Sunday, June 22, 2008

A trip down memory lane

The house I grew up in was the house my father grew up in. It was the house his mother grew up in (and so on, and so on - just like that shampoo commercial!). The house is now over two hundred years old and has always been in our family.

My parents took in foster kids. Some of them were fairly temporary (the shortest stay was 3 days); some were medium stays (up to a year or so) and then there were a few that were supposed to be forever. I say supposed to be because there were some circumstances that changed plans, either on the birth parents side or on the child's.

One of the longer term foster kids was Liz. Liz was an interesting case, for lots of reasons. She was a few years older then me. I think I was in second or third grade when she came to live with us.

She was quite the convincer. She could have me believing just about anything. And apparently one of her favorite things to convince me of was that the house was haunted.

She "noticed" that the corners of the rooms were always much colder than the rest of the rooms. This, of course, was just one of the sure signs a house was haunted. She would take me room by room to make me feel the difference between the corners of that particular room versus the center of the room.

Now, since this house is over 200 years old, it has some, shall we say, less than weather tight windows and doors. It has a forced air heating system - with the blowers in the interior walls. So of course the corners were colder - the heat hardly ever got over to them, and whatever heat may have tried to get there was sucked out the windows and doors.

But she had me convinced, because everyone knew that cold corners meant a haunted house.

The house also made noises. It creaked; it moaned; it must be the spirits roaming the rooms! It couldn't possibly be the hardwood floors needed to be nailed down a bit after a hundred years or so, could it? Or that after years of use, the floors were worn down and squeaked when you walked on them? Definitely haunted!

There was also a fireplace in the house. It was used as the main source of heat in the early days, and was even equipped with a bread baking oven next to it. Over the fireplace mantel was a small cabinet. It was too high for me to reach, so I never really knew what was in there.

But Liz did.

It was a HAND. Yup, a hand skeleton. In a jar. Apparently my parents were hiding it up there so I wouldn't know about it. (Why else would it be so high up that I couldn't find it?)

I did eventually get wise to Liz and her fabulous tales. But every once in awhile, I'd be in the house alone... and start to think... could it be haunted?

No comments: