Was my house haunted?
It was a lonely evening at the dinner table, such as any other. I sat slumped down low in my chair picking at my peas that seemed to never quite make it to my mouth. I looked around the table to see if the rest of my brothers and sisters were having the same disgusted feeling, of squishy green peas rubbing around the palette of their mouth, as well as strong gag reflexes to keep the buggers down. But not to my surprise, I saw their salivating mouths gorged with the never ending supply of green globs of goo. My stomach started to feel queasy, beginning to tumble as if I was stuck in the spin cycle of a washing machine, so I slowly pushed my plate away. As my eyes focused on the ravenous display of vultures, I got up from my chair while holding my stomach and asked to be excused.
My mother glanced over the table at my uneaten pyramid of peas and mutilated spotted ham and said, "You have barely touched your food. Sit down right now and eat your dinner or I will give you something to pout about!" Usually when my birth monster leaves you with that threat, you listen or prepare to suffer the consequences of whatever diabolical punishment she can dream up. Well that particular night I decided to exercise my glorious pride and take my chances. With arms locked at my sides I stood straight and tall as I approached the enemy as if I was preparing myself for the newest battle of a never ending war.
Still very frightened of her, and being the middle child of six, only eight years of age, it doesn't help to get noticed in a good way let alone any way at all. The only real friends we shared were each other, three brothers and two sisters, and my mother made sure that held true with each new day that arose. She dressed us in old rags from the Good Will even though the family's income was considered in the upper class. Our father was not around at the time, traveling a lot with work, to see what was going on. We barely saw him, but on the occasional weekend, when life always seemed to be a lot warmer and normal. Even though it was short lived, we all looked forward to the next time that this luxury would present itself.
Each day we forced ourselves to school with new bruises up and down our bodies like scary beaten zombies. What young adolescents would want to associate themselves with such a display of tragedy? If I came from a so-called "normal" upbringing I sure would not second guess the stereotype. Instead, we were made fun of and taunted day in and day out. "Little old Lady Day with the scarf on her head," "Get some real clothes," "Keep walking." were just some of the phrases the students around us would call out. My older brother always seemed to get the brunt of it though. Nevertheless, that is when I felt the closest to my brothers and sisters. All of us being close in age, we fought a lot, and boy did we have some bloody confrontations. When situations arouse and got tough to deal with, we always knew that we had someone help and support.
As I stood there waiting for my punishment, for not eating the round distasteful green globs, she then grabbed for the frying pan. This was the only thing she could get her sweaty plump hands on. After my birth monster got done smacking me around with the frying pan, I went up stairs to my room. My room was really quite large, but I only had a narrow path of maize carpet flooring to my bed. My mother was a pack rat, and my room was her storage space, full of boxes stacked to the ceiling; but my glory, I made it my castle. Her mess was my make believe playhouse away from reality.
I managed to get to my closet to change into my second hand Captain America pajamas, who was my all-time hero, which were passed down to me from my older brother. I reached under my bed and grabbed my small bag of Barbies and accessories. Excited to share my new thought up dress idea with my best friend, Glamor Barbie, I unzipped the clear bag. Most of the dresses were constructed out of toilet paper, so in the end it was just a mere toga party, but to me she was never so perfect.
I began wrapping Samantha with my newly found fad as I envisioned this plastic model as myself. As I started to brush her long flowing blonde hair, I suddenly heard a faint musical sound, a harmonica The whining melody was coming from under my bed. Frustrated and annoyed I said. "Rodger, I know you are under there, so you can just come on out and leave me alone." My little brother was notorious for pulling pranks and bothering me while I left reality and entered my ideal Neverland with my dolls. The sound proceeded to get louder and higher making me more annoyed then ever. "Get out before I throw you out!" I yelled. But the high pitch whistle sound grew louder and louder until I had to leave my fairy tale place and return to the real world.
My beautiful unfinished Barbie plunged to the bed when I dropped her angrily. I hastily grabbed the edge of my bed and flung my thin framed body over to peak my head underneath. My face froze blank when I saw an unused area of floor with a gold harmonica occupying it. Trembling, I released the dust ruffle from my sweaty fingers, and sat up straight as I continued to breathe heavily.
Gathering my thoughts, I decided it would be best to play it cool. Still shaking I said, "Well Rodger or JD, I am so glad you find this funny. I am going downstairs to tell mom on you." Leaving my poor defenseless friend sprawled out on my bed, I rose swiftly to my feet and took soft giant steps to the door. When I finally made it to the other side of my room, I bolted for the stairs. I ran so fast it seemed like I flew like a rocket over the cold mound of thirteen steps. I caught my breath and walked into the kitchen where my sisters were finishing up the dinner dishes. "Where are Rodger and JD?" I asked.
"Rodger is in the living room with mom, and JD is cleaning out the pantry," Casey replied.
I ever so lightly peered my head through the glass doors, which was the gateway to enter the living room. My overweight mother was lying comfortably on the couch, greedily eating dill pickles and smoked fish. Old reruns of I Love Lucy filled the television screen, while my brother tirelessly massaged her bulging white legs. I took a deep breath in, shook my head, walked back to the kitchen, and flopped down in the chair. I knew telling her was a lost cause and possibly another humiliating experience. I was a bundle of nerves wanting to unravel one-by-one. I just had to tell someone.
My face instantly turned a reddish warm color and my body tingled when I relived the sound in my head. I asked Angel, who is my oldest and wisest sister, "Do you believe in Ghosts?"
I could see a faint smile starting to form from one cheek to the other when she replied, "Yes, why do you ask?"
"Well what I meant to ask is .... do you think our house is haunted?" Out of disbelief and fun, she laid the damp dish towel on the sink and sat in the chair next to me. She leaned over and placed a hand on my left thigh with a devilish smirk as she looked at Casey. "I think it is time to inform her on the past of our house."
Casey confirmed, "Yes, it is time she understands what really happened here."
My two older sisters sat their chairs close to me and my sister Angel spoke of her story while 1 listened intently. She locked eyes with mine and said, "Heidi, our house used to be a boarding house when it was first built in the early 1900s. People use to stop by to rest for the night. One particular night a young man by the name George Crane came to rest. He was found the next morning dangling outside your bedroom window. They say he committed suicide, but who really knows, and his spirit still lingers around." Angel then looked over at my other sister and gave her a subtle wink and said, "Casey, didn't he play the harmonica at night to help him fall asleep?"
"Yes. I do believe so."
My eyes then softly filled with tears, I gulped and asked, "This happened in my room? Why wouldn't he leave and go to heaven?"
Angel shrugged her head and said,”Who knows.”
When I managed to get enough guts to go back to my bedroom, I had a hard time sleeping. I tucked my whole body in my blankets like a cocoon so nothing could grab me in the middle of the night. After that night I never heard the ever-so-high-pitched harmonica sound again, but I do believe I heard and thought I saw other unnatural things. I slept with my lights on for a good year to comfort myself. I dwelled on this imaginary story my sisters told until we moved after my parents' divorce. After a long battle in the court, we all ended up with our father in a new home, a long way away from all our bad memories.
I look back now at the situation and realize that it was probably a combination of an overactive imagination and some good storytelling from my sisters that made this seem so real. In the end, I now believe it was just a mere grasp for attention I barely experienced, but maybe, just maybe, it was true. Maybe George Crane was real and he needed to feel noticed just as much as me.