Thread: THE ODDEST THINGS
     >>
I rather love these strange abberations, that is unless they are cruel or somesuch. Reminds me of how dear Bilbo Baggins started his adventure. He was just minding his own business and along came Gandalf and then a small crowd of rather eccentric elves. The rest is well.....history, Middle-Earth history.
So I would love to hear from any who would care to share, of strange or odd things that simply came into your life when you were not expecting it.
I will share one to start.
One night my best girl buddy and I decided to take a break, we rarely did. I was teaching dance, contract painting and taking care of a home and my small children. I was worn out and needed a bit of a break. My friend was in the same position plus she had two miserable ill behaved goats and a whippet that drove her to distraction.
All we meant to do was go for a nice little meal. I don't drink as a rule but we had a glass of champagne. Then we lost track of the time and the next thing we knew it was rather late and we needed to get home. But she was famished and so we went to a pizza place to order a pizza. It took FOREVER and then we for some reason could not get a cab and had been waiting too long. So we decided to walk, it was about a mile. We carried the pizza and along the way our feet hurt dreadfully because of improper shoes for walking. So we took t hem off and kept going.
We came to a street wh ere I was to go one way and she another. For some reason she got afraid because while I lived on a well lit uptown type of cul de sac with solid neighbors , she lived down a country road and there was little lighting. She persuaded me to walk her partway and then turn back and hurry home. As we walked and talked and giggled, I thought I saw a glint of something in the ditch ahead. It seemed to me as I strained my eyes that I saw a tall figure and the figure held a knife.
Being the overimaginative type of girls we flipped and started running to the nearest house to get h elp , because it just so happened that someone noted as very dangerous had escaped from the nearest prison a couple of towns or so away. We ran shrieking into some people's backyard and didn't notice the killer dog . We started banging on the door and th en noticed we were probably going to be attacked in the jugular by the dog. Fortunately the door opened and we babbled like crazy people and finally the man understood, dealt with the dog and phoned the police.
Then as we waited we felt silly. We were sure it was our imagination and wished like anything we had not behaved so foolishly. The police came and we explained what we saw and they took it seriously as they said they thought he would probably be in this area and in fact he was armed and dangerous. Then they made us get into the back of the police car . I had never been in one before and felt I would die because there is no way to get back out. I felt totally claustrophic and they took forever to get going. We dropped my friend off first and then I had the humiliation of being driven home. Many of the neighbors, very proper neighbors were standing looking out th eir livingroom windows, aghast as I came out of the back of the police car, holding my shoes and some pizza. I felt so embarrassed and never did explain to t hem that I wasn't in any sort of trouble.
Well it turned out that WAS the fellow and we could have been knifed or worse.
So well that was u nexpected.
How about you?
Because of my lack of excitement, I use my nearly depleted imagination to escape from the doldrom that is my life.
Who cares what your neighbors think about you? If you live in a typical "uptown cul-de-sac" then you probably don't even know their names. Besides, everyone here at planet-tolkien seems to like you alot, and we're the ones that really count. I often wish that someone, perhaps myself, would arrive home in the back of a police car after midnight in my neighborhood. The fascists that "manage" the neighborhood would probably ask the person to leave for being too interesting.
Sorry, I was in a weird mood when I logged on tonight. I'm not a person that should be taken too seriously. Slainte!
You put me in mind of an interview I saw with Agatha Christie's grandson who so loved and misses her still. He said when she was a child she became ill and as she was laying abed she read everything in the house. She asked her mother for more reading material and her mother, it seems was harrassed by a number of duties at once; she told her daughter if she wished to read something new and exciting she must write it herself!
The rest they say, is history.
All of you are so dear to my heart.
What other people have thought exciting in my life h as usually been painful and sad to me or silly and not worth thinking about except to perhaps incorporate some of it into some of the things I write.
I shall share another with you.
I was put in grade one when I was four, the greatest mistake of my life in my opinion. I still sucked my thumb and was very shy and easily frightened of strangers.But I had been given some test and so that was how it was.I was in a British school, very strict and formal, but I liked it well.
I had no real playmates, had a strict nanny and well..so books were my friends. I decided to write, illustrate and put together my very own book. It took days but in the end it was my joy and I was so proud of it. I even sewed with my chubby baby hands the book together. I took it as gift to my teacher and she quietly read it then told me 'we don't use pen and ink until grade three. Go and sit down.'That was it, nothing else and to this day I wish I would have just kept it.
But my passion for books only grew after that. I decided to ask the man who raised me to please take me to the huge library in a far corner of the bustling city. I remember I chose The Emperor who wore no clothes for my very first library book. I was enchanted, thrilled at the hilarity of the story and the fine illustrations.AFter that I asked to go as much as possible.
But one day, I was going with the whole class after school to the library , it was for some lesson we were to learn.The other children were five or six and much much more mature and worldly than me.After we picked our books we were all to line up and then take the bus back to the school and then from there home.
Somehow I got aboard the wrong bus and as it zoomed along the opposite way to my home I became to say the least quite terrified. First because I thought I should never find my home, and second, because the woman who raised me was quite violent at times and I would be in for it for coming home late.
I never thought to tell the driver, but I said a little prayer to God and at some point when we had swung around I simply got off the bus. I looked up and saw a star and I wished on it and began to follow it. It was a fairly mild winter's eve and on and on and on I walked, holding tightly to my book. It seemed I walked for hours and noone stopped a tiny little girl to ask why she was alone in the dark.
And then, wonder of wonders, I started to recognize things and just like that, I was on my little street Elmwood drive. I marched proudly if somewhat stiffly from the cold to my house. The lady was very busy with some Christmas thing or other and never noticed I was late. Dinner thankfully was very late and I sat down with the others and never told anyone about my adventure.
It still rather alarms me when I think back to it.
I was in third grade. We had just moved to NY state from NJ, and everything was strange to me. It wasn't strange to my parents--at least, not entirely--since they were both originally from NY, just further north. The school was a small rural affair, part of a larger district, but still holding on to a homey atmosphere. It only went up to grade 5, and then the students were sent elsewhere in the district. I had entered school late in the fall, and found myself with the dubious delight of having the very same teacher who had taught my mother! It didn't help that I got her name wrong a bunch of times, or that when she asked me a question about Mom I didn't hear her right.
