I grew up in an old, big, red house. It had been my home since the minute my parents brought me home from the hospital. The horse hair plastered walls and wooden beams hold the precious memories of my infancy. My mother would sit in her rocking chair and nurse me. I’m getting to old to comprehend just how those earlier years went. I imagine baths in the kitchen sink, sleeping soundly in the nursery, my mom pacing around trying to sooth a swaddled infant me.
I grew up knowing there was more to the house than what meets the eye. I always sensed that not only was something not quite right, but even when I was alone, I wasn’t REALLY alone. Certain spots in the house chilled me to the bone. One spot that particularly scared me was the landing on the stair well between the 1st and 2nd floor. I never walked up and down those stairs. I always ran up them, jumped down them, or slid down the banister. Those stairs stirred a feeling of sheer terror in me. They felt sinister.
Everyone has got a ghost story about my old house. I have a whole life time’s worth that I could easily write a novel dedicated to the paranormal activity that occurred within those walls. Some stories scared the daylight out of me. Some make me go “hmmm”, but one story in particular simply brings a smile to my face.
My sister use to tell me that a ghost lived in her bedroom. “It’s an old lady,” she’d tell me. “She sits in mom’s old rocking chair by the window. She’s a nice old lady ghost. She protects me from the bad ghosts.” I believed my sister. I never, ever, not once SAW the old lady, but I could certainly feel her. Her essence was sad, but protective.
Sometimes I had friends over. After they’d return from using the second floor bath (which was 2 rooms a way from my sister’s bedroom) they’d remark to me: “I didn’t know your grandmother lives with you.” Wait… what? Neither of my grandmothers lived with us. In fact they rarely even visited that house. Over the years people who visited my old, red house FREQUENTLY reported seeing an elderly lady sitting in the rocking chair in my sister’s bedroom. They innocently assumed that this was a real person and probably a relative of mine. My friends were mystified when I’d lead them right back up stairs and prove that there was in fact, no one in that room.
Eventually my mom sold the house. I grew up. I started a family of my own. I still thought of the spirits that inhibited my old house from time to time, but only the ones that really scared me.
One day I was having a talk with my daughter. She’s very driven to the paranormal. I was trying to encourage her not to mess with dangerous spirits. Our conversation led us to talking about guardian angels. “Did you know that I can see your guardian angel?” She confided in me. Curious, I pressed her to give me a description of my “angel”. What my daughter said shocked me. “She’s old. She has very grey hair and it’s pulled back into a bun, but she has fly-a-ways on top of her forehead. She wears a ruffled, ivory, button up blouse, and a long dark skirt. The outfit is complete with a pair of sturdy, black, pointed, heeled boots.” As my daughter described this so called angel the hair on my arms began to stand up. I’ve heard this description before … many years ago when I was a teenager. “She sits in a rocking chair near a window in a room with blue flowered wallpaper.” Okay, now I’m thoroughly creeped out. My daughter was describing my sister’s old bedroom to me. It was a room my daughter has never seen with her own eyes or even in a picture.
“The old lady is sad, but she loves you.” Explained my daughter. “She’s watched over you since you were born and she tries to keep you safe.” Isn’t that what a guardian angel does?
I thought about me, as an infant and a sweet old lady ghost seeing me, watching me. I thought about her maternal instincts and what it might have meant for her to be dead, and yet care for a living child. Senses of love and responsibility never left her, not even in death. So, here I am, the infant all grown up and I feel proud to say that I have a ghost who watches over me.