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My Susan…

susan:Carrie in tree

Susan, left, with sister Carrie

In the morning

Greenbug

We never found it.

We crawled on the floor
Seeking
The little green bug
Tucked into a drawer
For safekeeping
The night before.

Tear stains
On that little face
So sad, so white
Framed in
Silky, smooth hair
So black.

angry

Susan was angry, indignant…

“He stomped on my babies.”

cockroaches

I hope he brought them to HIS mother.

She was angry, indignant..
A pocketful of roaches
Shown off to
A bigger boy
And lost
To innocence.

SM Rogie naps on Susan's lap 1

Susan and her donkey Rogie. (As an adult, Susan enjoys larger creatures.)

A collection of bugs
Carefully pinned
To the inside cover
Of a shoe box
Desperate buzzing of treasures
Held captive who gnaw through
My very best scarf.

(Goodbye nice scarf…)

Sue on Hummer2017First Trail Ride, 4th Ride 019

Susan on Hummer — and even larger.

Beware, take care, strange things are happening….

Muriel2017

photo by Chandra Joy

We live in a rain forest. We’re used to rain. We have umbrellas and rain jackets and are okay with getting wet. What seems different is the amount of fog we’ve been experiencing. When I see it through my window, I recall with nostalgia the horror films I enjoyed as a kid. Those films usually had fog in them so creatures could emerge from the dark woods or the ‘deep lagoon’.

belalugosi

I remember Bela Lugosi as a vampire

The films I liked best were in black and white and most often featured that fog — I think they played them on TV. Some of the actors I saw were Bela Lugosi, Peter Lorre, Boris Karloff, and who could forget ‘Alfred Hitchcock Presents’ on TV (1955-1965) or his oh-so-famous ‘Psycho’? (1960)

Peter Lorre #2

Peter Lorre

Creepy Peter Lorre’s whining, groveling voice alone could make my blood curdle. He often played assistant to a mad scientist — there were so many mad scientists in those plots. I believe I saw him eating spiders in a film once. (Is that true or did my head make it up?)

Old Horror films could be a little scary, but not as terrifying as the ones they make today. You could always back off if you felt too uneasy, (and I did) and say to yourself: ‘This isn’t real. It can’t be

Mummy#2

Mummy in tattered bandages

real.’ After all, no self-respecting mummy would appear in those hanging tattered bandages. What kind of mummy fashion statement would that make?

Now horror films are not as much fun for the likes of chickens like me. They’re way too realistic and gory, and too scary to be fun.

Bela Lugosi appeared in ‘Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man’, ‘Ghosts on the Loose’ and ‘Return of the Vampire’ all made in 1943; ‘Arsenic and Old Lace’ and ‘One Body Too Many’ followed in 1944. They surely cranked them out quickly. Lugosi starred in many other films until he became addicted to Morphine and became unreliable. (Morphine made me sick when I had surgery in 2017 — perhaps a lucky thing.)

boriskarloff as Frankenstein

Boris Karloff as Frankenstein

‘The Haunted Strangler’ (1958) starred Boris Karloff. In it a dead strangler possesses a researcher. Karloff scared me again in ‘Corridors of Blood’ that year, in which a doctor becomes addicted to anesthetic. The title I so like ‘The Creature from the Black Lagoon’ (1954) is once again about scientists, who try to capture the beast for study.

Elegant-vincent-price

Always elegant Vincent Price

The oh-so-distinguished Vincent Price, a favorite, could make me cringe just by introducing a show. Price starred in ‘The Fly’ (1958). Again, another unfortunate scientist has an accident with a teleportation device — whatever that is. (Scientists sure got into a lot of trouble.) Price then appeared in ‘The Return of the Fly’ (1959) probably because kids like me loved ‘The Fly’ to begin with. He was a real talent and appeared in ‘The House of Wax’, ‘Tales of Terror’ along with Peter Lorre, and ‘The House on Haunted Hill’, ‘The House of Usher’ and many more.

We were innocent and easily taken in. They created zombies, ghosts, vampires, mummies, and creatures of all kinds who most often appeared through fog, the same kind of fog we’re having right now. What fun. I love it.

CINEMA-FILES-BIO-HITCHCOCK-BIRDS

Alfred Hitchcock (1899-1980) during the shooting of his movie ‘The Birds’.

Remembering rain stories…

Muriel Susan

Susan, who still loves all creatures, and me

After the oh-so-hot, humid, smoky summer, the first rainfall

Baby Rafi and sue

Susan playing with Rafi, she also loved him

was a blessing. It watered the parched earth, delighted growing things, cleaned the air, and brought joy to our residents. I purposely walked without a hat to experience those precious drops running down my face. The years fell away. I felt like a naughty child.

While relishing the much-needed rain, I thought of other walks taken years ago in Los Angeles where droughts could last for years. It didn’t make sense to buy boots for the children. They were rarely needed. I’d just wrap plastic bags over their shoes and out we’d go to either walk or splash about in the water, and sometimes sail hand-made paper boats.

On one such walk with 4-year old Susan, who loves every creature that flies, walks, crawls or slithers, she was worried. Dozens of worms were out because of the rain.

Pink worm

Little pink worms

“The sidewalk must hurt their little pink bellies,” she fretted, as she gently picked each worm off the cement and placed it onto the soft grass of the parkway. I like thinking of that rainy day.

Which reminds me of the morning 3-year-old Susan woke up and

green bug

I can’t find my green buggie

was crying. Concerned, I ran to her room. It seems the night before, she’d carefully placed a green bug to sleep in her bedside table drawer. Of course, the bug was nowhere to be found. She was distraught. Tears flowed. Seeing her so upset tugged at my heart. I knew it was useless, but what to do? I found myself crawling on the floor with her ‘looking’ for her ‘green buggy’. Well, what would you have done? Finally, the child had to settle for a hug.

There was also the time her kindergarten teacher had a container full of crickets to feed to a lizard. Susan decided the crickets must be unhappy cooped up in a

Jiminy Cricket

A

little carton. She turned them loose. This resulted in absolute chaos. Children, terrified of the little creatures, screamed, ran around and jumped up and down on chairs and desks — that is — all except Susan, who delighted in having given the crickets freedom and loved seeing them going off in all directions. Then, those crickets had to be gathered when/if possible. Oh, dear. (I learned about this adventure through a complaint from Susan’s suffering teacher.)

Another day Susan came home from school, again in tears, because she

Cockroach

A family of roaches?

had found a ‘cute family’ of cockroaches to bring to her beloved mother. A ‘mean’ boy slapped them out of her hand and stomped on them.

‘It’s okay Susie,’ I said hearing her tale of woe, ‘Perhaps they’re alright and he just took them to HIS mother.’ I doubt I ever told Susan how relieved I was those little critters hadn’t made it to our home.

Talking about bugs, once on the way to school ((Kindergarten again) Susan

Snail

Snails all over her coat

picked up every snail she saw. They, too, come out when it rains. She arrived at school with her pockets full of snails, and snails crawling all over her coat. Her poor teacher gave her an empty shoe box, and all the snails were saved and brought home to lucky me. I wasn’t that thrilled with this gift, we had a garden, but what can you say to a child who treasures every creature.

Enough rain stories. Stay well and enjoy each day.

Murder in the Bedroom

Dressed only in my nightie, I was brushing my teeth. Why did I turn? I don’t know. But when I did, I saw……a huge, brown spider, at least 1 1/2 inches big with long legs. It was crawling in under the closed bathroom door. For a moment, I was fascinated by the size of the creature, until….I realized I was barefoot. Suddenly, I felt extremely vulnerable.

What kind of spider grows so large? Should I be scared? Yes! I was scared. It stopped in its tracks. It studied me. I grabbed a magazine and waved it menacingly at the critter, shouting: “Shoo! Go away! Out!”

What do I know about spiders?

What do I know about spiders?

