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School Is Out

 

In the late 1980's, I was working at my new full-time job as a medical transcriptionist with another young woman at an old, spooky hospital in central Virginia. My husband was earning his masters degree at the University of Maryland, so I was keeping up our tiny apartment and paying our bills while he was away for a year. I had some creepy experiences while working at the hospital, but the events in this story, while related to my job, actually took place in an old school house 10 miles away. Please bear with me while I set the stage for my strange experiences, and I hope you enjoy this story.

The two-person team of transcriptionists was supervised by a late middle-aged woman, Gladys (not her real name), our proofreader who was from the old school of English grammar teachers, so to speak. Gladys had been an English teacher back when children were taught how to diagram sentences and how to spell correctly, skills that were starting to fade as the United States public school system administrators were, even in the 1980's, "dumbing down" the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic. Gladys was strict but seemed to appreciate my long-standing interest in grammar and linguistics, and didn't have to worry too much about correcting my transcribed reports for the doctors.

Gladys' husband had died several years before I obtained the transcriptionist job. One of the hospital administrative assistants told me Gladys was not as cantankerous in the past, as her spouse's death evidently had brought about some negative changes to her personality. In short, while I admired Gladys, I found her to be vindictive and detested her habit of giving sly messages that were veiled insults aimed at me and my fellow typist. My days were spent transcribing medical reports from dictaphones and dodging my supervisor's uncalled-for and intermittent stinging remarks. I seriously did not like the atmosphere that added stress to my already stressed home life, with my husband of only five years being hundreds of miles away. I tried not to burden him over the phone with negative tales of my new job, because he was already worried about our financial situation and whether or not he would be able to complete his studies.

My husband did, in fact, earn his MLS with excellent grades and he returned home. A year passed and I was still working at the old hospital. My supervisor had "gotten used" to me and was a bit friendlier than when I first started working. However, when the administrators told us we would be moving into a new building across the street, the pressure made Gladys backslide into her nasty mannerisms. I started job-hunting when a hatchet man was hired to cull out unneeded secretaries and generally downsize the entire department. In all likelihood, I probably could have kept my job, but I started looking for a different job, just to be safe.

One Friday afternoon, I was beside myself with anger, as Gladys had spent the entire week slinging barbed arrows at me and my co-worker, picking on us over largely made-up infractions. The hatchet man had been in and out of our small office space, making veiled threats against the three of us - my supervisor, me and the other transcriptionist. The final blow for me was overhearing Gladys give my fellow transcriptionist a smarmy and negative evaluation to a potential new employer over the phone. My blood ran cold, and I realized I could not use Gladys as a job reference, which was very worrisome, since I had an interview the following Monday.

On Sunday afternoon, my husband took me for a ride in the country, to what had been an old school house, then old-fashioned store, and finally had been turned into a small antique mall. Before we left the huge, early 1900's, white clapboard building to go home, I climbed the back stairs to the bathroom. The restroom was an enclosed space in the middle of a cavernous, creepy attic, meant to be used by men and women, and it had a toilet, shower stall and sink. I carefully locked the door, because I was a little leery of someone creeping around this attic space. My husband was downstairs at the front of the store, and I felt very alone up in the storage area.

I was washing my hands when I heard a double knocking sound on the door. I said, "I'll be out in a minute!" and dried my hands. Suddenly, I had strange wave come over me, and I felt like I was going to faint. For some bizarre reason, I was compelled to look at the shower stall next to me, and had the sensation that someone was trying to give me a message. All this took place within less than a minute. I opened the door, looked all around, didn't see who had knocked on the door and noticed that the floorboards would have creaked loudly if anyone had walked back downstairs. No one was around. I pretty much ran downstairs and walked to the car with my husband. As I left the building and got into our car, I had another wave of "something" come over me, but this time, I swore I heard someone say in my head, "School is out!" The sun broke out from behind the clouds, sending rays of sunshine in through the passenger window, and suddenly I felt ecstatically happy. I mentioned this to my husband and said I was at a loss to understand these events.

When we returned to our apartment, the phone rang. It was one of the bookkeepers at work. She said Gladys had passed away about an hour and a half earlier, from a pulmonary embolism while taking a shower at home. School was out for Gladys, and it would appear she was trying to let me know she was in a happier place. God rest her soul and I did appreciate her contacting me in the old school house while I was in the attic bathroom. As a postscript, I did land the new job the next morning at my Monday interview, at a higher salary and with my own small office space.

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Comments about this paranormal experience

The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by yourghoststories.com. Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, Watersprite, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

Sporky (1 stories) (17 posts)
+1
7 years ago (2010-12-09)
Great story! I hope Gladys is at peace now.

My mother is a lot like this woman you described. If you think it's hard working for someone like that, trying being raised by them! 😢
BadJuuJuu (guest)
+1
7 years ago (2010-12-09)
Sounds like she was a tough lady to work for. She must have wanted to say good-bye to someone, and genuinely liked you. It's sad that she alienated her family to the point her kids couldn't even cry. I guess there are probably a lot of families in that situation.
Worried_Brit_Chick (6 stories) (108 posts)
+1
7 years ago (2010-12-09)
This story made me feel so sad. It sounds like poor Gladys never recovered from losing her husband. I'm really glad you were so patient and thoughtful in not snapping back at her.

I might seem a bit crazy typing this, but I believe that she must have loved her husband dearly, because his death affected her whole personality (judging by what your colleague said). Someone who can feel love to that depth can't be all bad, even if they say or do bad things.

Thanks for this story, I really enjoyed reading it. And yay for getting the new and better paid job:-)
Watersprite (3 stories) (85 posts)
+1
7 years ago (2010-12-08)
Thank you all. I am not a saint, truly. 0:) LOL! I've just heard too many horror stories of people defending themselves in the workplace (i.e., telling off people who deserved to be slammed) and then having it haunt them at later jobs. I find working in the USA to be more spooky than the encounters I've had with ghosts! 😨

Watersprite ❤
DCinAZ (guest)
+1
7 years ago (2010-12-08)
Watersprite, you have the patience of a saint. I could not hold back forever, I would've probably broken my silence at the point of hearing her give a potenial employer of my assoc a bad recomendation, seemingly out of spite. Either way it is sad that not one of her children shed a tear for her at the funeral. It is a bit creepy to think she came to say goodbye in an attic restroom, but I guess she wanted to make sure you knew it was her. By the way, great writing skills! I very much enjoyed the read, thank you 😊
cosmogal926 (9 stories) (1223 posts)
+2
7 years ago (2010-12-08)
Awww it's sad to hear that nobody cried or even really looked grief stricken. Sometimes people who lead hard lives, and deal with a lot of problems on a daily basis project their anger out on others. It's a shame that her own children couldn't get past that. I hope she is happy and resting in peace with her husband. It seems that being a teacher meant a lot to her and she enjoyed that profession, which would make sense for her to say that. Thanks for taking the time to comment back. And Happy Holidays to you and yours as well. 😊 ❤
NightGhost (guest)
 
7 years ago (2010-12-08)
Can you blame the family for not caring? You kept saying how wicked her tongue was so why would they not shed a tear? Perhaps if she were friendlier she'd get better feedback. The best way to go out is contact people b4 you die and forgive. Doesnt sound like she did that.
Watersprite (3 stories) (85 posts)
+1
7 years ago (2010-12-07)
Thank you both for your comments!:) I think you're right, that she was giving me a "message of relief." I like that phrase, Moongrim. Cosmogal, thanks for your humor. You made my day.:)) My supervisor didn't actually say, "School is out," but she did talk a LOT about her days as a teacher. You could tell she was only working at that crappy hospital to make ends meet, financially. I think she did like me, and I was the ONLY one crying at her funeral... Including her adult children! Evidently, I wasn't the only one she had aimed her viperous comments at, and I find it really sad that not even her family was particularly stricken with grief by her death. What a way to end your life, with the anger of so many people! Wow.

Thanks again for your nice feedback and I hope you and your loved ones have a happy holiday season!

Watersprite ❤
cosmogal926 (9 stories) (1223 posts)
+1
7 years ago (2010-12-07)
I agree with moongrim. I don't think I would have been able to keep my composure and hold my tongue for as long as you did. I believe that Gladys wanted to do something nice for you in the end as gratitude for not telling her to shove it. LOL! Sorry 😜 She probably really did like you and wanted to make sure that things would work out for you. Just curious, did Gladys use the expression "School Is Out" a lot? Thanks for sharing your story, and take care 😊
Moongrim (2 stories) (871 posts)
+4
7 years ago (2010-12-07)
You have the patience of a saint. You bore your trial with an equanimity that would've been difficult for me to match.

I would say that you're not vindictive, instead I'd say that the occasion allowed you a message of relief.

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