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[sticky post] Meet the family!

Mar. 10th, 2012 | 01:11 am

Before we begin, some introductions are in order.

 

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"Red"

Feb. 12th, 2016 | 09:55 pm

When I was 6, one late night when everybody else was asleep, I was using the toilet in the long bathroom that connected my bedroom to my grandmother's. Nana always slept with a nightlight on so she wouldn't trip and fall on something in the dark. Peeing, I glanced through the open door into Nana's room, and I swear I saw a figure of a man pass quickly across the doorway. I was so scared, I ran back to my bed still peeing and hid under the covers, absolutely frozen stiff with fear until morning.

Fast forward about 10 years. I was in high school, and Nana was still living at home. Again, I was in the bathroom one late night. I saw something out of the corner of my eye, looked over and was shocked to see the image of a very young, thin (and grinning) red-haired man, sitting on the end of my grandmother's bed, right by her feet. I glanced up to see if Nana was alright, but the moment I shifted my gaze, no more man. It was just like things vanish in a dream, but I definitely wasn't dreaming. I realized then that the shade of a man I thought I saw in that room when I was little was not just my imagination, after all.

After college, one time when my parents were out of town, I had a friend come stay over the weekend. I put him up in Nana's old room (she'd died some years before). We partied and listened to music into the wee hours, and eventually, we retired for the night. When I woke up, I found Glenn sleeping on the couch in the living room. I asked why.

"I couldn't stay in there," he said. "I woke up and felt like someone was in the room with me. I turned on the light and saw a man in that mirror, but no one was really there."

"Could you tell what color his hair was?"

"Yes. Red hair."

"Was he maybe smiling?"

His eyes widened. "Yes!"

Then I told Glenn the stories. He was always interested in matters metaphysical, and fascinated by the idea that he might have seen an actual ghost – but apparently not fascinated enough to want to sleep in that bedroom again the next night. ;-)

Funny thing about that tall, almost floor-to-ceiling mirror where Glenn saw what he saw. There was a long, pull-out drawer directly beneath it, and strange things happened to objects that were inside. Scissors and sewing accessories made of steel formed a rust-like coating on the surface that was so fine and so precisely patterned, it looked like red magnetized iron, and it could be blown off with a slight breath, as though it were merely dust. New coins placed in there would quickly tarnish. Fabrics would stiffen and fall to pieces when picked up. An old makeup mirror's plastic handle had gradually decomposed into hundreds of tiny, brittle fragments over the years, and its silvering had turned jet black. Strands of hair in an old hairbrush similarly became brittle, and would actually fracture if touched. Because almost everything in there seemed to decay in some bizarre fashion, I came to call it "The Drawer of Corruption."

Another funny thing about that bedroom. The far corner of it was always chilly. Even in the middle of the summer, you could stand five feet away, feeling warm as toast, then take one long stride toward that corner, and the temperature would drop perceptibly in an instant. In later years, my mother made that corner inaccessible by piling a stack of random clutter there, high as a person's head. It came out from the wall just far enough to cross over the invisible boundary where the chill began. Hmmm. I guessed she'd felt it, too, and didn't want to feel it anymore.

One day before I left home for good, in the early '80s, I was in the kitchen with my mother and we were talking about paranormal stuff. Mom had visited a psychic recently, and she was venting her disappointment over how totally wrong the lady had been about everything. While we were on the subject, it dawned on me that I'd never before mentioned anything to Mom about the phenomena I'd seen and felt in Nana's room over the years. (We were a Catholic family, and we weren't supposed to believe in things like that.) But now, finally, I had to know if she was aware of the presence in our house, too. This was the perfect time to ask the question, and I knew just how to ask it.

"By the way ... have you ever seen our red-haired man?" I said nothing more specific than that.

Without even making eye contact with me, she muttered a mechanical, monotone reply.

"No one's ever died in this house."

Ahhh! So she didn't say affirmatively, yes, I've seen the red-haired man, but I knew then that she did know exactly who/what I was talking about, and that she must have seen him. But apparently, in her mind, she had convinced herself that what she'd seen couldn't be a ghost, because hauntings are said only to occur in places where someone has died. I could tell the subject was upsetting to her, though, so I never spoke with her about it again. It was enough for me to finally have confirmation that I wasn't the only one in the family who had seen Red.

After Mom passed, it came time to sell the house. I was writing up a disclosure list of possible problems with the property to give to the realtor, and I wondered, should I maybe mention our resident ghost? I decided not to. I really didn't want to complicate the sale, and anyway, I never sensed there was anything malevolent about the young red-haired man. That only time I'd seen him distinctly, he appeared to be truly happy. So indeed, the house was haunted, but it was a benign haunting. Never anything we really had cause to be afraid of.

Not long after, I moved all of the furniture out of the house – everything, except that tall mirrored chest of drawers in Nana's old room. I left that exactly where it had always been; all 32 years we lived there. I imagined there was someone behind the looking glass who would probably appreciate being left to rest in peace, alone at home at last. At least until the new owners moved in. :-)

 

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2015

Dec. 1st, 2015 | 03:17 am

Dad would have been 100 years old this year.

