Category Archives: haunted places

True Halloween Story: circa 1935 or ’36

Image

This was in my past Halloween posts.

One from what I consider the “classic

collection” of stories. When I used just

words to describe and illustrate my

posts. The man you will hear sharing an

old memory is gone now. He has since

passed away. . .

Let’s go back to the year my Mom would

turn 85 and I was visiting her at her

Senior Living apartment. We had

ordered our meals to take up 

to her apartment. . .

“An elderly gentleman was waiting to

pick up his and his wife’s dinners

last night, usually we sit for about 

25-30 minutes chatting with other

people.  Mom sits and sips her wine,

looking and studying faces. Some

are familiar and some are not so. 

We talked to this nice man, named

Felton, a few nights in a row, 

so she was less wary and 

more comfortable with him.

My Mom asked him if he liked

computers and if he had ever 

read any blogs?

Great “kidder” my Mom! 

You know how when you are young, 

you may”use” your kids as excuses 

or possibly as the way to open a

conversation? 

My Mom is the best for being my

“story hunter,” lately.

She asked him the best question!

“Do you have any special, scary

childhood memories of Halloween?”

Here is Felton’s story, with mostly

memories from his fourth grade

“trick or treating” experience.

He thinks it would have been 1935

or maybe 1936 when they occurred!

Felt and his two good friends,

one a boy who had grown up with

him and also his “best friend” and

a girl he had been considering

being his “girl friend,” were heading

out on a long ago Halloween night.

The candles in the pumpkins on his

porch were lit, his parents, he

recalled, were sitting and waiting

to hand out homemade cookies

wrapped in waxed paper and tied

with orange ribbons.

Felt’s friend, Buddy, was wearing his

“bum” outfit and his “future girlfriend,”

Sally, was wearing what she was

calling a “Snow White costume.”

Felton says he thought her big sister

may have lent her a headband and

pasted some costume jewelry on it,

like a crown, and she had a blue skirt,

white shirt and red vest on.

Her sister had given her rosy cheeks

and bright red lipstick-stained lips.

In Felton’s opinion,

“Sally looked beautiful!”

and added,

“I was wearing a plaid flannel shirt

and worn out jeans, with a big

hobo pack on a stick.

We boys often went as hobos.”

A side funny comment was made

when Felt reflected some more,

“I suppose Sally didn’t want to 

get any apples,” 

(as Snow White.)

We all smiled and Mom

chuckled saying,

“That’s a good one!”

Felt informed us that his memories of

actual treats were apples, cookies,

carrots and even cold pancakes.

(We said, “Really?!”)

and if lucky, 

homemade popcorn balls

and rarely,

Cracker Jacks!

Felt set the “mood” then, by saying,

“Did you ever think a witch lived

down the street from you?”

Mom said,

“Yeah, but she was just Mrs. Donahue!”

(We all laughed a bit about her reply!)

There was a house at a dead end of his

long and winding street. He said

it was very dark and gloomy due to

no street lamps so he and his friends

had never gone to beg for treats there.

It was rumored to have “spirits” that

flew around and haunted it with a large,

old witch living there. As the story

went, every kid that attempted to stop

and sell anything or stop and ask

for treats, would be killed with 

their eyes would be pulled out 

of their dead

eye sockets!

Mom gasped, appropriately!

I was enthralled, secretly memorizing

the phrasings that he used, too.

Felt added, “The eyeballs were the

witch’s souvenirs!”

Felt bragged that he never believed

the stories but had never gone up

those rickety steps nor had asked for

donations to his pillow case, full

by the time he reached that

end of the road.

While getting towards that end of the

street along came his

big brother,

Freddy.

“How did I recognize him in his

costume?

Well, let me tell you this, he had

no business trick or treating!

He was far too old to be doing it!

But he had my cowboy bedsheet over

his head, with his eyes cut out,

being on both sides

of a horse!”

He continued farther saying that his

brother had “broken the brother

covenant”

by daring him to go and ring the

doorbell or knock on that

big gray door!

We both asked,

“Did you really have a

‘brother covenant’?”

And Felton said, “Well, these things

are understood between brothers!

He should not have made me have

to do that and I was embarrassed

if I didn’t, due to Sally being there!”

Felton then added,

“Nobody wants to look like a chicken

when your future reputation is riding

on the dare! I was trying my hardest

to make a good impression on Sally!”

This is the precious line I memorized

and closed my eyes to keep for you all:

“After all, death is instant, but being

called a ‘chicken’ lasts a lifetime!”

This part continued to be very good,

I am so glad we had the time to listen

to Felton. We encouraged him with nods

of our head and “go on’s” along

the way, too.

So, Felt says, he went up the broken

down stairs to the dark, looming house

and trying not to make any noises. He

stepped carefully so that the wooden

porch beams would not creak. He felt

the palms of his hands get sweaty.

He “crept” towards the door.

As he was reaching for the doorbell

next to the huge gray door with paint

peeling off it, the door flew open!

He heard from deep inside of the

“witch’s house,”

a continuous shrieking sound!

Felt said, “It sounded like a ‘screaming

banshee!’ It gave me goosebumps!”

Felt told us he turned sideways, he is

never sure WHY he went that way,

but he headed down the length of the

porch till he ran into

a large, wooden

big tub or vat.

He toppled over ~ INTO the vat!

He felt squishy, slimy shapes in his

fingers

(“Oh no! the children’s eyeballs!”

Felton told us.)

Then the light on the porch

suddenly came on!

He was in a wooden vat of grapes!

The sticky, purplish liquid wasn’t blood!

The round, mushy shapes

weren’t eyeballs!

The large, “witch” came towards him,

yanked on his arms and dragged

him into her house.

The woman said,

“Wait here!”

Felt said, “I did not dare move! The door

of her house had been slammed shut

and that woman seemed angry!”

She went into what he assumed was

the kitchen because she came out

into her sitting room, where she set

two tea cups down and the still

hissing tea kettle on a

crocheted hot pad.

She again used a demanding tone,

“Don’t you dare sit down!”

And she stomped up the stairs in

these big, untied leather boots.

When she came back she had a nice

warm set of wet wash cloths

and handed one at a time to Felton.

He wiped off reddish purple “goo.”

She inquired his name, he told her.

She finished wiping him up with a

dry towel. She laid the towel on

her couch for him to sit down.

She then told him

her name was “Miss Miller.”

She asked him to sit down.

She handed him a wax paper

wrapped caramel apple.

She poured him a hot cup of tea.

Felton paused to say,

“I noticed that my big brother and my

friends did not knock on the door

nor come to save me!

I sat back on her rose tapestry sofa

and enjoyed my caramel apple

and listened while she talked to me.”

“She told me that she didn’t have

any children nor did she have any

friends. She told me this while

I waited for my tea to cool off.”

Felton said in a soft voice,

“I sensed she was lonely and

I felt sorry for her, too.”

She told me she was making wine

and that vat was filled with the

beginnings of a good wine, needed

days more to ferment.

She looked at me and I looked at her.

Really studied her.

She looked about fifty but at my age,

who knows how old she was?”

With a bottle of her homemade wine

in his one hand and a second

caramel apple wrapped up and

thrown into his pillow case of less

exciting treats,

Felton was sent on home after

about thirty minutes

of conversation.

Felt turned as he was leaving and said

he would come back, 

if his mother let him, 

another day to visit.

Felton said,

“Miss Miller smiled one of the nicest,

warmest smiles I have ever been given.”

“I always thought of Miss Miller from

that time on, as a nice neighborly lady.

Oh, and I had the best of times riding

on that wave of popularity

when you “beat the bad guy”

or “are a super hero” because I

lived to tell the story of going into

the witch’s house and making

it back home in one piece.

Best of all, my older brother,

Freddy, got in big trouble

for leaving me there!”

Happy Halloween!

ūüćĀ  ūüćÉ ūüĎĽ ūüćā ūüĆö

Bizarre Happenings and A New Beginning

Standard

Two Coworkers’ Stories

 

The first subject matter is my friend, Amy. I have some doubts about

the man who doesn’t like to be kissed on the mouth. But, guess what?

They have made incredible arrangements and plans for this new year.

Amy and Roy are heading to Missouri. Not just any town, but a fine

sounding one with the name of New Amsterdam.

 

They found online a three acre farm, barn and fences to hold their

horses in. If you remember I have posted about Amy’s horses, Spirit,

Sapphire and Lokie. Roy has a wild horse which puts Spirit’s wildness

to shame! His name is Lickety Split. But they call him “Split.” Doesn’t

his name show imagination and doesn’t it conjure exactly what this

horse tends to do?

 

Anyway, Roy and Amy have made more plans than I could imagine in

such a short time. They have given notice at the place they rent to live

in Cardington, they have told the barn that houses their horses they

will no longer be paying for their stall or feed fees. Amy has ‘put in’

for a transfer to a Kansas Advance Auto Distribution Center about

a 45 minute (one way) drive. She has over fifteen years in working at

the good ole’ D.C. #23 here in Delaware, Ohio.

 

I have my fingers crossed, since there are a few doubts, concerns and

worries for such a huge under-taking, relocating and a new job, to boot!

If you are one who sends prayers or well wishes into the air and don’t

mind including Amy and Roy, you would make me feel much better.

(When more than one are gathered in His Name and pray, sometimes

mountains can be moved!)

 

In honor of my sweet Amy, please listen to these two songs:

Pure Prairie League’s song, “Amie.”

Carole King’s song, “So Far Away.”

I shall miss Amy, but we are connected since she likes my posts and

reads my blog.  Plus, since she has email and a cell phone we can stay

connected. One way or another!

 

My other story is much more intriguing and less worrisome. My good

pal, Tammy has joined me for lunch, along with first and second breaks,

for almost 6 years now.  She has two big cats, along with the feral kitty

who has become tamed and one English Shepherd dog. She has a good

boyfriend from years and years ago. I wrote an old love story post about

them. Tammy and Mike, the “Fencepost Buddies” love story.

 

Anyway, her sister and brother in law have a neighboring house which

has been through a lot of trauma in the family. They have had the same

family living there and there have been rumors associated with this farm

‘homestead.’

The farming family had an open door policy recently giving away

all of their household belongings. The farming equipment was sold

in a public auction.

The house and furniture are considered ‘haunted.’ Her sister took

three intriguing antique trunks and two tall vintage dressers.  She

felt very ‘lucky’ to have not had to purchase these beautiful ‘finds.’

 

She shared one of each of the trunks and dressers with Tammy.

 

Here are the strange things that have happened in Tammy and Mike’s

house since they brought the furniture into their home. There have

been several times when one or both of the couple have felt unusual

‘presence’ and an accompanying cold burst of air. They have had

times where they left the house with all but one light left on, only to

come home and find the entire house ‘lit up like a Christmas tree!’

 

The weirdest things have been pull chains on fans, which when they

would turn them on normally, like in the summertime it would be at

the light switch since there are ceiling lights on every fan in almost

all the rooms of their house. They shut EVERY fan off, by pulling the

chains in November.

 

The fans should not ‘turn on’ when you turn on the overhead fixture,

just the light should go on. Both parties, Mike and Tammy, are

adamant they are not trying to prank each other with the lights or

fans.

 

No one can explain the recent way a curtain pulled out into a bulging

shape either. Nor can they understand why when Mike was taking

off his breathing mask to prevent sleep apnea, it was hurled out of

his hand. He felt a tug or pull on the mask.  More than once!

 

Someone at work suggested shouting these words,

“Go into the Light!”

 

Another gave some herbal or natural remedies to cast out demons.

 

So, my good friend Mark C. who works in my building and is in

the area below me often in the Aerosol Room knew someone to refer

this couple to about the ‘haunted’ furniture. His good female friend

named Ruth has a son who came and toured the house. He felt the

‘presence’ and also, when the lights were out, thought there was a

‘ghostly shape’ in two areas of the house. He is one of those ghost

hunters who has a website, too.

 

The trunk and the dresser are gone now. Ruth’s son hauled it away

to keep in his barn. He has a group of associates who want to use

some kind of machinery to detect ‘ghosts’ or ‘spirits.’

 

When she was adding things for the table of my coworkers, Tammy

told us that “rural legend” around her small town (not Delaware,

Ohio) ‘they say that this homestead has been in the family for quite

some time. The story goes that the wife of the farmer went mad

and the granddaughter who inherited the farm is in her thirties

and been institutionalized in a mental hospital.’

 

We all kind of shivered, thinking about the implications that the

women in this family may have been tormented by something

inexplicable.

 

Tammy says there was a moment recently that both Mike and she

were sitting watching television and the dog ran up the stairs and

into the bedroom barking.  Both of them looked at each other

with a little bit of ‘fear of the devil’ in their eyes.Neither one chose

to go upstairs and investigate. Mike called to the dog to come,

while they didn’t even bother to discuss the implications.

 

Tammy said their living room curtain is not bulging anymore with

the shape of someone hiding behind it. Instead it made a weird

circular motion where it rustled along the carpet, when the house

was quiet and she was reading a book. She looked up and saw the

curtain sway, then rise up and whisk sideways. Finally, it was pulled

back. In mid-swing of the curtain, she tried to film it with her cell

phone. In the middle of the noiseless house, on the short ‘video,’

you can hear a clattering. We all noticed it and asked Tammy about

this, she answered:

“I got up to see what was going on, since both the inside cats were

on the sofa with me and the dog was at my feet.  I just wondered

what the noise was. It was not in the hall nor the upstairs, it was

in the kitchen.  It stopped as I approached it, but for one brief

moment, I felt like it were the sound of plates bumped together.

There were no plates in my sink nor did the sound repeat itself.

If Mike weren’t here to verify the lights and the fans, during past

incidents, along with the startling shape of the bulging curtain, I

would not believe any of this.  As it was, he thinks the dishes

clattering is highly suspicious of¬† ‘more aggressive behaviors.’ He

believes me and does not think I am imagining it. We talked about

this out on the road, in his truck. It is so weird but we sometimes

wonder if there is something which could ‘listen’ to us in the house?

 

What if the ‘ghost’ or ‘being’ is still in my house?”

 

I looked at Melvin and Felda.  Both appeared a little spooked looking,

as I felt goosebumps rise on both my arms and the hair on the back

of my neck stood on end.¬† Melvin’s family believe in voodoo,¬† as

well as my Filipino friends.  I am not sure Tammy really has any

‘beliefs’ but she really thinks strange happenings are going on in

her country house, despite the furniture being taken away and put

away in Ruth’s son’s barn.

 

“All I want is some peace and quiet. I wish this issue would be

resolved,” my good friend and coworker, Tammy lamented.

 

Do you have any suggestions for Tammy and Mike?

(They really don’t want to sell their house!)

