Posts Tagged ‘personal’

Ghosts in the House (Really)

You either believe in ghosts or you don’t.

For those of you who think there’s an explanation for those bumps in the night, you’re not alone. A poll by the Associated Press shows 34 percent of people believe in ghosts. Of those, 23 percent say they have proof ghosts exist because they’ve seen one, or been in the presence of one.  Maybe that is that cold chill that goes up your spine. And, for the politically minded, more liberals than conservatives are visited by ghosts, 31 to 18 percent.  My own poll states that 100% of  women over the age of 50 who have seen a ghost are highly intelligent, creative, humorous, and  very nice looking.

We used to go to Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia a lot.  It was a great place for dead people. John Brown was hung nearby. He is probably really in his wax museum, hanging around. (literally)  We went to an antique shop that was at one time some generals headquarters, and the owner told me that she was always hearing soldiers walking up the steps and that the main ghost activity took place in the basement. So, she took us down there, because I was so excited. I would love to see a ghost. They even had a ghost tour of Harper’s Ferry.

I have always loved ghost stories. And I loved to scare people. I remember when I was in about 7th grade, I stayed with a neighbor girl and we stayed up to watch Chiller Theater and watched House on Haunted Hill with  Vincent Price. Scared me to death. When we went to her room to go to bed, the closet door was open, and her mom had put a hose over her face and was just standing in the closet. I screamed on top of screams. I had never been so scared. I loved it!!!

In high school, we used to go to a cemetery on Green Mist Road (Even has a spooky name) on Halloween and scare each other. So fun to hear guys scream. Halloween is my favorite time of year. So, yeah, I am all about ghosts. Just didn’t know that my wish was about to come true.

My ex-husband did not believe in ghosts. Such a left-brainer…”They don’t exist.” So, he wrote me off when I told him we had a ghost cat. Yes, a ghost cat. I told him, “I hope you see a ghost some day and you poop your pants  while you are screaming like a girl.”

We built our house on an old dairy farm’s barn. This barn was used to sell milk and other dairy products to neighbors in the small hill-top community. Our house was built in 1991, so many of you will probably think it would have to be an old house to be haunted. But, just give me a minute of your time before you send for the guys to put me in a white jacket.

We rescued a kitten from the animal shelter and gave it to Alex. We had an outside cat, Tiger, who died a bit earlier, and thought we would get an inside cat for her. My husband hated animals in the house, but I talked him into at least going into the animal shelter, just to look at the animals. Well, there was a kitten who fell in love with Jay. He said later it was like she did a top hat and cane routine for him. Ok, he said, we will take this one home for Alex.  As soon as we got her home, she turned on Jay. Hated him. She lives with me now. Still hates him. Such a smart, smart cat.

Anywho, Whiskers used to stare into the foyer all of the time. Her eyes would be wide and her tail fluffy at first. Then she would just stare. Like she got used to the thing she was staring at.  Sometimes this would happen right after I complained about it being cold. Sometimes when she would be sitting on my lap on the couch she would stare right behind me. Like someone was standing behind me. That used to freak me out. Then I would just start talking to it. Yeah, I am a  ghost talker.

But, about the ghost cat…I don’t know what you call it when a cat marches in place. Some people say they are kneading bread…Tap dancing….Making biscuits…I used to think they were just smoothing out someplace comfortable to lie. But, they all do it. Like how all human men scratch their butts. (Can’t think of anything else)

My husband would not let Whiskers on the bed. I had a cute little box in the hall, and she slept on that most of the time.  Well, one night I woke up because Whiskers was doing that kneading thing at the foot of my bed. Except when I woke up, she wasn’t there. This started happening almost every night. I never said anything until Alex told me that she thought Whiskers was in bed with her and when she looked, Whisker’s wasn’t there. “Mom, I think it’s Tiger. Tiger is a ghost now.”  Out of the mouths of babes.

I didn’t think it was Tiger. I thought it was a cat from the dairy barn that was built where our house now stood. And the foyer was a portal, that’s why Whiskers was always sitting in the foyer, looking up. Or maybe Whiskers had some issues.

Haunted chair?

Well, not too long after that, I began hearing a loud whisper, “MOM!”  when I was alone. I thought I’d better keep that to myself for awhile. My family knows I am into ghosts and ghost stories, they are just going to think that I WANT to have these things happening. But, then the music started, which my husband and daughter did hear.  It was usually around 5:30am. It was faint, and didn’t sound like a music box, and I couldn’t make out what genre it was. But it was music and I was sure of it. When Jay heard it, I told him, “See, I’m telling you we have ghosts.”  We would get up and follow the sound and it was in the foyer. We had a 2-story home with an open foyer, and that’s where the sound radiated from. We couldn’t figure out what kind of music was playing.  He tried to find a logical explanation. “Maybe it is some kind of interference from an airplane flying by.  I would always say. ” Oh, please. That is such a stupid explanation. Why can’t you just believe that we have ghosts in our house?”  That’s when I told him about the MOM voice.

One morning I was listening to Alex sing in the shower. She would always get up around 5:30am or so for school. She was in the Madrigals, which is an accapella singing group that wore medieval costumes and they were unbelievable. So, I enjoyed hearing her practice a song I had never heard yet. “I loved hearing you singing in the shower this morning, Alex. You need to sing more often. I enjoyed it.” She looked at me like I was nuts. “Mom, I wasn’t singing. I never sing in the shower,”  And she wasn’t messing with me. Oh great, now we have a ghost singer.

The “MOM!” continued off and on for several years. Sometimes, I would go see what Alex or Adam wanted, because it was a child’s voice. I also tried to figure out when kids began calling their mothers, Mom. Was it the 1950’s? 40’s?  I started making up scenario’s for the cat and the kid ghost.

I think that maybe the dairy farm guy came in early and turned on a small transistor radio, hence the music. The ghost cat came from just having a cat hanging around the dairy farm. Ok, I don’t know why we didn’t have ghost cows or ghost chickens. (Skeptics, just shut the hell up). But, I think that the child was maybe hurt and was calling for his/her mother, or maybe hiding and whispering out. I loved it when Jay finally heard the “Mom!”

Alex had taken the car someplace and Jay was in the hallway leading from the garage and I was sitting at our kitchen island, doing something. “MOM!” came the voice, after being gone for several months, and the whisper was pretty loud. I said, “Is Alex home, Jay?” He quickly entered our family room/kitchen and his face looked white. “You heard that?”  I smiled and jumped up. “YOU heard it? You, the left-brained goober-head, the “there’s no such thing as ghosts” guy? Finally!”  I loved it that he heard it.

Christmas of 2008 was my last Christmas in our house. We were divorcing and I was planning to move out of the house. (Too much house land for me to take care of, so he bought me out.) Adam and Alex had stayed up late talking in the Hearth room. I went to bed and heard a door slam. And then again. Sounded like a door. The kids told me they got a bit spooked while they were down there. Adam told me that he got a quick glimpse of something that appeared between a blink of his eye and that it was an older woman with a lantern in front of her face, wearing a scarf on her head (tied in front, like a babushka)  and that she was gone “in a blink of his eye.”   He later told me that he made that up. Yeah, he is a left-brainer too. My dairy farm ghost scenario was the right one.

A couple months after I moved out and I was out at the house getting some more stuff, I asked my ex-husband if  he ever heard the “MOM” voice or anything any more. He said, “She is gone.” He then told me that one night he woke up and it felt like there were hands around his neck, trying to strangle him and so he called someone to get rid of her. He smiled after he said it. But, I know this man. She probably missed me and took it out on him.  Well, that’s what I am going with.  I always wanted to have a seance, and he would never let me. The catholic boy always said, “You may conjure up the devil.”  I had seances in college. Lit a lot of our sorority ceremony candles and invited people over, drank, and tried to bring back Houdini. I loved those parties.

Are there ghosts? Yes. Have I seen one? No. But, something was going on in my house.

So, the next time you watch Ghost Whisperer, think of me. 🙂

MonkeyShines

Most, if not all of my adventures when I was growing up in Weirton, West Virginia, were with my best friend, Ramaine. She lived down the street from me, and we were attached at the hip.  We were in Camp Fire Girls together.  We rode the school bus together. We had a cabin in the woods together.  It seemed like we were laughing all day long.  My childhood was great because I had a best friend who was just like me. We lived outside the box, and had some very creative days.  And, boy, were we stylish… We even  bought white pants with pictures of the Monkees faces all over the pants.  We were weird, but knew how to laugh at ourselves.  We did that quite well. Sang the definition of “lima bean” into a tape recorder.  The word, “bored”, was not in our vocabulary. The only difference we had was that she was a gerbil person, and I was a hamster person.  Which lead us to the pet shop.

