Linda and three Short Stories from the 1960’s

Linda was one of my girlfriends from the neighborhood. She lived over the hill and around the block. She was Catholic and went to the local Catholic school. The rest of us were moved around like cattle by the local public school system. It pissed me off because most of the time she could not play on Saturdays until she did her chores. On Sundays she couldn’t play because she had to go to Sunday school and church. She and her two younger sisters, Karen and Paula, seemed to be around but I did not give them much time of day. It was Linda that fascinated me. She was like having an older sister that loved to be with me.

th (9)he other night while looking out of our  bedroom window it seemed so dark in contrast to the full moon of autumn October. I was resting on my bed as the cool air embraced me and then all of a sudden many of Linda’s stories came back to me. I then proceeded to tell her stories to my husband and two sons. I would not stop talking until I affirmed Linda’s story/ memories with my mouth, You see before Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings or The Adventures of Narnia; even before I started to read fairy tales, Linda’s stories pushed me along into the world of reading, storytelling and writing.

The pickle-peanut bird

1966: Eight years old and my first sleepover was at Gigi’s house.

“Holly I forgot to tell you. I invited Linda first because you told me you could not stay the night.”

“I see.”

Later in the evening we had to decide who was going to sleep where. Gigi only had two beds in her bedroom. We took three match sticks. One stick was shorter than the others. The shorter stick got to sleep alone.

“I got a long one,” said Gigi.

“I got a long stick too.”

“I guess that means I have to sleep alone then… darn!”

Linda got the short one and seemed unhappy and silent the rest of the evening as we watched TV and ate candy. Once in bed and after all the giggling was over the room became very dark. In front of the bed, where Gigi and I were sleeping, was a large oval mirror with golden trim. Yet in the dark it only made it seem bigger.

“Hey Holly and Gigi don’t look into the mirror!! I am telling you don’t look into the mirror.”

“Why not?” We said.

“There is a big bird sitting in a large chair. I see him in the mirror. He has glowing eyes. In one hand he has a pickle and the other one he has a peanut.”

“Oh really that is scary!!”

“It is the pickle-peanut bird I have seen him before. He often tells me stories late at night. He will not hurt me but if you look into the mirror he may pull you in and you will not be able to come back out.”

Gigi and I were silent and too sacred to look and soon fell asleep.

The talking dogs.

1968: The family life that Linda enjoyed seemed much more pleasant than the one I knew. Her dad was a lot younger than my dad. Linda’s dad was a Fireman. He wrestled with his girls and with me too. Linda’s mom was very young and pretty and cracked jokes all the time that I did not understand. Their home was on a corner of the hill. They had a nice view of the San Fernando Valley. The house was surrounded by a beautiful garden that the family tended to. My first sleep over at her home is when Linda told me about the story of the talking dogs late one night.

“One night I could not get to sleep. The dogs across the valley were barking for hours. I was hot with fever.”

Linda quickly told me as not to disturb her sisters.

“Linda were you sick did you have a cold?”

“Yes I had the flu and then something happened.”

“What happened?”

“I began to be able to understand what the dogs were saying. The barks turned into human voices. All the dogs across the valley talked all thought the night. I listened to them.”

“What were they saying?”

“I picked up certain words here and there. Dogs speak differently than we do.”

“Yes?”

“They sounded, at times, like evil slithering snakes.  They were planning to take over the world. It frightened me. Some of the dogs had loud voices and others laughed. They said they hated humans and that they were going to plan an attack and take all of the valley first and then the world!!”

I was amazed!! Linda’s story seemed so real to me. She told it slowly and silently and I believed every word. The next morning everything seemed normal, yet it took some time before I was friendly with the neighbors dogs again.

Linda the real witch.

1970: Linda told us that she was a witch. This being Lynn, Gigi and myself. At night she was called to her window by her coven. Here they would zoom across the valley.

“We flew over the valley. It was so neat to see places I knew below me.”

“Linda where did you fly to?”

“I was an apprentice to a real witch. I sat behind her chair and listened and learned spells!”

“Didn’t anyone see you where you were?”

“No. We sat around a large rectangular table. We were very small in the front of a neighbor’s lawn behind Serainia elementary school. It was on a lawn in front of a master witch’s house,  one of the houses behind the school.”

“How strange that is? No one saw you at all?”

“It was dark. It was very dark. The coven went on adventures. Once we became animals. The lesson was to become an animal to see what it was like. I remember running through the jungles of Africa as a gazelle.”

“In Africa I love Africa.”

“Yes. I galloped with all the others. We jumped over logs and roamed around rivers. We even knew when a lion was around because we all smelled it together. It was so exciting to be able to be part of a large group and feel and think the same way and work together for the common good of all!!”

“That sounds fantastic.”

“We were many different types of animals, but what I found the strangest thing my coven did was to visit a witch’s grave yard. They don’t die, they slowly disintegrate into the earth. Some of them are very old too.”

“Why do you visit with them?”

“To comfort them and help them; like I said they were very old witches and some were very hard to see as they were not all there to see. They were decaying and invisible.

th (10)nce Linda turned 15 the stories ended. She had more important things to do. Like hang out with her older new friends at Dumez and Canoga on the little cement bridge in front of the non denominational community church. With their halter tops and shorts on, they looked and acted like cool bitches. The guys drove by in their cars honking and whistling. I lost my friend’s stories when she became interested in boys. Her long knock knees turned into long gazelle like legs; her awkward tall figure turned into a model like one. Her dirty short blonde hair grew to a long glowing lock of honey that came down to her hips.

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