Why is it when you return to a childhood home things are a lot smaller. You look around and think, sheesh, this was huge back in 1970. Well, three years ago, my sister and I returned to our old home in north Mississippi. We had a little difficulty in finding it. The land around the roads are definitely different. The entire area has built up in the last thirty odd years. When we did manage to find the road, we passed the old place up. Had to turn around and go back a little slower. We came upon it quick. In shock, we parked on the curb and stared.
We looked at each other in disbelief. No, not because the place looked like a dump. No, the house and land looked great but the hill where the house stood was small. Very small compared to how it was when we lived there. Even the two story white house had shrunk over the years. Also there weren't any trees around the front. The entire place looked nothing like what I remembered.
The house I remembered was situated up on top of a high hill. There was a red dirt circle drive leading from the road to the house with another side drive off the circular one heading toward the back of the house. And trees, oaks, mimosas, pines--especially pines--all over the place. Behind the house, the woods claimed the land which rose above the hill our house stood.
Oh, the memories of wandering through those woods, exploring and allowing my imagination to run wild. I became Davy Crocket's woman or an indian maiden searching for lost treasure. My companion was an eighteen year old Chihuahua named Beulah. She belonged to my grandmother and when she passed away, my grandfather gave her to me. She was my sidekick. I'd climb the mimosas trees lining the side of the house and she'd sit on the ground, patiently waiting, watching in case she needed to catch me if I fell.
In this house, I discovered my love of reading. So many days I spent reading book after book. I read every Nancy Drew I could get my hands on. Also Trixie Belton. I have to admit, I preferred Trixie over Nancy. I suppose Trixie was more in my times than Nancy was but still I loved all their stories. The sparked my imagination.
The other thing I discovered while living in this house is I am sensitive to strange otherworldly happenings. Once while in my mom's bed, I experienced my first ghostly impression. I'd never in my young life felt such fear as I did that morning. It was raining outside, a dreary yuggy day. As I lay cuddled under my Mom's covers, I heard someone coming down the attic stairs which was right off the bedroom. The footsteps on the stairs became louder and louder. When they reached the bottom, the attic door slammed open.
Need I say I was scared shitless? I managed to build up enough courage to slip out of bed and cut through my bedroom to the den, heading for the kitchen. The house was built with the rooms in a circle pattern. You could go through the entire house by just walking from room to room, making a complete circle. In the kitchen, my Mom, older brother and sister sat laughing and talking at the table. I asked them if someone had just gone to the attic. No one had. So what had I experienced? I still believe to this day it was a spirit. Keep in mind the house was very old. Half the attic had been turned into living space. My playroom was up there. Yet, even after this experience, I still went up there, playing with my Barbies and other toys. I'd open the windows and the breeze would come in making the place so peaceful. I supposed I automatically knew whatever it was wouldn't hurt me.
I keep these memories close to my heart. Beulah is long gone, so are my Mom and Dad. I still have my sister and brother and my memories of happiness up on Cuff Hill.