Friday, October 29, 2010


Halloween is two days away, and I miss being of an age to trick-or-treat. It's not the candy-I can get that anytime- but the sheer adventure of the evening.

I imagine most places, kids don't go door to door at night anymore, just because of the way things are. we'd go, generally a couple days before the holiday itself, starting out just past sunset, which was a big part of the thrill....usually, we had to be at least in the yard at sunset.
Mainly, we worked our own neighborhood, although some years, Ma piled us into the station wagon and took us different places. I remember one year being taken to the house of the man who'd be my 7th grade Science teacher, as he'd been my mother's. We'd have big paper grocery bags, which of course got harder and harder to carry as the night wore on....eventually, we'd wend our way home.
Once there, everything was dumped out on the dining room table, and sorted. Apples, loosely-wrapped candy and such was always discarded. Store-wrapped sweets, money, and the odd toy, we got to keep. There was always so much stuff that no one complained about the discarding of some of it.
Here in Whitney, small town that it is, kids might still go out at be honest, I really didn't notice last year.
That'd be nice.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


I decided it was about time to spotlight my signifigant other, my partner, my friend, my wife, Tracy Jean. That's her, sitting in front of her twin, Mary, and with me at the bus station in Cleveland. Right now, she's sitting next to me at a library computer; we can't afford one of our own just yet.
I think my mother would've not only approved of Tracy, they would've been good friends...she's an old-fashioned girl, good hearted, loving, mindful of God, country, and those around her. Generally, women my mother saw me with were likely to be self-destructive she-people who really didn't love me, or themselves, even.
We laugh a lot together, something that was missing from my life, REAL laughter, not the sardonic braying of the hiply tragic ghosts that haunt what passes for popular society. I'm really Andy Griffith inside, and Tracy Jean helps me to see that that's all right. We love a lot, the solid love that's an act of will rather than sensation.
I wish Ma could've seen her; Ma, and so many others who despaired over what would become of me.

Monday, October 11, 2010


I've been tastin' my mother's cooking in my mind the past few days, and I'm kinda wondering why, and why now.

My mother wasn't a fantastic cook, nor was she a dreadful one. Rather, she turned out good, hearty meals that I still remember fondly, forty-some years later.

We ate a lot of what's called "down-home" cooking, which was (is) fine with me... I adore fried chicken, porkchops, corn bread, and mashed potatoes; indeed, I could probably eat those items for a straight month without getting tired. Spaghetti was another favorite, as was kielbasi (Polish sausage, to the uninitiated), macaroni and cheese, and meat loaf. Her hamburgers were always well-done (I prefer rare), but always good.

That's the key, I think- it was her cooking, with her personality and love mixed in with the other ingredients. Not the best, but what I knew, and loved; I'd rather have that. No matter the budget, she managed to keep three growing boys, herself, and the dog and cat well- fed over the years.

Thank you, Mama; Lord willing, I'll put my feet under your table again, when this day is over forever, and the new Day dawns.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


I wrote of this place before, and I promised to tell more about it; with Halloween approaching, I figure this is the time.

I moved into the building in June of '87. The rental space consisted of two single rooms, one at the front and one at the rear of the second floor(I occupied the front one), two three-room apartments, each with a living room, kitchen, and bedroom, and two bathrooms, shared by the tenants; at the time, both of the apartments and the other single room were occupied.

Over the next year, several things happened....the other tenants moved, and the landlord, who also owned (and lived in ) the tv repair shop on the first floor, became ill...he was moved to a nursing home, where he subsequently died, his son taking over the property, although he lived a ways away-he'd had the shop closed and padlocked, and rarely came around.

The strange things began happening about two months after John's death....I didn't have a phone, so John allowed me to give out his number. If I got a call, he'd bang on the ceiling with a broom handle, and I'd knock on the floor with my cane to let him know I was coming down.

Early one evening, about 6:30, I was watching the news when I distinctly heard three sharp raps from the floor. I snatched up my cane, rapped twice, and started out the door-I was halfway down the front stairs before I wondered just who-or what-had made the noise.

Over the next three years, literally hundreds of out-of-the-ordinary things happened at 1444 Broadway, pretty much a daily occurrence. One Friday evening, after I'd moved (with permission) into the larger front apartment, I was sitting in my living room, waiting for my friend Dave and his wife, Buddi, to arrive, to spend the weekend, as they often did. I heard the door at the end of the hall swing open, the bell above it jingle, and the sounds of voices and footsteps coming down the hall. I walked to the door, opened it, and looked down the hall...which was empty, the door still shut.

We captured voices and strange noises on tape, took photos which bore odd images invisible to the eye, candles would light by themselves, Christmas lights which weren't designed to blink would, in time to music, when spoken to, half the string, all of it. My digital clock began to run backwards, something the manufacturer said was impossible. One night, I'd set up my coffeemaker in anticipation of Dave, his wife, and Lisa, one of Buddi's friends coming. they came, and as we were carrying groceries and stuff into the apartment, I heard the Mr. Coffee bubbling, and smelled the coffe brewing- I assumed Dave had turned it on, as there was already water and coffee in it. When I looked, the carafe was empty, bone dry, and the machine still switched off. Dave also heard and smelled this, and assumed I'd turned it on. Buddi and Lisa, neither of whom drank coffee, smelled and heard nothing.

I finally moved out in July of '91. My stuff was at Dave's for the moment, and I was set to move to Cleveland in early September. I locked my apartment, and the back door, and came down the front stairs, and locked the front door. I pushed the keys through the mail slot, hearing them land on the other side, and walked downtown to run some errands.

Coming past 1444 a couple hours later, I noticed the keys lying on the stoop...I'd checked to make sure they'd gone through the mail slot, and they had.
I admit to being relieved when I heard that the place had been torn down. As a Christian, I don't believe that the dead return as ghosts, but I DO believe that demonic forces oftimes cause such phenomena to confuse humans about the afterlife, and their relationship to it. This, I know-strange things went on at 1444 Broadway between October of 1988 and July of 1991, things I'd rather leave alone.