I was attempting one of those age-old writer traditions of closet cleaning when I came across a notebook full of stories and writing assignments I’ve managed to hang on to since I was a kid. Out of the many realizations that struck me (one being that I’m not much better at spelling, sigh) was that I had a real penchant for the spooky, scary and downright macabre stuff!
The only explanation for this must have been the influence of television shows like Creature Feature, Twilight Zone and Dark Shadows. Anybody remember Elvira? I just aged myself, didn’t I? Anyway, my cousin and I were terribly addicted to these things at an early age, 8, 9, 10 – where were our parents??
Sometimes we would spend an entire Saturday building a haunted house down in my aunt’s basement, complete with special effects like Bissell brooms disguised as monsters that would slid out from their hiding places when we pulled a string, to squishy, nasty things in bowls you had to touch with your eyes closed. We even used a sound track – Funeral For A Friend, by Elton John. Of course our younger cousins had to go through them time and again.
Thank goodness for hormones and the discovery of romance novels.
But, in honor of all things spooky for Halloween, just days away, I thought I’d include a small sample of my 10 year old mind at work. I didn’t edit, but I did fix the spelling:
Hi my name is Sandy Michaels. Something funny happened to me about a year ago and I wanted to share the story with you.
One day I was digging in my backyard to plant a mimosa tree. When I dug up some rocks and one of them was an Indian arrowhead. So I kept it so I could start a collection. I put it aside and finished planting the tree. Then I went inside and washed it off. I was surprised to find it was shiny black and it had a green glow, I loved it. The next day at school I asked my professor if he had a book on arrowheads, and I showed him the one I found. He said yes and gave me the book. After school I went right home and started to read it. I turned the page and there was a picture of my arrowhead. On the page it said, “A long time ago there was a tribe called the Wama-Wama tribe. They had their witchdoctor make a special arrowhead with a curse on it. The curse stated that anyone who rubbed it would turn into a white buffalo and roam the plains on the night of the full moon. This made it easy for them to find and kill their enemies.” I closed the book and turned out the light. All of a sudden I jumped up remembering I had rubbed the arrowhead when I dried it. I grabbed the book and searched to see if I could find an antidote for it. But I could not. The next day before school started I went to the professor and asked if he knew of an antidote, but he did not. He said that I should look for a descendent of the Wama-Wama tribe for help. So, for the past year I have been looking for a descendent of the tribe.
So, if you are ever in the west on the plains and see a white buffalo by the light of a full moon, don’t worry, it’s me!
I want to send out a special thank you to my third grade teacher, Mrs. Sandifer, for nurturing my creativity and budding desire to write, and for slogging through everything I gave her. And Aunt Ann – thanks for letting us turn your basement upside down all those weekends!
So how about you? Do you still have any of those early childhood stories? A favorite Halloween memory? Or maybe an encourager from those early years you haven’t thought of in a while. Let us know.