Family Stories





Family Stories



Devil on Washington Rock

The dream was so vivid, she didn't realize at first that it was a dream. The party was crowded, the guests cheerful, the food delicious. Then a rumor began to circulate among the guests. The Devil was coming to the party. The Devil was on the way.

Fire! Fire! Fire!

It had been one heckuva day. By the time I got home I was practically crawling on my hands and knees, fatigued in mind, body, and spirit. All I wanted was food, a hot bubble bath, and sleep, in that order. I was determined that I would have all three tonight no matter what I had to push off to do it.

Ghost of Pearl White

When I was a kid, my grandparent’s bought a huge old boarding house in Jersey City. It had once housed the actresses working for a big silent film studio across the street, but the film studio was long gone, and the boarding house was unused. My grandparents converted it into a 3-family home...

Row, Row, Row your Car

My grandfather had a fairly new silver Dodge Saint Regis back when I was a sophomore in college, which eventually became my car when he got a new one. On the particular late-winter weekend of our story, Grandpa was going away for a visit (or perhaps to a conference) and didn’t require the use of his car until late Sunday afternoon. My Dad, on the other hand, needed the use of car – any car -- since the Schlosser family vehicle had conked out on him and was in the garage being fixed. My Grandpa offered him the use of the Dodge, and Dad accepted gladly. So Grandpa dropped off the Dodge at our house on Friday evening, leaving it to the tender mercies of my family while he went away.

Sachs Bridge

I don’t know what exactly draws me back to Sachs Bridge each time I visit Gettysburg. I just know that I feel compelled to drive there and take pictures. Of course, it is a beautiful spot - a covered bridge that was used by the Confederate Army to cross the creek when they withdrawl from Gettysburg . But after all, how many pictures can you take of the same place? Well, okay, if you’re a photographer, that’s a silly question! Hundreds in all weather, season, lighting… But really, I’m only an amateur, so why I personally felt compelled to record the bridge over and over was a mystery my boyfriend was obsessing about as he drove through the darkening countryside one evening in the late fall.

Suicide

I heard the neighbor's car running in the garage as I got into my car to drive to the grocery store. That seemed a bit odd, since it was summertime. Why would they need to warm it up? I shrugged the thought away and drove to the store. An hour later, I heard the car again as I unpacked the groceries from the trunk. I frowned. Maybe they'd just gotten back? I couldn't see anything because the garage door was closed.

The Center of the Tire

We were all sitting around enjoying another beautiful day of sunshine and warm weather outside our Rat Lake cabin when Tim was struck with an idea. “Why don’t we go for a boat ride this afternoon on Lake Bitabee?” he asked the general populace – which consisted of his fiancé Arlene, myself (his older sister), two little sisters, and our parents. This idea met with general approval from Arlene and myself, but Mom and the younger crowd elected to stay at the lake and Dad wanted to spend the afternoon fishing.

The Figure in the Window

Late one evening the three of us were hanging out when Alec said he wanted to go up to Peapack to check out a house for sale. Once in the car, Alec said it was an old, run-down Italianate mansion with twenty-six fireplaces that used to be owned by nuns but had been abandoned. It sat on fifty acres of property, including beautifully terraced grounds. By this time, I was feeling a little nervous about the whole thing.

The Ghost that Followed Me Home

I have a fascination with genealogy, which is what started all the trouble. My next-door neighbor and I were fellow hobbyists, and we often supported each others search for long-lost ancestors. We would spend hours pouring over stacks of dusty country records, wandering through poison-ivy strewn graveyards, and getting lost on back lanes trying to find the homes of retirees who remembered what our forbearers were like way back when...

The Golden One

He was a bright, sunny child from birth, with blond curls and a sweet smile and fabulous, shining blue eyes. Everyone who met him loved him. The whole church and farming community watch with joy as he took his first steps, said his first words, became a mischievous toddler and then a bright and lovable schoolboy.

The Package

The package was sitting on the porch when she got home from class, even though she had repeatedly told Aunt Katy not to send it this year.

The Phantom Bellman

I gasped a bit as I wheeled my heavy bag toward the white-trimmed double doors leading to the hotel lobby. I was having some trouble adjusting to the altitude in Yellowstone after living my whole life at sea level. My husband Frank, on the other hand, took to the elevation as one mountain-born, much to my annoyance. He'd already dragged the rest of our luggage inside the hotel and was checking in at the front desk as I doddered my way into the lobby and collapsed in a chair near the fireplace.

The Pig That Went to Church

In the nineteen-thirties and early forties, when my grandmother Mildred was a young woman, she settled in New Jersey with her husband Loyd. They lived in an old green farmhouse surrounded by fields, with few neighbors, and a large white church with a revival-style campground just up the block from their home.

The Tooth War…and its aftermath

Not too long ago my niece lost another tooth. Being an enterprising child who is not afraid to believe in the tooth fairy if it means receiving money, she stuck it under her pillow. Obedient to custom, her father -- Tooth-fairy Tim -- did his job well, and in the morning she was richer by one dollar.

Where does Cat go at noon?

Where does Cat go at noon? At breakfast, Cat sits on the deck of the pool, outside the glass doors to the kitchen. Bang, bang. She hits the door with her paw. This means “Johnny, feed me” in Cat’s special language. I get up from my chair and feed Cat.
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