Don't Tell Scary Stories to Young Children- Singing and Scary Stories on the Porch Swing
Visiting My Cousins and Singing on the Porch Swing
My mom is from a big family. She is number six of eight children, so I have loads of aunts, uncles, and cousins. Growing up, at a very early age I started going on overnight trips to stay with family. By the time I was four or so, I would sometimes stay with cousins for a week at a time.
My mom’s oldest sister had three daughters. I can remember spending the week with them, after their oldest left the nest. When I started school, I continued my week-long visits in the summer. My cousins Judy and Trudy are 10 to 15 years older than me. Amazing how good they were to me, at least as much as I remember. Another cousin says she saw cousin Trudy shove me off the porch on purpose once. Imagine a bug-eyed emoji here.
Anyhoo, they lived out in the country, and we didn’t have but three TV channels at best, so I guess letting a young kid hang out with you when you’re a teen was as good a way to pass time as any back then. One of our favorite pastimes was swinging on the front porch swing. Do you know the kind? It was suspended from the porch ceiling, and big enough to hold all three of us. We would swing and sing. The songs I remember most were from the early to mid-60s. There were lots of early Beatles hits. Two other huge favorites were Teen Angel and Last Kiss, both tragic tear-jerkers of teen love. I still remember all the words to Last Kiss.
Thump, Bump and Chop- Scary Stories
My cousins were also quite fond of scary stories. There may have been some ghost stories, but Judy and Trudy were partial to stories of boy scouts and other poor unsuspecting souls being chopped up into pieces. Mind you I’m between the ages of four and six during this time.
Scenario 1: A group of Boy Scouts are wandering around in the woods unsupervised, probably at night. What do ya’ know? They happen upon a large abandoned two-story house. They go in and decide someone should do reconnaissance of the second floor, but only one of them. They wait impatiently, hearing occasional thumps and bumps. I guess perhaps at some point they call to their comrade, who does not respond. So, what’s the logical thing to do? Why, send another solitary scout to check things out, of course. Ultimately it is revealed the Boy Scouts were being chopped into pieces with a large axe, hatchet or some such. And nary a scream. Thump, thump.
Scenario 2: A young couple in love are on a date. They’re parked in a secluded location, when what do you suppose they hear? Thump, bump on the roof of the car of course. Do they start up the car and drive as fast as they can to a location with people? Of course not! Naturally the boyfriend gets out of the car to check things out, instructing the girl to stay put. Thump, bump.
Add a Scary Movie to the Mix
As if it were not enough to be subjected to thump, thump, bump, bump, chop, chop stories at a tender age, something else happened. When I was six years old my cousin JoAnne took me to a movie for kids, like a Disney movie. She is about 11 years older than me, and also spent lots of time with me when I was young. We had a small movie theater in our home town that showed only one movie. No multi-plex theaters back then, certainly not in small towns. Anyhoo, we went to the early evening movie.
It was a Thursday, the day that new movies debuted. The new movie would be shown immediately after the movie that was closing its run. JoAnne’s brothers were supposed to pick us up when our movie was over. They came to pick us up and decided they wanted to see the new movie, Two on a Guillotine! Great, big scary house with a guillotine. JoAnne and I had no choice but to stay. I remember snuggling close to her when I got scared, and she would cover my eyes with her hands. She told me years later that she covered my eyes with one hand and her own with her other hand.
No Scary Movies for Me
To this day I won’t go to horror or gore movies. No Jason, Friday, or Chainsaws for me. I did however get drawn in by Dark Shadows, which was a vampire soap opera that ran from 1966 to 1971. I would watch it standing up, and staying away from doors, windows, and furniture, so that no goblins could sneak up on me. I was so impacted by all these scary tales, I slept flat on my back with my covers up to my chin until I was 18!
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