Friday, October 16, 2015

Witches vs Fairies by Linda Tillis

     I am not a big Halloween fan, but I do have a few good memories from my childhood that I bring out and relish occasionally. Since this is October, the designated month for ghosts, and goblins, and such, I thought I would share a few with you.

     My mother died when I was ten years old, therefore, my childhood per se was cut a little short. We lived in Cleveland, Ohio, at the time, so you could expect cold weather, and sometimes snow, for Halloween festivities.

     I remember she would drop a few of us girls at the corner, drive to the next block, then wait for us to make our giggling way down to the car. Afterwards, when our hands were frozen, our noses running, and our feet numb, she would take us for hot chocolate.

     Those memories are a little vague; just generalities with no specific details. But there was this one fantasy that she and I shared that will always stay with me.

     She worked at night, in a tool and die factory. We lived in an apartment, on the second floor of an old Victorian house. The head of my bed was against a small door, that probably led to the attic. One night, I got it into my young head that I heard something behind the door. Needless to say, I was not happy.

     My mother was from Appalachia, had been raised in the mountains of West Virginia, and could spin a good yarn. So, she sat me down and told me that what I heard was the tiny little footsteps of the fairies that lived in the attic. She explained that she had asked them to watch over me at night, while I slept. She said that as long as I put out a snack for them, they would be very happy to do this.

     There was a young black woman, who was studying to be a nurse, but came to stay with me at night. She would ride the bus to our place, then Mother would drive each of us to our school in the morning.
Each night she watched me pour a half glass of milk, place a cookie on a saucer, and put both on the dining table. And each morning the milk and cookie were gone. This was a ritual that continued for what seemed like years to my young mind, but was probably only a few months.

     I don’t know what happened. I don’t remember what incredible circumstance could have caused me to forget my part of the ritual, but it came to a messy end one morning. My mother woke me by asking what in the world had happened in the kitchen. I jumped from bed and ran, only to find chaos. The dining table, and most of the floor, were covered in flour. There were shards scattered in the flour, from the broken glass and saucer. And what appeared to be little tiny foot prints.

     I was horrified! I had forgotten to put out the offering for the fairies. I wept in heartbroken guilt. My mother pulled me onto her lap and soothed my tears with hugs. Then she told me that I would not hear the fairies anymore. That they had decided I was grown up enough that they no longer needed to watch over me at night. They had moved on to another little girl that needed them more.

     This is one of the sweetest memories of my childhood. That my mother loved me enough to cater to my need to feel secure (not to mention her inner child). Only now, as an adult, do I understand the bond she was cementing with a little fantasy.

     I went searching for a picture that depicted how I imagined my fairies to look; both adorable and mischievous. This one caught my fancy. Enjoy.

Linda Tillis
A Heart Made for Love coming soon to The Wild Rose Press

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