2015 also marks 30 years since he died; thirty years ago this very day, in fact.

It was the worst tragedy of my life, and to this day I've never quite recovered from the loss: the loss of his presence, and the loss of his wisdom and guidance, as well.

I miss you and love you so much, Dad, and I always will...




 

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My hands

Sep. 29th, 2015 | 02:17 pm

Nursery school, 1958.



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August 11, 1957

Aug. 11th, 2015 | 03:42 pm

It's one of my earliest memories. Fifty-eight years ago today, I got to watch my very own dad ride a FIRE ENGINE in a PARADE! (That's him at far right.) I think that was probably one of the happiest days of his whole life.



Dad's Little League All-Star team had just won third place in the California State tournament, and the city of West Covina feted the players at the brand new Plaza Shopping Center.

I remember watching the parade from opposite the Thrifty Drug Store. That's my Nana holding me up so I could see. I was one month shy of turning three years old...

 

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Selfie

May. 24th, 2015 | 07:33 am

Taken a few minutes ago. Not too bad for someone in their 7th decade of life, if I do say so myself. (Yes, that's still my natural hair color. If you look closely you can see a little gray at my temple. Things are starting to get a little thin on top, too.)



Sorry for the lack of updates lately. Nothing's really changed in my life, so I basically have nothing to write about. My health is great – no physical complaints whatsoever – though I did fall walking Shadow about a month ago and messed up my right elbow enough to send me to the ER. First time I'd been inside a hospital in the 21st century, which I also think is pretty good for someone my age.

Well, there really isn't much else to say, so I guess I'll sign off. 'Til next time, whenever that may be.

 

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A quarter-century gone

Feb. 8th, 2015 | 02:13 pm

My mother passed away 25 years ago today. This is the first portrait ever made of her. It was taken circa 1919, probably just shy of her second birthday. R.I.P., Mom. It's difficult for me to imagine you've been gone a quarter-century already. Both you and Dad left my life far too soon...








My first-grade teacher, Mrs. Chambers, made silhouette portraits of everyone in her class in school year 1960-'61. Mom liked mine so much that she framed it, and for 30 years, it hung on the wall in my Nana's bedroom.

I can't be certain, of course, but I've always suspected that Mom put my silhouette in the frame that originally held the photo of her as a toddler, and put her own portrait in that ugly, kitschy 1960s wood frame. The dark wooden one certainly looks far more timeworn than the white/gold one, and both frames are almost exactly the same size...





It's also difficult for me to grasp that this silhouette was made 55 years ago. I'm getting old so quickly, it's downright scary.

 

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Citrus Avenue

Feb. 7th, 2015 | 07:01 am

A continuation of Richard's and my pilgrimage to Covina on September 18, 2014. Here, we are traveling down Citrus Avenue through downtown on our way to have lunch at Bun 'N Burger.


 

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Alpacas!

Jan. 5th, 2015 | 07:45 pm

Earlier this afternoon, I was walking Shadow back home along my street, when I saw three alpacas standing like statues in a neighbor's driveway, staring at me and my dog. I moved a few feet to one side and they trotted out onto the road, their soft hooves going clickety-click as they passed us by. They soon took a left turn onto the property across the street from my house, and played and grazed a little in Mr. Hurt's back yard before heading off in the direction of what I presumed to be their home. Quite an unexpected encounter! I've certainly never seen anything like it before.

 

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Arrow Highway

Jan. 2nd, 2015 | 08:40 am

A video I took during my trip to Los Angeles last September. My father's factory was located on Arrow Highway in Irwindale, and I asked Richard if we could do a drive-by on our way to Covina. Nothing special here – just two old farts reminiscing is all.


 

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Update

Oct. 5th, 2014 | 02:31 pm

Sorry for the long hiatus. There haven't been any significant changes in my life in the last year, and unlike many on other social media, I don't feel it's either necessary or worthwhile to update my status continually on whatever trivia might be passing through my mind or via my internet connection.

I did have a birthday recently, though – my 60th – and for the occasion, I traveled down to southern California for a week to visit with my lifelong friend Richard and his family. It's quite amazing to contemplate that he and I have known each other for 55 years.

Despite now being in my seventh decade of life, however, I remain robustly healthy, and appearance-wise, I could easily pass for 45. I still have no wrinkles to speak of (I'm only now starting to get some "crows feet"), and though I have a little "salt and pepper" on the sides, my natural brown hair color still predominates. Just about everybody else I know who's my age looks old enough to be my parent in comparison. Now, if I could only get some money to go along with my youthful looks and superb health, my life would be perfect!

 

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The pooch

Nov. 8th, 2013 | 04:03 am

I've had Shadow four years this month. He's the most amazing companion! Smart as a whip, and loyal as can be. He's pretty good looking, too, isn't he!



Click image to view enlargement.

 

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