Friday, May 22, 2009

Day 2 Down Memory Lane

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.


Linda LaRoque said...

What wonderful memories, Judith. I know what you're saying about everything being smaller. I guess it's all in the perspective. Oh, and nothing is finer than a dog companion. We knew how to have fun in the old days.
Thanks for sharing!

Judith Leger said...

Yes, we did. No T.V., no video games, nothing but our own imaginations! What an incredible high that was!!

Judith Leger said...

Well, we had T.V. but there just wasn't any GOOD shows on for kids. None that kept my attention!

Miss Mae said...

Know exactly what you mean, Judith. When my parents were in their late fifties, they moved in with dad's mom. She lived in the old house where he'd lived from 8 years old and upwards. So Granny's house became Mom and Dad's, and so I had so many memories there. When I was a kid, every July 4th, the families would gather (cousins by the dozens) and we'd have watermelon and make homemade ice cream. We waded in the creek that ran down by her yard and where Granny drew her water to wash clothes on a rub board. I climbed her maple tree in the front, and hoped the floor of the outhouse wouldn't give way when we occupied it!

After Granny died, Mom and Dad stayed there another ten years or so, then they both passed away. Dad in March 1996 and Mom in April 1996. She died in the same house where she'd spent her wedding night.

The place was vacant. What were we kids to do with it? Our sister bought our shares and she tried to sell it. But since that fell through, and because she lived a four hour drive away and wasn't able to maintain it, we all agreed--so no vagrants would try to move in, get hurt, and sue us--to burn it down.

It was sad. Now when we go back, there's nothing there but high weeds. It's forever changed, but never, never in my memories.

Anastasia said...

Nancy Drew was more my thing. I bought some, asked for some and shared with friends. It started me on the road to being a Mystery-Romance writer (ADIE STURM MYSTERIES. And I can really relate to your sixth sense feelings. I have a ghost in the house I live in now :) When I went to a psychic she said everyone has them but some are open to them. You must be too.

Judith Leger said...

What wonderful memories, Miss Mae. Thanks so much for sharing. It's always hard to see the places of our memories gone now that we're older. Sad but true.

Judith Leger said...

Thanks for stopping by Anastasia. I swear reading so many of those books when I was younger made it easier for me to solve mysteries in books now and also while watching movies. I just know who's the culprit in the stories.

Lately, not sure if its because I sense things, I've been writing a lot of eerie stories. With a ton of ghosts in them. Who knows, may pick up and be the next hottest thing out there. Don't I wish!!!

barbara huffert said...

My mom still lives in my childhood home. It was creepy as hell growing up. I used to lock myself in my room with my cat protector. As long as she was with me, I was safe from the evil I felt constantly. Yep, the evil's still there to feel even now. Unfortunately, the cat is long passed. I hate going there. It takes all I have to get out of the car.

Judith Leger said...

Oh, Barbara, I feel for you. I don't like going to places like that either. Go out of my way to avoid them too!

Writer Lady said...

Trixie Beldon was my favorite. She seemed real.

I have lived in many houses, many spooky and many not. I love the feel of other people having lived in my house - and now it's my turn.

In one house I found the way into the huge attic (a long ladder and a square hole). It was full of treasures like the fancy hats women wore at the turn of the century. My mom asked where I got it. I told her I found it in the attic. She didn't know how to get into the attic.

Chiron said...

I love this post, Judith! I've had similar experiences and it some ways your childhood echoed my own.

My favorite was definitely Trixie Belden, though I did enjoy Nancy Drew too. Another fave was the Edward Eager books like Half-Magic, and Magic By The Lake. I spent some of my best childhood years in the mountains. I would run through the pine scented woods in mocassins as silently as possible, pretending to be Diana/Artemis, Goddess of the Hunt.

*smile* Thanks for the memories!

--Chiron O'Keefe
The Write Soul: