One of my guilty pleasures has returned to television with new episodes recently. It's a reality-based show about college students who investigate paranormal phenomena and I find it addictive. It has had the effect of reminding me about some of the very strange things that happened to me when I was a child that were both terrifying and intriguing. One of the more memorable events occured when I was about twelve years old.
It was late in the nineteen sixties, and my mother's parents lived in an old three decker in Brookline, Massachusetts. The Boston city limits were a mere half mile away from their front steps. During school vacations, my brothers would take turns spending a few days with Nanny and Pa on the edge of the big city. This meant homemade chicken soup, puff pastry with real whipped cream and fudge sauce, swimming at "the tank",(an indoor municipal pool), a new Archie comic book and a fountain soda from the "Cypress Spa" with Pa, and fishing at Hammond Pond or the Brookline reservoir with my uncle Tommy. Since these pursuits were thought of by my parents as only appropriate for the boys, it was many years of lobbying and whining before I was allowed to have my turn, too. It sure beat hanging in the boring suburbs all week.
In the back of the house there was a small, cement patio area with a thin border of plants and trees surrounding it. The space was enclosed by a high fence, thus sheilding it to some degree from the raceway that was, and is Boylston street. The cement floor of this tiny yard was flecked wih pieces of blue and white pottery and cats-eye marbles imbedded here and there in the concrete with no particular pattern. When I close my eyes I can still see the bushes waving on a sultry day and smell the air of that place. Car horns, sirens and the barking of Lassie, the collie next door, created the soundtrack for my days there. It seemed to me it was a special little world.
At the very back of the house, off the kitchen was the smallest room. This had been my mother's childhood bedroom and now served as the guest room. My grandparents referred to it as "the back room." It was where all the grandkids slept during visits. It had a door leading outside to a little stone and concrete balcony (the piazza, as the family referred to it) that overlooked the patio/yard below. The first night I slept there was to be my last. More to come...stay tuned.