I asked my daughter what things were scary to her when she was little and she just rolled her eyes. I pressed on. What things in the house were scary when she was younger? Noises, things, rooms, etc.? Her eyes widened and I could almost see the movie reel playing as she recounted her spooky past.
“Oh, lots of things! I mean, when I was little.”
First on her list, the Clawfoot Tub in the guest bathroom. Not only did she think it was scary, but apparently her friends felt it was creepy too. Sometimes they would just ‘hold it’ and wait to pee at their own homes. Geez!
It’s old, fashionably cute, but totally inappropriate for use. It’s very tiny and water shoots out the sides, even with the best shower curtain coverage. Water waste IS scary, but I wasn’t get the scary factor. I urged her to elaborate.
“The tub has scary weird bird feet! Why would a tub have feet? And, when the curtain is closed, my friends and I felt like something scary was going to jump out!”
I told her that I was scared of ‘things’ in my house as a kid too. However, as an adult, I have bigger, scarier challenges on my plate (bills, health, my child’s future). Oh, how I wish my fears could be limited to ‘things’ and ‘noises’ once again.
Now it was my daughter’s turn to probe. “Mom, what type of things were scary to you as a kid?”
For starters, my childhood home was full of old, dark, musty smelling antiques. The living room was like a museum with locked glass cabinets, antique Victorian couches, carved tables and other oddities. All things I was not allowed to touch or sit on.I was allowed to take my friends on a ‘tour’ and we’d stare into the glass curio cabinets at the bizarre items my Mother had curated over the years from trips and shops. There was a shrunken ‘head’ from Brazil. It appeared to be that of a monkey and not a human as implied, although my friends and I would stare at it forever and swear it looked like our 6th grade teacher.
There were Egyptian scarab sarcophagus boxes that we were sure had King Tut’s ashes. There were carved statues with angry expressions that she bought from Eskimos. Honestly, I’d be pissed too if I had to eat whale blubber all the time.
Giant dust covered amber beads that she with traded packs of Wrigley’s Gum for in Africa were piled in a heap. The late afternoon sun would sneak its fingers into that dark room and cast a creepy yellow light onto the other absurd items, as in giving me one more reminder that yeah, all those things…will be with me in this dark house tonight.
Giant dust covered amber beads that she traded packs of Wrigley’s Gum for in Africa were piled in a heap. The late afternoon sun would sneak its fingers into that dark room and cast a creepy yellow light onto the other absurd items, as in giving me one more reminder that yeah, all those things…will be with me in this dark house tonight.
Then there was an antique lion rug positioned in the middle of the living room floor so it was partially coming out from behind a sofa. I hated it and I though was possessed. It was the ‘Claw Foot Tub’ of my Childhood.
I had my daughter’s attention now.
The lion rug was not a welcome addition to our home. The lion was over 100 years old and my Mother got it from an antique dealer who was eager to part with it during liquidation. My Dad and I outright hated it. It had yellow and green glass eyes and some spots on it looked mangy. It was the first damn thing you would see upon walking into our home. Some people had dogs to welcome them home, I had this mouth open huge fanged lion to greet me. My Mother however, simply adored it and it was her antique pride and joy. I eventually stopped going into the living room altogether because I didn’t like the way that lion was looking at me.
One night I was sound asleep only to be woken up by blood curdling screams. My Mother’s screams! She was crying and I could hear her say something about blood. I ran to my parent’s room and found my Dad holding a blood soaked towel to my Mother’s foot!
Apparently she had gone into the living room to turn the lights out for the night. As she walked back across the room in the dark, she managed to put her foot inside the lion’s mouth and step down. A tooth had gone clear through her foot.
Puzzled, none of us could figure out how on earth she managed to get her foot in there. It was a tight squeeze in that lion mouth; the odds were outstanding. I then realized that my worst fears were validated. The ancient lion was evil and finally decided to bite someone!
After an entertaining emergency room visit to the hospital, my Mom’s foot took several weeks to heal. The lion was eventually packed up into storage.
So fast forward twenty plus years later, I am helping my Mother declutter and get rid of ‘things’ from her storage unit. She’s moved to several locations over the years, so she’s accumulated a lot of stuff. We found a large crusty old cardboard box with no writing or labels. I broke open the brittle tape on the box top, and peered in. There looking at me is a yellow green eye.
His eyes were dull and no longer very menacing. His cartoonish mouth reminded me of a carousel ride animal with some tacky painted molars in the back. His fur was really in bad shape and was patchy on his face like measles. My nemesis wasn’t very scary anymore
As I closed up the box, I was a bit sad that I had actually found him. I realized that resolving some childhood fear isn’t that great after all. Part of being a kid is having the freedom to let your mind create, go wild and yes be scared.
I proceeded carefully as I opened more boxes. That damn shrunken head was sure to pop up next.
*EGYPTIAN PHOTO CRED – BY PHOTOGRAPHED FEBRUARY 2009 BY WIKIPEDIA LOVES ART PARTICIPANT “EGOTECHNIQUE“