I am married with one child. I have been a resident of New Berlin for 8 years. I enjoy the New Berlin community and I am proud to be a part of it. I love arts and crafts, painting, beading, coupon clipping, cooking and writing.
I haven't posted for a while, so until my next write-up on a recent adventure, I thought I'd share a short story that I have been working on.
Hope you enjoy!
“Hurry up Kelly!” “We have to get going!” Mom hollered. “Okay Mom I’m just about ready!” I finished brushing my hair, and getting dressed. I was wearing my baby blue, hip huggers, (flared at the bottom) and my favorite pastel flowered T-shirt. “One minute Mom!” I hollered back. I had to quickly tie a bow in my hair to keep those wild, stray curls in place. I picked out a pink ribbon and neatly tied it in my hair. There….. I thought to myself. That does it. Ready to go!
I ran down the hallway catching up with Mom as she was heading out the door.
We hopped in the blue “beater” station wagon, and we ventured off. The sun was shimmering, birds were chirping and the neighborhood was buzzing with kids playing everywhere. After all it was the 70’s, an era when all the kids still played outside.
It was an especially bright day for me and I didn’t mind missing any of the action around the house for the day. No siblings! Mike was getting ready for baseball practice. MaryKay was heading to the mall and Kim was already next door playing. Dad was sleeping off the night shift. It was just me and my Mom today, and we were going to visit Aunt Betty! Of course Cindy would be there too. I couldn’t wait! I loved going to Aunt Betty’s house. Aunt Betty was quite the jolly lady. (Almost like a naughty version of Mrs. Claus.) She had prominent brown eyes that disappeared when she smiled. She liked to have a glass of beer and a smoke on occasion.
Her two daughters, my cousins, were already grown up and living on their own. To pass the time Aunt Betty indulged in lots of arts and crafts, but she especially loved to sew. As a matter of fact she was ALWAYS sewing something. It would either be t-shirts, stuffed animals or quilting of some sort. When we would get to her house we would have to follow the hum of the sewing machine just to find her. She could usually be spotted behind a heaping pile of material, and a cloud of cigarette smoke, somewhere in the basement.
This visit there was no sound of a sewing machine humming in the distance. Aunt Betty was right there waiting for us in the kitchen. She had a delightful lunch all planned for us today. “Just the girls” she said. The table was set up as if a tea party was about to take place. Only there were no stuffed animals or baby dolls sitting around the table. It made me feel much older than an eleven year old for sure. I remember how my eyes focused on the table for more than a few minutes. How delightful it was set up–and just for us girls? There was a tray of cute little miniature sandwiches with all the crusts cut off. Tea cups and fresh cut garden tomatoes added to the pallet of color on the table. There was little side dishes filled with white fluff, which I later on discovered was cottage cheese.
As my eyes pulled away from the table, there was Cindy, jumping up and down on my side. “Hi Cindy! How ya’ doin baby girl?” I asked.
Cindy was Aunt Betty’s dog. She was an adorable, chunky little silver schnauzer, who ironically had eyes JUST like Aunt Betty’s. She was always so happy to see me. The feeling was mutual. I loved to run my fingers across her velvet-like silver fur. I think she liked it too. I always looked forward to taking her for a walk when we came for a visit.
We finished eating lunch (second helping of cottage cheese and all) and before Aunt Betty could even finish her sentence, I said “sure, I’ll take Cindy for a walk!” Cindy saw the leash and her tail started wagging out of control. She jumped like an excited circus dog.
Cindy and I ventured out. As usual, we’d take a right turn out of the driveway and circle the block a few times. For such a young girl, my mind was quite active. I was thinking about everything. Would any of my friends still be outside when we got back? Would my brother and sisters be home yet? I wonder if Dad is awake by now. I wish I could get out of church tomorrow. Does Billy like me as much as I like him? I wonder why Sharon is so two-faced. What happened to the sun? How did it get dark so quickly? All of a sudden it dawned on me that we had been gone a long time. It was definitely time to head back to Aunt Betty’s house.