 

Here are two songs to represent my feelings about the bizarre

happenings in Tammy and Mike’s house:

“Strange Magic,” by Electric Light Orchestra.

“Witchy Woman,” by the Eagles.

 

I love both of these songs and had not heard them for awhile.

Hope you enjoy the playlists and don’t forget to send some

silent positive thoughts out into the universe for Amy and Roy.

It couldn’t hurt to do this for Tammy and Mike, too.

 

Celebrating a serendipitous happy morning moment for me,

while driving to the library I heard this ‘new song:’

“Roller Coasters,” sung by the ‘indie pop’ band, Bleachers.

I found this to be really catchy and a fun song, reminiscent

of older pop songs.

 

Would you consider listening to just one more song?

I am off for the day on an adventure with my good friend, Jenny,

who is a retired teacher. We did not have to work today, ‘lack of

work!’

Yippee!

Hope you have a fantastic weekend!

 

 

 

 

 

October’s Bewitching Month

Standard

In a book called, “Brownie Year Book,”¬†written and illustrated by Palmer Cox, he

gives us twelve poems for a year.  This was found in an old anthology book, which

was published in the year of my birth, 1955. I have not featured the other months,

but may in the coming year, 2015.  It includes amusing, detailed pen and ink drawings

of these little ‘Brownies.’ ¬†They are not elf-like nor¬†imps.¬† They are not¬†younger

versions of Girl Scouts either. They look like little men. You may find these curious

characters on the Internet. Go ahead, check what the ‘Brownies’¬†look like. Otherwise,

I like the power and intricacy of words and will try to draw a picture in your mind of

them.  Their eyes are sometimes bugging out of their sockets.  In the wacky month

of June, the Brownies are banding together to go on a gentle ride in a boat along a

lazy stream. Alas, they reach a sudden increase of speed. Soon, they are falling out of

their boat going down a waterfall!¬† Chaos and amusement can be found in¬†each month’s

transitions. The ‘Brownies’ are an unexpected pleasure like some kind of dwarves in

their own little adventures. I think they could compare to the movie, “The Box Trolls,”

in their antics. There can be some ‘episodes’ of serious intent as this October shows:

 

“October

When woods are tinged

with all the glow

October on the woods

can throw,

And game is plenty

on the tree

And every kind

of weapon free:

The Brownies

imitate the way

Mankind does creep

upon the prey.”

(Palmer Cox)

 

 

 

OCTOBER CALENDAR

 

Birthstone: Opal

Flower: Calendula

 

You should be filling out your absentee ballots applications, if you won’t be able to

make it to the polls. One month until elections are here in the U.S. in November.

It will land on Tuesday, November 4, 2014. My Mom and my youngest daughter

sometimes vote using absentee ballots. I sent out a text to one, a hand-written

letter to the other.  Not sure if this will be true this year or if they will make it to

the Polls!

 

Late October, exciting times are coming: The 110th World Series of Major League

Baseball Championship games keep on going with round #7 playing on October 29th.

 

October 1st-

Remembering 10/1/64 when over 3000 University of California Berkeley, gathered

in protesting Civil Rights activist, Jack Weinberg being arrested, surrounding the

police car. Mario Salvo and other activists had formed the organization of FSM,

(Freedom of Speech Movement.) It was not necessarily just for African Americans,

as there were many Spanish speaking members, along with whites, including Jewish

people. This incident lasted over 32 hours and ended peacefully.

 

1- Quarter Moon.

 

3-4- Yom Kippur.

From sundown on October 3rd until sunset on October 4th.

 

7- Children’s Health Day

Support mothers and fathers who protect their children by keeping their vaccinations

and shot records current. I support our local health clinic in Delaware, Ohio by donating

to their funding.

 

8-¬†Hunters’¬†Full Moon

In October, Native Americans also call this Dying Moon and Travel Moon.

 

9- Leif Erickson Day.

Leif Erickson was believed to be the first (recorded) Nordic explorer of North America.

His Viking ship and members of his crew are shown appreciation on this day. If you

wish to see a humorous interpretation that explains this to children, see Leif Erickson

on Google, then add “SpongeBob SquarePants.”

 

13- Columbus Day.

Celebrating the ‘discovery’ of America, by Christopher Columbus.

Fly flags for honoring Veterans as this is a government holiday in the U.S.

 

15- Last Quarter Moon.

 

17- Alaska Day (observed).

The U.S. officially got the territory of Alaska from Russia transferred on the

date: October 18, 1867.

 

18- Two very different kinds of television programming going on:

1.¬† Stephen King’s¬†movie, “Big Driver,” will be shown on Lifetime on this evening.

2.¬† “My Boyfriend’s Dogs,” will be shown on Hallmark Channel tonight. The

actress, Ericka Christensen is known for her role on the show, “Parenthood.”

 

 

 

23- New Moon (rising)

 

24- United Nations Day.

