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Freckles And A Big Smile


A small town and a small school. I attended this school, grade one through twelve with one or two leaving and one or two joining, a class of 22 children. Growing up together, more brothers and sisters than friends or classmates. We shared much in common, moving from room to room, from teacher to teacher, as the years progressed.

Laughingly, I must share, I remember taking waxed paper from our lunch box and setting it at the top of the metal slippery slide, sitting on the wax paper and making the slide faster and even more dangerous. Oh, yes I am old! Yet that did work making the rust from the weekend's rain, gone and on the waxy shine you zipped. My memories from those years are fond for the most part. But there was a time...

It was about 1955 that I would see a student out on the playground, but not in class. He was a short boy and a little chubby, always wearing the same dirty shirt with a small place where the stitching had come loose. His pants were once brown but now faded and holes at the knees. The shirt was a bit too small, as his tummy showed in his quick movements. Laughing loudly and jumping he would slip and dart around, weaving through the taller boys, trying to reach the ball. I found him entertaining and I enjoyed the way he played. I laughed, looking around, I wondered why I laughed alone.

I would sit on the sidelines with a group of girls, watching him trying to roll about in the grass, while others played around him.

One day he ran over to where we were sitting, and plopped right beside me. Such a vivid smile and so many freckles, his red hair short in the butch style. Smiling I handed a cookie to him from my box. I remember those cookies made by my Mom, but I have no memory of what he said or what I said in return...

It was a long time ago, and while I vividly recall this boy, what may have happened, or said, has totally faded from my thoughts.

What I do recall with childhood pain, was everyone laughing at me, and crying uncontrollably. In the following days it got so bad, they would move their desks away from me. Only an inch on all sides, so the teacher did not notice, but I certainly did. I became the girl who saw and heard things that were not there. I became the one to pick on, it was most painful.

On the small school yellow bus, the seat next to me remained empty, even though the bus was over crowded, with all the classes blended. It was as if I smelled badly or was horribly ugly. I stopped seeing the boy... Day after day I arrived home red faced and teary. Finally school was over and it was none too soon for me. By fall I hoped it would stop.

We were lucky in our little hilly, farm town to have a small lake, it was like the town grew about the land surrounding this pond over time. This body of water was not large, in fact at times it became smaller when the rains were limited and the springs feeding it slowed. The diving board would be locked off, as the depth became dangerous for diving. A large sign on the dock saying closed.

I often looked at the diving board, for I could not wait for my swimming lessons to advanced to that wonderful board.

The swimming lessons provided a break from the heat for us children and it was social for our Moms also. Sitting on a towel they cut the string beans or other garden produce and watched their children from nearby.

On one summer day during this time, I stood by my Mom wiping with a towel and dripping everywhere. I happened to look at the board and there he was! The Boy. I waved and he waved back, then he turned and dove head first, No, NO it is closed, the water is too shallow. He was gone...

I never saw him again.

As an adult, I did do some research. The only event that could have explained this: In the 1940s a young boy had drowned when swimming unattended, he was found later, dead.

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

msforgetmenott (17 stories) (316 posts)
3 years ago (2018-12-27)

I was the only one that saw him. That is why I was teased. After seeing him on the diving board, I never saw him again. I think he wanted me taught a lesson. Not to dive off the diving board when the lake was low.

MysticFrance (5 stories) (94 posts)
3 years ago (2018-12-27)
Hi Jan,

I'm currently on your page, trying to read all of your stories.

Did you see the boy again? Or when you visited your childhood home years later, by any chance, did you see him? Who else have seen him?
msforgetmenott (17 stories) (316 posts)
3 years ago (2018-12-27)

Hello to you Mystic, the Boy was nine or ten as I was seven. A small town and all of us knew each other. I did search information and found his grave stone not far from our own families plot.

MysticFrance (5 stories) (94 posts)
3 years ago (2018-12-27)
Hi Jan!

Just found your real name. Haha. Interesting story! How old was the boy when you saw him? Oh, poor thing. Ever found out about his family?

Hecate0 (4 stories) (418 posts)
6 years ago (2015-09-23)
Jan, I am sure you got them to him. I do believe our thoughts go to the people we think of, and many of us can intensify that effect. It is up to the receiver whether they get them or not. I bet he did. Your heart is always attached to your messages. I think he can read that, as well.

I needed brief readings here to bring me back to some normalcy.

Hugs to you!
Hecate ❤
msforgetmenott (17 stories) (316 posts)
6 years ago (2015-09-23)
Hi Hecate,
Very nice to see you on here.
Biblio wrote that second comment as I wrote mine, and it published just seconds before mine. I thought it over for 24 hour and said just what I felt.
I sent him many mental messages with my mind, in Biblio's own way I think he might have received them.
msforgetmenott (17 stories) (316 posts)
6 years ago (2015-08-20)
I think I know you! I probably do not, but after reading some of what you have written, I wish I did.
Living not far from Quabbin ourselves, we have often walked the many trails and paths. So much history in those overgrown stone foundations. Sadness surrounds you. Boston had to have that water, disrupting lives forever, in those several small farm towns.
My home town is farther west but, much as you describe. When you detailed your Grandparents home in one of your pages, I felt that you were in my Grandmother's house... You are a very gifted writer.
I have thought so often about this young boy, his life cut short. In a child like way I loved him. I have often thought that had he not died, perhaps we would have shared a wonderful friendship, despite our age difference, perhaps even more. Yet the lessons he set, did have an impact on me for life.
Our childhoods do mold us, preparing us for our future, each person as an individual, our memories different. Lessons, to prepare us.
I feel I would have enjoyed living in this Sate, in a time before, 1840 would be nice. People were better, honest, and hard working. Instead I have surrounded myself with history, words of that day.
Nice to meet you, Biblio, until next time,
Bibliothecarius (9 stories) (1078 posts)
6 years ago (2015-08-20)
Greetings, Msforgetmenott.

When I first arrived in the US, I lived in Framingham for 6 months, then moved to a quiet town North of Route 9, about 1/2 way between the Quabbin Reservoir and Worcester. Your narratives often bring back memories of that tranquil, surprisingly hushed landscape.

For a state nationally-known as politically liberal, people in Mass are conservative in almost all of their personal/community interactions and attitudes.

I can only imagine that was far more exaggerated in the '50s of your childhood, when "different" was not just a source of mockery, but also a justification for suspicion and fear.

Unlike many children, who have imaginary friends which express subconscious desires or agree with everything the child says, you had a friend who liked you, who recognised and interacted with you, and who departed with a reenactment of his tragedy to prevent your being tempted to repeat his reckless mistake. I'd recommend focusing upon all of the positive lessons he taught you about yourself, about shallow crowds, and about dangerous risk-taking. People like that, alive or dead, are the true friends who shape our lives. You have been very lucky to have a friend who cared enough to show you this.

I wish you peace and a release from the undertone of long-unreconciled distress in your story.

msforgetmenott (17 stories) (316 posts)
6 years ago (2015-08-18)
Hi Samtillie,
Thank you. My entire life was not ruined by the cruelty of that time, it was just my turn, that is all. As best that I can explain, I think I thought others saw him too. I did not know until then that I was different.
Yes, unfortunately there are still children suffering from the unkindness of others.
msforgetmenott (17 stories) (316 posts)
6 years ago (2015-08-18)
Umm...Tweed...You are!

Beacon of truth, perfect description. That experience was a huge eye opener for me!
I was so saddened as I read, many years later, about his untimely death. Such a loss for his family, our town and me.
msforgetmenott (17 stories) (316 posts)
6 years ago (2015-08-18)
Hi Red,
You seem to know just the right thing to say, I have a feeling you have more friends than you think.
School is harder as you are placed in the mix, you have not the ability to pick or choose.
Fortunately, we move on to a comfort zone, and choose as we wish in maturity.
Liked your family story, cute, 911... He deserved a smack.
The playground slide we had was fifteen feet high. It was removed for safety reasons not long after. As I remember, we girls wore dresses... Times have changed.
samtillie (5 stories) (242 posts)
6 years ago (2015-08-18)
Hi, I love your stories just like everyone else. I'm sorry to read about your school years. Kids can be cruel, nothing has changed since then to now, (unfortunately). I just wanted to point out that it seemed you had a lack of real friends at school, it sounds like you enjoyed the times watching this boy and he could TRULY see you, (do you know what I mean?). A wonderful story, with such a sad ending, poor boy. I feel he mutually enjoyed you being able to see him.
Tweed (29 stories) (2362 posts)
6 years ago (2015-08-18)
ah, Jan. I must be psychic. While reading this I wondered if you nearly didn't submit it. Well, I'm glad you did, and so is everyone else.😊 I simply loved this joyful boy. He's a beacon of truth in a cruel and selfish peer group. More power to you for seeing AND interacting with him!
RedWolf (31 stories) (1292 posts)
6 years ago (2015-08-18)
I remember those slides. You could fry an egg on them on a hot day. I also was teased all through school. I didn't see anyone from High School after High School except for a few friends and now there is only three friends from H.S. That I run into once in awhile and one of those is married to my brother and she avoids me if we are in the same store. Some friend huh?
My husband and I bought the kids a swing set the spring after my youngest was born, it had a metal slide swings see saw and a glider with two bench seats. I was on one side holding my infant son. When I tried to get out I couldn't because I had an infant in one arm and only one hand to try to pull myself out. After a few tries I told my daughter (my oldest) to get my husband. She ran in the house yelling daddy call 911 mom is stuck. He came out laughing asking if I needed the jaws of life. I said just take the baby so I could pull myself out you S.O.B... He was still laughing asking if I needed the jaws of life. He finally took the baby so I could get out then gave me the baby back so he could run into the house so I couldn't hit him. I walked into the house and with baby in one arm and promptly walked over to him and gave him a playful smack.
msforgetmenott (17 stories) (316 posts)
6 years ago (2015-08-17)
Thank you, Wish-Not, Rook, and valkricry,
I almost did not write of this Boy, while he was truly a solid memory, the teasing I was subjected to was hard to handle. In remembering it, I shed tears as I typed.
By the beginning of the next school year, I have no memory of it being mentioned again, not to me anyway.
The lesson I learned was keep it to myself and for many years after, I told very few if any, when I experienced an event.
Hi Bonifaz, I would like to think you are right, I have also thought his childhood was cut too short, he seemed to enjoy trying to play with others. I also felt he was sending a message... Diving could be dangerous.
valkricry (47 stories) (3179 posts) mod
6 years ago (2015-08-17)
*sigh* I remember those metal slides 😊... I quite enjoyed this telling. Hopefully, when it was time to go back to school, the other kids had let go of picking on you. I know too well what that's like.
Thanks for sharing this.
rookdygin (24 stories) (4458 posts)
6 years ago (2015-08-17)
Another wonderful accounting of an experience. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

Pardon me a moment, I mean no offence, nor a 'highjack'but I must ask something...


I have noticed in MANY of your replies that you seem to take 'both sides' could be this OR that. Could you please 'get off the fence' and if you are unsure about an experience being 'Paranormal' or not ASK for more information... A Paranormal Investigator should be sure of their replies so that the individuals they are advising can feel confident about any aid they are receiving.


Wish-Not (16 stories) (534 posts)
6 years ago (2015-08-17)
Jan- Yep, enjoyed this one very much as well.

Thanks for sharing. Will keep an eye out for another.
Bonifaz (2 stories) (51 posts)
6 years ago (2015-08-17)
I really don't think that this was some sort of imaginary friend, but a real ghost. He was probably attracted to you because you were the only one who could see him. And maybe you involuntarily helped him to "cross over" by seeing him on the board of that pool, the place of his death. He jumped off the board, disappeared, and you never saw him again. He maybe finally realized that he had died.
Goggzy (guest)
6 years ago (2015-08-17)
I would love to say your psychic but it may have been a imaginary friend but I do believe you maybe sensitive

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