Then we started in with the arithmetic. I have never been that big on math, but I don't know if it was a comprehension problem or a memory problem at that level. After some time of turning in unsatisfactory work--or perhaps not doing my work because I didn't understand it--the teacher decided to keep me after school in order to work on problems with me.
Well, that's when the adventure began. Some of the brattier boys in the class told me "Kid, you're in for it now. She will beat the snot out of you after school." I was terrified of what might happen to me. I remember all the other kids had gone, and the teacher gave me instructions on what she was going to do. Then she left the room--probably needed a break, since there were no aides/paras in those days. So while she was out, I picked up my things and sneaked out of the building. I had no idea how to get home by a direct route, so I just reversed the morning bus route and hoped no one would send the police for me. I can just imagine what was going through the poor woman's mind when she found me gone! But this was a rural area, back when kids could walk for miles and not meet anyone, and certainly not come to any harm. After about an hour, my uncle pulled up next to me and told me to get in. He said something snide like "You're in the hot seat now."
And it didn't get me away from the teacher either. The next day, she humiliated me in class by telling me that I would have to stay after for a week as a punishment. Ah, the days before people worried about psychological scarring (ha)! But I found out she wouldn't beat me after school. She worked on the blackboard with me and showed me where I was going wrong in math. So I finally understood what that was all about. And then she asked me why I had run away. I told her what the boys had said about her. I think she was floored. She said something like, "Well, you don't have to stay after any more, now that you know how to work these problems." And she and I got along a bit better after that.
In middle school we in the honors class had a certain teacher for two years and she was brutal.She was not like your teacher. She berated us daily, called up limp wristed vegetables, and was forever giving us more and more assignments to 'teach us a lesson.'The worst of it was that she wore these athletic shoes that made absolutely no sound and when she left the class for whatever reasons(she had a drinking problem poor thing) she would come sneaking back and if anyone was so much as turned sideways because of a back problem we all got in trouble. All of us.
One time she came storming into the room shrieking that someone from our class had snuck a drink into the library during class and left the soda bottle on the very top of a shelf and it came crashing down on her head.She was a very large woman and could very well have bumped into the shelf. She said that noone, absolutely noone would escape a week or whatever time of afterschool detentions.A frightened murmur went up because many of us had after school jobs or siblings to care for after school and had to get straight home. The room remained silent, to this day I don't believe anyone from our class did that, none of us broke rules, it was who we were. The schoolbell went and still we sat. Finally I could not bear it anylonger. I put my h and up and confessed to the shock of the class. I had to go before school every morning and help in the library and then write out zillions of lines. I never told her that I was innocent and always she would bring that up.
She had a rule that said once the lunch bell went noone was allowed to either stay in the classroom or come back until the next bell rang to begin class. It was winter and my best friend and I were tired for some reason and left the room without our shoes, we had taken them off because they scuffed the floor.In terror we snuck back in and grabbed them and were about to leave when we heard h er voice coming up the hall. We dashed into the supply cupboard and hid terrified under the bottom shelf.She came in and did whatever and before leaving she noticed the cupboard was unlocked, I don't remember why it was. She locked it and my friend and I were hysterical with claustrophobia and so hungry. After lunch another class came and there was a different teacher. We had thought it would be her once more but it wasn't. The cupboard was opened and we scrambled out and left the room with an astonished teacher staring at us and the students laughing.
Worse, the next year my piano teacher quit teaching and I got my dreaded teacher for my musica instructor. What a year? I think I lost weight constantly just from the stress of thinking about school and lessons. But I survived it and went on to like her as I got older and saw her troubles more clearly.
Finally a Catholic priest came along and seeing my state, he asked who I was and what was the problem. After I told him, he said he had known my grandfather and actually lived in my neighborhood. He then walked me home, showing me that had I turned right at City Hall all would have been well, as my home was just another five blocks down and one block over from there.
I believe it was after this incident that I became a map person.
But somehow, I made it into fourth grade in that school of mine. That year was the first male teacher I'd ever had. He was mean if I didn't have my homework done. And that year I didn't have it done most of the time. I don't know how I passed, but somehow I did. The next year was the one year my parents sent us to Catholic school. We couldn't afford the tuition, so that didn't last. Then we returned to the public school, and I found the dreaded teacher was gone. In his place was a nice lady who explained to me and others in the class that we were only hurting ourselves by not doing our homework. It dawned on me that I couldn't be in school forever, so I had better make it a good memory. From that time on, I worked as I was supposed to.
That was the year the school burnt down. Yeah, we got the answer to the prayer everyone else prayed. We had to wait at the corner for the bus each morning. One morning in spring, after the snows were gone, we waited for a long time, and still no bus came. I sent my brother home to find out if my parents could call the school and see what was up. He came running back down the road yelling, "The school burnt down!" "Yeah, right," was our sarcastic response. But no bus came, till finally we all walked home and found it was true. The next day, we were bused to one of the other elementary schools of the district. I made lots of new friends, which was good since sixth grade was going to be that way too.
I could go on--but as I said, if I do, you'll never shut me up!
Have you ever been what is known as little people confused or pisky mazed, in otherwords you are used to going a certain way day after day, but then one night or day suddenly you either cannot get out onto the right path no matter how you try, or nothing looks the same for a bit?
Our priest who is so gentle and shy and kind and has a lovely Irish mixed with English accent, told us the story of how when he was a very young boy and lived with his mother and brother and sister (his brother was killed in the war, his mother died only last year at a hundred and his sister is a retired nurse) they were so poor at one time that he went to wash and polish cars for a wealthy man nearby and recieved a small amount of coin to help the family. He also was given a large cold glass of milk at break time which he said was the sweetest treat.
Well one day he had to go across the same field he always did day after day to get to a certain path and then carry on. He was in the middle of the field and no m atter how he tried he came to the same spot over and over. He became quite terrified he said and said a very heartfelt prayer.Then all was the same again and he was glad of it for t here had been a grumpy bull in the field the whole time.
That sort of thing h as happened to me a few times and as the people who raised me were all Celts of course they had told me stories enough of being grabbed and taken underground by the little people so that I was quite beside myself whenever it happened. I remember when I was older and no longer was frightened by such tales that I was careful to tell the little children who were told the same thing that they were much bigger and if there indeed were any little people they could probably pick them up, praying first of course and give th em a solid thumping.They always smiled at that. Their parents who I t hink meant to scare them so that they would not go out in the dark were less than pleased.
And now for a physical thing that happened to m e and gave me such despair for years but is now finally ending.
