my First Amendment rights too. I asked Anne, “What if she reads this and then sues me?” Anne replied, “If she has a case, then she probably already knew all about it, before you wrote it.”

Below is a picture of the Monterey Canning Company building. Like all of Cannery Row’s canneries, this one went out of business when over-fishing killed the once thriving fishing industry in Monterey Bay. The Monterey Canning Company building is now a shopping mall.

There still is a working fishing industry in Monterey Bay, but it is no longer located in Monterey. These days’ commercial fishermen base out of Moss Landing, located halfway between Monterey and Santa Cruz. They mainly fish for squid now. You can see them at times from the 1000’ vantage point of our parent’s house. The boats lineup at night, and face each other in two parallel lines, much like two football teams, before the snap. They lower their nets well below the surface. Then they all switch-on bright lights and shine them at the surface of the water. The lights attract the squid. Then on cue the boats simultaneously raise their nets and scoop up the dazzled cephalopods.

Chris has furnished the two photographs with this post. Look for them soon on his gallery page, on this website, under Chris’s Camera.

Leave a Reply