Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Growing up, our next door neighbor, Paty (short for Patricia), was larger than life to me. She was quite a few years older than I was. She was animated and imaginative and full of spunk and full of life. Sometimes she was just full of it—but I didn’t know any better. She was quite a few years older than I was and I thought she was way cool.
Paty was always telling us stories, and several of them have stuck in my head. They still make me chuckle when I think back to hearing them for the first time—and being amazed at what a colorful and eventful life she led (AND that I actually believed them!). Here are a couple for your reading pleasure…
Paty’s family was from Mexico. Her grandparents still lived there and she would go back to visit every so often. When she came back she would tell us the stories of ‘old Mexico.’ Her grandmother lived there with her aunts. Her grandfather had been buried somewhere on their property—in chains because he didn’t want to die. At night they could hear the chains rattling. It was her grandfather trying to get out of the grave. (Yes, I believed that one. Couldn’t sleep for days.) One day her aunt was alone in the house and some spirits started chasing her. (She wasn’t ever very clear as to why the spirits were chasing her, but what was apparent was that there are a lot of spirits running amuck in Mexico.) Anyway, she was running through the house and she tripped and fell near the fireplace. The family came home later to find her lying on the floor, unconscious. They had to wake her up with smelling salts. When she finally came to she started screaming—her hand had landed in the fire and three of her fingers had melted off. (Yep, I believed that one, too. I believed it so much that every time they had company next door I would run outside to look at everyone’s hands to see if anyone had missing melted fingers.)
Another time Paty had this beautiful leather purse with all kinds of designs engraved on the flap. Inside this purse she had some foam curlers (I had never seen these before) and some bubble gum. She told the Editor and me that the curlers were magic make up. We sat on her front porch for hours while she painstakingly and expertly applied this magic make up to our faces. She even gave us a piece of bubble gum at the end for sitting still and cooperating while she did our make overs. The only catch was that the make up wouldn’t appear until midnight. (We fell for this one, hook, line and sinker.)
The last one she told us was more like an urban legend story, but her version was supposedly based on personal experience. She told us that if we went into a bathroom and put water on the mirror, turned off all the lights, and said “Bloody Mary” three times that she (Bloody Mary) would show up—whoever Bloody Mary was. (Maybe she hitched a ride back with Paty from Mexico--??? Who knows? What I do know is that I had trouble going into a dark bathroom for years because I was terrified that Bloody Mary was gonna get me!)
The Editor and I told Gigi the night of the make overs that we HAD to stay up until midnight so we could see our make up. Poor Gigi. Not only did she have to put up with our antics, but she also had to do damage control with the crazy notions Paty put into our heads.
I think we did stay up until midnight. It was a combination of a few things that kept us up that late—yes, we wanted to see our make up, but we were also certain we could hear chains rattling and spirits running around, AND we were deathly afraid of going into the bathroom, at the stroke of midnight, to look into the mirror to see our make up. We were certain Bloody Mary would be there, staring out of the mirror, right into our beautifully made up faces!
I don’t remember how the night ended, but I can imagine that at midnight something set us (me and the Editor) off—we probably heard a noise or saw a shadow and our imaginations just went wild. We were prone to screaming that high pitched little girl scream that can wake the dead—so that was another thing that we had to worry about…the whole thing was probably not good. I am sure we woke up Gigi and the Norwegian. We probably got sent to bed without getting to see our make up, with fears of monsters haunting us…
And probably all the while Paty was asleep next door, dreaming of some new stories to tell us.
Posted by The Editor for Busy Body.