I had taught dance for a long time and then when I had enough of that I kept excercising and doing choreography in case I might again decide, now that my little Hasia is four, to teach children once more or teens. I like doing rock operas, in dance and inviting even girls from the streets to join. They learn to respect t hemselves, take care of themselves and have something as a goal to do, it is good for t hem.
But one beautiful afternoon as I walked along by the park I sort of hit my left heel, only slightly but I had the worst sick feeling. In a couple of weeks my heel was stiff and I had a strange feeling going up my leg. I went and had it xrayed but they could see nothing broken, only very swollen. Then it travelled and within months both my legs from the knees down felt unreal, wooden and it was nearly impossible to walk. The pain was dreadful and since I could not seem to get my brain to make my legs do much I h ad to begin to stay home.It was a very very scarey time, for it was thought I had anything from a sort of ms to a rare disease. Finally I wondered if I should ever walk past a block ever again.
But I absolutely had to excercise, it was required of me so I wouldn't lose even that. And I had to take more courses at college, I am going into law and had to specialize in certain areas.
I remember the fear I had as I would walk the eight blocks or so down into the town and to the university college. And then came the sitting. When break came I broke out into a sweat because I was not sure I could even stand. I would wait u ntil the rest h ad gone to the lunch room and then try to stand and make my way to the ladies room.
Then finally after another couple of terrible years in which having a little baby to care for and do things with became downright terrifying, what if I should fall.
I was so disconsolate and I remember praying for me and everyone going through this. And then a thought so strong came to me and although it seemed silly really and noone else I knew that had tried it had had any success, I went straight to the store and bought codliver oil capsules. I added that to what I took each day, added far more veggies of the cruciferous kind, and nothing happened.
Until one day about six months ago. I awoke and instead of having to try over and over to get up I j ust swung out and went about my day. I felt like I was in a dream. And it had continued. I do my ballet and dance excercises once m ore and can walk with Hasia in the buggy a couple of miles. It does feel a little stiff and sore but the point is I can do it. It is like getting out of a dungeon where no light has been and into the golden soft light of a lovely day. It makes me cry and I am so very very grateful
Please Grondy and Gandalf, please share more stories. They are not only beautiful to h ear and picture in my mind but they are nourishing to one's mind and h eart. The simplicities of life, the ordinary things that our beloved JRR said made Sam the real hero, these are really like manna in the desert to me.
So,please continue, I am listening intently.
Have you ever been what is known as little people confused or pisky mazed, in otherwords you are used to going a certain way day after day, but then one night or day suddenly you either cannot get out onto the right path no matter how you try, or nothing looks the same for a bit?
That used to happen all the time to me. Now, though, I try to stay away from too much liquor.
Have you ever been what is known as little people confused or pisky mazed,
Grondy, everything I read by you I tell my children, they are starting to be in awe of you like they are JRR. You are fast becoming larger than life to them, and as for Vir they love him like the best of comic strips. I am so glad I am here.
There is a very odd thing further down our road. We are in both rural and city area at the same time: the oldest race track in our country is just a small walk away and then from there if you follow the road you go out to the marina and a desolate place where eagles hang out and a ranch that is from the distant past and a tourist attraction.If you go the opposite way you go down a rather steep hill into the town. Part way down after you pass respectable homes, all neat and orderly and ordinary looking, you come to one that is rather set back from the gate and there looming above the house is a large sign that says 'Toad Hall'. The house itself is ever so strange looking, like something from a rather frightening fairie tale from the time of the Brother's Grimm.The house has been there so I have been told for a very very long time. All sorts of strange and ominous vines, some thick as a man's wrist snake their way over the house and over j ust about every thing.There are plaster characters about the place and strange configurations of dark metal that signify........well nothing to me.
When I first came upon the place I was thrilled because Wind in the Willows is one of my favorite stories, we have collections of it done by different groups of people. But this......I cannot figure out this. I have never seen a single mortal either in the yard or through the windows, never. It is not shut down,it is inhabited th ough by whom I cannot say.
Yes it is a very odd place.And no matter how people deck out their places for H allowe'en to terrify others, this little place seems to do the job all on its' own.
When I was very tiny I l ived on a street that contained Irish, Jewish, Dutch, English, Italian,Arab,Scottish etc citizens. It was a veritable little world of it's own. The air was always electric with the sounds of music from those lands, the aromas of tantalizing food being prepared by all the hard working mothers and nannas. It was to me quite wonderful.
Except for two very odd things.
On the same side of the street as we lived were two people in two different houses that absolutely sent shock waves of terror through my four year old soul.
the first was the very strange Mr. Buttons. I personally never heard him ever speak a word. I suppose now he would be very p opular on one of those reality shows. But then, well every child avoided the poor m an like the plague. He had a neat and tidy yard, his thin angular face w as always scrubbed clean. His dark clothes never had a spot or piece of fluff on them. He always had a pleasant smile for anyone.
But..........he was totally covered in buttons.Always. No matter what he wore, ordinary clothing, outerwear, great coat, they were always covered in fantastic buttons of brass and glass and well I don't know what. And the fact that h e only stared and smiled just sent thrills of terror through our hearts. And then on Hallowe'en he would simply stand quietly in his front yard and do...nothing. Not move, talk, have sweets for anyone, nothing. He just stood there. No child, no m atter how big dared face him and then walk through his gate. Perhaps he was merely a genius that saved himself buckets of cash that way. Don't know.
We moved a couple of y ears later but over time I have never forgotten Mr. Buttons and now would love to visit him if he were still around, perhaps he is, who can tell.
My story happened some nights ago and still has me chuckling about it even though I must have ended up looking less than funny and had to get a tetnus shot: I went to take the dog out on her rope and there was a cat in the yard. Black and white and fluffy. I hadn't seen this particular pet anywhere in the area but the man who has the property next to ours has cats so I thought it must be his. He had been very nice to us in the winter and plowed our drive for us so I thought I should be nice in return and take his cat back, his two young boys might miss it. Took the dog back in, got keys and managed to get cat into old purple Explorer and drove over. Lights were on so I thought the family was home and I'd ring the bell and be friendly and see if this was their cat. Carried it to the door in my arms and rang, whereupon two more cats appeared out of the bushes and prowled around my ankles. The cat in my arms began to make an angry moaning noise. Still no answer, very unhappy cat claws its way up my face and jumps down and dissappears. I decide I had done my best and go back to car, blood trickling down into my bra. Get in car and put key in ignition. Headlights are on but it won't start. Not a click, nothing. Hmm.., the battery isn't dead, what's wrong? Do I hoof it up the road, scaring passersby on the way? Get out of car and can see that I was trying to start an Explorer with the key to daughter's truck. Shoo an extra cat back out and go home to enjoy husband's shocked expression and soak my shirt in cold water.
