With Halloween just around the corner, this is the time of the year folks start thinking about ghosts, witches, and black cats. A recent eerie incident got me to thinking about how scared I used to get as a child.
Since I was the only girl-I got a room by myself while Paul and Steve had to share. Most of the time I was glad-but at night I often wished I shared my room too.
Sometimes I’d get so paralyzed with fear that I couldn’t move-I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I’d pull the covers up tight over my head and peek out every once in a while to see what was coming to get me. I’d beg Pap and Granny to leave the hallway light on so I wouldn’t be so terrified.
What was I scared of? Even now, I’m not sure. I don’t think I was scared of ghosts or boogers. I guess I was scared of someone breaking in and getting us all.
Summer nights were the worst. With no air conditioning all the windows were open to catch the cooler air. On those nights my imagination really ran away with me-open windows with only a screen to stop whatever I was afraid of from getting in.
I never did myself any favors either-every scary movie that came on-I wanted to watch. When The Exorcist came on tv-Pap tried to tell me I’d be sorry if I watched it. Of course I didn’t listen. I was so brave during that movie I didn’t get scared one bit-until it was over.
No one would sleep with me-they said it was my fault for watching it-which of course it was. I pitched a fit and said I was going to sleep in the hallway. I got my pillow and a blanket and settled down outside Granny and Pap’s bedroom. Realizing he wasn’t going to get any sleep with me crying in the hallway-Pap finally gave in and slept with me.
Chitter and Chatter are totally different when it comes to being scared. The only thing I can remember Chitter being scared of-was when she was about 8 or 9 years old she became terrified of being buried alive-it was like she was obsessed with it. You wouldn’t think the subject of being buried alive would come up much in daily life-but during that time it seemed it was all around us. Chitter finally came to grips with her fear and got over it.
Chatter is more like me. When she was about 3 years old she’d tell me “Momma I’m scared of my house I’m scared of my house.” She didn’t want to go to the bathroom by herself, in one of the back bedrooms by herself, or especially down in the basement by herself at night.
My Papaw Wade was a big coon hunter. It seemed there was always a joke going around about one of the boys getting scared. You know, somebody that was scared to go back to the truck for something they needed or scared to help round up the dogs.
I remember one time some such incident had happened on their latest coon hunt-and Papaw was teasing one of the local boys about being scared of the dark.
The boy said “I’m not scared of the dark.” Papaw said “Well you must be you won’t get 2 foot from the fire.” The boy said “No I’m not scared of the dark. I’m scared of what’s in it.” Papaw always got the last word. He told the boy “Why whatevers in the dark is in the daylight too and you ain’t afraid of the daylight are you?”
Chatter saying “I’m scared of my house” is funny-but actually I think she had mine and her childhood fear figured out at 3 years old.
During the day a house is full of noise and life-but at night it seems subdued and empty. That’s probably where her and my childhood fears came from-simply the change atmosphere.
So what were you afraid of when you were a child?
Portions of this post were originially published here on the Blind Pig in October of 2010.