If you have never looked at all the lovely designs for different stationery, you

may wish to check out the UNICEF website. My parents ordered their Christmas

cards every year around this time. My father’s obituary had two donation places

designated in ‘lieu of flowers,’ as UNICEF and the Hospice organization in Cleveland,

Ohio. Mark Chagall’s lovely designs and the iconic Peace dove with the twig of an

olive branch were some of my favorite cards ever.

 

30- Hallmark Channel presents the American Humane Society Dog Show and

will include: 8 Hero Dogs competing for a national title. Watch these unsung

canine heroes on Hallmark Channel at 8:00 p.m. (EST).

 

31- Happy Halloween Day!

The evening before All Saints Day was once designated as “hallowed evening.”

All kinds of spirits will be roaming neighborhoods, mainly children dressed

up in costumes. Beware! If you don’t offer treats, you may have some ‘devilish’

tricks or pranks played on you or your house. . .

 

Also, a very special celebration will be going on in Nevada!

Happy 150th Anniversary to Nevada’s Statehood! There will be no schools

and all government offices closed on this Friday. Then on Saturday,

November 1st, there will be major hoopla going on, starting with a huge

parade! Congratulations for all those living in Nevada and Enjoy!

 

 

In Autumn, I enjoy going for a drive in the country, stopping and having a

hike in the woods. This is one simple pleasure that almost anyone, except

an invalid or someone bedridden can partake in. I hope you are healthy,

will enjoy the way your senses can all come into play, while enjoying the

great outdoors.

 

“The Open Road

Afoot and light-hearted,  I take to the open road.

Healthy, free, the world before me,

The long brown path before me, leading

wherever I choose.

 

Henceforth I ask not good-fortune, I myself

am good-fortuned.

Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone

no more, need nothing.

Done with indoor complaints, libraries,

querulous criticisms,

Strong and content, I travel the open road.”

(Walt Whitman)

 

 

 

Short Stories: Capsulized Life Images

Standard

When people get together in a school, with their class

led by a staff member or teacher, they sometimes collect

thoughts on paper, items that represent that time in space,

and store them in a nearly indestructible container. They

call these, “Time Capsules.”

I think when we read a good short story, fellow blogger’s

post or a short book, we are reading something, I just

gave a title to, “Capsulized Life Images.”

I wonder if it also, could be called, “Encapsulated Life

Images?”

I enjoy reading compilations of short stories by famous

authors. I recently completed Stephen King’s newer book

with his collection of four harrowing and creepy stories.

It is called, “Full Dark, No Stars,” (2010). It is not as

good as some of my favorites, like the one that inspired

“Green Mile,” and “Shawshank Redemption,” movies.

The first story, let me tell you, had me dreaming, in

nightmare form, about rats! Thanks, Stephen King!

The scary ‘classics,’ to me include Sir Arthur Conan Doyle,

Edgar Allen Poe and Agatha Christie.

I have been thinking about the other genres of short stories,

which include family stories and humorous forays into

everyday life situations and how the author uses his or her

own perspective.

When I was reading short stories, in high school, I really

enjoyed our World Literature book. Someone had taken the

time, a team of staff, I suppose, to compile some of the

most unusual and interesting stories. One that ‘sticks’

in my mind, was titled, “The Scarlet Ibis.” This story was

written and published in the magazine, “The Atlanta Monthly,”

in 1960, by James Hurst. It is considered ‘rich in symbolism’

and it has a metaphor of the majestic yet fragile bird,

compared to a weak, sickly child. The one who is telling the

story, calls himself, “Brother,” and his younger, more fragile

brother is called, “Doodle.” Apparently my memory served me

very well, in this instance, since the story is included in

many compilations of short stories. It is a sad one, but well

worthy of reading (or re-reading) for its simple but memorable

style.

Humor, as a different genre, captures relatable stories of

family. Such as odd occurrences like in, “The Night The Bed Fell,”

by James Thurber. Thurber’s stories were expanded into a likable

television show, “My World… and Welcome to It.” I liked this

show, although they only had 26 episodes of it, starring the

fun loving, William Windom. He was a daydreamer, as some writers

seem to be, visualizing ways to make life better, or imagining

a whole different world.

Hey, have you ever read, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty?” This

was released in movie form, in October, 2013. The movie is based

on a short story with the same name. Check out the story or the

movie to find out how an author transcends his time period of

his writing.

The short book, “Please Don’t Eat the Daisies,” by Jean Kerr,

contains images that capture your “Aha!” moments. Sometimes this

helps you to relate, despite the contrast between your life and

the one of being a career parent, (Jean Kerr was a playwright)

with rampant children loose in your New York apartment suite. This

became a television show, a song sung by Doris Day and a movie.

I like P.G. Wodehouse’s sense of humor, sometimes at the ‘expense’

of the upper class in England. Once you read his biography, you

realize why this is true. He was only three years old, a son of a

British judge in Hong Kong, when he was sent back to England to be

raised by a nanny. His dependence on servants, helped him to

develop a deep affection and respect for them.

Once P.G. or Pelham Grenville, also known as “Plum,” reached

school age, he was sent off to boarding school, where all his

holidays were spent with his two brothers and a series of aunts.

“Plum” developed a rather devoted habit of writing short stories

and essays. One biographer said he wrote ‘relentlessly’ in his

spare time. Good thing to remember, as we have heard this before,

great artists, craftsmen, musicians and authors, practice their

craft.

Writing and being a ‘cricketer’ (one who plays cricket) were his

only passions. He had a sharp tongue, got himself in serious

trouble while in Germany, on a radio show, making light-hearted

jabs at the ‘regime.’ Can you imagine ‘giving lip’ while WWII was

going on? Since this was during Hitler’s time of control, Wodehouse

was placed in an internment camp for over a year.

If you are trying to place P.G. Wodehouse, his books include the

character of “Jeeves.” There is a series of books and movies that

were taken from the books. The pictures he shows of servants are

smart and clever, able to manage households and help with his

character’s detective work, too.

The main character in his “Jeeve’s” series of books is Bertie

Wooster. He is a rather ‘spoiled’ rich young man, but tries to

be kind, helpful and be counted on, by his ‘pals,’ and women

who say they are engaged to him, he won’t confront them and

deny this! Lots of fun, some drunken incidents, and reminds me

of the impetus for the character,

In another book P.G. Wodehouse wrote, “Blandings Castle,” again

the servants are friends of the ones who are head of household,

the main characters are upper crust, who sometimes aren’t quite

as important as they think they are. He liked to ‘make fun’ of

the rich, along with business men and persons in the law. His

father being a judge didn’t prevent his getting into and out of

trouble. Reminds me of the stories of ‘preacher’s kids’ or P.K.’s,

who were the rabble rousers in our small town, growing up and in

Delaware, I knew one, too!

The subject being short stories, I would like to recommend the one

called, “Strychnine in the Soup.” He incorporates another kind of

interesting character, the strong-willed, independent, sometimes

older woman. These women can be sometimes, ‘troublemakers.’ In this

short story, Archibald Mulliner is the detective from a wealthy

family and Lady Bassett is the older woman.

Interestingly enough, A. A. Milne did not respect Wodehouse’s escape

from the internment, feeling that his wealth had bought him out

of it. There is a rather silly poem, where P.G. Wodehouse imitates

Milne’s “Winnie the Pooh” style, but it is meant to be satirical.

I was excited to know many authors respect Wodehouse and that

Agatha Christie dedicated her book, “Halloween Party” to him.

In 1975, due to the WWII internment and his body of work,

Wodehouse was knighted, Sir Pelham Greenville Wodehouse. He

had written 15 plays, numerous books and collaborations for

250 songs in 30 musical comedies, with Jerome Kern and Guy

Bolton. Wodehouse died in that year of his knighthood, at age

93. A life well-lived, indeed. To me, his stories gave me a

‘window’ into a world I will never inhabit and made it quite

enjoyable.

The final thought I wished to impart is that when we speak of

writing, we include the hope for longevity. The writers of short

stories, listed here, and others you may already know and love,

all have captured our hearts by breathing life into their

characters.

Television 50 Years Ago

Standard

Fifty years ago in March, 1964, the television show,

“Jeopardy!” made its debut. It became a landmark, a

long lasting iconic fixture in many living and family

rooms, during the after-dinner hour time. I was very

pleased to have some of my ‘homework’ done for me,

on this show. My parents never told us to turn that

show off either!

In the March AARP Magazine, there was a list of 7 other

fifty year old television shows. Happy Golden anniversary

(from when they were created) and may they live long in

our memories, too.

Here is a quick summary and my own opinion/review attached

for “New Spring Releases” of 7 television shows that came

about in Spring, 1964:

1. “Flipper”

This was given a silly label by someone who thought it

was like ‘the aquatic Lassie.’ I liked the way that

this show had the bottlenose dolphin, named Flipper,

making that sound that to me, seems like they know

we (people) are ridiculous. I liked the two boys who

were the main characters who had a pet dolphin. I

was envious of this show that looked like it was warm

even while playing in the snow that day. As a child,

I believed Flipper was laughing at us, the audience!

2. “Bewitched”

Samantha was a gorgeous witch, who was trying to

fit into her neighborhood and be a ‘good housewife.’

Elizabeth Montgomery was a woman who embodied, in my

eight year old eyes, the ‘perfect woman.’ I thought

she was funny, clever and could fix things with a

little wiggle of her nose.

I have to tell you that some people did not like the

remake of “Bewitched,” as a movie, that has Nicole

Kidman playing Samantha’s character. But I loved it!

There is a place in the story, where her neighbor,

played by Kristen Chenoweth, comes over and they are

both holding hands, jumping up and down together, as

if they were children. That moment captured my feelings

about the television show, exactly.

I also felt that Shirley MacLaine was the perfect actress

to play Sam’s mother, in the movie, since she believes in

‘otherworldly’ experiences!

The two Darrens on “Bewitched,” were vastly different. I

liked Dick York, the original actor in the husband’s role

best. It is strange that they were able to replace him

with another Dick (Sargent.)

3. “Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.”

As a goofy and na√Įve Marine from Mayberry, Gomer was

almost like “Goober” from the show it spun off of.

He was often getting into trouble, which would not

have realistically happened. He would have been court-

martialed on the first day of his service. I felt that

this was a funny show and always will remember those

silly words, “Well, goll-ee!” My brothers and parents

liked “Hogan’s Heroes,” much better when that one came

out.

4. “The Man From U.N.C.L.E” was such an exciting show

that reminded me of my discovering Ian Fleming, before

I ever saw a James Bond movie. I liked to read the

daredevil activities of Bond in his adventurous and

rather bawdy life. I felt that this television series

was a branch of that tree. I enjoyed both Robert Vaughn

and David McCallum. My Mom and I both enjoy “NCIS” where

David McCallum plays the medical examiner. We felt this

old show, when I was last with my Mom, I talked to her

about Man from UNCLE and we both agreed that they were

able to condense almost a ‘movie’ each week, into a one

hour television show. I also adored, “The Girl from

U.N.C.L.E.”

5. “Peyton Place”

This show was one of the first soap operas to appear

at night. This was during ‘prime time’ and was not

watched too often at our house. The only times would

have been if we had a babysitter or company who asked

for the show to be on. My parents were liberal but

did not like us ‘getting hooked’ on something this

‘banal.’ The show had attractive young people with

different story lines, all living in an idyllic small

town. There were often dangerous circumstances and

love affairs, too. The stories came from the book,

“Peyton Place,” by Grace Metalious, written in 1956.

My parents forbade us from watching the 3 Stooges movies!

They didn’t like us to watch that slapstick hitting

routine nor shows that were kind of risqué either!

6. “The Addams Family”

We had the books with the characters from this t.v.

show drawn in pen and ink, that were originally

cartoons in the “New Yorker” magazine. I liked the

main characters, Gomez and Morticia. I enjoyed

the way the real actors and actresses portrayed

the Addams Family. I still used for the nine years

of preschool, their catchy tune to teach the days

of the week. (Found it on a tape.) The plot was

not as silly as “Munsters,” which I later liked

when that debuted. I like in the Addams family

the hand, named “Thing,” little girl named,

“Wednesday,” and a butler named, “Lurch.”

This was an amusing and rather clever show.

Last but not least:

7. “Gilligan’s Island”

How do seven people who are so different end

up first on a boat? Second, get shipwrecked

together but are able to create furniture and

other accoutrements that make the Island they

are on, “Home?” This show captured my interest

and we were allowed to watch it, despite the

sexual innuendoes and the sexy outfits of the

actresses. I am not sure if it seemed ‘innocent’

enough or possibly having the leavening of a

scientist on the show, made it okay. Anyway, I

liked this show and could not believe it went on

for as long as it did. I never saw a finale…

maybe I should look this up sometime to see if

they ever get off the island!

I like that each of the television shows had a

catchy opening song, that you recognized and

would possibly run into the room to see the

beginning, if you had been sidetracked and not

realized your ‘favorite show’ was on!

What show did you like of this short list? Did it

make you think of another one from the past that

you really liked?

My kids are in their thirties and liked the show,

“My So-Called Life,” which Jared Leto got his start

from. He won Best Supporting Actor in “Dallas Buyers’

Club.” They also liked, “Felicity.” (The girls did,

anyway.) My son liked, “McGuyver” and was a big fan of

other adventure shows, including animal shows on PBS.

Don’t worry if you are too young to comment on the

50 year old shows…

Hauntingly Elegant Sites

Standard

If you would like to come to Ohio to see where Midwestern ghosts may

roam, there are several locations in our state. Many can be found in quite

elegant inns and you may stay overnight to get the full experience of such

unearthly spiritual encounters. If you already have plans this year, you

could always plan a visit next year, perhaps…

My youngest daughter, who graduated from U.D., visited the Golden

Lamb Inn once on a date. I was taken once for a “fancy dinner” and envy

those who would stay overnight to experience the ghostly encounters,

this Halloween season. The Golden Lamb Inn has the right to boast it is

“the oldest inn”¬†claims to have¬†three ghosts in residence. They appear in

guest rooms and in connecting hallways, too. This is a four story, brick

Colonial style inn which is both authentic and lovely in its interior

furniture and decorations.

One of the supposed “specters” is a small girl. This may possibly Sarah

Stubbs’ inner child since she did live a long life. She was the daughter

of an early owner of the inn. I would be sad to see a child’s ghost,

especially if it were one who had died young.

Another spirit that roams the halls is thought to be one of Charles

Sherman, father of the Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman.

The elder, Charles, was a well respected Ohio Supreme Court justice,

along with being a renowned lawyer known for his legal decisions and

opinions that have been cited for years after his death.

This Charles, a cigar smoking man, died while staying at the inn due to

a sudden illness, leaving his wife with 9 year old (general) William and

TEN other children, aged 18 and younger! I would think the penniless,

widowed wife would be the one haunting the place, with such a large

family to tend! I would think Charles, with such an active sex life, (proof

in a family of 11 children) would have been able to live longer due to

the exercise and blood flowing through his fertile body! Supposedly,

Charles’ whiskered face with the accompanying smell of cigar smoke

is often found in the inn’s hallways.

Another “ghost” of The Golden Lamb Inn is the one of Congressman,

Clement Vallandigham. As  a U.S. Congressman running for Ohio

Governor, he spoke up against the Civil War. This anti-war stance was

frowned upon and he was ‘expelled’ from the North. When he returned

to Ohio, he was staying at the Inn while serving as a defense attorney in

a murder case. The poor, klutzy lawyer was planning a demonstration

for court the next day proving his client innocent and that the victim had

committed suicide and was not a victim. While practicing the use of a how

a gun could be used to commit suicide, he accidentally shot himself in the

abdomen. He died the next morning. If not of embarrassment, then of the

actual self-inflicted fatal wound!

The Colonel Taylor Inn, in Cambridge, Ohio, is a beautiful place to stay. It was a

frequent overnight place of many famous guests, including congressmen, as

the owner was Congressman Joseph D. Taylor. Among the notable guests,

the trio of presidents from Ohio were James A. Garfield, William McKinley,

and Rutherford B. Hayes. (He was a Delaware, Ohio resident and our high

school is named after him.) Although dead Presidents may be inclined to

haunt the White House, the strange noises, unexplained footsteps and

wafting pipe tobacco smoke are all attributed to the Colonel.

The 1861 Inn in Batavia, Ohio is one built during the Civil War to shield

and protect travelers along the Underground Railroad. (Side comment:

Delaware has a corner where North Franklin and Lincoln Roads cross

where there are two tunnels criss-crossing under the roads. The Chi Phi

fraternity House has a scary haunted house that annually plays up this

strange area where ghosts may pass through…) Anyway, the alleged

haunting spirit of a woman named Jennie Penn, can be found in the

hallways and rooms in this inn. The woman graduated in 1885 from

Batavia High School and lived in the 1861 Inn until her death in the

1940’s. Her spirit wanders through, seen and heard here. She was

an artist, so a self portrait of Jennie is hung in the lovely dining room

of the inn. Many of her personal mementos can be found throughout

the building she called home, as a grown “spinster” woman.

The following is a brief list of other hotels and places to find Ohio

ghostly apparitions floating around and creating mischief:

1. Punderson Manor (found at Punderson State Park Lodge) where

rumors of paranormal visitors abound, including an eerie laugh in

rooms and halls, water faucets that turn on and off, and doors

opening and closing.

2.¬† Rider’s Inn (Painesville, Ohio) In 1812, built and also used in the

Underground Railroad stop. Gentle spirit of Suzanne Rider passes

through the rooms and halls here. There is  a Suzanne Suite, Room #11,

which you can book, to get the whole experience of her ghostly

presence.

3. Buxton Inn of Granville, Ohio. Ghosts are of both the innkeeper and

his wife that haunt these hallways together. That couple probably

creates quite a lot of mischief!

4. Lofts Hotel in Columbus, Ohio. This is a beautiful Victorian style

building filled with the possibility of that era’s “lady ghosts,” roaming

around it.

5. There are oddities and unusual sightings in the Marietta Hotel,

Lafayette, Ohio. Personal property goes missing from guests’ rooms.

Shampoo and conditioner bottles are found dumped. There are

sometimes upside down or suitcases that have been tipped over

and contents strewn. This is the most active set of spirits reported

in all the hotels and inns in Ohio.

6. In Cincinnati, the Hilton Inn at Netherland Plaza, has a “Lady in Green”

who occupies the place. She is surmised to be the wife of a construction

worker killed during the building of the Inn, in the 1930’s. There is an

elegant Hall of Mirrors, to view in this location.

At Halloween the best place to visit to get the whole range of emotions,

of course, would be to head towards New England and go north to

Salem, Massachusetts.

Salem has a lot of spirits roaming and everyone, whether they are one

or not, likes to parade around in witch or warlock costumes or actual attire.

I have seen this place during a less cheery time of year, in Winter, while a

young teenager with my family. The grim, freezing cold weather gave my

view a whole different twist on the witchcraft and the various museums

we explored. My family valiantly traveled there to see my Great Aunt Marie,

Great Aunt Dorothy and her husband, Great Uncle George. We spent time

with my second cousins in the town of Rockport, Massachusetts. The trip

was beautiful from the inside of our old station wagon. The icicles,

beautiful antique features of the Victorian and Colonial homes along with

the confectioner sugar coating on all you could see are sights I will always

remember fondly.¬† As long as we were in one of the family member’s

homes with fires blazing in the fireplace or tucked in with blankets, in the

car driving through the towns winter is a wondrous sight in New England!

I would like to see the town of Salem, MA again, on a warmer, less dismal

day! That is the direction that makes the most sense to head while observing

the holiday of Halloween!