Tuesday, November 01, 2005

My First Halloween

Little AC sitting with Grandpa Arthur and Frisky.

I'm almost four years old in the picture. My parents, grandad, Uncle Charlie, and I all lived in the same house — grandad's house. We had probably lived with grandad and Uncle Charlie for several years at this point and would live with them for several more before moving to our own little place. The extended family seemed natural, just as it seemed natural when we moved out on our own. Humans are very adaptable.

Frisky appeared at the door one day. Some kids were selling him cheaply or giving him away; I'm not sure which. Grandpa accepted Frisky into the house, and we named him Frisky because that's what he was: a young dog full of energy.

The fateful day arrived: I didn't know it was Halloween Day at the time; in fact, I don't think that I knew diddly about Halloween at that tender age. I recall Grampa saying that he was going to the store and that he was going to take Frisky with. For some reason, I was to be included in the trip. When we were about to leave the house, Grampa decided that Frisky didn't require a leash. I remembering getting quite upset and predicting that he would be killed by a car. But Grampa was sure that Frisky would be fine, even though we had to cross a busy street.

How is that a three-year-old kid can see better than a seventy-year-old man? He wasn't dumb, and I wasn't a child-genius, but I could predict the consequences better than he. Sure enough, Frisky ran into traffic and was run over by a car. Grampa carried the broken and bloody body home and buried him in the back yard.

Although I don't clearly remember, I must have been more than a little distraught, so much so that my mother, in order to distract me, sent me out for Halloween that night. She threw an old coat on me, and I don't know what else, and said that I was to identify myself as a tramp, and out we went.

That was my first Halloween. As far as I recall, I hadn't known that Halloween existed up until that point in my life. I can't recall my emotions and barely recall going out, but I suppose that I thought it was pretty darn wonderful to receive all that booty. It probably did serve to take my mind off the day's trauma too, but it's not the Halloween part that's vivid in my memory fifty-five years later. What's vivid is my angst when I as a little boy somehow realized that Frisky probably would be killed. I can still, even now, relive the dawning apprehension that I felt when Grampa said that he was going to take the dog out without a leash, and I can still see Frisky being run over. I can play that track at will, and it sometimes plays unbidden as my brain does its random shuffle thing. It's probable that I can only relate the Halloween part of the story because I have been told it many times, but the Frisky incident is indelibly archived.

My Most Recent Halloween

Last night Cuppa and I sat in our little porch waiting for the kiddies to come by. We were dressed up in whatever we could find. We left our porch lights out, rendering some of the more timid kids reluctant to enter. We spoke kindly and cheerily to those children. But for the older and bolder among them, I lurked in the corner, the hat brim covering my eyes.

Unobtrusively, as Cuppa dished the treats, I would turn on the speaker and blast some eerie Halloween sounds: screams, groans, creaking doors, witches' cackles and so on. Then, I might let my brooding eyes catch theirs from just under the brim of my hat. I startled some. Others said, "Cool!" And some little guys got down and looked all over, much more curious about the sound and its source than anything. It takes all kinds to make a world, from the quiet and timid souls to the bold and curious spirits.

I'm glad that Cuppa and I did a little something beyond the ordinary. We'll remember the night for a quite a while, even if it's soon lost in the haze of a busy night for the little trick-or-treaters. They'll mostly forget, but I'll remember, just as my mother remembered more about my first Halloween than I do. She passed on the story though, and I pass these accounts on to you and to those who inherit my genes.



Melodee said...

What a sad story . . . and what a fun night you had last night.

Lynn said...

I'm glad I didn't go Trick or Treating in your neck of the woods. You two were waaaay scary in those costumes.

Anonymous said...

The story of your first Hallowe'en had my heart sinking. How very very sad. I can see how it lives on in your mind.

The recounting of this years Hallowe'en made me smile. I think I would have probably been one of the more timid ones.. wishing to be bold.

Love the photos.

PBS said...

That's a great photo, but too bad about Frisky. That kind of memory and image stays with you forever. Glad your more recent Halloweens are fun! I like your costumes this year!

Norma said...

A terrible loss those memories of the deaths of our pets. It is the final gift they give us as we grow up and learn about life and death and its finality.

Paul said...

I enjoyed the photo and your memories but, most of all I enjoy the glmpse into your family. It's good to see happiness and caring.

Lora said...

What a way to make things fun. Sorry that you have such a sad story associated with your first Halloween experience though.

Meadow said...

You are so adorable in that picture. Aww.

I think it is so interesting the things we remember from experience, the things we remember just because we've been told so many times, and how those memories *feel* different. The mind is a fascinating study.

Perhaps I'm confused but I thought the first story took place when you were around the age in the first pic. If that's true, that would make you less than 60 years old. Or right around there. So if I understood correctly, why on earth do you call yourself old? 60 is young! You still got a good 50 years left. At least! :)

I also like the way you noticed how different kids responded to the Halloween sounds. That was a beautiful commentary.

Loner said...

I like how you explained it - the mind going into shuffle and bringing back memories unbidden by the conscious mind.

And I loved the costumes - wish we were trick or treating at your house!

Valerie - Still Riding Forward said...

Having too much fun again? LLLL!

We didn't dress this year. Usually we do but the mate's mask is so scary to little kids they run away crying.

It's bad enough we have the boxer and chow/lab barking to announce each visitor and then pressing to be allowed out for pets. They are sweet but can be scary to little kids.

Keep having fun1

Judy said...

I had only ONE trick-or-treater. She came at 9:30 dressed as an angel. She is a friend of my son and also came last year at the same time, as an angel.

Your story reminded me that last year my old Westie was so interested in her feather wings and halo (my dog likes bare heads). I still remember telling her that the angel hadn't come for her. This year, I said the same thing, but she can no longer hear me. Not that she ever could understand...

...but I sure do.

Bonita said...

How sad your first Halloween is remembered in a haze of grief, but, as your latest photos indicate, your spirit is a real treat.

Heather Plett said...

I love the pics - ALL of them! That one of you and your Grandpa looks like something that should be framed in a lovely old frame, hanging near a cozy fireplace.

Like I said on Cuppa's blog - you guys have such great spirit. You inspire me.

Dora said...

When I grow up, I wanna be like you and Cuppa :)

Dee said...

That is so sad about Frisky but I am glad you had fun this year. *s*

Gina said...

I don't know that I can say anything much different than everyone else as I am rather late to the party.

I'm so sorry for the loss of your pup, and I adore those pictures, all of them!

Good grief, is it Friday already?!