Folks traveling the Oregon Trail looking for a new life left almost everything behind them when they made the 2000 mile journey in their covered wagons. As the trail grew harder, the valleys steeper, the mountains more treacherous, they started abandoning furniture and luxuries of all sorts by the wayside to make it easier to move the wagons. Many of their horses and cattle died on the trail. And many lost family members to sickness or accident.
It was a very hard time for the newly wed couple. The Depression had hit hard, and the young husband was desperately seeking a job to support his new wife, without success. She had no training herself, and all the entry-level jobs for which she might qualify were snatched up as soon as they opened.
She was brand-new history teacher to the school and had been preparing her first lesson in her mind for weeks. This was her very first teaching job, and she wanted it to go well. The night before classes began, she couldn’t eat and tossed and turned restlessly all night. Up early, she was in her new classroom, sweeping the floor, tidying the desks, and putting up welcome signs just after dawn.
A couple were driving through Spokane, Washington one evening. They were hungry and tired and needed a break. Unfortunately, they were also broke. The wife went through her purse and the glove department and under the seats of the car, trying to drum up enough spare change to get them some kind of meal. She’d collect about eight dollars in quarters, dimes, nickels and a few dollar bills when her husband called her attention to a sign post reading: Steak and Eggs – $3.85. It was attached to a motel-diner combination in downtown Spokane.
Jumbo Reilly was a giant of a fellow with the build and strength of a grizzly bear and a ferocious nature to boot. He was the roughest, toughest fellow in Portland back in the Wild West days of the 1800s and he soon found himself a job as a bouncer at Gus Erickson’s saloon, which was famed both for its nightly fist fights and for having the longest bar in the world.
It was the sound of laughter and children’s voices that caught my attention. Curious, I materialized in my old bedroom and went out into the hallway to peer over the railing by the grand staircase. The voices had come from the Great Hall, where the house tours gathered. Yes, there were two children scampering about, to the distraction of their parents. An older boy and a tousled haired little toddler who reminded me of my own daughter at that age.
The gravel bar on our left is called, Dunkelberger gravel bar. The reason I mention it to you, is because it is one of the finest places on the whole Rogue River to fish from the bank. If you have a boat you can fish most anywhere, but if you’re consigned to the bank – and I know a lot of people who prefer it – then this is where you want to go.
When the guys proposed we take a day-hike on Grandfather Mountain, I agreed with enthusiasm. Grandfather Mountain looms craggily over the scenery just a few miles from my hometown. It is 5,946 feet in elevation, has a mile-high swinging bridge, fantastic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and the best day-hikes in the region. It was some place!
Susan and Ned were driving through a wooded empty section of highway. Lightning flashed, thunder roared, the sky went dark in the torrential downpour.
“We’d better stop.” Said Susan. Ned nodded his head in agreement. When he stepped on the brake, the car started to slide on the slick pavement. They went off the road and slid to a halt at the bottom of an incline.
When the samurai warrior Kane first came to California from Tokyo, be brought his new wife, the beautiful Ishi. She was an ideal wife: gentle, attentive, and a wonderful cook. Kane was the envy of his new neighbors. But he was a proud man. When a wealthy family moved into the neighborhood, Kane cast his eye upon their lovely daughter, Aiko, and desired her…
There was once a railroad conductor named Joe Baldwin who was working for the newly rebuilt Atlantic Coast line. The year was 1867, and the railroad had expanded to include a small station in Maco, North Carolina. Joe was assigned to the very last car in the train, and he executed his conductor duties to the best of his abilities aboard his assigned car. Then one night, something went wrong. Terribly wrong.
We lost everything after the treaty was signed. The white men wanted the Indian’s removed, and so we were Removed. We lost our homes, our sacred lands, our way of life. We were thrust out by greed, and our hearts broke on the long, long journey west. We only had the few precious belongings we could carry, and many of us were not even given time to fetch that much from our homes before we were forced into camps and then marched west.
My sisters and my baby brother danced about the house, whispering to each other excitedly about the coming of der Belznickel on that snowy December 5th evening, the day before the Feast of Saint Nicholas. According to the stories, the good Saint Nicholas chains up the Devil on the eve of his Birthday – December 6th — and makes him visit all of the children in the village to see if they have been behaving themselves and deserved the attention of Kirstkindel.
Come celebrate the spooky side of the holidays. Ghosts, Saint Nicholas, Der Belznickel and other characters haunt these stories that take place around the holidays. We’ve also included a couple of ghost stories from the African-American tradition for folks to read during Kwanzaa! Christmas Stories Haunted ChristmasThe soft thud of following footsteps echoed behind him …
Back in the old days, I had a successful bake-shop in Albany. I had a good business, a plump wife, and a big family. I was a happy man. But trouble came to my shop one year in the guise of an ugly old woman. She entered my shop a few minutes before closing and said: “I wish to have a dozen cookies.” She pointed to my special Saint Nicholas cookies that were sitting out on a tray. So I counted out twelve cookies for her…
Shmul and Benin, two of the wisest men in the town of Chelm, went one day to take a steam bath. As they relaxed in the luxury of steamy heat, they idly began discussing Benin’s upcoming trip to Dvimsk, debating how long it would take for him to drive to the distant town in his buggy…
Shmul was on his way to the market in Chelm one afternoon when he saw his good friend Bein on the street.
“Sholom aleichem,” called Shmul to his friend.
“Go to blazes,” Bein said without missing a beat.
She snapped awake out of a deep sleep, screaming aloud in terror. In her nightmare, a large white wolf had been chasing her around and around the house, gaining on her with every step until it finally pounced on her and ripped out her throat. She lay shaking for hours, unable to sleep after such a terrifying dream.
Peggy and her boyfriend Tommy were driving down a lonely stretch of highway at dusk when a thunderstorm came crashing down on them. Tommy slowed the car and they crept their way past a formidable abandoned house. Plastered all over the fences and trees were NO TRESPASSING signs.
My stepmother was vile. I guess most kids think that when their father remarries. But in this case, it was true. She only married Father because he was rich, and she hated children. There were three of us – me (Marie), my middle brother Richard and my youngest brother Charles. We were the price my stepmother Gerta paid for being rich. And we were all that stood between her and inheriting Father’s money when he died. So she took steps against us.