On a random Sunday, back when my parents were still together, my Father asked my Mother if she'd like to go for an afternoon drive. Oddly enough, she said yes. Things like that were really not my Mother's cup-o-tea. They hopped in the car and headed out...eventually deciding on (and ending up in) Englewood, NJ where my Mother grew up. (They started in southern CT.)
Their story from that day goes something like this... as they drove down the roads my Mother grew up wandering along they came upon a massive brick wall surrounding a house. The house had always been there but the "mini Great Wall of China", as my Mother described it, had not. They drove on, stopping in front of what used to be my Great Grandmother's house.
My Mother was an only child and spent just about every Sunday of her childhood with her Grandmother. I only knew the woman as a baby/toddler. She died before I could know & appreciate her awesomeness. My Mother, however, knew her quite well and felt compelled to get out of the car and wander around the grounds.
Half way around the house my parents decided they should knock on the door and introduce themselves so that the current owners wouldn't think two creepy people were casing the joint.
The owners were not only home, but after hearing my Mother explain why they were wandering around the yard, welcomed my Mother & Father into the house and asked them if they'd like to tour the inside of the house as well.
In they went.
My Mother said the house was beautiful, and the current owners had kept so many of the original details, and period furnishings that it was almost exactly like how her Grandmother would have had it.
After a brief tour and light conversation where my Mother asked about that giant wall down the road...she got this:
"Oh, that's Mr. Murphy's place" they said.
"Eddie Murphy, the comedian."
"ohhh." (I know my Mother was slightly pleased by this because when she was growing up there were not that many black families in the area. It was nice to see that some things DO change.)
The homeowners then offered my parents something to drink.... and as they all sat around in the livingroom one of the homeowners asks my Mother flat out "so, tell me, was the house haunted when your Grandmother lived here too?"
Poor Mom almost spit out her drink. "Haunted?! No! What are you talking about?!"
The homeowners then went on to tell her that they knew there was a ghost in the house, but weren't scared of it, as much as just aware of it. They told her there were some unexplainable odd noises that could be heard at certain times of the day.
My Mother let out a laugh and said "Well, unless it's a heavy *step-step-clunk step-step-clunk* I couldn't even begin to help you. My Father (who also knew my Great Grandmother) laughed at my Mother's reference... and then they noticed the homeowners and their family had gone eerily silent... till one of them half whispered... "THAT is the sound, how did you know that?!"
She informed them that my Great Grandmother had issues with her legs, and it caused her to walk with a heavy gait, and a cane. Hence the "step-step-clunk"... and realizing she had just totally freaked out the homeowners she quickly said "oh, but you have nothing to worry about! Worst that could happen is you'll wake up to a healthy breakfast." They all smiled at that, but I'm pretty sure they were totally freaked out, I know I would be. Grandma/Great Grandma or not.... that's just eerie.
I'd like to say I don't know how I'd feel about having a ghost in my house... but... I think I do.
See, about 9 years ago one of my best friends (I'm just gonna call him "T" since that's what his name started with) died. It wasn't sudden. He had been sick for quite a while, and because T and I were both of the "sick sense of humor" mindset we'd crack jokes about all the things he was going to do when he died.
I have the email he sent to me mere hours before he passed and in it he says sweet and wonderful things, and he also reminds me of all the jokes we made and how he intended to follow through. The day he died I had woken up to check my email. I had fallen asleep just moments after we spoke on the phone the night before, and I knew he was going to be sending me something... 'cause he told me to check my email before work.
The letter began with "By the time you read this, I'll be gone..." ..... and the rest of the letter was filled with things that, if you don't mind, I'd like to keep to myself. However, he did remind me of our jokes and all the things he said he would do.
Later that evening, after making it through work, only crying once, and trying to not be upset with myself for feeling a sense of relief that his pain was finally over, I began to clean my house. I had a friend from work stopping by because we had it in our heads that we would make the Christmas gifts for the staff Christmas party/dinner that year, and my house was a mess.
After cleaning the main part of the house, I went to my bedroom and started cleaning up in there as well. Just as I had finished making my bed I heard a knock at the door. I quickly put the plethora of pillows back at the top of the bed, in the order that I always (read: for years) have kept them, and as I went to shut off the light and close the bedroom door I felt my favorite fuzzy green sweater hanging on the inside door knob, and took note that my pillows were in order. (I know, it's kinda like an OCD things with me... I do love a lot of pillows... and I like them in a certain way.)
My house was oddly warm that evening (I'm not complaining! My house is drafty as @#$%) and my friend Molly (the co-worker at the time who was coming over to make the retarded gifts with me) and I had a great time making the ugliest little candle holders you ever did see. I almost wish I had pictures so you could see for yourself... but I'm kinda happy I don't have photographic evidence of those monstrosities. Just imagine cheap little glass votive holders that were attacked with a bedazzler and hot glue. (Not. Even. Kidding. They were U.G.L.Y!!)
Eventually Molly left, and the ugly votive holders were left to dry (and fall apart by morning I should add.). I took note of the time and thought to myself "Oh! "The Little Rascals" are on!" and went to go switch on the TV. I had been, for quite a few months at that point, a big fan of watching the late night re-runs of "The Little Rascals"
I turned on the TV, but suddenly felt really cold, and remembering that my fuzzy green sweater was hanging on the inside of my bedroom door, I went to go grab it. I popped the door open, reached around for, but didn't feel it there. Thinking it must have fallen I turned on the light and looked to the ground. No sweater. Where was it? I'll tell you where... 6' away, on the floor, laid out in a perfect "T" shape. I just sort of stood there for a moment thinking "WTF," but it wasn't till I looked over at my bed that I became more than a little freaked out.
Sitting atop the pillows, specifically the pillow I sleep on each night (yes, I push all the others aside before bed) was one of my purses. A specific purse that had been the topic of multiple conversations between T and I because he was ridiculously impressed by how much I got it for. (A brand new leather Coach bag for $50) Mind you, my purses (including that one) were, at that time, kept on hooks along the OPPOSITE wall that the head of my bed was against. Even if it fell off the wall and bounced (neither of which it could or would do)... it would only go about 2' from the wall the purses hung on.
I'm not sure what made me pick up my sweater, turn off the light, and go back to the livingroom... but I did. I sat there watching "The Little Rascals", shivering. The house was still really cold. Then as quickly as the cold had enveloped my house, it was gone. I was warm again. I remember actually pushing up the sleeves of the fuzzy green sweater because I was almost too warm.
See, heat does something to me (and I know I am not alone in this)... it knocks me out. I get super sleepy on the nights I have a fire going in the wood burning stove, but on that particular night- I had yet to own one, so I don't know why I was so warm. Maybe I wasn't, maybe it was just such a drastic difference from the chill that had been in the air that my body over reacted? Either way, I decided to go to bed.
I had the next day off from work, so I didn't bother to set my alarm for any specific hour... I just went to bed.
A few hours later... specifically at 4:23am.... my alarm went off. Mind you I did not set my alarm, nor would I EVER set it for an hour as obscure as that... and to make it weirder: it was the alarm that sounds like seagulls being castrated, not the radio- which is the ONLY setting I had ever used since I bought the alarm clock in the first place.
I was too tired at that point to give it all much though, but upon waking the next day, and remembering what I had woken up to the morning before, I went to my computer and pulled up T's email.
At the end of the letter he had written out the various ways he would let me know he was "there." One of them referenced the Coach purse...there was a joke about my ugly fuzzy green sweater that I refused to throw away.... and as shivers, not from cold air as much as a startling realization, ran up and down my spine, I noticed another was him joking about making my alarm go off on my day off..... at 4:23am.