Thursday, September 11, 2008

Holy Ghost

When we were little kids, we often stayed overnight at our grandparents house on South Ada Street in Chicago. It was usually a fun time. We would explore my grandparents neighborhood, which was exotic to us little suburbanites. I seem to remember a house on the corner that I am pretty sure had livestock in the back yard. Down on Ashland Avenue, we could see people panhandling, and at the time I seriously considered that to be a viable career choice. Just stand out there and people give you money, what's not to like. Obviously as I got older, I realized the folly of that idea. Back at my grandparents house, my grandmother often would bake bread, filling the place with a delicious aroma. In the dining room was a player piano that entertained us for hours. Yes there were a lot of wondrous things to entertain us when visiting grandma and grandpa.

As much fun as that house was for us, it also held some scary and fearful things. Their basement was a dark, dank, cave like place, with piles of coal everywhere, and I always expected some kind of beast to come bounding out from behind one of them. In the attic, accessed by narrow, steep, stairs, were the beds we slept in when we stayed overnight. In that small cramped space, that smelled like a pair of old shoes, our Aunt Mary would tell us ghost stories in the dark. If ever there was a boogeyman hiding under the bed, I'm sure it would have been in that attic.

All that paled by comparison, to what was in my grandparents bedroom. In that room was a terrifying apparition. It was up on the wall, and it scared the hell out of me, which is exactly what it was intended to do. It was a picture of dead Jesus with spooky eyes, and if you stared at it long enough the eyes would pop open. So was this a miracle or optical illusion? It kept me out of my grandparents room and messing things up in there, which is probably what they wanted, so I guess I'd classify that as a miracle.

8 comments:

  1. I do know about your disclaimer(upper right hand corner of your front page), but I remember a different picture of Christ with eyes that follow you as you crossed the bedroom.

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  2. Maybe it has something to do with the LSD I took back in the 1960's.

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  3. No, Alan is right. The picture had closed eyes that opened if you stared long enough...I hated it and felt like I'd be struck dead because I hated it! Do you remember that Grampa was only allowed to smoke his cigars in that basement? We could smell them through the old registers. And how about the canaries that Aunt Mary raised...beautiful music. The attic bedroom was right across from the REAL attic's door, a wondrous room filled with all kinds of things that packrats can't part with...I loved that place!

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  4. Alan,did you share your LSD with Peggy?

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  5. Perhaps Dave is the one on mind-bending drugs........!!!!!

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  6. Oh my God! I remember that picture! They brought it with them to Tinley and displayed it on their bedroom wall... kept us kids from snooping I think! It really had closed eyes that opened and followed you around the room! It's one of them there "Catholic tricks"!

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  7. so glad that this is one of the things passed down between generations. it scared the crap out of me! Wasn't it eventually in great aunt mary's room in grandma's old house in Tinley?

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