The spider didn’t react or budge. It was determined. Did it move closer? Oh, oh..maybe it did. What do I know about spiders? Nothing. Would it bite my bare foot? Would the bite be dangerous? I didn’t like the situation. I handled it wisely if not with dignity. I ran out of there as fast as I could without rinsing my mouth, slamming the door behind me. (Not that the door had kept it out in the first place, mind you, but in panic mode, don’t expect me to think rationally.)

After rinsing my mouth in the other bathroom, I crawled into bed and lay there thinking. Spiders can climb, can’t they? I got up and checked all the blankets to be sure none were touching the floor. Okay, I admit that was silly. Beds don’t float in space. And, the useless exercise didn’t make me feel any better. I wrapped myself tightly within the blankets. It was too warm. Which would you rather, a big brown spider as a bedmate or a little discomfort?

It was Sunday. Every Sunday night 101FM replays old radio shows, like “The Shadow”, or “The Inner Sanctum”. These radio shows fascinated and terrified me when I was little, and I enjoy hearing them again. On this particular night “The Shadow” was on. What do you think the story was about?

A lonely, desperate, murderous madman lived in a small, dark room full of spider webs with his only friend and companion — a huge spider. What a coincidence. How could they do this to me??? The story was actually silly, but that didn’t make me feel any better. The spider was so large the Shadow had to use his gun to kill it. At any other time, I’d have been amused, but on this night with my own huge spider lurking about, it was somewhat disconcerting.

After a restless night, I arose and carefully donned slippers (which I don’t usually bother with) to get to my bath. I carefully studied the white tiled floor in the bathroom and checked the bathtub before I climbed in. Back in my bedroom, I dressed, shaking each garment out first — just in case, and then checked each shoe and shook it upside down before I put it on. I was thinking spider, spider, spider…. I went out for breakfast.

The daily local newspaper “24 Hours” had an article by Chris Campbell, on Sept. 2nd. The headline read:  “Expert Says BC Spiders Invading Homes for Sex.”

Male spiders enter homes looking for sex, honest....

Male spiders enter homes looking for sex, honest….

Honest. Would I make this up? You can check it on the Internet. Apparently this is the time of year spiders are the largest, and it is their mating season, so the males enter homes looking for lovers. And, our province has more than 900 different kinds! Yikes!

A few days after first meeting my uninvited roommate, I was going through my new, careful, obsessive early morning routine when I spotted, on the carpet right in my bedroom, that same huge spider. He had crept silently into my oh-so private space and had the audacity to sit there on the carpet as if he owned the place. Absolutely unafraid, he watched me dress. How dare he! A veritable arachnid Peeping Tom!!

Enough was enough. With  vengeance in my heart and murder in my mind I attacked the intruder.

Enough was enough. With vengeance on my mind and murder in my heart I attacked the intruder.

Enough was enough. I had had it! With vengeance on my mind and murder in my heart, I picked up a shoe I was sure could do him in as big as he was. I attacked the intruder who had managed to alter my life for days and ground him mercilessly into pulp. He is no more…..

This was not the first time I had an adventure with a spider, though the previous event was not as frightening and that spider wasn’t as large. I had just moved to town and celebrated the finding of my first job by buying myself some expensive, luxurious bubble-bath. I like bubble-baths and am convinced that if there is a heaven, they have them there. I poured the rich, blue liquid into my bath, and was just about to step in, when I noticed a black spider floating on the bubbles. I hesitated but a moment, then decided to take my bath with that spider. Later I  wrote this silly poem to remember the occasion.

My Bath with a Spider

My bath with a spider

My bath with a spider

Early this morning

I took a bath

with a spider.

It was not my intention.

What I had planned

were some bubbles,

a cup of coffee,

leisure and relaxation.

I turned on the faucet,

poured the rich, blue

foam from the pretty jar

and felt like — Cleopatra.

Too late I saw

the little creature

frantically trying

to escape the swirling water.

I could think of no way to save him,

so I just continued with

my morning ritual,

and took my bath with a spider.