There was a house rather like like that (though not so grand) at that corner where we used to wait for the bus. Only this house never had anyone in it for the longest time. It was ten years or more before someone actually bought the place and renovated it. The boy who lived there was in my class in school. But I remember vividly when the place was still abandoned, that the wild lilies grew rampant there next to the road. I decided one spring that I would go down and dig some up for our flower beds. So I went down with a spade and dug up some of those plants by the roots, put them in a barrow, and took them home. Unfortunately, I also took home all over my hands and arms lots of poison ivy. I had it so bad that blisters swelled and burst on my hands, and that further spread the infection. I believe it was into my blood by then, and I had to go to the doctor for a remedy. A strong solution of something or other was prescribed, and my hands had to be wrapped up and covered in plastic, despite the oncoming heat. It took a while, but they healed, and I finally got over the infection. But I learned my lesson about digging in uncharted territory.
But something about your story of Mr. Buttons reminded me of a story my mom told me. She and my dad grew up in a little "town" close to Canada in NY. It was a square of four streets, and couldn't have had more than 50 or 75 people in it. This meant that everyone knew everyone, and no one could really pull a fast one on anyone.
There had been a terrific rain, according to my mom, and there were huge puddles across the streets--I assume the streets were not paved in those days. Mom was young, and it was sometime before she and my dad dated and married. She came up the street trying to find a place to cross a lake of a puddle, but could find nowhere to cross, it was just too deep and too muddy. She looked from left to right and couldn't find a way without soaking herself. At that point, she heard a man's voice behind her. He said, "Can't you find a way across?" And she replied, "No, it's too deep." And he said something like, "Let me help you." Then someone came behind her, and lifted her by the elbows across the street, and set her safely on the opposite side. She turned around immediately to thank the man for his kindness. But there was no one there at all. She looked up and down the street, but no one could have vanished that quickly. And as she told me this, when I was just a kid, I asked her, "Who helped you, Mom?" And she said, "Well, I think it must have been my angel, because no one else was there." So that is what is what I think too.
Well, the only experience that I could think of, worth being told here, is this:
Some years ago, when I was 8 or 9, we lived in the city. Well, there was a block party going on right next to us, and since I was really good friends with one of the kids there, my family was invited. Only myself and my two(only two then) sibling went. It was really fun. It took place in the street, with 'Road Closed' signs at either end.
Some of us kids decided to have a bike race, so we gathered at one end of the street. When we started, I began pulling in front of the rest of the kids pretty fast. As I was speeding down the street, I saw a shadow to one side of me, so I look over and see my friend start catching up.
Now, this is something that I've always thought funny, a black pickup truck was driving down the road perpendicular to the party one. He was almost at the intersection, when the road closed sign at that end goes flying about four feet out into the other road, right in front of him.
After I saw who it was beside me, I turned my head to look forward; BANG!!!! I slammed into the sign, making a huge dent in it, winning the race, ruining the gear system on my almost new bike, and getting a huge gash in my leg, the scar of which is a permanent trophy to my victory. That taught me several things, never get cocky in a competition, never ride down the middle of the road, and always watch where I'm going!
Sian, what a good Samaritan you are, that is dreadful.
Gandalf I love that story, it is so like some things that happened to me as well in my childhood and I always took it for granted it was my angel.
Now for one that was so frightening that to this day it rather makes me break out in a sweat.
It was a fretful cold night out and my children were fairly young. We were watching one of our favorite shows and I had not done any baking that day, too busy. My children were not and are not ones to ask for anything, they are just so kind and polite and I felt they should have some treats to enjoy for the evening.
The store was only say three blocks, a tiny corner store just around the corner from a tractor or some such dealer that had high wire and a German police dog inside.
I told the children I would be right back, lock up after me and all that.
The night seemed to be so strangely still, you had to cross the highway to get to the other side. And it just seemed as if someone fell into step beside me but noone was there.
Suddenly out of the blue I h eard very distinctly the words' do you love your God?' Very startled and looking about I ignored it at first but thought inside myself 'of course I do.'
Then to my great fear the same voice said ' how much, to the death?'
Well this was so very odd and I looked about again thinking some cruel jest was being played on me.
Then all was silent and I got to the store, gat hered up all the goodies and paid for them.
There were more cars now on the road like normal and th en many. U sually I had to wait a while to get across. For some reason I felt compelled to look down the road on my side and I honestly thought my heart would fail me. There was what I assumed to be the guard dog, but not inside only outside the gate. I was so frightened for I had been attacked by a real police dog as a child and never quite recovered from it for years.
But as I stood rooted in terror looking at the thing I noticed a couple of things. First, it was about three times the size of the guard dog. Second it had a halo of electric blue all around it and a huge hunched back. Three, it had rather human looking eyes.
I felt like I had fallen into some fantastic dream and I shakily began to walk toward the highway to cross it. Then it was as if all hell broke loose. The thing jumped up and started toward me and it sou nded honestly like a train. I screamed and began to run, now between cars and people were staring at me and looking around to see what was wrong. Some seemed to see it as well as th ey were freaking out, others saw nothing but were opening their car doors to come to my assistance. I shrieked out for it to go in God's n ame and made it to the other side,. Then I looked and it had vanished. I stood trembling like a leaf in a strong wind and finally when the people in the cars had recovered and continued on their way I made my way the short distance home.
I opened the door and stood quietly for a moment giving a prayer of thanks. The children stared and stared at me and then accepted their treats and I wondered why they stared.
But when I went to the bathroom and looked into the mirror I understood. My face was chalk white and my hair was standing straight out on all angles from my hair as if I had received an electric shock. I couldn't believe it.
Well, I sm oothed my hair and went into the living room and watched the show.
Years later when I mentioned it and described the creature to my eldest child, who is brilliant in eight languages and into philology, he looked at me in amazement and said, but mom that is one of the dogs that guards hades, did you not know?
I stared at him and then went and laid down.
I wish one of my canines would do that; they do nothing but eat and sleep all day.
That said, I shan't bore anyone by my sightings of pink elephants.
Unless they're vampires. Then they do not see anything at all.
Here is an embarrassing one.
In my last year of grade school there was so much stress it was getting to all the grade twelves by mid year already. Test after test after test, most of us had after school and weekend jobs, homes to help with and younger siblings to care for. We were worn out, especially those of us who were in the honors class. We had to work very very hard to stay on the honor roll because we were graded on the curve and so one person might have scored ninety per cent on a test and received an A and yet his fellow score eighty-nine and get a grade or half a grade lower. It was very nerve wracking because that could mean the difference between a scholarship or nothing.
So it seemed half the students of the graduating classes just started fooling about by then, not caring anylonger and looking forward to the ceremonies and such , and the other half studied even harder as we strove to get that one last couple of extra points toward our finals.
A very dear friend of mine who had a fabulous operatic voice and always dressed up as if she were Cinderella going to the ball , was walking to school with me an we were discussing the test we were to take the next day in maths I believe. She was terribly worried and I was not feeling that great either as I and some other students had in a previous year been chosen for an experimental math programm which was subsequently scrapped and I could not go back to the old way, I had a serious mental block.
When we arrived at school some of the girls were in a panic as we found out that our home economics test had been moved up to the next day as well and since some students needed to have very good marks in it for later education in nutrition and such they were beside themselves with worry at having two test on the same morning the next day.
My girlfriend flipped out and I felt ill. We suddenly decided we would just leave the school after our first minor test of that morning and go home and study hard for the next test and thus be ready for the two for the following morning.
We had every right to leave, we were in a school program that allowed you to leave any time you wished as long as your marks were a certain level and mine were. But hers were not. So we decided to sneak out into the parking lot and crawl around some cars and get out under a fence and make our way home.It was rather tedious for we both were wearing skirts that day, but finally we emerged, dusty but laughing hilariously. We went home and I studied. But dear B.......got involved in the making of jello and some sort of fudge and those dreadful soap operas and well......
The next day I did the first test, had a lunch and then went to economics class. The teacher for some reason loved me dearly and she looked sad as she came and said 'how are you feeling today, any better? I said yes somewhat puzzled, and found out later B had phoned the school or something and said we were ill.
Teacher handed me the test and to my horror hardly anything I h ad studied was on it. For some reason whatever B had said had given the principal the idea we were going to cheat, I could have shaken h er, and so she and I were given a different test. I guess at one time previous she had written a bu nch of answers on her shoes or some such. But I still passed though not with the marks I should have had.
And to make matters more humiliating, the rest of the class told us that when we had been sneaking out of the parking lot on our hands and knees several classes and the principal and teacher had been watching through the glass hallway that had been installed to connect the old part of the school with the new part. They had stood t here laughing and pointing and we had not known. So when B said we were ill, well ......
What an embarrassment and teacher was rather disappointed in me.
That was how things went for me. I was so careful never to break rules and if I ever did I got caught immediately and was punished.
Also that year almost at grad my other best friend said it was time I acted my age and played hookey from school and went to see a movie, an adult movie. I was not interested, in fact to this day I have probably only watched two such movies and despised them. Not interested.
So since the man who raised me was out of town, no one else home, his son, my little brother was tending his horse after school, I decided to join her.
I admit to being a wreck on the bus and thought that anyone who looked at me could see plainly that I was playing hookey and my conscience bothered me terribly.I have never thought it fun or adventurous to dishonor parents or anyone above me or over me for any reason than one of conscience.
When we got all the way to the town and were in front of the lavish movie house in a glitzy part of the city I decided I wanted to return home, gather my books and get back to school. My friend shrugged her shoulders and went inside. I returned home and sighed with relief as I took off my shoes and went into the kitchen for a cup of tea.Then I went downstairs and was about to get my books from the study room when I heard the door open and in came the man I called my father. I was quite terrified. He was both a passenger and freight conductor for the CPR and owned many businesses and sometimes it was literally days before he had time to go to bed and sleep. Therefore he was not always in a congenial mood.
I panicked and darted across the basement and hid in the new bathroom/shower. I was hoping since it was closest to the stairs that I might get up them and out of the house and down the street before he finished whatever it was he did in his office before going upstairs to coffee, a meal and then bed.
However wouldn't you know he came into the bathroom and was washing his hands. And then my worst nightmare, my dog Bandit, a little Boston Terrier came in and straight up to me standing in the shower. He waggled his tail happily and I tried pushing him away. Finally h e dropped down and went out of the bathroom.
Father went on cleaning his hands and t hen quietly he told me to come out. I did and although I tried to explain what had h appened and that I was just about to leave for school he told me I was going to be punished for my truancy as he had expected me to be honorable and attend all classes until grad.
First of all all the family save me was going down east for the long weekend, I was to stay with a certain aunt that I dreaded to stay with.Second,the new stepmother we had, my brother's mother had died, smiled wickedly and said I also had to have my very very long hair cut right off as punishment. She did not even take me to the hairdressers but to an old fashioned barber who was quite unwillingly to touch my hair. Finally he did it and I ended up with a cut that made me look like a fair Italian boy with large eyes.I was devestated and when I went that evening to my swim class I was sick for the moment my girlfriend should lay her eyes upon me. She did and stopped short her eyes bulging. About eighteen inches cut off, just like that. She finally said, "I loved your hair long, but you look totally cool. Just mess it up a bit and it is so punk. So I did and it was such a hit at school that within the week, a number of other very popular and honors grade girls had the same cut. So it did not turn out so badly. The time with auntie however....I shudder to think of it!
I have a small school days story from when I was in second grade. My teacher's name was Mrs. Gusman and she was one of the wonderful people who teach because they love children. She was elderly then and I'm sure she is long dead since I was in her class about 50 years ago. Physically, she was not what one would call attractive but you've heard the saying 'pretty is as pretty does'? in that way she was stunning.
I think she could tell that I didn't get a lot of attention at home. My parents were not really suited to each other and later divorced and my mother was a troubled person as a result. I was withdrawn and lacked self-confidence. But one day after recess as I was going back into the classroom, Mrs Gusman was coming out and she spontaneously scooped me up and gave me a big hug as we met in the doorway. I've never forgotten this small thing and its always made me feel warm inside when I thought about it. At Halloween when we all came to school in costumes she oohed and aahed over mine and pretended she just couldn't tell who I was! And I had to stand on a low chair so everyone could see the funny shoes I wore (they were my father's slippers). For a little bit I felt special. So this small essay is my thankful tribute to Mrs Gusman who's small acts mad a big difference.
Speaking of that, one day when my children were in middle school I was feeling terribly blue and weepy. It came every now and t hen and this time it was because I had had a nine hour or so surgery to save my life and although it was successful it left me very weak for years to come. So even th ough I like to see the beauty of life and can easily make people laugh, I was just feeling terrible. I told the children I would go for a walk and get something at the store, that way they would not see me ac ting like that. I felt somewhat better on the way, got what I wanted and was on the way back. But then the tears started again. I heard someone say hello to me so I quickly wiped the tears. When I turned around I saw a young boy my eldest's age and he was riding his bike. I suddenly thought it would be jolly to have him surprise my sons so I invited him to come to our home, just a couple of blocks away. He came and after some treats and laughs he suddenly became quiet and told us to our shock that he had been on his way home to take his life because his mother had left him and his twin and their father to go back to California and start a new life. He adored his mother and he said he had not been able to sleep more than a few minutes at a time since she left about a week before. M y son put his arms about the boy and we let him cry and cry. Then we gave him a tape that had very soothing music on it. He slept that night and got better and later he went to stay with his mother and was fine. I never got over the fact that I might not have invited him.
While I'm at it, might I suggest adding a blank line between long-winded paragraphs. I often have trouble finding my place after scrolling the page down to get new material on my screen. Better paragraph breaks make for easier reading. No harm is done doing otherwise, this is just my personal preference as it makes for easier and faster reading of everyones posts each day.
Thanks for listening to my rant, whether you act upon it or not.
Now pull out some of your memories and share. You surely must have m ore than a few hundred stories to share.yes?
When my daughter was small we lived in Portland and the big boys down the street would wait until there were younger children at their door and jump off the roof to land behind them and scare them. Then run around the house and go up a ladder to wait for the next victem. I held my little girl across the street and we'd watch and laugh at those boys jumping off the roof.
When I was in elementary school, I went trick-or-treating with my friend Susie all the time. Now she wasn't the most popular girl in school, because she was born with some mental defects, and the kids liked to make fun of her, and I am ashamed to admit that sometimes I would think meanly of her as well. But our parents were close, and so we always went out on Halloween together.
I was probably dressed as a vampire. That was my favourite costume. And she was something I forgot. Our neighbourhood was swarming with children in costumes, and flashy lights shone from many houses. Teens, partying... but we didn't know that. And what's more, there was a park nearby, at the end of the street, and it was eerie at night because the trees were dense.
We went out, walking together, and a heavily decorated house caught our eyes. We went upto it. There were those disco lights inside, we saw that at once. And as we walked through the fence and onto the porch... five or six spiders fell automatically in froint of our faces, their legs wiggling horridly. We were really really scared. The door opened and somebody very very pale (or maybe that was make-up?) gave us our candy. I saw white sheets hanging within as some grotesque decoration.
We went back later. It was actually getting pretty late for us kids. That meant going through the park. Susie was crying because she was scared, and I was laughing and calling her a scaredy-cat. And then, as we passed through the park, under the trees, I saw a black thing hanging from on of the boughs. It was suspended low, a little above the level of our heads (we were not very tall, then). And in the wind it moved, like the spiders. And as I looked above, I saw the moon, and clouds, and they were white and looked like the sheets in the house, only more ghostly and otherworldly. And just in that moment, I felt very very scared indeed. Like it was some voodoo sign, but I also remember feeling good, because I felt like I had touched the edge of the magical world.
And Susie, who listened to whatever I said a lot, was also convinced that it was a spectral sign that we should see the same things at the house and in the park and feel exactly the same way. Adn that's how i got to feel really close to Susie. Because it was as if we had gone through some ordeal together.
Here is a stupid , very odd thing my brother Nelson did.
Every summer for at least a week , before going far far away on holiday, my little brother and I had to go to Drumheller, the voodo area of Alberta. Actually it was a tiny place round about there called Hazaar or something wierd.
We had three aunties and uncles all on there own enormous ranches. Just unfathomable to me.
They raised black angus cattle, grew wheat and hay and all that.
At my auntie Connie and uncle Miles' ranch there were a lot of very high hills on the property part where there was the house. It was high up on a hill and t hen you went over a small bridge and then down in the valley of sorts was the gigantic red barn.
We children were never and I mean never to play around the black angus bulls in a specially made thicker t han thick bull pen on the main floor of the barn. To do so would incur being whipped, that was no joke. My uncle was a rather stern fellow and we all had a healthy fear of him. But he did not want us to be mauled or crushed by the bulls.
However we sometimes forgot in our joy up in the hay loft and would jump down from several bales of hay grab a huge thick rope and swing over the open hole from which we could look down and see the bulls.
Several times we nearly lost our grip and fell down and my brother especially loved the thrill of just making it. He was very tough.
One day while the rest of us children were making our way over to a high hill to tobaggan, my brother, feeling cheeky, went over to the bull pen and started making faces at the only bull there on that day. He was the stud as it were and had an enormous nose ring and he was chained.
He got violently angry and roared at my brother who just laughed back at him.
The rest of us shrieked to him to stop it and finally he came up and joined us,.
Couple of days later we looked out the window and there was my brother running for his life to get to the bridge and over it and to the house.I went hysterical as did my cousins, we thought he was dead for sure.
He ran this way and that and finally got on to the bridge. He couldn't breathe that well from the exertion and started to stagger. My tall skinny aunt Connie, being the typical tough farm wife, jumped up and grabbed a corn broom. Out she went while we children watched opened mouthed through the window. The bull had come on to the bridge and stopped because it was very narrow and he seemed unsure of himself.
My aunt grabbed my brother by the waist of his pants and practically sent him air born across the yard to the door. We opened it and pulled him in.
Then she started yelling at the bull who was starting to get angry . She held up her broom and just screamed at the thing and it hesitated. She held her ground and for some wierd reason it finally snorted and backed up. Then she got a hold of some of the hired hands and they very carefully got it back to it's pen.
My brother got a good whipping out in the barn and had trouble sitting down for a very long time, most of our time there. But he didn't care. He was very proud of outrunning the thing.
He grew up to use that same fearlessness way up north as a conservationist who rescued bear cubs and other wild animals and he sort of , well others said so, he sort of became like a wild animal whisperer. He seemed to be able to communicate with them and they reacted well to him.
Me, I still run from poodles.
Strangely enough Nelson grew up to be the most polite, gentle, respectful and obedient of persons. But he never was fearful to do what he thought he must do. And no he never ever went near the bulls again, secretly I think he truly knew he could have lost his life.
Running of the bulls, I have always wondered if on that day common sense goes out the window. I cannot fathom that. But then doesn't Spain also have an official throwing oranges day? how very very odd
But then doesn't Spain also have an official throwing oranges day?
Tomatoes, not oranges.
As for the bulls, it is in honor of San Fermin. Another event that happens on that day is making a huge human pyramid.
Another event that happens on that day is making a huge human pyramid.
I am very grateful our country doesn't have national outhouse tipping day in the rural areas, or national toilet busting day. I am rather glad we are fairly dull in some areas.
If one were able to stack enough humans in a pyramid to reach the moon, how wide would the base be?
Depends whether one would use Pygmies or Masaï.
We had neighbors move in across from us several years ago and for about a year the gentleman of the house acted so wierdly that I wouldn't let the children go out and play in the front yard unless one of the older ones were with them.
The lady was young and very pretty and was from Australia. They had two absolutely beautiful children, a three year old boy and a baby girl. The boy took a fancy to my older boys and made them come out everyday and play basket ball n o matter how exhausted they were.The little girl when she was older called my daughter Desiree Busy and it stuck.
But the gentleman, handsome and refined looking would hide behind the bushes and stare at me.
Or he would watch one of my sons watering the flowers or whatnot and he would run into the house and in a few minutes come back out wearing nearly identical clothing as my sons. One day we went outside to go down to the town and there he was dressed in only what looked like a diaper, sitting crosslegged on the ground.
I just could not figure it out, but wondered if it might not be the street itself, since a high school teacher came out of his house one day, well for days in fact dressed in a long skirt and a nice t shirt and combat boots.
But at any rate after wondering if we should move since one day one of the family took the car and as it started down the street this man leapt up and ran beside it and t hen gave it a friendly tap at the corner before the car turned.
One day the woman came out of the house in tears crying that her husbands work had called and he had tripped and cut off three fingers. It was then I found out he was a master craftsman, very skilled and a maker of fine European furniture. They were unable to re attach two of the fingers I think and he was devestated. I also found out they had met in India and h e and she had both stayed a long time in some sort of ashram and he had studied I think with someone. So all the things I thought were totally wierd meant something to him. I took over a card of sympathy and some baking and the lady came running out and said her husband wanted to talk to me. He was kind, gentle , terribly intelligent and not one bit as I thought he was. That was such an odd thing, I still think about them and miss them. They bought considerable land out of town and moved into a big house that he renovated and made exquisite.
Turin, I hope you'll have time to write some stories soon!
When I was younger and more foolish I would pick up hitch hikers. I don't advise doing this, by the way, it can be dangerous but this was over 30 years ago and maybe things were less so then. Late one night I had driven a friend home and was going home myself when I saw a man standing by a purple Gremlin holding a gas can and holding his thumb out. I stopped and he came over and seeing that I was a young woman he said, " I really don't believe women should pick up hitch hikers but its ok this time, I'm Ronald McDonald!" And he was. He was one of the actors who dressed up in the clown costume and appeared in TV comercials and so forth. I took him to get gas and we sat and talked till the wee hours.
To quote Dell Griffith to Neil Page in Planes, TRains and Automobiles, at breakfast in the cafe. Neil was eating oatmeal and told Dell he had called the airlines and they said there would be a bit of a delay.Dell whose life was on planes etc. knew they were there for days unless they did something else.He smiled at his companion and said "if they told you wolverines made good pets would you believe t hem.'
That is the absolute BEST. I will cherish that story forever.
Oh by the way Grondy, I usually hate jokes, but I told yours(scare me half to death) to others and they screamed. Loved it! you are a dear.
When I was fifteen my best friend , I will call her Joyce, and I were reading a Seventeen magazine and read an entertaining article about how kids in California, you know, La La land, would toilet paper the house of someone they had a crush on. Why toilet paper, I don't know. A card would have surely done the trick.
The more we thought on it the better it sounded. However when you live in a climate that gets truly artic in the fall things can get a little tricky. I waited unti about seven and then put several rolls of toilet paper in a big brown paper bag. I met Joyce and off we went, parkas and thick mitten, scarves and very warm boots.
The house of the person we admired was quite a walk and our cheeks were quite numb and rosy by the time we arrived. We had done some sleuthing and found out that his parents went bowling in wednesdays I think it was. So the house was empty.
Quickly we began , but for some reason to do the house itself was perilous, I think too many people across the street home or something.
So we toilet papered the trees and a trailer parked in the back.
To our horror the parents came home very early and there we were in the headlights. We dove into the dark, pitched the remaining toilet paper, just a little bit left, and we began to run for our lives.
Thankfully fog had begun to roll in about a h alf an hour before and was very thick at that point.
Joyce and I had separated so not to be seen together. I happened to be wearing a reversible jacket , the colores completly different. I shivered and shook with fear as I turned it the other way and just as I had it zipped up, my long hair tucked into my hat , at least that is what I remember, who should drive up along side me but the car with the man and woman, very angry.
I thought my heart would stop. I was not one to do silly things like that.
They stopped me and asked if I had seen two girls run by dressed in such and such . I kept a straight face, I was so scared I would start laughing out of fear and said no. Then I looked down and noticed the lady had taken the time to rewrap one of the rolls and it was about half a foot thick from the damp and from being rewound quickly. They apparently were going to use it!
Later Joyce and I met up at a corner store and we both hid behind a huge barrel of bananas and I told her what happened. We laughed and laughed until the owner came and looking down at us said 'If you are not buying bananas you can leave.'
We were poor so we left. And I was ashamed when the news swept through the school that some 'idiot girls' had toilet papered such and such boy's house.It was then we realized most of the kids if not all would never understand why for they didn't read the magazine or if they did they only looked at the pictures. And here we were honor students. No it didn't have the thrill we thought it would.
And I h ad to replace my family's toilet paper. And I had frost bit. So........the hubrous of youth I guess.
