Andujar: Surviving haunting childhood memories

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This is an installment of Suzette Andujar’s weekly column, “As I Was Saying”

It was a dark and scary night. The trees swayed softly against the chilly autumn breeze. A young girl of 14 slept peacefully in her bed until she heard a noise…like a door opening and closing. She got up and looked straight ahead. Her closet door was moving as if someone was behind, struggling to get it open, yet it wasn’t locked.

At first the girl jumped in terror, but knew better; there were no such things as ghosts, were there? The house was about 90 years old and it wasn’t uncommon for things to creak and rattle. She bravely got out of her bed, whipped open the door and was greeted by clothes and stairs. The stairs led to the attic where wind easily slipped through the cracks of the ancient wood. The young girl shivered and went back to bed, hearing the noises throughout the rest of the night and telling herself that it was nothing; it was just the wind.

That young girl (dramatic pause) was me.

Having a dilapidated attic in my closet scared me, but I loved to sit at the bottom of the steps and write stories in my notebooks. For some reason inspiration struck in a little, spine-chilling room. I’d rarely venture into the attic itself, but when I did, I pretended that I was Indiana Jones searching for some legendary treasure. There were many old boxes from previous tenants that stayed there and old toys and jewelry boxes.

I have four brothers and, of course, they loved to scare me. One time, the twins—or as I’d like to call them, the twins from “The Shining”—shot a red laser through my window and I was convinced that aliens were coming for me (thanks, Uncle Cheech, for letting me watch “Fire in the Sky” that day!). My dad came to my rescue and exposed them.

My baby brother, the little evildoer, hid in my closet and sometimes slipped a note from the other side of the door so I would think that ghosts were communicating with me. I humored him once, but it was spooky. The instigator in the back of my mind would, for a second, think it was real. My fourth (troublemaker) brother also hid in my closet. He’d stay quiet and then jump out and I’d shrieked in terror and cry for my mommy. It was the only time he let me punch him because he didn’t feel a thing; he was too busy laughing hysterically to care. To this day, unfortunately, when I have a nightmare, the setting is in the attic of my old home. Things usually pop out at me, creak, thump or glow red…thanks guys.

Do you have a spooky memory from your childhood? A certain place that just never left your mind? Did you have family or friends who made it worse for you? I feel your pain. Maybe one day we can swap stories of sinister siblings. Until then, happy haunted dreams!

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