Monday, October 31, 2011

Poem: Halloween Fright - Last Halloween Posting

 Thank you to everyone who followed my Halloween Marathon.  
I've posted 31 stories or poems since October 1st.  
Here is the final installment. 


 There’s a story that’s told about Halloween night;
The details are sketchy, but oh what a fright.
If you think about ghosts and screeching black bats,
Then add a few witches with pointy black hats,
You can start to imagine the harrowing scene,
And the facts that led up to the bone-chilling scream.

A figure was seen walking past in the dark,
He had an odd shape; his feet left no mark.
He floated past windows and over the lake,
But cast not a shadow; no sound did he make.
No witness could pinpoint the sight they had seen;
It could have been real or maybe a dream.

But just after midnight a scream ripped the night,
The wind blew a chill through covers held tight.
Who was alone in the woods at this hour?
Why did they scream; where did they cower?

With nerves set on edge and fear in his heart,
Young Johnny McGee set off through the dark.
The sight he discovered has not come to light,
For Johnny McGee never spoke of that night.
In fact, young McGee never spoke again ever,
The fright of that night changed Johnny forever.

So watch where you roam on Halloween night,
If you go out alone, please stay out of sight.
There are scary black cats and goblins out there,
And strange ghostly shadows floating on air -
You might see McGee out taking a walk,
He may tip his hat, but never will talk.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Skeleton Key and Skeletons in the Closet

  A Skeleton Key and Skeletons in the Closet

The skeleton key was on the table in the foyer.  Angela saw it as she was leaving for work and wondered how it had gotten there.  She lived alone in a rented duplex and was obsessive about keeping track of important things like keys, cash and her purse.  But she was in a hurry with no time to contemplate the key.  Her boss had called a meeting for 8:00 a.m. citing upcoming changes.  She had no intention of being late.  She picked up the key and dropped it in a drawer. 

Arriving home at 7:00 p.m., exhausted by a trying day, Angela unlocked her front door and flipped on the light.  She hung her coat in the closet and turned to find the key once again on the foyer table.  Willing herself to believe she had left it there that morning, she shoved it in the drawer and walked into the kitchen for a late dinner. 

The next morning was a Saturday and Angela slept in.  She lived in a revitalized neighborhood called Victorian Village located near downtown Columbus.  Her home was originally an opulent single family home, but had been turned into a duplex several years back.  It retained much of its original charm and unique architecture along with a storied past.  Old newspaper articles revealed it had been a speakeasy during Prohibition, and that a murder had taken place on the premises in 1930.  The owner, John Neilson, had found his wife with her lover and killed the man on the spot.  He had sent his wife away, living out the remainder of his days alone and despondent.  He had avoided prison by claiming self-defense.  Being one of the richest men in town allowed him a certain latitude with the law.  Neilson died in 1950 and was buried at nearby Green Lawn Cemetery.  The house had changed hands many times since then.

Angela awoke to the sound of scratching in the attic.  Her neighborhood had been overtaken by squirrels and raccoons, plus bats had found a home in her attic, so she never knew what caused the odd sounds she heard.  Typically, she would have rolled over and gone back to sleep, but there was a certain rhythm to the scratching that was different and a bit unsettling.  Shaking the cobwebs from her mind, she rolled out of bed, deciding coffee was needed.  She threw on a robe and slippers and found her way to the front door to bring in the paper.  Passing the table in the foyer, she caught the glint from the key.  She felt a sudden chill and pulled her robe a bit closer.  She picked up the key, dropped it into her robe pocket and brought in the paper.

The front page reminded her it was Halloween.  She made a mental note to buy candy and to drag her creepy skeleton statue out to the front porch.  Victorian Village was a favorite for trick or treaters.  It had a certain haunted air that appealed to lovers of Halloween.

Angela read the paper from front to back, had a couple cups of coffee and occasionally touched the key in her pocket.  She knew she had put it in the drawer and she knew she had never seen it before.  She also knew the scratching in the attic had not stopped.  Angela had never been in the attic. She decided it was time.

She pulled the stairs down with some difficulty – rusty hinges and springs didn’t help.  She grabbed a flashlight and started her ascent.  There was one light with a pull chain, but the bulb had burnt out years ago.  It took her eyes a minute to acclimate to the dusty, dark space.  A small window cast a square of light on the furthest corner.  She swung the flashlight from left to right trying to get her bearings.  There were a few old rugs, a couple of broken chairs and a rusted bicycle.  It looked like nothing had been touched in years.  She was ready to head back down the stairs when a glint of metal caught her eye.  Hidden behind a support beam was an old wooden chest.  The glint was from the lock and clasp.  She shoved it into the light and studied the exterior.  It was a beautiful chest, unlike anything you would find today.  It made her think of steamer ships and cross Atlantic voyages.  It also made her think of the key in her pocket. 