So we decided to check out the ice, which we knew was about eight inches thick at the time. We checked it out by cutting a few cookies (spinning the truck through 360 degrees by going about 10 mph and cranking the wheel hard over very fast). All was fun for about ten minutes worth of spins, until we got too near the shore where last years reeds remained sticking through the ice, weakening it. The truck went through the ice, luckily we were only about ten yards off shore and the water only came up to the running boards: had it been deeper we could have drowned.
To make a long story short, two of us and the dog stayed by the truck while the driver hiked two miles to a farm to ask for help. We knew the farmer and he called the driver's father who brought a length of heavy chain while the farmer fired-up his D6 Caterpillar tractor and drove it to the lake. And they pulled the truck out of the lake.
Naturally we got chewed out, resulting in the driver losing his driving privileges for the week. But while they were pulling the truck out of the lake, we could see the men grinning at our stupidity wishing they were once more young and carefree. I don't think our mother's were ever told, for I don't remember seeing any new kittens around the house.
I think I may have told this story before somewhere on the forum, but a quick search didn't locate it. And it is still an excellent story even if I do say so myself.
We children used to ice skate the small creek that seemed to go on forever and we could at some points skate from one farm to another,if you went the other way there were only the wheat fields or summer fallow fields.If we skated to another farm and it started getting dark we were always invited to stay overnight, it was so much fun really.
I love the feeling of seeing in my mind you boys and the dog and the truck, the sound of the tires on the ice and your laughter. How beautiful.And Lincoln county, how very Robin Hoodish. I was just doing research on Sir Hugh of Lincoln the other day.
Here is a rather odd thing. I think I told you all about a certain terrifying teacher that I had through all of middle school. She taught us honor students and never was she satisfied. She would get upset at the smallest thing(she drank and carried a little silver flask in her purse) and then began h er tirade. She would call us a bunch of limp wristed vegetables and go on and on and on. It was so nerve wracking that some of the students would shake and cry and one brave boy who we all loved one day simply snapped his binder and got up , left the class and never came back. He must have transferred for he did well and went on to great things.
Well after two years of this we were all pretty worn out. The second year she had all the desks facing away from her desk. So we just faced the blackboard, which was both wierd and a relief.
She loved square dancing and since that was something most of us would have rather been dead than do, well it was the heavy rock age , it was somewhat humiliating when she decided that the project we would do that year would be to take square dance lessons and try to win the championship.I sang in an all girls rock band and although we all loved classical music and sang in a choir, this was TOO much! But we went out and bought our dresses, put crinolines under them(you could DIE from a crinoline burn I found out!) and started.The gentleman was really very very skilled and nice and we all fell in love with him.We saved up and bought him a wonderful gift after and he got all misty eyed.He was just used to calling for older people.
The wierd thing is we got to like it and actually won, I still can't quite believe it.
So Mrs. T......wanted to show us off to the school. Our middle school was very ancient and dilapitaed and the wood floor on the stage had become perilous since the boards moved a bout slightly. At assembly there we all stood one last time in our colorful clothes, our friends laughing and shouting rather mean things. She started yelling at us at that point because of course we now h ad to do the moves by taped music and they were a little harder to understand. But we knew the moves off by heart.Still on and on she shouted and when we didn't do it just as she wanted she started stomping on the floor. She was a very very large but pretty lady.
Suddenly there was a universal shriek, we were dancing and looked quickly over. The students were screaming and screaming, though some guys were laughing hysterically. Mrs. T....had gone through the floor into the basement. She landed on some sort of softer supplies, but did get hurt. She had to go to hospital I think and the dance ended.
Next year we attended the spanking new middle school just finished and ready for our last year.
I can still remember looking at that hole in the wood.WE none of us ever saw Mrs. T ever again, but really she I guess just wanted the best for us. Perhaps we were a bunch of over sensitive, too gentle, limp wristed vegetables I always fancied I was a celery.
She was very pretty in a fifties sort of way and she wore on purpose glasses , vintage, that came to points at the outer edge and she wore her long hair up in a fifties do. Back in school while the rest of us were listening to teacher discuss certain expressions used in the middle ages in every day speech and literature, things like that, she would actually be reading a Harlequin romance that she placed on the page of the textbook we were using.
Because it was an honor's class and she didn't care a fig about marks or school for t hat matter no one really made any effort to know her.
But now she was a co worker in the conference call division with me. It was painful work, we were stuck at this board and had to stare at those lights and do a million things at the same time we were talking to the customer. And worst of all each of us in this division only were monitored by a supervisor in another room that watched us on teli and listened on a head set. Talk about making your nerves bad. Although the pay was high the turnover was fairly regular as the ladies could not take that for a long time. Those that could moved up in the ranks quickly.
One day this girl invited me to go to one of the last drive ins for a back to back something or other. As I had a day off the day following I agreed. We went to h er home so we could freshen up and it was there I saw to my sorrow that she and her siblings had been abandoned, first by the father , then by the mother, and she alone had the care of them , both financial and emotional. And she was not even twenty. But she did not complain and explained to me she was forced to be a prostitute on the side. I was aghast. She eventually made her way out of that , got married to a wealthy wonderful person and took care of her siblings and other children as well. Sort of became a ministry.
Well with what she had just told me in my mind I was now rather terrified of who we were going to the drive in with.
However when the two guys arrived, hers looked fine enough and the one I was with was positively well old fashioned looking. He even had a pipe which freaked me out. I was a definite no smoking person.
All went well until the movie started to lag a bit. The fellow I was with suddenly started acting in a ridiculous manner, like a naughty school boy. The posh car next to us was filled with guys that had such big muscles they looked like Mr. Universe times two. This silly guy rolled down his window and said loudly looking right at them " meef meef, marff marff" over and over.
My friend, her date and I were shocked and pleaded with h im to just shut up because those guys had rolled down their windows and told him to knock it off, RIGHT NOW.
He did for a couple of minutes and t hen started again. Just like that those guys came streaking out of their limo and in what seemed like a fraction of a second, had turned our little car onto its side. We had to stay like that, not daring to move a muscle for the rest of the show. It was dreadful and even that foolish person was now really afraid.
After the movie we tried forever to right the car and finally got someone to help us. It was humiliating and we were a very silent group on the way home.
Well at any rate I have always thought that man very odd.
The fellow I was with suddenly started acting in a ridiculous manner, like a naughty school boy. The posh car next to us was filled with guys that had such big muscles they looked like Mr. Universe times two. This silly guy rolled down his window and said loudly looking right at them " meef meef, marff marff" over and over.
You dated Mr Magoo?