We turned the last corner on the block. I said “Come on Cindy, we have to get back now!” It should be four more houses–I thought. I counted one, two, three, four. Yet as we approached number four Aunt Betty’s house was no longer there! I started to breathe heavy, tears were welling up and I was frantic. What the heck? I realized I was talking out loud. “Ok, calm down Kelly, walk around the block again, you must have just taken the wrong turn.” “Now pay attention Kelly!”
I circled the same block once more passing the set of perfectly groomed bushes that defines the corner I normally turn on. I said to myself “There are the bushes. But what happened to them?” They were no longer groomed and vibrant green. They were now blackish brown and wilted. And there was no sight of Aunt Betty’s house in view. As I walked I desperately counted again–one, two, three, four. Still there was no Aunt Betty’s house! No blue station wagon parked in the driveway! I looked left, then right. I spun around one way and then the other, becoming dizzy and lightheaded. Now it seemed as if the entire block was spinning around me. Did Mom leave me? Where did Aunt Betty’s house go? Oh my gosh. Where am I? What happened? How could I lose the house? Beads of sweat were dripping down my face. I was shaking and gasping to catch my breath!
Then, in an instant I was blinded. I had to hold my arms up over my face to block out the intense light that was attacking me at dusk. At this point, I don’t even remember if I was still holding Cindy’s leash or not. The remainder of visuals that surrounded me just a few minutes ago had faded. There was nothing but confusion, chaos and panic! There were no cars buzzing by. No trees dancing to the wind. No people outside. A black, smoky haze viciously swirled in the streets. And all the houses dripped of an eery grey. I cried out, “GOD HELP ME!”
At that moment, my body jolted forward. I was now sitting erect in my bed trying to distinguish my nightmare from reality. I frantically looked around the room, noting every single item. There’s the window. There’s my dresser. There’s my closet. I hesitantly popped my head over the top bunk to verify my sister’s existence. Yep, Kim was right below me fast asleep. I could even hear Dad snoring in the next room. Fhew! That was scary. I rustled around a bit, pulled the covers over my head and eventually drifted back to sleep.
I awoke the next morning still feeling the effects of my nightmare. I was baffled! In reality, I remember returning to Aunt Betty’s house with Cindy in tow. Mom and I even enjoyed a piece of homemade desert (triple chocolate cake) before heading home.
Throughout the day after the nightmare took place, I was still asking myself “Why did I dream like this?” What was my subconscious afraid of? After all such fond, peaceful memories were always part of my visits to Aunt Betty’s house.
As I approached my teenage years, Mom’s and Aunt’s were no longer cool to hang out with. Therefore, the visits became less as time went on. When I did visit Aunt Betty, (Now nicknamed Betty Boop!) she never ceased to amaze me with latest crafting and sewing projects in motion. And of course, I still had to follow miniscule clues to locate her. On one of my last visits, I remember weaving through piles of Henrietta dolls that lined the basement shelves. There were literally hundreds of these little grey stuffed moles with stick straight wild hair and flowered dresses, surrounding me.
What I find most odd; as the “Wonder Years” faded, and the visits grew sparse, this exact nightmare occurred for many years to follow. At times, just parts of it surfaced, but it was still always prevalent. I do not remember the exact timeframe when these nightmares finally went away. Maybe they went to the grave with my dear Aunt. I just know they eventually did go away. Thank God!
I still have similar nightmares revolving around memories that are supposed to be serene and peaceful. Throughout my adult life, as I drive around in circles looking for an address, (usually in Waukesha) I have come to the realization that I am simply terrified of getting lost. Why? I do not know. Did my parents ever lose me as a small child? Did I see something on television that I shouldn’t have? I don’t know.
All I know is that I am so glad to wake up each day in my own bed, with pleasant memories of life’s happenings as well as my many visits with Aunt Betty.