March 18, 2012

Sharing Memories (Week 12): Things That Go Bump in the Night

Welcome to Week 12 of our 52 weeks of Sharing Memories - A Genealogy Journey for 2012. This is our third year writing our memoirs and childhood memories for our descendants.

If you are just joining us, you can take a peek at the last two years' of prompts by clicking on the Sharing Memories tab at the top of the blog. You can jump in at any time and you can skip topics that you don't like. There are no rules, it's all about getting your memories down on paper. The prompts are here as a guide to help if you are stuck for ideas.

Share your memories here in the comment section, on your own blog, or privately in a journal you keep at home.

How many of you were afraid of the dark, or of whatever lurks under the bed? I was terrified as a child.

I wasn't allowed a night light and so I would lie there for hours, eyes wide open, covers pulled up around my face, staring at the night shapes that formed in front of me. Monsters, aliens and scary people formed at the foot of my bed in my imagination. I'd cry quietly because I knew if my mother heard me she would be angry at what she called my "silliness"

There were two things in my room that scared me the most. One was my bed. The small town where I grew up was close to what we called the looney bin (an asylum for what was then called the insane) Frequent stories were told to all small children in our town about an escapee who had hidden under a child's bed and worked his way through the mattress with a knife. The child's mother, according to the story, found her dead in the morning. Of course the gender and age of the child in the story changed depending who it was being told to but even though we thought it might not be true, it frightened those of us listening. So I always checked and double-checked under my bed at night.

One night my older brother crawled into my room, unseen by me, and hid under my bed. Waiting for just the right moment, he suddenly loomed up over me in the dark and put his hands around my throat as if to strangle me. I was hysterical and of course that just reinforced my already active imagination and night fears. I do remember my father being very angry with my brother and it taking quite awhile for him to calm me down.

The second thing in my room that frightened me was the cubby-hole. Our bedrooms had slanted ceilings and behind where the slant changed to an upright normal wall, lay the cubby-holes which ran the full width of the front and the rear of our house. There were two bedrooms upstairs for us kids and each room had it's own door to one of the cubby-holes.

I was pretty convinced that a very bad or insane person was hiding in my cubby-hole, just waiting to come out and kill my entire family at night. Did I mention I was given to nightmares and had an incredibly vivid imagination?

And so from the age of 4 or 5, perhaps earlier, until my teens, I suffered terribly listening to creaks and groans and what sounded like scratching noises, as well as seeing various monstrous shapes appear and disappear in the darkness around my bed.

I'm over it now but I admit that on occasion I still look under the bed when it's bedtime. And I like to have a light burning in the hall or somewhere so I can see just a sliver of light in my bedroom.

What about your terrors and night fears? Did you have any and how did you combat them or how did your parents deal with them? My mother just told me I was being silly. I guess she thought that would make them go away or be less real to me. 

1 comment:

Helen said...

Cubbyholes! Every child fears them. Even Monsters Inc. Did nothing to persuade my own kids that there are no bad things in the night!!! I think we have to blame TV?