Saturday, October 29, 2011
Trunk or Treat?
As I was saying last night, Ren, my daughter with a healthy appetite for all things commercially spooky, will not step foot around a certain item in our house unless she’s with someone. While she revels in mass-produced fear, she does not like anything with even the tiniest ingredient of reality.
Years ago, when we were first married and long before Ren was even on our horizon, John and I lived in his family’s...well, I would say ancestral home, but that brings to mind images of castles and large iron gates and I’m only talking about an old farm house...anyway, we lived in the home that had been built by his great-grandfather and, at one time or another, had housed many family members (Great-grandpa John Franklin had 18 children). Once the last of the 18 had grown up and moved away and Granny C had died, the house was occupied by tenant farmers who worked for the family in exchange for a place to stay, etc., until John and I married and decided to restore the house to use as our own residence.
Once we moved in, my husband’s grandmother would often ask if we ever heard or saw anything - indicating she remembered some occurrences during her tenure in the house, but we usually just politely shook our heads in disbelief (although I have to be honest and profess that I have always believed in the possibility of ghosts).
Our little farmhouse consisted of three bedrooms, one bath, a den, kitchen, study (the former parlor), the traditional central hallway common in that style home, and two attic spaces. Directly above our room, which was on the back of the house, was one of the attics which housed a lot of old family stuff, as we were too newly married to have stuff of our own to store .
It wasn’t long until, thanks to Nannie’s tales and the creaks and pops common among old houses, I had scared my young self (I was only 20 at the time) into being afraid to be alone in the house at night, or even being the only one awake in the house at night. Of course, it didn’t help that, in its early years, more than one person had died in the home, another person mad at the family hung himself from a tree not far from the home, still yet another person was killed in an accident at a sawmill located on our land in what would one day become, basically, our front yard, and that the funeral for John’s great-grandfather had actually taken place right there in the home.
Late one night, John and I were simultaneously awakened by a huge crash onto the attic floor above us. After some initial, wide-eyed questioning including "what was that", we lay in bed listening to the sound of the object being dragged across the attic, which ran the length of the house. Whatever the item, it was large and heavy. The only thing in the attic at that time of any significant weight was an old trunk which had belonged to John’s great uncle Floyd who used it when he enrolled at Cumberland Law School upon returning from WWI. During its days of storage in our attic it was chock full of the law books used by Floyd (and all the other brothers who eventually graduated from the same law program). Needless to say, we decided against going up just then to take a peek and saved any further investigating until daylight.
The next morning, upon making our way up the stairs and slowly opening the attic door, we fully expected to find things in disarray. What we found, given what we heard during the night, was even more unsettling. Nothing had been moved. Everything was as it had always been.