Here's to memories!"

That's how I signed off at the end of our September - December '94 column.

The newsletter had been appearing more irregularly of late, and this trend would continue as we entered 1995 - where the first issue would cover January to May!

That issue contained no folklore column, though at its end brother Mike wrote: "The folklore column will return in the next issue of the newsletter! (hopefully)"

This was not to be, as by the time June rolled around I had moved to the San Fernando Valley. None of us were online, which effectively meant that my involvement with the Book Again newsletter was at an end, as therefore was the folklore column. Presumably newsletters continued to be published during this time, but there was no folklore column in 1995, 1996 or most of '97.

During this time, whenever I would find myself thinking about the column at all, it was only with a wistful sigh, a brief, fond look back at a part of my life that was clearly and irrevocably consigned to the past.


Enter the Internet.

In July 1997 I finally went online, and two months later so did Book Again. We immediately revived the column, and I created a new bit of folkloric whimsy for the grand debut of the online newsletter in September of that year - a tongue very-much-in-cheek trilogy of what I considered to be the most quintessential modern as-heard-at-slumber-party urban legends.

(Note: We did have a printed folklore column in September as well, but it was essentially an exact reprint of the Queen Mary column called "They Walk in Long Beach", which had previously seen print exactly ten years earlier - in the August / September 1987 issue.)

This Really Happened


(An actual soliloquy overheard on a typical High School campus. I swear. I would never make something like this up. Well, actually I didn't hear it myself, but a friend of a friend . . .)

Wow, I can't believe Summer's over already! I am so not ready to deal with school, you don't even know. How was your Summer? Me, I dunno - nothing much happened . . . did hear some cool stories, though. And they're all true!

See, for instance, I was hanging out with one of my cousins a lot this summer, and her best friend's sister used to babysit? And one night about a year and a half ago she went to sit for this family that had two kids, five and seven, and she puts them to bed and kicks back to watch TV, when the phone starts ringing. And each time, there's a guy on the other end who just keeps laughing. This goes on for a while.

So anyway this keeps happening and she's thinking should I call the cops? So she calls the operator, who tells her that if the guy calls again to keep him on the phone so they can trace it? So she waits fifteen minutes and the guy calls back, and she keeps him on as long as she can and then right after he hangs up the phone rings, and it's the operator, and the operator says "Get out of the house right now!" and she says "Why?" and the operator says "Because the man is calling from the upstairs phone!"

And she runs out and the police come and find the man sitting on the floor upstairs next to the bodies of the children.

Then my Mom has a friend, who's a nurse, and one day a woman was rushed into the hospital where she worked, in shock. She and her husband had I guess stopped for fast food chicken, and the wife started complaining that it tasted funny - I guess they were in their car. Anyway, finally the husband turns on the light in the car, and it turned out that she was eating a fried rat, and she fainted right there and had to be rushed to the hospital.

I think they sued for like a million dollars.

Oh, and about four years ago my best friend's mom was just leaving some friends, and it was late at night, and she noticed there was a car right behind her, and it was real late - 2 in the morning, I think. Anyway she started driving, and got onto the highway, and the car kept following her, and kept flashing its brights, and she tried to lose it but it followed her, right on her heels, all the way home, and when she pulled into the driveway it swerves in right behind her!

So she starts laying on the horn, and her husband comes out, and then the guy in the other car gets out and her husband grabs him and is all set to wail on him, when the guy says "I was on my way to work, but when I got in my car I noticed, as I turned on my lights, that there was a man's head just ducking out of view in her back seat."

She said that he said that all the way home the guy would start reaching out from the back seat with a knife or something, so he flashed his brights to scare him back down. So they caught the guy, who was still in the back seat.

(The preceding tales have been told for generations, mostly by teenagers, and have their roots in tales hundreds of years old. They are always told as if they had actually happened to a friend of a cousin of the person telling the story. As a matter of fact, the first of these tales was told to me by one of my brothers - probably Mike - who swore it had happened to an old neighbor from Palos Verdes. It being back-to-school time, this sort of thing seemed appropriate - as well as a neat little segue into my favorite time of the year, folklore-wise. Yes, friends, it's almost HALLOWEEN!