Angela couldn’t help but feel something very strange was happening.  She pulled out the key, studied its shape and size and knew it would be a perfect fit for the chest.  Sliding it into the lock, she gave a quick turn to the right and heard a click.  The lock came loose and she pulled it out freeing the clasp.  She took a deep breath, made sure her flashlight was still on and lifted the lid.  A flash of light burst forth, knocking her off her feet.  A luminous woman floated a few inches off the floor.  She pointed at the chest and then disappeared.  Angela looked inside and saw a yellowed wedding gown and a newspaper article from 1930 about the murders that had occurred.  There was a sketch of the back yard with a large X drawn over the spot where the gazebo now stood.  Angela stumbled to her feet, somehow found her way to the stairs and called the police.  She was pretty sure someone was buried in the back yard. 

By 5:00 that afternoon, Angela had finished with the police and reporters.  She had turned over the chest, the map and the key.  The reporters were thrilled with the story and knew it would be on page one of the newspaper the next day.  They were already digging up old articles about the 1930 murder. 

Angela called a friend who came over to spend the evening.  There weren’t any trick or treaters because the police had cordoned off the whole area.  Her friend wanted to spend the night, but Angela just wanted to be alone after the exhausting, emotional day. 

After her friend left, Angela got ready for bed and slipped under the covers.  She brought her cell phone with her along with her flashlight.  At 2:00 a.m. she was awakened by a knock at the door.  Against all her better judgment, she got out of bed and went to the door.  She thought it might be her friend returning to check on her.  She flipped on the porch light and saw an older gentleman standing on the porch.  He had a dignified air about him, but she was not inclined to open the door.  Pressing the intercom she asked him what he wanted. 

“I am Thomas Neilson, the son of John Neilson.  I understand you had a bit of activity here today.  There is more to the story.  Will you allow me to share it with you?”  Angela had him hold his identification up to the window and then let him in.  The mystery had totally ensnared her by now.  There was no turning back. 

John came in, took off his coat and hat, and sat on her sofa.  Over the next three hours he told her about the night of the murder.  He had witnessed the whole thing – he was a mere child at the time.  His father had sent him away to a state hospital so the facts of that night would never come to light.  It was only after his father’s death that John was able to prove his sanity.  He had lived his whole life knowing he had lost both his mother and father due to the tragedy.

Just then, a bright light burst through the window.  The luminous woman had returned.  She smiled at her son and extended her hand.  John touched her fingers, was absorbed into her light, and the two figures were gone.  All that remained was a pile of John’s clothing and his wallet.  In his wallet, was an old picture of a very young girl. 

Angela went back to bed with two thoughts.  She wasn’t afraid and she knew who the little girl was.  She also knew she would not be moving from this house.  She had a few secrets of her own that seemed to fit beautifully into the fabric of this space.  She just hoped the newspaper reporters didn’t delve too far into her background, or she too might have to disappear into thin air.  There was a reason the key had come to her.  She was the daughter of John Neilson and had been given up for adoption 35 years ago.  This house was hers and she intended to stay. 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Poem: Coulrophobia - What is it About Clowns?

It wouldn’t be Halloween without a few clowns running around.  When my sons were in middle school, I found a rubbery clown mask in a discount bin at a novelty store.  I brought it home and it became a favorite.  My oldest son snuck up on me once while I was washing dishes and tapped me on the shoulder.  I jumped a mile when I turned to find the ghoulish grin of a clown staring at me.  Another time, he hung the mask on the shower head so that his younger brother would see it first thing in the morning.  From circuses to horror movies, clowns are everywhere, and some people have an extreme phobia of them called Coulrophobia.  What is it about clowns?


You scare me, you clown
With your lack of a frown,
Your smile frozen in place,
Such an odd and
Confusing face,
It makes my heart race,

Quit smiling at me,
I’ve had it I swear,
No clowning around,
No silly clown tricks,

You’re creeping me out,
I shudder inside,
There’s nowhere to hide
From that grin,

I want you to go
Scare somebody else
With your red bulbous nose,
And that
Oddly revolting,
Strangely contorting,
Highly deceptive

Permanent Address - Short Story

Bill Johnson purchased the mirror at a resale shop in the Short North area of Columbus, Ohio.  It had cardboard over the glass and plastic around the gilt edges, but the shop owner assured him the glass was in perfect shape.  “Bring it back if you aren’t happy,” he said. 

