Once, I explained how my Mom has a passion for all things spooky. The house across the street from us was the perfect fuel for her fire.
The house looks welcoming, almost idyllic with its large porch, the overhanging roof that lets you sit out on a rocking chair and read the newspaper and wave to the neighbors as they drive on by.
That’s what the people did who lived there when I lived across the street. I was six. They were in their early 70s, a brother and a sister. He wore a hat, straw, and she wore dresses everyday with stockings and those black shoes that tie. I remember one dress in particular was chocolate brown.
On Fridays, he would drive her to visit with her friend, at the end of the alley (less than 500 feet). She would sit in the back, and he would sit in the front and escort her down the way. Every Friday, right after lunch, that white-colored sedan, with the gray tint would drive past, with her in the backseat. My brother and I would laugh every time — even thought they were kind and sweet, and gave us nickels on our birthdays. (When we drove by on our bicycles and made wide circles in front of their house, explaining that it WAS our birthdays.)
Then the brother would go back home and wait. Three thirty was the pick-up time. But one day, just before 2, there was a gunshot. My Mom heard it. He pointed a gun to his head and killed himself in the back seat of that car. It was such a clear, beautiful spring day, not a cloud in the sky, I remember my Mom saying.
My Mom had the duty of going to the neighbor’s house to tell the sister what had happened. The sheriff said it “would be better if the news came from a female.” I remember her agonizing over what to say… but at my age, her fretting made little sense to me. When my Mom spoke the dreadful words, your brother has just killed himself,” the sister said simply, “I was afraid he would do something like that.”
When our parents weren’t looking, my brother and I went across the street and peeked in the backseat window of the car. I saw a small pile of pink flesh… but hardly any blood. Just a little drop… that always surprised me. It seemed like the car sat there forever… but I’m sure they probably took care of it pretty quickly.
Years before, I learned later, another man that lived in that same house also killed himself. He did it upstairs in one of the bedrooms. I could never figure out why someone that old would want to kill themselves at that point — I mean, they’ve come this far….
The next family that moved in was just plain weird. A family, with babies and toddlers that never seemed to smile. Even though we were right across the street,I don’t think we ever exchanged words. The Mom looked like an overweight Morticia, with the same dark black slinky hair. I don’t think she washed it often, hence the silky quality to her hair.
Years passed, and their son reached the age of 17. He’s already been sent to a juvenile correctional facility for some kind of theft. They warned him, if he screwed up again, the next time he’d go to jail — the correctional facility was done with him. The night of his graduation, he got into some stolen car mess. The sheriff came to pick him up from his home after dark.
He was searched, pushed head down into the backseat of the police car, and they started their 45 minute drive to the big house. The officers failed to find that gun that the kid slid into his sock. I guess, in that small town, they just didn’t expect it, and not from a thief. So, at just the right moment, the kid pulled it out, somehow, and shot himself in the head. Again, in the backseat of a car.
One fall day, I called to say Hi to Mom. She was making zucchini bread for the new neighbors that just moved in that house across the street. “Don’t you think you ought to tell them? I think they’d appreciate knowing that — much more than the bread?” I was convinced that the first guy who killed himself there was still haunting the inhabitants, engaged in some kind of foul play. Still, something was in that house that attracted certain people to it. I doubt that it was the porch.
She laughed me off. They were a newly married couple, with a baby. My Mom really liked them. Within three months. They moved out. Something about the house… they just didn’t like it. They found a new house and were gone even before the creepy place sold.