We have owned our home for thirty-nine years, as of this May 2018. Our home has been witness to our lives and all our changes through time. This house I speak of, was purchased by us as a fixer-upper, the best we could afford back then.
The home came with history, built in 1962 by an older woman's family, as she had always wanted a smaller home and they wished her to be happy. Her sons did much of the work, with the help of a carpenter. The problem was from 1962 to 1979, there had been no improvements or updating. If you were to know my husband and I then you would know we would not be happy until all of this home was done over, everything was changed eventually. Then came the deck, garage, three season room and finally a pool.
But for a moment let's go back to that December day in 1978 that the seventy-two year old owner of this home was stopping at the bottom of her driveway, to check her mailbox, before leaving to attend a Christmas party at the Senior Center. What exactly happened next was not witnessed, apparently her car slipped out of gear and knocked her down and the woman was then run over by her own car. Even more horrible was that the older 1960 Falcon was still running high choke and its wheels were turned. It proceeded to circle, crashing through the hedge and around the front yard, and down the driveway gaining more speed, running her over again. It might have happened a third time but for a passing motorist stopping it before that could happen. The small town newspaper gave this information, describing the broken hedges and ripped grass in the front yard.
A horrible event to learn about and naturally we, the townspeople, were all were concerned for her family. I knew this lady's daughter-in-law, we were sort of friends. She told of the woman's injuries, and how she died at the hospital. All of the sons were able to see her before she passed.
We had been house hunting for more than three years, again and again we walked away from the perfect home as it was sadly beyond our budget. We were giving ourselves a rest, every agent in our town and beyond had us down for the next fixer-upper...I think you have an idea where this story is going. We said no, we were not interested when the first call came in April, we said no again a week later, then we said we would just look on the next call, and... Yep we bought it. When we were not even in yet, my sort of friend, raised her voice saying "what are you a thrill seeker"? We were sick of looking and we planned to fix up and sell, that was really our intention.
I only was able to look at the house twice, and it had scatter in each room, hiding the worst. Also hiding the possibility for me to read or feel anything uncomfortable. Everyone told us how pleasent this woman had been, I began to believe it, and look forward to home ownership. We had lived in a duplex and I had much work ahead, as did my husband.
Everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. For example we had been told the hot watertank had quit so it was first on our list, calling Sears. We blew out three 82 gallon heaters, and guess who had to mop up the basement, yep twas me! It turned out we needed a pressure reducer, and the water department put it in place. They had no answer as to why now, as they raced out the door, and so it went.
My husband switched to the hours of 3 to 11 for three months allowing for a work day starting in and on our new home, I helped by picking a different room, scrubbed and painted, washing, everywhere. Much of the woodwork was in poor condition, that made me think the grandchildren were not watched closely. I have the memory of my son sitting on the floor buffer as my husband went over each room's floor.
We also learned an adult son had lived in the basement. I think he was quite a drinker and smoker, perhaps that was why he was put into an unfinished cellar. It was years before the cigarette smell was gone completely.
My husband moved our spare bedroom furniture first, and he began to sleep there. My son packed and I would move the lighter boxes each day, while we remained sleeping where we rented. Had I been there more I would have noticed her sooner. School ended at the same time we were totally in, finally we could slow down.
I had taken over their old garden and we were given a bunch of garden tools and a rusty rototiller. I turned the soil but had to stop as there was some items under the top soil. Silverware, car parts, rusty things. My son, playing nearby, stepped on a nail barefooted, a bad afternoon and we had many. I could not figure out what this was all doing just six inches under. This was how things were, each time we turned around. My husband and I both lost weight, all the bad things began to run together to a point where it was just all bad. I began to take notes, a book someday I thought.
Our son started first grade, the house was shaping up, we began to have friends over, life was becoming better. I felt her at times though, she still lingered. Had I known of Rook's wise advice, I would have been cleaning the home under his direction, all I did was speak to her suggesting that she move toward Heaven.
I felt she was gentle, in the beginning, a soft kindness. For example, one afternoon my son ran into the kitchen, dirty and so happy. He had found handfuls of pennies where he had been playing, I think a gift for him, unless you can think of a reason why someone would bury about $2.63 at the garden edge. My son also told of dreaming about an old lady sitting on a chair, that was a pretend chair, talking to him and laughing. I considered she may be happy in how we are making her little house as nice as it once was or even better then it ever was.
Then came the late evening where I sat in my living room chair. We had eaten, dishes were done, kitchen cleaned and light off when my husband loudly said "What are you doing?" I looked behind and every burner was red hot, even the oven. "You know I would never do that," I screamed back! So much for gentle. Perhaps that was not the beginning, but it was the beginning of what was yet to come. I put this into my notes, wondering what else have I overlooked.
Having done much in other rooms, we started to replace the wainscot paneling in our kitchen. I pulled the wood under our phone, when several pieces of paper fell from behind. A grocery list, three postcards, and a picture. There she is sitting on a green lawn chair, grey hair in a pixy cut. A small woman, big smile. Yes, she does look like that. How do I know that?
We loved putting our Christmas decorations up early, our son was at a wonderful age. One morning reaching for the oatmeal in the cereal cupboard, I found one of my dancing girls. When in art school I created many of these dancers for gifts that year, I treasured them. Made with blown glass and colorful outfits, a fond memory. Who put it up here? It flew out and away from my hands, I squeezed my eyes shut as it hit kitchen tile. NOT funny... It began to get worse each day. They one by one disappeared, I have yet to find them all. Next came both hot and cold in the tub and bathroom sink. I have read of it happening to others. Now she wasn't even being very original. Little ghost games.
I was alone with my son frequently, my husband had to travel for his job (military). With my little one in bed asleep, she began whispering into my ears. I could not makeout the words, she was trying to frustrate me, and I could not share with anyone, for who would believe me. My notes tell me I cried, I do not remember doing that. I have also written next, she has now been quiet for months.
In the second year I was feeling so happy on a fine late spring day, out in my garden, placing seeds. I was enjoying the birds and mild wind, humming quietly. The garden dirt clear from all last year's rusting metal, life was good. I thought I saw movement, and looked up, breaking my attention. There she was under the oak about twenty five feet away. She was waving, she looked younger. She turned and walked towards the woods, becoming see through more and more until she just wasn't there. Gone.
I knew one day this was going to be sent to YGS; without all my notes I could not have done it. Had I written more of the lost details, this event could have been far more interesting. I have never in all these past years seen nor heard from her again. I think perhaps when losing life in such a brutal way, a person (ghost) needs time and adjustment. Three of her four sons are now gone, she no longer needs or wants to linger here. I wish her well, and think of her often.