Bill was very particular about the furniture and accessories he bought for his apartment.  He went for old and eclectic items, but everything had to be in very good shape.  A physician by day, Bill wrote fiction at night and wanted to be surrounded by creative objects to inspire his prose. 

Back at home, he turned the mirror over to adjust the hanger and noticed a list of names and addresses printed on a long strip of yellowed paper taped to the back.  Next to each name was the date and location of the purchase.   He knew the mirror was old, but was surprised to see the date of May 15, 1911 next to the first name.  The mirror had done some traveling over the last hundred years. There were addresses from Paris, New York, Kentucky, Michigan and North Dakota along with a few from Ohio toward the bottom of the list.   He decided he would do an internet search after dinner and see what he could dig up on the previous owners.  He finished hanging the mirror in the entryway, but left the cardboard over the glass for the time being.  

Later that evening, Bill poured himself a glass of red wine, turned on a bit of Mozart and began his search. The very first name was Francois Durand from Paris, France.  Bill found an old newspaper article about a French aristocrat with the same name who died on May 15, 1911.  Durand was found in his home and appeared to have died from natural causes.  His estate was sold at auction and fetched a large sum for that time period.  Bill thought it was strange that the date on the mirror matched the date of Durand’s death.

Moving down to the next name, he learned that a Carol Hempley had purchased the mirror on March 27, 1920 from an auction house in New York City.  His Google search brought up an obituary for a Carol Hempley who apparently died on that same date.  Bill began to feel a strange tingle up his spine.  The first two had died on the same day they purchased the mirror. 

Out of the remaining seven owners, Bill was able to find information on four and confirmed they had all died the day they purchased the mirror. 

Feeling a bit dizzy, Bill picked up his wine and walked to his entryway.  The mirror was still covered with cardboard.  It was a particularly beautiful frame with an intricate weave of pewter and gold.  So exquisite in its artistry – so profound to think of the miles it had traveled and the lives it had touched.  Now he was the owner of this gorgeous mirror, yet he was mystified by the facts he had uncovered.  He stared at the cardboard cover and decided there was nothing to lose.  It was time to unveil the looking glass and meet his reflection.  He carefully undid the tape and watched as each corner gave way.  As the last corner released, the cardboard fell to the ground. 

Bill looked straight ahead and saw his own reflection staring back at him.  He felt such a profound sadness, as if the weight of eternity had descended on his spirit.  He wanted to look away, but could not.  He wanted to see something more, but could not.  He wanted to feel peace and serenity, but could not.  He was so disturbed by the impact of his reflection and the thought of all the souls who had viewed themselves in this same glass that he felt himself growing weary.  He took the cardboard, lifted it back into place and carefully retaped each corner.  He found a marker and wrote in bold letters – STORE IN A SAFE PLACE.  DO NOT UNCOVER THE MIRROR.  PLEASE HEED MY WORDS.

When Bill didn’t show up to work for two days, the office sent a coworker to check on him.  She entered his apartment and found him lying on the floor in front of the mirror.  He had been dead for two days. 

When the auction house came to assess the items in his home, the young appraiser took a special interest in the mirror.  Lifting it from the wall, he turned it over.  On the back, at the bottom of a long yellowed piece of paper filled with names and addresses was the name:  Bill Johnson – purchased on October 31, 2011, Short North Novelties, Columbus, Ohio.  How strange, he thought.

The auction of Bill Johnson’s household items was held the following Friday.  An Ohio State professor in the department of political science took home the lovely gilded mirror.  She loved the gorgeous frame and looked forward to seeing the silvery surface of the mirror.  Turning it over, she noticed all the names and addresses.  How quaint, she thought.  I'll add my name tonight.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Poem: Creepy Conundrum

Creepy Conundrum

A creepy conundrum has come over me;
Will I ever stop thinking about Halloween?
I promised myself I would write every day
About this fine season, but nerves start to fray,

I’ve written ‘bout ghosts and mummies and stuff,
But with four days to go that isn’t enough,
My brain is befuddled, my thoughts are confused,
I clearly am bleary and slightly bemused,

I never knew writing ‘bout something so fun
Could end up so tiring before I was done,
I shan’t be deterred by lazy brain matter,
I’ll simply continue to write lots of blather,

So, stay tuned for more, just four more to write,
I promise to scare you and bring on the fright,
I won’t let you down, or me for that matter,
Just know I could end up as mad as a hatter

Oh wait, that’s a thought, I could write about that,
The Mad Hatter, dear Alice and a strange looking glass,
I think I am slipping into some strange morass,

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

That's Not Scary Enough - One Act Play

That’s Not Scary Enough – One Act Play

Scene:  Mother telling her son a bedtime story
M (Mother)  B (Boy)

M:  Once upon a time, there was a small boy who lived in a cabin in the woods with his grandfather.  The cabin was old and the wind whistled through the cracks in the walls at night.  It was also very dark, because they only had candles and kerosene lanterns.

B:  Why didn’t they just turn on the lights?

M:  Well, they didn’t have power like we have in the city.  There weren’t any electrical lines that ran that far out into the woods.

B:  That’s pretty scary.  I bet they didn’t have a phone either.  That would make the story even scarier.

M:  That’s true.  Okay, we’ll add that.  They only had candles and kerosene lanterns and no phone line.  Cell phones didn’t work either because they were too far from a cell tower.

B:  Nice touch, mom.

M:  So, on a stormy October night, the wind whistled through the walls and the sounds coming from outside were creepy.  They heard a wolf howling in the distance.  The trees cracked and popped.  The storm moved closer as each moment passed.

B:  I bet they were really scared.  How about having someone knock at the door? 
M:  Good idea.  Suddenly, there came a knock at the door.  The boy and his grandfather froze in place.  Who could be knocking at this late hour?  The grandfather shook his head at the boy as if to say, 'Don't go near the door'.

B:  Why don't you have the person at the door say something like, “I know you’re in there.  I will get you before the night is through.”  Now that’s scary.

M:  Yes, it is.  So, the boy and his grandfather pushed a big wooden dresser up against the door and sat there all night protecting their house. 

B:  That’s not scary enough.  You need to have the voice keep saying things all night like, “You’ll never be safe.  There’s nowhere to hide.  Time is running out.” 

M:  Yes, that’s good.  As the night wore on the voice could be heard all around the house; not just at the door.  They saw flashes of light through the cracks in the walls and shadowy shapes flickering across the floor.  There was tapping on the roof and scratching at the windows.  They were surrounded by something, but what could it be?

B:  I don’t know.  What could it be?

M:  When the first light of morning peeked through the windows, the sounds ceased and the wind calmed.  No more scratching at the windows or tapping on the roof, and no more voice.  The grandfather and boy shoved the dresser away from the door and peeked out. There on the doorstep was a small note held in place by a large stone.  The note said: 

I’m known as the Halloween ghost,
I love scaring children the most,
I’ll be back next year,
Bringing more fear,
Maybe you’ll offer some toast.

B:  That’s just silly, mom.  A ghost wouldn’t say that.  The last line should be:  I promise you both will be toast.  Now that’s scary.  It was a good story, mom, but it just wasn’t scary enough.  Maybe next time add a mummy, werewolf or graveyard, and blood, lots of blood.

M:  Maybe next time I’ll let you tell the story. 

B:  Now we’re talkin’.  Goodnight, mom.  Love you. 

M:  Love you too.

B:  Mom, could you leave the light on in the hall?


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Candy Delight - Limerick and Recipe

Candy Delight - Photo by Rita Bourland © 2011

  Candy Delight Limerick

I cooked in my lab late last night
Creating a candy delight,
At first it was icky,
Then it was sticky,
But now every bite is just right!

Recipe for Candy Delight 

Snickers Bar
Mr. Goodbar
Hershey’s Milk Chocolate with Almonds
Reese’s Cup
5th Avenue Candy Bar
¼ cup pecan pieces

Place all the candy bars in a microwave safe bowl.  Cut or break them into pieces.  Heat on high for one minute or until the candy can be easily stirred.  Remove from microwave and stir in the pecan pieces. 
Cover a cookie sheet with wax paper.  Drop the Candy Delight in small amounts by teaspoon onto the wax paper.  Place cookie sheet in refrigerator until the candy is firm.  Remove from fridge and place candy in a plastic, air-tight container and put back into fridge.  Consume in small doses!

