My Ghosts and What They’ve Taught Me

23 Dec

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My friends love when I write about the ghosts in my house. They love when I talk about Fred and Lucy. I have two ghosts that live in my attic. They are my parents. Why they chose my attic as their hangout, I’ll never know, but they did. Find out more after the jump.

Fred and Lucy

My Ghosts not only stay with me, but often visit my siblings and my daughter. Fred and Lucy are very sociable, but I just assumed that they’d be hanging out with family up in heaven. I guess they’re not into all that singing and praying.

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Although life with Fred and Lucy closely resembled that of the Addams Family, there were many lessons learned in their grocery store in South Philadelphia which prepared my siblings and me to survive in a world intent on destroying itself. My parents were the original doomsday preppers.

Fred

My father was not only a survivor of the Depression, but he almost died because of a severe bone infection of his lower leg. Without antibiotics, the bruise to the shin that he received from a sled accident, led to the development of osteomyelitis. The doctor had my paternal grandparents ship Fred off to an Atlantic City hospital that dealt with people suffering from tuberculosis and other long term illnesses. My father at five years old was separated from his parents and his siblings. His mother would have to take a horse and buggy to visit him every month. The prognosis was bad. He might lose his leg even though they did several surgeries; one to remove part of his shin bone.

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My father was in that hospital for several years. I think this had a severe effect on his mental health: the constant surgeries; the separation from his mother; watching the other patients in the ward die; Fred had the gift of sight and could see the dead…yep, it had left a mark on my dad. But, my dad had OCD and he was determined to walk. Sometimes, having OCD is a blessing in disguise. Fred, to the medical staff’s amazement, forced himself to get out of that bed and walk. When he returned home, he had forgotten how to speak Italian and he was placed back in first grade at nine years old. He would sneak out of school every day and go on road trips with his friend Pat. He even traveled to Atlantic City. Who does that? Fred was always looking for adventure, but he never wanted to leave the country. His mother (Marie) died when he was nine and his father quickly sent for a new wife from Italy. Grandmom Rosie gave Fred 3 new sisters and a brother. Even though my grandfather owned a grocery store, times were tough and people starved to death during the depression.

Lucy

My mother came to the United States when she was 15. Her father was already living here in the states working as a baker and the neighborhood Bookie for people who wanted to play the numbers. My grandmother did not want to come to America, but World War 2 was starting and my mother’s sister wanted to see America. Aunt Annie who was 18 wrote a letter to President Roosevelt for permission to enter the states. He actually sent them a letter that allowed passage into the country. My cousins might still have that letter.

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My Grandmother arrived with her three children to live in South Philadelphia. She never adjusted to leaving her home in Benevento, Italy. She never liked living on a small street close to the Italian Market on 9th Street. Her son and daughters seemed to adjust just fine, although my mother had issues. We knew something wasn’t right when we were kids, but we were too young to understand. If my father surmised that there was something off kilter, he probably didn’t know how to deal with it.

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It wasn’t until she was in her late 80’s that Lucy was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder Disease. She also had OCD and she was highly psychic (saw dead people) like her mother. She met my father while working in a tailor shop. They got married, but I don’t think it was for love. They didn’t marry for love in those days, but that’s how we four kids got here and that’s what counts.

Life’s Lessons

Now that you have the background on my parents, you’ll understand why my childhood was far from normal. When you read the stories on my blog about Fred and Lucy, you have to realize that they were not at all like our friends’ parents. Growing up in that grocery store in South Philadelphia was an education on the true meaning of dysfunctional: Oranges to Aspirins; Mama Grizzly; The Cake.

I didn’t know what was considered normal until I left home in my early twenties. But what I do know is this: Although my parents didn’t love each other, they loved us. They loved us enough to come back and watch over us. They make their presence known when they visit. Fred hangs out with me all the time. I think he really enjoys the ghost investigations that I go on. He is always bringing dead people to tell me their stories. He also warns me when something isn’t right. Fred has proven to me that the veil that separates the living and the dead is very thin.

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Both my mother and father are happy about the Fred and Lucy stories. I can smell my mother’s perfume when I write about them. After I finish my Apocalyptic Sci-fi series this year, I’ll be working on the book about Fred and Lucy. My Ghosts were and still are, unique in all the best ways.

 

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2 Responses to “My Ghosts and What They’ve Taught Me”

  1. lcbennettstern December 23, 2016 at 3:06 pm #

    Can’t wait to read the Fred and Lucy book!

    • gilbertspeaks December 23, 2016 at 4:59 pm #

      Thank you. Everyone is waiting for this book…even Fred and Lucy 🙂 Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

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