Saturday, October 4, 2008

BOO!

Insane Mama is having a Halloween contest. I haven’t done a contest yet and I love Halloween, so…why not?

Instead of one great story (I don’t really have a hit-it-out-of-the ballpark Halloween story) I have a few fond memories.

Circa 1960’s
When I was young and growing up in the San Fernando Valley with my two sisters, Halloween was a huge deal. Very similar to Jan, we COULDN’T WAIT for dinner to be over and dark to descend so we could go trick or treating. My dad had this horrid awful mask that he would drag out, not only for Halloween but also for slumber parties. It beat the shit out of anything they sell today. It was MORE REAL. Not so rubbery. It was the scariest, creepiest, wrinkled, evil face ever. At least that’s the way I remember and I’m sticking to it. He’d wait until our guard was down, which means sitting on the floor, sorting our candies, and with mask, trench coat, and big ol’ boots, he’d slam open the back screen door and come tearing at us. Clenching hands and BRUUUUUHAHAHA. I’m surprised we never pissed our pants. That’s how much we fell for it every year.

Halloween 1991
Daughter was just over two and we had mostly managed to keep her from chocolate and sweets. Instead of taking her trick or treating, we all dressed up and took her to a restaurant/club. You see, my husband and I met working at Bobby McGee’s. I was cocktailing to pay my way through college and my husband was a waiter. EVERYONE wore a costume at this crazy place to work. Even though we had both moved on, we still had a lot of friends there and they did a happy hour thingy on Halloween. So we dressed as the Flintstones. Cave clothes- mine and Daughter’s hair twisted around big, fake bones. It’s a great picture of back in the day when my husband and I used to both work out. Daughter was two and was the most precious Pebbles ever. Not that I’m prejudiced or anything. We went at, like 5 PM, and even after a shitload of fun and frivolity, we were back home by 8. Within 5 minutes of sitting down some kids came trick or treating. There was no hiding from the two year old the fact that I was giving stuff away and that was the end of her not getting candy for Halloween.

Halloween 1993
We had just bought our home that summer and it was Son’s first Halloween. He was 16 months old. He had the CUTEST fucking tiger costume. He toddled along and I swear our block looked like that scene in ET, where swarms of kids come out right at dusk. Being a new neighborhood, it was a beehive of toddlerhood. I was holding his hand and waited on the sidewalk as Daughter and our friend’s kids went up to the first house. Son could barely talk, but he sure let it be known that he had observed what went on at the front door. He grunted and grumbled to see inside the kids pumpkin buckets. When he figured out that they were partaking of give-away stuff, he pulled and pulled on my arm until I walked him up to the next door. That was the beginning of his professional status at trick or treating. Everyone thought the baby tiger was too too cute and gave him twice as much as the other kids. But half way around the block he figured out how to unwrap a piece of candy and that was the end. Afterwards he wanted to sit in the middle of the sidewalk and eat his whole loot. My friend had to take all the kids around so I could haul his little butt home and check his candy before he scarfed down a razor blade or an LSD tab.

Halloween 2006
My children are 17 and 14 and they have made plans to go out with some friends. Son is actually trick or treating in a friendly neighborhood that lets the teens keep up the good work. His professional status is still intact. Daughter is in a play and after rehearsals they are having a party. My husband has to work. I have the night to myself, but I’m being a Halloween Homebody and have decided I don’t want to answer the door and give away candy by myself. So I turn the porch light off and all the downstairs lights too. I go upstairs and treat myself to an aromatherapy bath with candles. As leave the bath I look at myself in the candlelit mirror and contemplate the effects of the last few months. I’m still officially bald, but the first soft down of baby soft fuzz can be felt more than seen. My radiation treatments, finished just two weeks before, have left a thickening of red welts under my left arm. But it’s not as bad as they said it would be. The aloe must have really helped. My scars are still fairly new and jagged and my skin still has the sallowness of all that chemo. But I made it. I’m done with the treatments and have returned to work. I walk to the upstairs window and peek through the blinds to see the families on the sidewalks with their ballerinas and spidermen. I don’t feel the least bit sad to be by myself. I had insisted my kids not stay home for me; I want to make up for all those days and nights they had hung out with me in my room the previous summer. I curl up in bed with a book, grateful that the worst is over. Happy that life is moving forward and back to normal.