We used to visit the pet shop often.It was at the Weirton plaza, a little strip of stores near our homes. The guy had a lot of different animals at the pet shop.  One particular visit to the pet shop concluded in uncontrollable laughter, one that I can say  was the hardest I ever laughed in my whole life. Ramaine reminded me that we were in 8th grade when this happened. Dear God, she even remembers what she was wearing that day. Well, it was a day for the record books, that’s for sure.

The pet store was small, with a long counter with rows of animals in their little cages beneath it. The place was jammed with critters. I couldn’t bring myself to look at the snakes, though. There was even a mynah bird that cussed like you wouldn’t believe. It always amused me. But, on this particular day,  I was on my knees, looking at a mother hamster and newborns on the bottom row. Ramaine was standing, bent over a little, looking at something else, when all of a sudden she asked, “What’s on my head?”  I stood up, and my mouth dropped open.  I didn’t or couldn’t say a word. A spider monkey  had stepped off the top of the counter right onto her head. I really think I could have put my fist in my mouth.  “What’s on my head?” she repeated. Well, hell, I couldn’t answer. I mean, there was a monkey on her head. Just sitting there. Ramaine reached up to feel what was on her head, and the monkey swatted her hand away. “What’s on my head?”  She was expecting her bestest friend to give her an answer. She was panicking a little, starting to pace, and I  was not answering, but standing there with a big smile on my face. Ramaine tried to bend over, and that’s when the little fellow grabbed her hair with both little hands to hang on. That’s when I first started laughing.

“What’s on my head????”  Everytime her hand went up to feel what kind of creature was sitting there, he would release one hand from grasping onto her hair and slap it away. I couldn’t speak. I was laughing so hard. It was one of those silent, belly laughs, where you shake, but no sound comes out of your mouth. Now, Ramaine was pacing faster and moving her head, and bringing up her one leg for some reason, and that monkey was hanging on for dear life and I just couldn’t tell her that there was a monkey on her head.  It reminded me of  a little monkey jockey, riding something. I was in awe.  I had never seen a live monkey.  I did look around to see if a little old man with an organ grinder was standing nearby.

“VICKiE,  GET IT OFF!!  WHAT IS IT?  GET IT OFF!”  That monkey must have liked the view, because he had no intention of leaving Ramaine’s head.  She looked like she was having a seizure. Her arms and legs were flailing all about,  and the monkey was leaning to the left and then to the right, and would only take his hand off of the death grip on the her hair to swat at Ramaine.

I had to sit down on the floor. I started laughing so hard, I peed my pants. This is a recurring theme for me. Laugh. Pee. Repeat. “It’s a monkey….”  I finally was able to speak. “I peed my pants.”  Ramaine didn’t care. She had a monkey on her head.   The owner finally came over and had to pry the little monkeys fingers from her hair. It wasn’t working too well..  Finally, a banana (I think I am making this part up) was waved in front of  the monkey’s face and he left her head and went to sit on the owner’s shoulder. I found out later that the monkey’s name was Ginger. Ginger, I wish I had my camera that day.

I’m glad Ramaine was able to laugh about the whole thing on the way home. But, it was a nervous laugh, I could tell. I was sitting on a towel my mom brought for me and had to explain why, once again, I peed my pants. “I’m going to have to make an appointment for you to see Dr. Harper. There must be something wrong with your kidneys.”  No, did you not hear me?  There was a MONKEY on her head. I mean, come on.  Urination justification.

The Fish Head Story

My dad used to go fishing all of the time and would bring back live fish.  My mom would let them swim around in the large kitchen sink, and then she would chop their heads off and I would cry.  I can’t even tell you how many times I asked her not to chop off their heads, and just let them be my pets. You have to understand that I have an Ellie May Clampett love for animals.  I once went into anaphylaxic  shock from picking up a hornet that I accidentally brushed off my shoulder and that landed wounded on the pavement. It stung me on my cheek. (Yeah, I put it close to my face as I apologized to it.)  But, I love animals. My stuffed animals had a place to sleep each evening. Later in life (4 years ago, I had a physically challenged cricket that lived in my kitchen window. Don’t ask.)

When I was a freshman at Brooke High School, I thought I would recycle the next fish head, take it to school, and give it to my biology teacher. So, after my mom cut its head off, I wrapped it up and put it in the freezer. The next morning I took it out as soon as I woke up, because I didn’t want to forget it. Fish Head made the trip on the bus and I was all ready to give it to my biology teacher before school started. Major brownie points for the freshman.

