Monday, October 15, 2007

ghosts in the bungalow

With Halloween fast approaching, we are busily playing with ghosts and goblins at our bungalow in St.Paul. The Littles are scurrying about the house, making maps of the neighborhood with asterisks next to the houses that give out the GOOD treats and cobbling together intricate and imaginative costumes for their Halloween Adventure. I say "imaginative costumes" because I am not exactly clear as to what they are supposed to be - a dish towel and a jump rope and a teddy bear and a tutu and a pull-along phone all wrapped around yaya made her a pony...Hmmmm.

We are busily decorating and telling stories and listening to Loreena McKennit, and it made me think about all of the great ghost stories that I have heard. In fact, I heard a good one last night over at Death By Children.

Now, I have a tremendously overactive imagination. After reading this story - which by daylight is not remotely scary - I stood in my dark living room afraid to turn off the lights or look at my dog. And so I stood there. For a really long time. And then, I called my husband. Who was sound asleep. So I called him again. Luckily, after 10 years of marriage he is used to my overactive imagination, and he kept talking to me ... as I climbed the darkened staircase ... to our attic bedroom... mwahahahahha.

(OK, our bedroom isn't in the attic. I've never actually been in the attic of my home. It's a hole in the ceiling. And it's painted shut. I guess that I thought, why bother... I'm just trying to get you in the mood... mwahahahaha!)

Ghosts in the Bungalow: Joe Comes for a Visit

Shortly after Via was born, we moved into a charming bungalow in a quaint neighborhood in the MacGraveland neighborhood of St.Paul, MN. This house was lovely. There was a big Oak tree in the front yard that sheltered our little home and created a magical dappled effect on sunny days. There were built-ins and leaded glass and hardwood floors throughout and a walk-up attic that one day would be converted to the master suite. We loved this house.

One sunny spring afternoon, shortly after moving into our new bungalow, I was changing Baby Via on the old dresser that we'd commissioned as a changing station. I was home alone with the baby, and I'd left every window and the door to the porch wide open. Maybe that was a mistake? Do you know that feeling you have when someone is looking at you? You just know that someone is there? Well, I had that feeling, and it startled me a little bit.

I looked up - in the mirror - and saw, standing behind me, no leaning a bit on the door jam, a tall, dark haired man wearing a little hat and a cardigan sweater. I quickly turned around to confront him, and there simply was no one there. It was then that I smelled the cigarettes. (Neither Daddyman or I smoke.)

Strangely, I wasn't the least bit frightened. You see, while I had never met Daddyman's father, Joe - he'd passed away several years before I met him - I KNEW that he had been in our house. Joe had simply stopped in for a visit: To see his son's new home and to meet his new wife and baby.

When I remember that day, I think of it warmly. I wasn't afraid. As a matter of fact, I wish that he'd stayed longer. I wish that I'd met him when he was alive.
Still, to this day, I know when Joe comes for a visit because my house smells like cigarette smoke.


Sue said...

I know that wasn't scary to you, but it kind of freaked ME out a little... I have the heebie jeebies now.

lisa {milkshake} said...

Eeewwwww. I have goose bumps. I am SO easily scared, that I'm glad it's the middle of the afternoon! I would've done the same thing you did - called my husband to come get me! But then I would've been annoyed at myself for being such a weenie.

Sarah @ Ordinary Days said...

Thanks for sharing. I am in such a ghost story mood right now, even though they scare they crap out of me. :)

CaROlInE said...

Here I was, ready for a thrilling scary story! and kinda was a little let down. . .shame on you, getting my hopes up like that. . . Wow, that came out really mean. . . I do so love you . . . Really. . . I do.

Happy Halloween everyone. BOO!!

Angela WD said...

OK, I would be creeped out first of all if a stranger was in my house, and then really freaked out when he wasn't there, but you realized it was your dead father in law...eeek.

kalurah said...

great! now I'm afraid of my attic.
I really am not into ghost stories normally. in fact the movie Sixth Sense gave me terrible nightmares for a week. (what were you thinking, M. Knight Shamalama-dingdong???)
but I have to admit, this one had an oddly endearing quality. :)

Sew Succulent said...

are you sure that's not *my* spirit you're channeling when you smell cigarette smoke?? :-)

just kidding. 'only smoke when I'm a little drunk, which is faaaaar too infrequently these days.... ;-)

Shandy said...

ya--I'm a wimp so I have to second the other's opinions about having a mild case of the heebie jeebies!!! There is something thrilling about getting a little scared...however my D. is out of town so your story is about all I can take right now!

Ahna said...

Hi Ahna ~ My name is Ahna, too! I found your blog a couple of weeks ago when I did a vanity Google of my name -- ahem!-- OUR name. I was dying to know what the other Ahnas of the world were up to.

I bookmarked your blog in my "Favorites" and have visited it quite a few times. It is very sweet and funny and real. Tonight I read the story of the painting in your house -- the Kept Promise Painting -- and it just made me cry, it was so lovely.

I don't blog very often, but feel free to follow the link on my name -- I mean, OUR name! -- if you care to. :)

Patti said...

does it count that i think a hobo is living in our attic?!

Anonymous said...

This time of year always makes me want to break out the Edgar Allan Poe Anthology.


by Johanna Brandvik said...

I do love hearing about this experience...the way you describe it, I can almost see that man in the hat and sweater and smell the lingering smoke.