19 comments:

McEwens said...

What a tender post... my dear sister in law battled breast cancer. I remeber her reaction to the scars the first time she saw them....

May you have MANY halloweens!

only a movie said...

So sweet. I love the way you told this last one. The first 3 were cute too. :-)

Vodka Mom said...

holy crap. That was damn good.

Insane Mama said...

That was beautifully written, how cute and heartwrenching all at once. So glad you are done with radiation. Your entered 3 times, thanks for participating

Smart Mouth Broad said...

I don't know that I've mentioned this before but I manage a breast surgery practice. I encounter people who've been diagnosed with breast cancer on a daily basis. Your post has shown me a personal side of the disease that I've never seen but have tried to imagine. What a powerful statement to your strength and courage. Oh and I love the stories about the kids too. Thanks for sharing with us.

shaunna said...

well done, quite evocative post. (that mask came from the masters of hollyweird... no wonder it never failed to spook - even when you knew it was coming.)

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

You know, I hadn't intended the last paragraph. I had sat down to write a memory from mine and each of my kids' Halloweens. Then I just kept going. Thanks everyone for letting me share.

SMB - I didn't know that about you. That must be amazing work. You have no idea how much you touch those womens' lives. I remember all the people who helped me in the hospital and doctors' offices.

Jan said...

Mrs. Hawaii Teacher Lady (it's more descriptive than pshst and I don't EVEN want to try and type "pseudonymous" every time I talk to you), of course I don't mind if you link to my blog! I'm always flattered when someone does.

Your last memory was touching and admirable. I'm glad you wrote it.

Kristan said...

What a perfect post. There's nothing wrong with just "fluff" on a blog -- cheer and happiness and humor -- and at first that's what I thought this post was going to be, but the way you ended it was... very poignant, and just right.

I'm glad you had that Halloween. Thank you for sharing it with us.

D'Arcy said...

You are one AMAZING woman. The gratitude you have for life is catching and beautiful.

I remember one Halloween when my friends and I had planned our perfect routes. We started early and ended late. We each had more candy than we had ever had in our lives!! We were heading home to assess our booty when a car pulled over, three teenage boys jumped out and stole our pillowcases full of candy from us. It was the most tragic event of my life that far. To have worked for four hours only to have it all taken from us. I tell my mom that at 5th grade, that was my first issue with men! lol!


What a holiday!


I still love it though.

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

Hi Jan. You can call me whatever you like, but maybe I need to get a nickname, cause Mrs Hawaii Teacher Lady is pretty long.

Hey Kristan - well, thank-you very much!

d'arcy! That story makes me want to go and clobber those boys. I hope they got sick off the candy.

thistle said...

hey...you got your avatar up..alright!!...they're quite fun, i found a pink ribbon t-shirt for mine...remembered they had them available after reading your post earlier today...thanks again for sharing and providing the inspiration, i am in awe of the strength of those who have fought this battle...

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

Hi thistle - yes, I got the avitar up :-) Then I went to your site and saw the pink ribbon and wanted one, but decided I'd get back to that since I burnt a lot of time on the computer already...

Jay Jay said...

Very touching story. It shows some occasions can have warm memories as well as difficult ones. You did a great job of touching your readers.

Jayjay

Mama Dawg said...

That's a great Halloween memory post.

goodfather said...

Wow. Your writing is beautiful. My Mom and Sister are both cancer survivors, but I never got a glimpse into how they coped with their recovery.

The scene you describe from E.T. is one of my favorites from the movie. Right before, the Mom takes the picture and E.T. falls down. Ha ha! Poor little squishy guy.

Rhea said...

Every one of those Halloween memories was wonderfully told and so different!! I really enjoyed them. Great post!

Just B said...

What a lovely way to tell your story through Halloween memories--clever and funny and poignant. I could picture them all. That gives me a great idea for a short story...

Always good to come here and talk story with you:-)

I have some halloween memories that involve peeing in the costume for various unavoidable reasons(yes, me, but there are other people too) but I will spare you!!!

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

Mama Dawg and Rhea- thankyou.
goodfather - that's one of my favorite scenes in ET too. Glad your mom and sis are doing well.