Sure She’s Spooky, But She’s My Mom
WE ARE DOWN IN TEXAS VISITING FAMILY. We were sitting around the table last night swapping stories and sharing memories. My 97 year old Mother-in-law told us about her life during World War Two. Our Cousin from Alaska told us the best way to avoid being killed by bears, and then it became my turn.
My wife, the lovely and memory like a steel trap, Dawn, said, “John, tell them about your spooky mother.” With an introduction like that there was no way to avoid telling everyone about my “Spooky Mom.”
To preface those stories it was necessary to explain that my mother’s side of the family came to the U.S. from Lithuania via Germany and England after my Grandfather deserted from the Czar’s Army. I have no proof, but every Lithuanian I’ve ever met was a touch spooky.
When I was a youngster I spent a lot of time amidst the clutch of my four Lithuanian Aunts and one Lithuanian Uncle. Conversations were a mixture of English and Lithuanian. Hearing that for years I managed to pick up almost nothing of the language of “The Old Country.” My total vocabulary in Lithuanian consists of how to say “Ten” and “Eleven.” That’s never going to get me too far if I ever visit Lithuania. (Can you find it on a map?)
All of my Aunts were spooky and they loved to demonstrate it to unnerve the rest of the non-spooky family. Whenever we were all together at one of my Aunt’s homes after a few glasses of wine and a big meal the four sisters would break out a table, usually a simple card table and each take a seat. When everyone was looking they would place just their fingertips on the surface of the table (Cue the spooky music) and begin to chant, “Rise table, rise! Rise table, rise!” Within a few seconds the table would begin to shake, rock up on one leg, and before long leave the ground floating in mid-air.
I kid you not.
I saw them do this countless times over the years. That table would be two feet off the ground with my Aunts only contact being their fingertips on the tabletop. I thought it was very cool, but their husbands were not happy. They always thought that their wives were tinkering with “The Other Side.”
Mom could also be spooky on her own.
It was not unusual for us to be relaxing at home when, out of the blue, my mother would say, “Somebody, answer the phone.” Three seconds later the phone would ring. That one used to drive my Dad crazy. Again, I thought that was cool as all get out.
She was also passively spooky. Mom was magnetic. She could not wear a wristwatch of any kind. Within minutes of putting it next to her skin the watch would stop and all of the internal parts would be magnetized. She ended up having to wear a brooch with a small watch that did not touch her skin.
When I told those stories to the family there was a mixture of statements of doubt and the moving of chairs a little farther away from me. I knew that would be the reaction. Every time I talk about Mom, and her spooky sisters, the reactions are the same. My one uncle, Tony, was used to them and their spookiness. He never demonstrated any of his own. He preferred to play golf.