Well, Fish Head didn’t make it to his classroom.  A bunch of us were standing around, talking, and I decided to take Fish Head out of its wrapping and show my friends before he went into the biology room. What I did next was unexpected and random.  I yelled across my little circle to a friend,  “Heather, think fast” and tossed the fish head to her. Why? Who knows how my brain thinks.

Well, old Fish Head went flying and Heather didn’t catch it. Instead, one of his teeth hooked onto a buttonhole on Heather’s blouse.  She had no idea what came flying at her, but she looked down, close to her neck, and saw a fish looking at her.  Heather started screaming, and old Fish Head started swinging back and forth. He must have started thawing out, because he had guts or something coming out of its head, and they were swinging too.  Was that a great throw, or what?

Heather was screaming a little too loud, and by this time I was laughing so hard, I peed my pants. I remember what I had on…brand new pair of red coulottes and I thought I looked hot. (or “tuff” as we said in 1971.) Well, until I peed my pants. I guess that is a turn-off.  I had to sit down on the floor because I was laughing so hard. I couldn’t stop.  Fish Head was still swinging and Heather was going into shock. Someone finally got the tooth unhooked and everyone involved (Heather, Fish Head, and me) went to the office.

While I was waiting for my mom to bring me clean clothes…and socks, I had to confess to the principal what I had done. But, I couldn’t even get the words out, because I was still laughing.  Well, laughter does tend to be contagious, and by the  end of my explanation, I had the principal, the secretary, and even Heather, laughing. The only one not laughing, was Fish Head, who was put in a garbage bag and taken away somewhere. Well, my mom wasn’t too happy either.  It wasn’t the first time I had peed my pants from laughing.  Not even close.

Riding With My Hand Out the Window

I get car sick.  Pukey Vickie.  I’m surprised that nickname didn’t stick.  When I was little I got sick on the school bus almost every day. When I did throw up, my best friend, Ramaine, would yell out loud for everyone to raise their feet (especially if we were ready to travel up a hill).  Sometimes I would run up to the front and throw up on the stairs. I guess I thought it would be confined and easier for the bus driver to clean up. Except for the fact that each child would be taking home a piece of me each day.  That’s why people should take their shoes off in their homes. Anywho,  I know the bus driver hated me.  A couple years later he ran over my Chihuahua, Smokey. I am sure he did it for revenge.  Poor Smokey.

My parents kept a bucket and a towel in the back seat for me. And kept the air conditioning running, even in the winter.  On top of that, I rode with my hand out the window.  That really helped.  Anyone who says this doesn’t work  is wrong.  And no longer my friend.   Needless to say, weekend jaunts down the Blue Ridge Parkway were quite fun.  That road had many hairpin turns. I  know that  I would think twice about going on back roads if I had a child that was pukey.  I guess if you live in West Virginia, you aren’t going to have straight roads.  My brother and sister pleaded with my parents to turn off the air conditioner.  Next trip they had a blanket.  Now that I think about it, they were always sick.  I didn’t care. What was important was my well-being.

When I was in fourth grade, my mom handed me a little green car sick pill. I took it every day for a long time. Didn’t really seem to work. I did quit vomiting when I started sitting in the front of the bus and started watching the road. The bus driver (new guy) would have the window opened up a tiny bit, so I sat there, looking straight ahead, with my little bony arm stretched up so my hand could greet the air. I was in business.  I didn’t find out until I was in my 30’s that the little green pill was a mild tranquilizer. The hell you say!   Mom said it was given to me because I couldn’t concentrate on anything and I was diagnosed with hyperactivity.  I’m thinking she diagnosed me.  Then she added, “That’s why I taught you how to play chess when you were in second grade.  You needed to learn to concentrate.”  Meanwhile, I’m concentrating how to murder her and get away with it.  I mean, seriously, a mild tranquilizer?  Ok, yeah, I was nicknamed Cricket when I was little because I hopped all over the place. I was like a little Mexican jumping bean.  But, I am sure I was endearing. To stifle that energetic creativity with a tranquilizer is just so wrong.

Nowadays, as a teacher, I can’t go on field trips unless I take Dramamine, sit in the front and stare ahead. People think that if you get car sick, once you are stopped and out of the car, you are ok. That’s not true. I’m sick for hours. So, I try to take the day off on field trip days. Yeah, my kids want me to go, because I am incredibly fun. But, seeing me with my hand out the window diminishes great teacher status.

%d bloggers like this: