THE HOUSE ON BLACKRAVEN DRIVE

Lucy came home from school crying. Her mother asked her what happened. She told

her mother that the kids told her that she was living in an old funeral home, and there

were ghosts living there with her. Lucy’s mother told her that was partially true. The

house used to be a funeral home but the ghost stories were not true. It was also the

home of the funeral director and his family they lived there happily for many years.

That evening after her mother and father left to meet some friends for dinner.

Lucy told Jonah the story she heard at school. He told her there is no such thing as ghosts, and to

prove it they would check every room in the house. It started to thunder and rain. Lucy did not

want to but Jonah was her older brother and insisted she go with him, unless of course she was a

scaredy cat and started laughing. Lucy finally agreed, she would never give her brother the

satisfaction of knowing she was frightened.

They decided to start in the attic. Lucy’s heart was pounding but she followed her brother

up the steps, holding onto him for dear life.. Jonah open the door to the attic, it made a creaking

sound and Lucy jumped, Jonah just laughed and turned on the light. There was nothing there

except some boxes put there by there parents, they contained odds and ends. They went into each

room, even the rooms they had never been in before. The floors were a bit creaky, and they even

looked in the closets.

“See I told you there is not such thing as ghosts.” There was only one place they had not

investigated, the basement. The storm had worsened the wind was howling and Lucy could hear

the trees rustling against the house. “I don’t want to go down there”.

“Oh come on Lucy don’t be such a baby.” Lucy angrily said;

“Don’t call me a baby”.

“Then stop acting like one, are you afraid that a ghost is going to jump out and say BOO”!

Jonah took the flashlight out of the draw from the table that stood in the front hall.

He opened the door to the dark and musty smelling basement. The two of them decended the narrow

stairwell. Lucy was holding onto the back of Jonah’s shirt collar. “Let go of my collar, you’re

choking me”. Lucy reluctantly let go. When they reached the bottom of the steps it was pitch dark,

just then the thunder boomed and the basement lit up with the lightning strike that followed.

Lucy screamed and Jonah laughed, he flicked on the light switch. Unfortunately there was only one

light in the basement, and it was in the center of the room. It made the basement look eerie with

shadows everywhere. Jonah turned on the flashlight, just then another loud boom, thunder and

lightning. The lights in the house went out, and Lucy screamed again. Jonah laughe but this time it

was a nervous laugh. He was a little frightened this time.

“Jonah I hear something.”

“What do you hear”?

“It sounds like someone is scraping their feet as they walk. Listen can you hear it”? Jonah listened

for a minute. “Yes, I hear hear it”.

“Jonah lets go upstairs and call the police”. Lucy said in a shakey voice.

“No, it’s probably just the wind.” He answered.

“Inside the house”?

“Shut up Lucy and lets just look around a little”.

“Jonah, suppose the house is haunted, we could get killed down here.” Jonah took Lucy’s hand and

said; “Come on, I’m right here. I’ll hold your hand”. He took her hand and they slowly started to

walk toward the far end of the basement. They walked passed the furnace, their fathers

workbench, some furniture that was not being used.

The scratching noise could still be heard by both children. They got closer and closer to

the back wall. All of a sudden they heard a loud cracking sound, and it was not thunder. They

both jumped, and Lucy let out another scream, and grabbed Jonah. Jonah quickly moved

the light toward the sound his heart now pounding fast in his chest. Lucy was now shouting,

“Jonah lets get out of hear, someone is going to kill us”! As he cast the flashlight toward

the corner of the basement, there it was. A mouse had just been caught in a trap trying

to get a hunk of cheese. “There’s your ghost”, Jonah said with a laugh, relieved.

“How disgusting.” Lucy replied. They both starting laughing. The storm had lessoned and the

lights went back on in the house, including the one in the basement.

“Come on, lets go upstairs and get some cookies that mom baked, and a glass of milk”.

Lucy and Jonah did make friends at school and lived happily in that big old house for many years.

