My story begins with a family road trip. It was summer 1971, my mom and dad loaded me and my younger sisters into our Rambler station wagon to make our way from Tulsa to North West Arkansas. We made this trip at least twice a year to see my grandmother. The highways then were two lane, sharp curves, hilly and sometimes sheer cliff side. It made for a long sometimes nauseating drive for three kids nine and under.
We would take old highway 33 to the Arkansas border where it joined to old highway 68. It was along a section of this highway nearing Batavia where the road winds around along a high narrow ridge overlooking valleys and pastures. We were driving along when we had a blow out! My Dad is cussing a blue streak and there aren't breakdown lanes along this route. We clear a curve, when to the left there is a wide patch of ground in front of a small white church. There's a sign over the front double doors with the faded word, SHARON, painted on it, nothing else.
We all piled out of the car, my parents begin to pull out our luggage and cooler so they can get to the spare tire and jack. My sisters and I mill around. I can see that the church hasn't been in use for a long time, there are tall weeds and thistle growing all around it, there are 4 windows along the long side of the church. There's a window (near the doors) that doesn't have many weeds under it. I decided to have a peek inside and my sisters follow me.
The bottom window ledge is just low enough that I can look in. I see several benches pushed to the side up against the inside window ledge. I can see over the benches to where the west sun is streaming onto the dusty wooden floor through identical windows on the other side of the big room. It was about that time, my sisters began pestering me to let them look too. I turn away from the window for a second to tell them to hush and I'll boost them up, but when I turned back to the window again, there's a girl looking out the window at me! I was so surprised I fell back onto my rear end. My sisters laughed their heads off, but helped me up.
I was so spooked! I pushed my sisters towards the car. Midway there my mom yells that dad is about finished and we need to get ready to go. My sisters tell her I fell down trying to look in a window. Mom dusted me off and said to get in the car. We made it to Harrison before nightfall and had a really good weekend with my grandmother.
But one thing, has bugged me to this day. I'm positive there wasn't anyone in that building, not a soul and there hadn't been in years. The pews were covered in dust and were four and five deep pushed up under the windows. It was not the reflection of one of my sisters (they needed my help to lift them up to see) and it was not my own reflection either. I know that for sure. My mom kept our hair cut short with bangs and I'm a brunette. This girl was blonde and had skinny braids trailing down the sides of her shoulders.
Maybe one of the Arkansas YGS members knows this place? Has anyone ever seen this church? Looking forward to hearing from you.
Thanks for reading.