From ghoulies and ghosties
And long-legged beasties
And things that go bump in the night
Good Lord, deliver us!
– Traditional Scottish Prayer

Never met a ghoul and I have various issues with long-legged beasties, but I can speak from personal experience about “Things That Go Bump in the Night.” Long ago in a house far away, we had our ghosts. Friendly ghosts or at least, friendly to us.

Ghosts have been part of human mythology as long as tales have been told around campfires. Maybe before campfires. I don’t think if any religion excludes the possibility of ghosts. There seems to be a general agreement that ghosts and wraiths are spirits of the dead who linger on Earth after they have slipped that mortal coil. Some are malevolent, others benevolent or merely curious. Ghosts vary by mythology, religion and era. Even today, there are rumors and stories.

I cannot claim to have seen a ghost, but I lived in a house where everyone could hear our ghosts. It was 1965 when for $20,300, we were able to buy a tidy little brick house built in 1932. On the first floor were two bedrooms and a bathroom. There was a big bedroom on the partially finished second floor. The house was small but solid, walking distance from the college where my husband worked and I was finishing my degree.

The ambiance of the house from the moment we walked into it was overtly friendly. It welcomed everyone and made them feel at home. The little house had been built by a couple who had lived, raised children, and then died in it. They were not murdered or anything sordid. They merely grew old and passed on in the home they loved.

We loved it too. My son wouldn’t come onto the scene for 4 more years, but it was a good house to raise babies. I could feel it.

The house was a bit neglected. Not falling down but in need of paint and some modernization of its infrastructure. It still had its original heating system, converted from a coal burner to an oil furnace. Not very efficient and the radiators were huge, old and iron. Oil was cheap; we didn’t worry about it. We’d get to it eventually.


Initially we lived on the first floor since the bathroom was there. The upstairs had been an attic, but half had been turned into a big bedroom. We wanted to move up there. It was much bigger and had wonderful light, but we wanted to fix it up first. Before anything else, we wanted to paint. The entire house was painted pale salmon pink. It wasn’t ugly, but it wasn’t any color we’d have chosen. Worse, it was high gloss paint, like one would use in a kitchen or bath.

We painted the downstairs first. Every night, we heard our ghosts walking. You could hear the sound of heavy, loud footsteps upstairs, sharp, like the soles of hard leather shoes or boots. Everyone on the lower floor heard it. The walking started around eight in the evening, continued for a few minutes. Then the footsteps would pause and restart randomly until around midnight. The footsteps always stopped by midnight and never began before eight at night.

We called them “The Old Man” and “The Old Woman.” They wore different shoes. Her shoes had a sharp sound, like high heels on a hardwood floor. His were clunkier, like maybe work boots. Both of them had died in the house, so they were prime candidates for ghosthood, especially since no one else ever in the house we moved in.

At first, we also heard them on the steps, but after we painted the stairway, the footsteps retreated and we only heard them in the attic and bedroom. After we began painting the bedroom, we continued to hear them for a while in the attic and then, one day, they were gone, never to return.

Were they watching to see if we properly cared for and loved their home? I thought so. Were we all hallucinating? It was the 1960s, so anything is possible, but I think it was the couple who had lived there before us, watching to make sure we did right by the house. We did indeed. I guess they felt it was okay to depart.

Life is full of strangeness. Panicked might be too strong a word, but it was definitely weird. Meanwhile, if anyone has bumped into a long-legged beastie, please tell me about it. I’m dying to know.


Dog toys are an important part of our household. We have to have the right kinds for our two dogs and the right number for optimum sharing.

That has become a problem since we got an eight month old rescue dog, Remy, five months ago. She joined our seven-year old dog, Lexi.

Lexi is very gentle with dog toys, so they tend to last a long time. She still has ‘Blue Dog’, the stuffed animal we bought the day we brought her home with us seven years ago. (Actually, the current “Blue Dog’ is the second of two identical dogs we bought for Lexi.

Every morning, Lexi used to religiously bring Blue Dog down from the bedroom to the kitchen/family room. Every night, she would also carry him back upstairs when we went up to bed. We loved this ritual. But she can’t do it anymore. Remy got hold of one of the Blue Dogs, which I had lovingly sewn back together and patched up many, many times. It was missing it’s tail, ears and three of its legs.

After Remy was through with it, the remains had to be thrown in the garbage. We had to take the other Blue dog away from Lexi to protect him from a similar fate. Lexi has adjusted. We are still broken-hearted.

Remy is an eviscerater. She takes any fabric toy, tears it open, pulls out the stuffing, then shreds it. The floor looks like a bomb went off in a cotton ball factory. She has been known to turn stuffed toys inside out in the process. She is the Terminator of Stuffed Toys. And she does this in record time – hours, not days. So poor Lexi can’t have her plush toys anymore. We buy her the flat ones that look like stuffed animals but have no stuffing. They don’t last very long either, but it’s better than nothing.

My husband Tom has also had to change some of his habits since Remy joined our family. Lexi intuitively knew what was a dog toy and what was not. She never, ever chewed anything that wasn’t made for dogs. What she did do was ‘clean up’ after Tom. When Tom left his socks on the floor in the bedroom, Lexi would bring them down to the family room. She never chewed them. She just removed them from the bedroom. I think she was reminding Tom that he had forgotten to put his socks in the hamper.

Lexi with toys and sock in her mouth

Unfortunately, Remy does not have Lexi’s dog toy “radar.” To Remy, anything on the floor is fair game. So Tom’s socks don’t make it to the family room. When they land on the bedroom floor, they get scooped up by Remy and shredded. Not only does Tom now have to put his socks in the hamper every day, he has to bury them in amongst the dirty clothes. Otherwise, Remy will walk into the closet and pick the socks off the top of the clothes pile.

She has apparently developed a taste for socks. Tom’s socks.

So I’m buying a lot more dog toys and men’s socks these days. Maybe Remy will outgrow some of her super aggressive chewing as she gets older. But by then, I’ll have gotten used to shopping for extra toys and socks so I probably won’t even care anymore. Remy is worth the extra effort. And watching Remy and Lexi wrestle and chase each other outside makes all the carnage is worthwhile.



Share Your World – May 1, 2017

Would you rather live where it is always hot or always cold?

I’m going to go with neither, thanks. I’m getting to be a real Caribbean kind of gal. I want lovely, warm weather. Cool evenings, warm in the middle of the day. Long stretches on beaches with palm trees. Lived in very hot. Lived with bitterly cold. Am planning to stay here, weather or not, but if I have to dream, it’s definitely a long beach and palm trees.

Do you prefer long hair or short hair for yourself?

Long, though I wore it short for a lot of years when I was working full-time and being a mommy the rest of the day. It was easier to manage. Now it’s sort of medium – longer than short, but hasn’t made it to long. I haven’t cut it recently, so probably, it will eventually be long again.

What is your favorite month of the year?

October. If I’m going to live in this part of the world, there’s no month that comes near October for great weather and the most beautiful world surrounding me.

What is the easiest way for your to learn something new? By reading, by seeing and doing, in a classroom?

Reading or seeing both are fine. Classroom as an absolutely last possible choice. When I graduated college, I knew I was never going back. I didn’t hate school, not at all. But I was done with it and have stayed finished for the past fifty plus years.