Sunday, October 30, 2011

Memories Are Made of This

For Halloween, I thought I would share a little story written by my mother many years ago....

When I was a small child, the Depression was still very much with us in the Moweaqua area. In fact, the Depression lasted until the World War II boom. There were two classes of people in those years: the Haves and the Have Nots. My grandparents had lost their farm, and my father couldn't find work. My parents and I lived in the front part of the house, and my grandparents lived in the back of the house. We all worked together to have the bare necessities. We put out a huge garden and canned everything we could from it for the winter months. Our meals consisted of fruits and vegetables from that garden, water gravy, and very little meat. We learned to "make do" with what we had.

One thing we did have was a radio that my mother's father had rescued for her from a junk pile. I can remember listening to that beat-up old wreck in the evening. My mother and I would sit in the dark to listen to one of our favorite programs, "I Love a Mystery." We sat in the dark because you didn't have the lights and the radio on at the same time. That would be an extravagance when you were in the modest circumstances we were in.

The prologue to that program is what sticks with me-- at least the pictures that the sound effects drew in my mind. There was an old wizened man cackling a maniacal laugh. His crazy laughter came from the depths of a crumbling mansion that clung to a cliff overlooking the sea. The old hulk was surrounded by dead trees, sea water sprayed the rocks below, and the undergrowth around the ruin seemed to strangle anything that showed even  the promise of beauty. Thunder and lightning lashed the old house. Shutters banged about empty, staring windows. Every once in a while a greenish light flickered and cast the shadow of a bent figure on the broken glass of a tower window. The scene was completed by the howls of a wolf... or... was it a wolf?

I started out sitting on the floor holding on to Mom's leg, smiling in anticipation. I ended up in Mom's lap, holding on for dear life; hair standing out on the back of my neck, broke out in gooseflesh, trying to watch in all directions at the same time to make sure that no person or no thing crept up on us.

There were many material things that we didn't have, but we learned what was necessary, and just how much we could do without and still be happy. We learned to rely on ourselves and to love one another without gifts as bribes.

I remember many things of those years. I remember how deliciously scared I was listening to that old radio show. I also remember how safe I felt sitting in my mother's lap. There are many things I won't-- and don't-- miss from those years, but I do miss that old radio, and I miss "I Love a Mystery."

Most of all I miss my mother's lap, and that warm feeling of being safe from all the monsters and things that go bump in the night.

©Glenore Brookshier Cole


  1. Your mother was a talented writer, wasn't she? I remember how scary a program could be on the radio and that safe feeling of sitting on Mom's lap. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  2. My mom also told of listening to the old mystery shows on the radio growing up. i was always mesmerized by them. Maybe thats why I love mysteries so. We can listen to them today on the internet radio! Here are a few links for you!

    I Love A Mystery Show

    I Love A Mystery

    Mystery Shows

    Old Time Radio


  3. I, too, have memories of my mother talking about listening to the radio in the evenings. I don't think her family listened to a mystery show though. More comedy and the Lone Ranger. LOL

    Thanks for sharing this with us, Cathy!

  4. Barbara-- You're welcome. I once found cassette tapes of the old radio shows in the bargain bin at a bookstore. I bought a couple and listened to them on my Walkman after I'd gone to bed. Scared the bejesus out of myself. It was wonderful! LOL

    Peggy-- Thanks so much for those links!

    Kay-- Mom told me that my grandfather preferred the comedies (especially "Amos & Andy") and Westerns, too.

  5. What a wonderful story! Thanks for sharing, Cathy.

  6. I know the circumstances in your case were born from necessity and not-so-great conditions, but it sounds very (scarily!) nice. Then again, I like being scared!

    I remember the times that the power went out when I was a kid, and my parents and I would sit around playing games by candlelight. I was always quite sad when the lights came back on.

  7. Cathy - Thank you for sharing that story! Your mother had a lot of writing talent! This story reminds me of stories I've heard from my own mother about her girlhood. The radio was such an important part of people's lives....

  8. Debbie-- You're welcome! I'm glad you liked it.

    FT-- There are times that I love being scared myself. One of them was tonight when I watched one of my favorite scary movies-- alone.

    I have similar wonderful memories about the power going out!

    Margot-- Probably much similar to how we feel about our TVs!

  9. Thanks for sharing that. It brings back memories of my own mother telling me about how the family would gather around the radio and listen in amazement as the voices came from literally thin air. Now of course we take all that for granted.

  10. Candace-- I'm glad you enjoyed it!

    Leslie-- No, we have our own set of gizmos to be entranced by, don't we?


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