Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The kiss of the Parkside ghost

This morning is magical because I have finally turned the corner in this stupid cold that I had. I didn't want to write about my cold because No. 1, I do not like to admit weakness, and No. 2, it's a drag knowing someone is sick. I went to a concert Friday and the soprano was sick and she was sitting there on stage and it made me feel sicker, looking at her. That is just human nature. It is not my fault.

On the bright side I had an excuse to ignore the beautiful weather over Columbus Day weekend and do what I always secretly want to do: work on my book on Leonard Pennario. I actually welcomed that excuse. How geeky is that? Plus I got out of cooking at the soup kitchen I was scheduled to cook at on Sunday. No points for me with St. Peter this weekend! But don't blame me. I was sick.

Speaking of which, because I wasn't up to much writing, I worked digging up old stories about Pennario. Weeding through the archives of the Chicago Tribune, I found an instance in which Pennario worked when he was sick. There were a lot of these instances because he never canceled. There was only one time in his life that he canceled a concert and that was because he was stuck in a blizzard at a train station in the middle of nowhere with no trains running. He never canceled because of sickness.

This one time I read about, the critic wrote he had a bad nosebleed at intermission but played anyway. The critic thought his performance suffered because he was sick, but noted that the crowd went wild. That nosebleed, ugh! It made me woozy reading about it. That is why, over the last couple of days, I have kept my illness to myself.

Now, being better, I feel as if I am coming out of this fog. I am ready to go in to work and return all my phone calls -- not that that many people have called me, I am not that popular -- and catch up on everything that needs doing. I am going to tell the spooky story of the day.

Here is good news: Other bloggers are taking up my Spooky October Story theme!

Check out Budd Bailey's blog. His entry yesterday is headlined "The Dark Side." It is about Barack Obama. Apparently some people are writing that Obama is the Anti-Christ and listing reasons why it adds up. Brrrrrrr!

How will I top that? It will not be easy. Let me think.

I think I will trot out the heavy artillery and tell of the time I was kissed by a ghost.

This was on spooky, spooky Parkside. Remember, I wrote about that, about the lower apartment we had there where some kid had written on the wall, "This House Is Haunted," and lo, it turned out to be true.

There was something there. Doors were opening, things like that. Dogs got a funny feeling. We had a lot of dogs which did not improve the situation in that house.

One morning I awoke and there was this young man in an army jacket -- a modern army jacket -- standing next to my bed. I am serious. I remember I even looked at my clock radio and it said 6:35 a.m. It was light. You always think ghosts will appear when it is dark but that is not always the case!

I looked up at this soldier and the funny thing was, I wasn't creeped out. We were not afraid of our ghost. That is something important I should have explained earlier. We somehow thought he was a benign presence, looking over all of us girls. We got the idea he was protecting us.

Then the ghost leaned down and kissed me. On the lips. What do you do when a ghost kisses you? I kissed him back.

And that is all I remember, really, about the situation. I did not tell my roommates about it because ... well, there is something funny that kicks in if you see a ghost, or you think you do. You start telling yourself you did not see it. You say you dreamed it. So at first I didn't say anything. But then this happened:

My sister Katie, the left-winger, had a fiance at the time named Mark Elliott. Mark was a frequent house guest at our Parkside apartment. Katie did not live there, but he pretty much did. He paid rent, as I recall. One morning at breakfast Mark mentioned offhandedly that he had seen Ezra. That is the name we gave to our ghost, I am not sure why anymore.

I asked Mark what Ezra looked like.

He said, "He's a young man in an army jacket."

A few days ago, I mused that perhaps my mother was right, and our ghost's name was really Schlitz. But now I am not so sure.

Who knows, after all these years?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Re our spooky season:
Music lovers might want to look up "The 94th Psalm" for organ, by Julius Reubke. It has been magnificently recorded by Buffalo's own David Fuller on the Slee/Lippes Hall Fisk organ at UB North.