THE END

FIRST KISS

The year was 1958 I was 15 and boys were the topic of conversation. I had two older sisters and we all had crushes on one boy or another.  I was still on the verge of being a Tomboy, but since I was allowed to go to the church dances at St. Mary’s church on Friday evenings the “guys” started looking different to me. Of course I suppose the raging hormones helped.

Confraternity is what the dance was called. Father O’Tool would talk with us from 7:00pm to 7:30pm about life, religion and virtue. We would all sit there and when he would ask at the end of the sermon if there were any questions, not one hand would go up. Even if you did have a question, if you raised your hand you would be dead meat. At 7:30 the chairs were cleared by the guys’ and the dance would begin. Of course we had to be dressed presentable. Boys with suit and tie or sport jacket and slacks with tie. Girls with skirt and blouse or dress. No jeans, Tee shirts, leather jackets allowed by the boys and no tight skirts or see through blouses for the girls. After all this was the 50’s and we were at a church social. Father O’Tool hung around while the rock “n” roll blared so there were never any fights. However he did overlook the smoking of cigarettes for the most part.

We danced the night away until 10:30pm and then it was over, so we (the girls) had three hours to meet guys. This was all new to me and I got pointers from my two older sisters.

This one particular night a boy came up to me and asked me to dance. Since my group of girls danced with mostly each other this was a shock to me, but I accepted. As I walked to the dance floor I could hear the giggles of my friends and sisters. The song was Earth Angel and it was a magical moment. My heart was racing and my throat was dry, but I managed to chat with him. His name was Mike, he was about  6 feet tall, with dirty blond hair and beautiful blue eyes. He was wearing a black suit with a white shirt and a black tie. He was a dream, and he danced well. Mike walked me home that night. He asked me if I would go to the movie with him on Sunday. I told him it would have to be in the afternoon because we had school on Monday and my parents wouldn’t allow me to go in the evening. I had never even been on a date before, nor did I know if my parents would allow it, but I accepted anyway. It was a magical night, I of all the girls had a guy interested in me. “Oh What a Night.” When I arrived home my sisters had a million questions for me. They also told me that Mom and Dad would never let me go on a date. I had all night to plan what I would say to my parents the next day. After all I had an ace in the hole, you see his brother was a priest! Mike was practically a saint.

Saturday I told my mother about Mike and how nice he was. How he walked me home and asked me to go to the movie on Sunday. I also gave her his last name, where he lived and advised her that he had a brother that was a priest. “I don’t know Patti, you are only 15.”

“Oh, Mom please, it’s only a movie and I will be home by 6:00pm.”

“Well, I will talk with your Dad and let you know.”

I did want to whine and argue, but thought twice about that and just said “Okay.”

To my surprise they were letting me go. I was elated. My sisters teased me all day, but my girlfriends were so jealous, I was thrilled. I might have landed a boyfriend. At 15 that was practically a miracle, especially with parents as strict as mine.

I pictured Mike coming to the door in his beautiful black suit with his white shirt and tie, I couldn’t wait for tomorrow. I did all of my chores with a song on my lips. “Earth Angel.”

Sunday arrived it was pouring rain. I was heart broken. I thought it would be a beautiful sunny day, I had wonderful visions of walking and hand holding and possibly my very first kiss. I decided not to let the weather change my hope’s and dream’s. I just changed the scenery, I thought of Gene Kelly and “Dancing in the Rain.”

The doorbell rang, my father told me he would get it. I heard him greet Mike and exchange conversation. My parents grilled him about his family and himself. They then called me to tell me Mike had arrived. Like I didn’t know. I walked down the hall to the kitchen where Mike was waiting with my parents. Shock took over my body, who was this guy? Where was the handsome boy who danced with me and walked me home on Friday night. My God he was wearing a brown suit and brown shoes. I hated brown. How could he do this to me! Now I had to spend an afternoon with him at the movie. I might as well have gone with my younger brother. Oh, Lord, what do I do now, I thought. Brown shoes, and ugly ones at that. What happened to his black shiny Penny Loafers that he wore Friday night.

The movie playing  was “East of Eden.” We took our seats, he bought me an ice cream cone. He put his arm around the back of my seat. I panicked, I knew he was going to kiss me. I could feel it in my bones. He did kiss me. Right there in the theater, with everyone watching, and him in those ugly brown shoes. A few minutes later I announced I must go home.

“Why? I told your father we would be home at six.”

“I don’t care what you told my father, I have homework to do for school and I am leaving.”

Mike followed me out of the theater it was about 4:00pm. We caught the bus and he walked me home in the pouring rain. No “Dancing in the Rain” either. I said an abrupt goodbye and thank you and went directly into the house.

“What are you doing home so early.” my parents asked.

“He kissed me. It was disgusting, so I left the movie.”

“You mean you just got up and walked out, just because he kissed you?”

“Yes.”

“He just kissed you? Nothing else? He didn’t get fresh with you, did he?”

“No, nothing else.”

“Then why didn’t you wait until the movie was over?”  They asked.

I looked at them, what’s the matter with these people I thought.

“Because he wore brown shoes, ugly brown shoes and a brown suit.” I headed off to my room.

I didn’t go to Confraternity for a few weeks after that.

The moral of this story is be careful what you wish for. You might get it.

BEST FRIENDS “GONE WITH THE WIND”

I know this is a bit late, but life does get in the way at times, and I am subject to that as all of you are.

If you have read Best Friends you know about my best friend of over 50 years. This post is another one of our escapades, I hope it brings a smile to your face.

Arlene and I heard that “Gone With The Wind” was playing at a theater in Manhattan. We both wanted to see it. The problem we knew would be getting our husbands to take us. We pondered this for a few days knowing we would have to come up with a really good plan, and we hit on a great idea.

“Okay, Arlene here’s what I came up with. We wait for the week the movie is playing. We keep the guy’s apart that week. Don’t mention it at all until toward the middle of the week. Being that they both work different hours they won’t talk to each other about it at all. You tell your husband on Thursday that my husband and I want to go see the movie. I will tell my husband that your husband and you want to see the movie. Being that it is playing in Manhattan we can tell them that we can all go to dinner afterward. Just keep them away from each other until Saturday. What do you think?”

“Brilliant! Al works on Saturday so they won’t talk to each other until the drive down. We will have to keep them off the subject of the movie on the ride down to the City though.”

“That won’t be to hard, I will just bring up some questions about football. If we get them talking about that we’re in.”

“Let’s do it.”

“Great.”

We went hysterical laughing. The plan was set. The week arrived, we decided to wait until Thursday evening to tell the guys about seeing the movie. We were hoping they didn’t ask what movie, but just in case they did we decided to tell each one that the other guy wanted to see it. The plan worked. I told my husband that Arlene’s husband wanted to see the movie, and she told her husband that my husband wanted to see it. My husband asked. “What the hell does he want to see that movie for.”

“I don’t know, but what’s the difference, it’s a night out.”

Arlene told me her husband asked her the same thing, and she gave him the same exact answer. We laughed all day about that.

Saturday night arrived, we were on our way to the city. Our plan was coming together perfectly. We started asking questions about football. We also asked them where they wanted to go to eat after the show. We had all we could do to keep from laughing hysterically on that ride. We arrived, we parked. The tickets were bought, and just as we entered the theater I herd my husband ask Arlene’s husband.

“Why in the hell do you want to see this movie?’

“Me? Arlene told me you wanted to see it.”

Arlene and I exploded into laughter. We said, “Well, we are already here, so lets just watch the movie.”

“It’s a classic.” I said.

“Yeah, right.” My husband answered.

By that time we were in the seating area. It was jammed. The only seats that were available were four seats in the front row.  We were less than ten feet away from the humongous screen. The movie started and for four and a half hours we had to strain our necks to watch the movie. The guys did nothing but complain, we told them to shut up so we could hear what was being said.

“Hear what’s being said? The music is so loud I am going deaf.”  My husband answered. Arlene and I laughed ourselves silly. The movie was spectacular. The only problem was our necks were killing us by the end of the movie.

“Mission accomplished.” Arlene said. I was hysterical. “Lets get something to eat.” I said.

They did not trust us after that, so it was a one time deal, but worth every second.

 

Next, The New Years Party.

Our Artistic Escapade

Before I start this story I would like to say thank you to my best friend Arlene. If you read Best Friends last week you know that I didn’t use Arlene’s name. I didn’t want to embarrass her so I used the name Maggie, noting that it was not her real name. I received a telephone call this week from Arlene. She read the story and told me she loved it. I was also told feel free to use her real name. Although we do not live in the same state any more we remain as close as ever. So I dedicate this one to Arlene.

The stories that I tell in this series span over a period of many years starting in about 1967 to the present.

It was summer time in Mt. Vernon N.Y.. It was hot and Arlene and I were bored to death. We were sitting around and thinking up ways of making money. but this time we wanted to make big money.  I don’t remember how we got on the subject but we started talking about drawing and painting pictures. Right then and there I could almost see the big light blub go on over her head.

” Hey, why don’t we go into town and get some jobs painting store windows for Christmas.”

” Uh, what makes you think I can draw, or paint for that matter.”  Was my reply.

” I can draw and all you have to do is fill in my outlines with the paint. All the shops and businesses get their window’s painted for the holiday’s. We can make a fortune.”

” I am game, as long as I don’t have to draw anything, my limit is stick people.”  We started laughing.

” Don’t worry, I will do all the drawing and all you have to do is help me fill in with the paint.”

Off we went to town. We wanted to get there before any of the other artists secured the jobs. I myself did not anticipate that we would secure anything other than people thinking we were nuts. Arlene however was sure we would get jobs. To my surprise we did get jobs from several shops and even the gas station. We were so excited because we were going to make about $300.00 per shop. I could not believe it, we could not believe it. It was the topic of our conversation for the next few weeks. We had big plans how to spend the money we would make. We also did not tell our husbands about it. They thought we were nuts as it was, if they heard this one they might have put us away for good. It was our secret. Beside the fact that it would mean we could go to Bingo for weeks. We loved going to Bingo, yes we were only in our twenties but we had a thing for Bingo.

The summer dragged on. One morning toward the end of summer Arlene called me on the telephone and told me to come over to her house as soon as possible. When I arrived she announced that she was pregnant. I was so happy for her. Her daughter was beautiful and now another baby was on the way. As the weeks went on Arlene had terrible morning sickness, afternoon sickness and evening sickness. We thought it would pass after a while, but it did not. Thanksgiving was fast approaching, we were suppose to be starting our painting for the Christmas season. Arlene was having a rough time with her pregnancy and advised me she would not be able to do the jobs we had lined up.

” What are you talking about, we have all those people thinking we will be there.”

” I can’t do it Pat, I feel too sick.”

” So what are we suppose to do now?”

” Oh don’t worry about it, they probably forgot about it anyway.”

” We should at least go tell them that you can’t do the job.”

” Okay, I will tell them.” she replied.

I was disappointed, but I understood, and as long as Arlene was going to cancel everything it would be fine.

One day after Thanksgiving I arrived home and my husband told me a man called looking for me.

” Who was it.” I asked.

” It was the guy that owns the Gulf station in town. He said something about you were suppose to paint his window for Christmas. He wants you to call him. What is this all about?”

” Oh nothing. What did you tell him.”

” I laughed and told him he must have the wrong number because my wife can’t draw and she sure does not know how to do paintings. So what is going on. Did you tell him you would paint his window?”

” Well, Arlene and I were going to paint windows to make extra money for the holiday, but now that she is pregnant she is to sick and we won’t be able to do it, but don’t worry I didn’t give him my last name so he really doesn’t know who I am.”

” Pat, you and Arlene are nuts the both of you belong in the nut house. Stop coming up with these idea’s.”

I asked him if he would drive down to the Gulf station and tell the guy we couldn’t do it because Arlene was not well.

” No way.”

” Oh come on, you go there for gas anyway.”

” Not any more I won’t, thanks to you and your girlfriend.”

The owner did call my house a couple of times after that, but I just told him he had the wrong number and hung up.

We didn’t make extra money that year, but Arlene gave birth to another beautiful baby girl.

 

 

Next week, Gone With The Wind.