Twelve tales of the supe.., p.1
Twelve Tales Of The Supernatural, p.1Mario V. Farina
Of The Supernatural
Mario V. Farina
Copyright 2016 Mario V. Farina
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Mario V. Farina
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These are 12 Stories dealing with the paranormal. The titles of the stories are:
Tomorrow, I Will Disappear Again
Seen Through My Grandfather's Eyes
Revelations of the Attesor Stone
Thou Art A Witch
A Pleasant Journey
A Time Travel Visit To Schenectady
Time Needed To Sort Itself Out
The Ouija Board Lie Detector
The Thought Mailers
I Married A Ghost
Go Directly To Your Sweetheart
Tomorrow I Will Disappear Again
I was born at midnight on January 1, 1900. "Quite a magical time for a little girl," my mother used to say as I was growing up. I don't know about the magical part, but I did relish the uniqueness of my birth date and time. My age is one-hundred-sixteen now, but, in appearance, I am a young woman in my mid-twenties.
(The slim, horn-rimmed, attractive, middle-aged woman and I were seated on the veranda outside my home. Fresh breezes from the nearby Hudson kept us comfortable. She listened intently as I spoke. I noted that, legs crossed, she was conservatively dressed in a brown suit. There was a pad in her lap and a bright yellow pencil in her right hand. Her blond hair was moderately streaked with gray. Her expression gave no hint as to what she was thinking.)
I was 35 when I began to suspect that I had a problem with age. It didn't bother me at first. Indeed, I hoped that what I imagined was true. I went to the Troy Public Library and searched in the medical encyclopedias until I found progeria, an insidious disease that afflicts children causing them to age prematurely. Ten-year-old boys and girls appear to be seventy. I had hoped the article would mention some sort of opposite disease characterized by extremely slow aging. There was no such mention.
Most persons would think that having an affliction like mine would be a blessing, but it isn't. Seeming to be twenty-five when one is forty, fifty, and sixty can have its problems. This is especially true when one is my age!
Dr. Gilbert had braved a sleet storm to come on horseback to the little farmhouse in Brunswick, on the outskirts of Troy, where my parents lived. He had glanced at his timepiece at the moment that I arrived and remarked that I might have been the first baby in all the world to be born in the twentieth century. If true, what a distinction that would be!
I was named Matilda. I don't remember much of my infancy except trying to climb out of my crib when I was a toddler, but I do have hazy recollections of life in the country. I remember the horse and buggies from my window as they made their way on the muddy, rutted roads near my home.
I remember, too, the one-room schoolhouse on Adams Road, now Burdett Avenue, where Mr. Quinn unveiled the mysteries of arithmetic, grammar, and geography. Today, I realize what an intelligent, well-rounded person he must have been for I learned these subjects thoroughly and never felt a twinge of envy for those who went to public schools in Troy.
As I grew up, people marveled that I didn't fall victim to childhood diseases. I was not afflicted with whooping cough, diphtheria, measles, and the like. I never had so much as a sniffle throughout these years. If I fell while playing and was bruised, I would heal overnight. To this day, I have not seen the inside of a hospital. I have never required medical care, except for some dental work in 1978, that I'll tell you about later. I had a sister, Mary Louise, who was born three years after I was. She did not enjoy the same good health that I did and died of scarlet fever when I was six. My parents mysteriously disappeared when I was ten and I was consigned to the care of the Cranstons who lived down the road. They became my real parents while I was growing up.
The Titanic sank when I was twelve. People were horrified upon hearing the news but it didn't mean much to me. The Panama Canal was completed a couple of years later. Everyone thought this was a major accomplishment.
I was fourteen when I met Joshua Higgins at church. He was two years older than I, thin as a straw, had bright blue eyes, and wore a shock of red hair that could have set a haystack on fire. We spent a great deal of time together. On Sunday afternoons, he would take his family's buckboard and drive us down to the Bijou Theater on Fourth Street in Troy. We'd pay five cents each for admittance and laugh uproariously at the antics of Charlie Chaplin and the Keystone Kops. He brought me home well before curfew. Somehow, it became understood that Josh and I would marry one day.
In 1915, the Germans sank the Lusitania. There was a fervor for bloodshed that frightened me, but Woodrow Wilson promised to keep us out of war. Nevertheless, the United States did declare war on Germany in 1917 and Josh volunteered. He was slightly wounded in France. Almost immediately after he returned, we were married. We bought a Tin Lizzie for a bit over $400. For several years, we lived with my parents looking toward the day when we would be able to strike out on our own. Josh got a job at Simmons Manufacturing in Troy. For several years, he'd walk a mile to catch the trolley at Hugh and Wiley. He'd work ten hours operating a milling machine. Then he would begin the long journey home.
We had two children, Theodore and Abigail. They were educated in Troy public schools. At the movies they grew up with Laurel and Hardy, Flash Gordon, and Mickey Mouse. Josh advanced in his job and we were able to rent a flat on Second Street in Troy so that Josh could be closer to his job. We voted for Herbert Hoover because he asserted that the country was on the threshold of a prosperity unknown in the history of the world. Alas, Josh speculated recklessly in the stock market and lost the money that we had been saving for a down payment on a house. Soon afterward, he was laid off and we went on relief. From time to time, Josh worked at odd jobs.
Franklin Roosevelt became president and Josh got a job with the WPA. This enabled us to get off relief and begin reducing our debts. We were in the middle of a depression, but some of our privations were alleviated by a most marvelous toy, the radio. What fun it was for the adults to tune into WGY and visit with Ma Perkins, Stella Dallas, Lorenzo Jones, and Amos 'n' Andy. The kids tuned into the adventures of Tom mix, Little Orphan Annie, and Jack Armstrong! What a thrill it was to hear the world and local news every evening! We also followed the adventures of Amelia Earhart who flew across the Atlantic only five years after Lindy had. And who could forget listening to the World Series in the fall? (The Yankees always won.) And, to The Shadow on Sunday afternoons, sponsored by Blue Coal, hosted by John Barclay.
At the movies, we were spellbound with Clark Gable in "Gone With the Wind," Judy Garland in the "Wizard of Oz," Orson Welles in "Citizen Kane," "Shirley Temple" in "The Little Princess," and others. All movies had sound by now and many were in color.
When we got involved in the second world war, Josh got a job at the American locomotive company building tanks. Theodore was drafted and went off to war, and my daughter and I got jobs as assemblers at General Electric. The family moved to Sixth Avenue in Schenectady. From there we were able to walk to work.
Josh would be exhausted when he came home from his twelve-hour shift. He didn't want to participate in outside activities, but my daughter and I would go to the USO and serve coffee and donuts to the servicemen and dance with them. Abigail was
(The woman shifted in her seat and jotted something down on the pad. As I spoke a faint look of perplexity crept across her face. Was she beginning to guess?)
"Mom," Abigail would exclaim, "I'm jealous of all the attention men give you. You're my mother, but no one would ever know. Why do you come here? You've had your life, now you should step aside and let younger people have theirs!"
President Roosevelt died just before the war ended. Josh was almost fifty. Theodore had seen service in Okinawa. He came home with premature wrinkles on his forehead, otherwise, healthy and fit. He joined the Air Force intending to make a career in the Service. Abigail quit her job and married an Albany lawyer whom she had met at a dance only three months before. "Mother," she said on her wedding day, "Donald and I plan to build a life as far from you as we can. I won't compete any longer with a twin sister who was born a full generation before me."
The remark both stung and puzzled me. Then I realized that Abigail was crying out in
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