This recipe is meant to be played with.  In fact, I just made it up today (I mean last night in my lab) because I was looking for another Halloween theme to write about.  Use your own favorite candies and mix them up.  It’s hard to go wrong with any concoction that includes chocolate!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Poem: A Child's Eye View of Halloween

Patrick and Davis - 1988
 A Child's Eye View of Halloween
Wearing a costume
Or mask,
I feel free
To be
A special version of me,

Certain for one night
Of my goal in life:

Filling a bag with candy,

Just that,
No more,

No challenging issues
About growing up to be
 This or that
Or the other thing,

No worries about
Finding my way in the world,
Making a mark,
Being smart,
Competing for jobs,

All that
Can wait,

For now,
It’s Halloween,
And I am free
To be
A special version of me

Who also happens to love

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Ghost Invasion


 The photo was taken by my sister-in-law, Marti Durkee Garvey, on a visit to NYC in 2008.  She has other fantastic photos at her website.
The photo inspired me to write the following story.

Ghost Invasion

In New York City, people sometimes ignore noises in the night.  The less you know the better off you are, is how the thinking goes.  So, when there was the occasional thump or moan emanating from Apartment 3B in the Stowe Building on the Lower West Side, there was a hesitancy to pick up the phone and call the police. 
Everyone knew the woman who lived there had unusual tendencies.  She never came in or out of her apartment, played chant-like music with irritating repetition and burned incense and candles incessantly – a worry in its own regard.  No one had ever met her.  If fact, they weren’t even sure she was a woman, yet rumors abounded nonetheless.  Some folks said she had a small inheritance.  Others rumored she had a man who ‘kept’ her financially afloat and still others thought she created high end sculptures that sold for outlandish prices at a local gallery.  No theory had ever been confirmed. 
When passing on the street, you could look up and see movement through the panes of her window.  Large objects might be propped against the glass one day and the next there might be nothing at all.
One day, Jay Thomas, a resident of 4B, ran across a story on the internet which discussed a strange phenomenon the police had been investigating.  They had been tracking multiple reports of suspicious ghost-like activity.  People had called about unusual tenants in their buildings who never came in or out of their apartments, yet played chant-like music with irritating repetition and burned incense and candles incessantly.  There were consistent reports of movement through windows, but the most surprising link between the stories was that all of the effected supervisors reported those particular units were unrented.
Jay built a Facebook page dedicated to the phenomenon where folks could link-up and discuss the ghost-like tenants in their buildings.  After ruling out the odd musician, palm reader and recluse, the site had a list of 20 eerily similar ‘tenants’ located throughout the Lower West Side of Manhattan. 
The police contacted Jay after they accessed his page and he became an integral part of the plan they put into place.  While working with them, he and the other residents of the Stowe Building began keeping a more vigilant eye on 3B.   Residents tiptoed past the door, began keeping their lights on at night, gathered in groups to discuss their common problem and let their imaginations run wild with possibilities.
Twitter feeds were created around the city to play off the growing fear and hilarity created by the phenomenon.  Some of the more humorous were:  @ghostsquatter, @nobodyhome and @feelingtransparent. 
On October 31st, the police set their plan into place with a coordinated sting on all the affected apartments. The plan was to bust through the doors and catch the squatters before they had a chance to flee. 
In the New York Times on November 1st, the following headline ran:  Ghosts Gone – Sculpted Reminders Remain. 
It seems that in every single apartment, all 20 that had been affected, the police found exactly the same thing:  a single candle burning in the middle of an empty apartment and a large immoveable human sculpture welded into the front window.  It was made of some unknown material and filled the frame from top to bottom and side to side.  The sculpture was the same in every single apartment.  The police dusted for fingerprints, checked for DNA samples, looked for signs of welding tools or any other sign of human activity.  They came up empty handed.
The sculptures are still there in the 20 unrented apartments.  There is a special bus tour you can take in New York City to visit all the sites.  Jay Thomas owns the company and has become the sole authority on the Ghost Invasion, as that time has come to be known.   
At night, when the moon is full and all is still, you can look up at any one of the windows and see a sculpture looming above.  It doesn’t move, but if you look closely you can see a faint wisp of smoke and hear a low repetitive chant reverberating through the walls of the building.  It’s the only Ghost Invasion ever recorded in New York City or anywhere else in the world. 
Jay Thomas plans to keep it that way.  

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Poem: Don't Open That Door

 Don't Open That Door

Don’t open that door,
I beg you,
I plead,

You’ll be sorry
For sure
I truly believe,

People go mad,
They shriek in the night,
They never get over
The terrible fright,

Once you go in
You’ll be just the same,
This isn’t a lark
Or some silly game,

The sign says no entry,
Please don’t tempt fate,
It’s not worth the cost,
There’s just no debate,

Don’t open the door,
I beg you,
 I plead,

Stay where it’s safe,
Stay here with me,

I beg you,
I plead,

Don’t go in!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Graveyard Limerick

 Graveyard Limerick

A graveyard’s a scary, dark place,
A place that the ghosts like to grace,
They drop from the trees,
And knock at your knees,
They love when you quicken your pace.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Poem: For Whom the Bell Knells

'Little Church on a Hill' Painting - Janet Bragg

For Whom the Bell Knells

Midnight fell and all was still,
The bell didn’t knell from the church on the hill,

The people in town wondered what could be wrong,
So, they marched up the hill in a chattering throng,

The church bell was rung by a man McFee,
It’s all that he’d done since 1903,

A mighty old man, was old man McFee,
Strong as an ox and tall as a tree,

That’s why he was good at knelling the bell,
He gave a good yank; he did it quite well,

When the people in town had climbed up the hill,
They found old McFee; he was lying quite still,

It seems he had died on his way to the church,
His heart just gave out leaving them in the lurch,

But as they stood stunned at the loss of McFee,
The church bell rang out as loud as can be,

The bats in the belfry flew this way and that,
A mouse skittered by being chased by a cat,

The clouds swirled around in a ghostly parade,
Shadows played tricks in this eerie charade,

From that day ‘til now the bell has still rung,
It might be McFee just having some fun;
A ghostly old angel who’s finally been sprung.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Limerick: A Gifted Ghost

A Gifted Ghost

There once was a ghost who was sad,
‘Cause his friends all said he was bad,
 But all that he knew
Was how to say BOO,
So he stayed with the gifts that he had.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Poem: Not Now and Not Then

 Not Now and Not Then

Let me explain ‘bout the house in the glen,
It hasn’t been lived in,
Not now
And not then,

But yet it’s been furnished with this thing and that,
A cane on a chair; a worn leather hat,
 A mat on the porch says welcome my friend,
A clock ticks inside; a gong sounds at ten,

And then there’s the cat - he’s black as can be;
He sits in a window and stares at a tree,

On Halloween night the house draws a crowd,
Folks sit there and watch; they murmur out loud,
 Things seem to move from this room to that,
The cat might walk by with the worn leather hat,

It’s really so strange this Halloween show,
It’s kind of like watching a moving tableau,

So odd this old house that sits in a glen,
It hasn’t been lived in,
Not now,
 And not then.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Poem: I LIke Being Scared

  I Like Being Scared

I like being scared,
well just a wee bit,

as long as I know,
as long as I’m sure,
it turns out okay
in the end,

such a kick
to the

a knock at the door,
cries from the eaves
whistling wind,
rustling leaves,

moans from the attic
creaks on the stairs
shadowy shapes,
a picture that stares


I like being scared,
well just a wee bit,

as long as I know,
as long as I’m sure,
it turns out okay
 in the end,

as long as I know,

OH NO………………!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Gypsy Inside of Me

My sister Judy - A Halloween Gypsy - about 1955
In the late ‘50s and early 60s, Halloween was a homespun affair.  Costumes were made, not purchased and were mostly thrown together a few hours before trick or treating commenced.  An old sheet became a ghost or some black fabric turned into the perfect Dracula cape.  Face make-up completed the look we were hoping for.  Being a gypsy was my sisters’ and my favorite costume for two reasons: the final look was awesome and we got to dig through our mom’s stuff to find the right accessories.  We, of course, weren’t allowed to wear this slightly flirty look until we were ‘old enough’, but it was worth the wait. 
I felt mysterious and exotically different on those Halloween nights - a dramatic, delicious change of pace.

The Gypsy Inside of Me

Scarf wrapped ‘round my head,
Hoop earrings dangling long,
Brushing against
Rose-blushed cheeks,
Deep ruby lips,
Eyelashes long and black,

A touch of perfume
At my neck,
Peasant blouse
Tucked into
Mother’s silk skirt
Black and sleek,

Scarf at my waist,
Gold bracelets jangling on my wrists,
Necklaces layered
To great affect,

A swirl of color and scent
Mirrored back at me,
A costume complete
With attitude,

Such a treat
To create
A different me;
The gypsy
inside of me.