"My Own Ghost Story"
By Tina @ Gather.com
OK. I will have to post this story in parts because if I don't, the attention span will go right out the window, and I understand. So... bear with me, friends. I promise it's not a 12-parter.
The summer I was 12, my mother, step-father, sister and I rented this very old house that I immediately fell in love with. The house was right next to the railroad tracks, and it had that old, lonely look that houses get after some time of wear and neglect. It was the mid-80s, and this house was over 110 years old when we moved into it. You could tell that at some point in its glorious old life it had been a prosperous house. I need to describe the layout of the house in order for this story to make any sense at all when I come to the ghost part, otherwise, you won't be able to see in your mind what happened.
The house had a large front porch that took up the right 2/3 of the house, and the front, left bedroom had a bay window. The house was one of those that had the long, wide hallway down the center and all the rooms off to the sides. The front door was heavy, solid wood on the bottom with two large, clear, heavy glass panes in the top half. The glass panes in this door were, according to the man who rented us the house, the original glass, and it probably was. It had that thick, sort of wavy effect when you looked through it that ages old glass gets, and you could tell that there had been caulking and adjustments made for the glass changing over the years.
Off to each side as you entered was a bedroom of about 12 ft X 12 ft with 12 foot high ceilings. After those two rooms were the living/common area on the left which was about 12 ft by 10 ft and then the bathroom on the right. Originally this had been a smaller bedroom, but they split it in half, making half of it a closet for the master bedroom on the right side of the house and the other half an indoor bathroom, complete with a claw-foot tub. The living room and both front bedrooms had fireplaces.
You had to go through the common living area to get to the kitchen, which was about the size of the bedrooms. The main hallway ended at the final bedroom, which took up two thirds of the width of the back of the house, and had three doors. One opened to the hallway, of course. One opened to the kitchen, and one opened to the back porch, which spread the whole length of the back of the house and was about 10 ft. deep. I don't know how I managed it, but I somehow managed to make the biggest room in the house mine. ALL mine. (Eventually my sister moved in here with me, but at first I was all alone in there and loved it.)
This room did not have a fireplace, and the place was not insulated the way houses these days are. In the summer, you could open the doors and windows, turn on a fan or two and the house would stay comfortable, even in the sweltering Alabama heat. There was no air conditioning, and when my step-father got desperate for ice cold air, we turned on the window units. In the winter, we kept warm with layers and layers of blankets and the fire places. I had two small space heaters since there was no fire place. That was the only drawback of choosing that room, but in the summer I loved the fact I could open all the windows in my bedroom, leave the back door open if I so chose to, not worry about a soul bothering me, and sleep like the dead.
When we first moved in, I really didn't pay any attention to some of the creaks, groans and pops the old house made. It was after all, OLD. My step-dad and his partner were gone a lot for work - as a matter of fact, he only slept one night in the house for the first two or three weeks we were there. We ladies were alone there most of the time, and we were in small town Alabama. I mean really, really small. Seriously. No one was going to bother us. That was why we moved there.
We settled in and started making friends with the neighbors, getting the house set up and decorated like we wanted it, and then I started exploring. I got in trouble more than once for walking the railroad tracks, but it was just too tempting to follow them for miles in either direction, and I discovered so many natural wonders - or at least it seemed that way to my 12 year old brain. The trains didn't bother me, and there wasn't any place that I couldn't get off the tracks if I heard one coming, so I didn't see what the big deal was. I found out later, but I'll get to that in a minute.
About two weeks after we moved into the house there was this huge storm. It rained and lightened and rained and the wind howled, and of course we lost electricity for the night, but so did our neighbor next door who was 96 years young and lived alone. We were worried about her, so we convinced mother that we all should make the dash to her house and sit with her so she would not be alone in the dark. We were drenched when we got there, but it was a good idea that we did. There was nothing wrong, thankfully, but because we were there, and it was the right mood for it, Mrs. M told us the history behind the house, and now, I will share a part of it with you.
In Part 2...