"I am about to relive
childhood vicariously through my own child, and I have no idea
what sort of adventure that's going to be . . ."
So said I just two short months
ago and Yes! As my mother has already alluded to, it has
happened!!! I am at a rather advanced age a brand new father!
My daughter Clara is, for the
record, absolutely perfect. (I know all new daddies say that
but in this case it's completely true.)
She is also the most beautiful
baby ever. (I know all new daddies say that but in this case
it's completely true.)
She also looks just like me!
(I know all new daddies say that but in this case . . . ah, you
know the drill!)
At any rate, she is just three
weeks old as I write, and it's already been the most extraordinary
experience of my life. I can't wait to share everything with
her to read to her, sing to her, impart my values and
ideals to her, all of which she will take to heart
Until about age two, when presumably
she learns the word "no". Then it all goes straight
out the window.
Ah well, I trust I shall make
at least as many mistakes as every other parent makes, and I
trust my child will somehow survive my blunders. That being said,
I can't wait to show her my favorite movies, to play her Beatles
and Beethoven and Brubeck, to read her "Winnie the Pooh"
and "Goodnight Moon", and so much more.
Oh, and I WILL tell her ghost
What kind of a monster AM I????
My goodness, subjecting a child to such horrible things
she's liable to have nightmares!
Ahhhh not the stories
I propose . . .
Truth be told, some of my favorite
ghost stories are the gentler ones, those tales written either
with younger readers in mind or with tongue firmly in cheek,
and usually both. There are so many great stories from my era
(mostly the middle of the last century) that are wonderful to
read and absolutely dripping with creepiness that are in actuality
much more fun than frightening.
One that immediately comes
to mind is the great and wonderful "Jimmy Takes Vanishing
Lessons" by Walter R. Brooks. A young boy (Jimmy, of course)
actually gets the better of the spirit in this one, though not
before the reader has shared a chill or two with our protagonist,
as the latter wends his way all alone down a long deserted road,
toward a very old house that has been shunned by all for years,
as it is most assuredly haunted.
Another childhood favorite
would have to be James Thurber's "The Night the Ghost Got
In", which is a very funny anecdotal account of some mysterious
doings in the early 1900's.
I would also include perhaps
some stories that aren't strictly GHOST stories, but seem to
fit, such as Ray Bradbury's "Homecoming", about a young
boy struggling with the fact that he seems to be a normal human
in a family of well, of folks that are not so normal.
There are also the great stories of Robert Arthur, one of which,
"The Wonderful Day" (which has also seen print as "Miracle
on Main Street") is as perfect a work of fantasy fiction
as has ever been written. And of course a word must be said for
Stephen Vincent Benet's immortal "The Devil and Daniel Webster",
and "King of the Cats", Barbee Oliver Carleton's "The
Wonderful Cat of Cobbie Bean", and John West's "My
Displaced Ghosts" (a little known classic it and
many other delights can be found in Red Skelton's 1965 collection
"A Red Skeleton in Your Closet", if you can find it).
There are so many others
I promise to return to this list soon. However, I must sign off
now, as someone seems to be ready for another bottle . . .