When I was little my family told story about a girl who used to live in my Great Grandmother’s House.
She disappeared one day, the story goes, and the neighbors were sure her Mother had something to do with that and that her Father buried her in their basement.
That’s why my Great Grandmother got the house so cheap, that story apparently drove the price down.
In addition to the neighbors told that story to keep the curious from putting as much as a single toe on the property. The place was after all notorious.
Here’s the thing about my Great Grandmother- should put her toes wherever the heck she wanted and so my Great Grandmother bought the house- for next to nothing – and as the years went on my family would talk about how they should really dig around down there to find out once and for all if that story was true.
My six year old self used questions about the girl.
What was her name? What grade was she in and did she like cats? Did she like McDonald’s french fries and of course…
” Is she a ghost?” I used to ask hopefully.
” No. ” I was told
” But she could be buried down there, right?”
” Could be.” I was informed.
Just before she unexpectedly died I was over at my Great Grandmother’s house. I was in her sitting room playing these little glass animals you used to get for free in boxes of Red Rose Tea when I had a great idea.
Why don’t I just put the little animals back on their shelf and go dig that girl up? I’d never seen a real human skeleton before and I figured this was my last chance to see one- it was an odd feeling but I remember just knowing I wouldn’t’ be back again.
So I put one of the little animals ( it was a dog ) in my pocket for company and headed to the pantry where the door to the basement was.
I went into the kitchen and opened the basement door and was halfway down the dark stairway to the basement when I remembered to turn the light on.
So I ran back up the stairs and straight into my Great Grandmother.
” What are you doing down there? ” she asked.
” Nothing. ” I said with disappointment.
” You were going down there after that body, weren’t you.”
” Your going to break your neck running up and down those stairs in the dark. I don’t want you going down there again. Am I making myself clear? Those stairs are dangerous. You could get yourself killed running on them like that.”
I stared back at her and didn’t answer.
My Great Grandmother’s eyes, which were green and I swear to God they glowed like a cats, took in the look on my face.
She walked to her kitchen table, pulled out a chair and carried it to the kitchen window that overlooked her backyard.
” Come here. “
I walked over to the chair and she lifted me up and stood me on it. Then she pointed to a small group of her favorite rose bushes that she had planted years ago just after she moved into her house.
I looked up into her face and she nodded.
” Now stay out of the basement. Mind me. Those stairs are dangerous.”
My Great Grandmother died a little while later. I still have that little glass dog. And her house was actually moved years later. I guess it was some kind of architectural wonder. I can’t remember if it was because of who built it but it had something to do with it being built to look like a ship inside- which was true.
The basement I assume was filled in when they redeveloped the property and they put up two new single story homes where her beautiful Victorian styled home used to be.
But the Rose garden is still there.