1950 Memories of Suburban Adventures

Home » 9 - Unreal Reality » Attic Dweller » Attic Dweller

Attic Dweller

www.rapgenius.com I cannot tell a lie, just teeny little fibs.

I cannot tell a lie, just teeny little fibs.

If a fib is told convincingly enough, the teller often ends up believing it herself. Not that I was a fibber, but I wove some very convincing tales that would have made Huck Finn proud.

Barbara Kay, Annie, and I (Mary Barbara) were born within a three-month span. There almost was a fourth cousin our age. Sadly, Aunt Mary K’s baby did not go full term, although I later became great friends with her daughter (and my cousin) Mary Ellen, a few years younger.

We three older cousins spent a few weekends together at Bochi’s. Our parents gave us spending money, quickly spent two blocks away in the center of her small village. Walking around the park and window shopping was a lot more fun without the accompaniment of an adult.

Annie and Barbie were used to walking along sidewalks. To me, it created pure almost-teenage sophistication. Pender-Towley tolerated us trying on their vast hat display, oohing and aahing over the sophisticated styles and laughing at the outrageous.

We ordered hot dogs on toasted buns, a shared basket of French fries, and ice cream cones at Martha’s Diner. Spinning on red plastic-covered stools at the counter, we’d keep a sharp look-out for boys. Truthfully, I spun, Annie and Barbie sat like young ladies.

After eating, we shopped at Grants to purchase a gift for Bochi. We stocked her up with dish towels, large plastic floral arrangements, and goldfish.

I ran out of money before Barbie or Annie because they started with twice as much. If they wanted to return the following day for another hot dog or ice cream, then they were forced to share with me. A humbling experience.

The three of us slept upstairs in a bed high off the floor. Despite the fact we were practically teenagers, Bochi insisted on placing the back of a wooden chair against each side of our bed, so we wouldn’t roll off. It warmed my heart when the chair persistently took its place after I graduated from high school.

A tiny door on the far side of the bed led to a dark storage area over the eaves. Barbie and I didn’t like sleeping on that side.

Annie and I grabbed our spots first. Reluctantly, Barbie took the scary side. We each rolled to our right and began scratching the back of the one in front. After a few minutes, we flopped over and repeated the process. I was in the middle and got twice as much scratching, which was good, but I didn’t get to lay still and enjoy it, which was bad.

We finished scratching. Our soft talking dwindled and died out.

www.indianapioneers.com The slanted roof is the same, but Bochi's little door was scarier.

The slanted roof is the same, but Bochi’s little door was scarier.

I broke the silence. “Have either of you ever looked behind the little door?” I whispered.

“No,” said Barbie.

“Of course not,” said Annie. “Why would I?”

“I have,” I lied.

Two seconds passed.

Barbie asked, “What’s in there?”

I described walls of cobwebs and giant spiders, colonies of bats, and a strange scratching sound coming from the far corner. Annie snorted and Barbie shoved tight against me.

“What was making the sound?” asked Barbie.

“It might have been a rabid animal,” I continued. “It sounded a teeny bit closer whenever I looked away.”

“Weren’t you scared?” asked Barbie.

“Not at first. I figured it was a raccoon or a squirrel. It shuffled and scratched halfway to me and then the light from the open door revealed the truth. (significant pause) It didn’t look like any animal I’ve ever seen. I slammed the door shut and immediately felt a soft bump against it.”

Barbie scrambled over the top of me and wedged herself into the middle, pushing me to the outside.

“Did you lock the door?” she asked.

In a deep voice, I dragged out the words, “The door doesn’t have a lock.”

Annie made me admit I made the story up. It took a while, but Barbie finally fell asleep; Annie had long ago.

Now, I lay on the scary side, wide awake, staring through the moonlight at the little door.

This was not the first or last time my over-active imagination kept me awake at night, but my intent was to scare Barbie, not myself. No fair.

Lesson learned: Mischief has a way of boomeranging, a truism that came back to bite me countless times. I was not a fan of ‘What goes around comes around’.

Related Posts: Chapter Two: Telling Time and Fibs; Chapter Three: Basement Gorilla

Now it’s your turn: Did you have a scary attic?

© Mary Norton-Miller and 1950s Suburban Adventures, 2012 forward. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mary Norton-Miller and 1950s Suburban Adventures with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


  1. mikesteeden says:

    What a charming tale well told!

  2. Ralph says:

    I slept in an attic for the first 11 years of my life. It had a very wide window seat inside and I spent many hours looking out of the window. I don’t think it was that scary 😀 Ralph xox 😀

    PS> I like your new WordPress theme 😀

  3. Elle Knowles says:

    What is it about back scratching that formed a bond between friends – and cousins – when we were young? I remember that well.

    • skinnyuz2b says:

      Oh Elle, a fellow scratcher. Once in a while we laid side by side and took turns scratching each others arms. Not as good as a back, but better than no scratching.
      As I got older, and my 9 and 15 1/2 yr younger sisters wanted to sleep in my room, they paid the price by scratching my back. We used to do little poundings, too. It worked the kinks out.

  4. Glynis Jolly says:

    I don’t think anything was scary at the house I grew up in. My mom was and still is a neat freak so even cobwebs were scarce.

  5. Mimmy Jain says:

    I am still scared being alone at home at night. In the late 1980s, I had to spend a month or so alone in NYC in December. I would keep awake all night. The night was full of strange noises, all of which had rational explanations, like the contracting and expanding of the fire escape stairs in the cold, but they spooked me nevertheless. Luckily, I worked only one day a week, so I could sleep during the day.

    • skinnyuz2b says:

      Me too, Mimmy. I hardly ever babysat, because once those little kids went to sleep I was alone in a strange house at night. I’d always try to get my brother to come with me and offer to split the money.

  6. suzjones says:

    Skinny, you must have been a rat bag of a child!! lol
    I love this story.

  7. kriskkaria says:

    there was a big wood goose on wheels in the basement which I could drag around. I didn’t cause I was scared to death of the thing! and I stayed away from the basement.

    • skinnyuz2b says:

      Kriskkaria, sorry I’m so late responding. I was sick, but am okay now.
      You are the only person I’ve ever heard of who had a big wood goose on wheels! But I don’t blame you for staying away from the basement!

  8. spunkybong says:

    I sang loudly when going down the stairs alone at night, Skinny. 😦

    • skinnyuz2b says:

      Spunky, I often did the singing thing too! That way the boogie monsters wouldn’t be startled and forced to eat me when they didn’t really mean to. Great minds think alike!

  9. suzjones says:

    Hey Skinny,
    I’ve nominated you for the Sunshine and Inner Peace awards – one or both. Your choice. Or not… there is no obligation.

  10. Ann Koplow says:

    In ways, I was scared of both the attic and the basement. Rather than go into details, I want to tell you that I loved this post. Thanks!

    • skinnyuz2b says:

      I’m so happy you enjoyed this, Ann. I absolutely agree with you that attics and basements are no place to be alone. You might like my Basement Gorilla story in chapter three.

  11. […] Related Posts: Chapter Three: Basement Gorilla; Chapter Nine: Attic Dweller […]

The Feedback Booth:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 239 other subscribers

Blog Stats

  • 19,175 hits

Copyright Notice

All Rights Reserved. Please contact me for any text and/or images.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 239 other subscribers
%d bloggers like this: