Sunday, May 03, 2009

I grew up with 'em . . .

We gave my younger daughter a very large, wooden, Victorian-style dollhouse. It's as tall as she is. The girls love it.

It reminds me of our old family home. We knew the house was haunted -- all of us -- the day that we moved in. At first, we heard footsteps that would wake us all up in the middle of the night. Eventually, it transpired that each of us heard the patter, and the laughter, of children on the front porch and on the stairs in the foyer. Over time, we were able to put names to the, er, faces via the city's registry.

Anyway, the most striking aspect of the children's presence was that it could be heard -- at exactly the same volume -- no matter where a person was in the house. It could even be heard above the din of televisions and stereos.

I heard running, as did the others, and the incredibly faint strains of "Ring Around the Roses."

Frankly, I was still more than a little frightened by the idea of disclosing my experiences to the rest of the family even though we all knew that the others knew about the running on the porch.

One shadowy afternoon, my mother was napping in her room and I was in mine. I heard her call me.

"Yeh, Mum?"

"Will you turn off the TV for me?" My mother didn't open her eyes.

"Oh, you don't want it on anymore?"

"I didn't want it on in the first place. It just came on again." This had been going on since my grandmother had died a few weeks before.

As I was talking to her and turning off the television, I asked her if she'd heard anyone.

"You mean the children singing?"

"Yes!" I was excited. I was relieved. This was good. "What song do YOU hear?"

"Ring Around the Roses."

My sister had heard it, too. And so began the dialogue that, for so many years, nurtured my intuition and perception.

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