It was my turn to be “it” and after counting to ten, I went in search of my five cousins. I ran upstairs and looked in the bathroom. One was hiding behind the door draped in Grandma’s old chenille robe where it hung from a hook. Four more to go.
I opened the door to my grandparents’ bedroom and peeked inside. My shoes felt glued to the spot. My heart pounded in my ears, and heat flooded my body. There in front of the chest of drawers was my grandfather. He had the top drawer open and was rummaging through the contents as if hunting for something.
“Grandpa?” I whispered in disbelief at what I saw.
He turned to me and held a finger to his lips as if telling me to be quiet. When I say he, I mean someone the same height and size as Grandpa. He had the same facial features and yet he was transparent. Not see-through, but swirling pale-gray mists within the outline of his body.
I slowly stepped back into the hallway and closed the door. What had I seen? I’d heard vague references to ghosts in school, especially around Halloween. But my family was super religious and never spoke of such “pagan” things. Heck, we didn’t even own a television in 1958.
So, I did what any normal kid did in that era. I ran for the closest adult. I charged into the kitchen and told the neighbors that I’d seen Grandpa upstairs going through his things, hunting for something. One woman ushered me to the sofa in the parlor and made me lie down while the other made a cold compress with some foul smelling herbs to calm my overwrought sensibilities.
When the family returned to my grandparents, one of the neighbor ladies took my mother aside and told her what happened. My mother took my hand and marched me outside for a long heated discussion. I was not to embarrass her. I was not to create a scene. I was never to speak of this foolishness again. If I did she’d spank me there and again when we got home.
I’m no dummy; I kept my mouth shut.
Still, although I've rarely mentioned it since, I’ve often wondered about that incident over the years. Exactly what did I see?
What do you think?