My humorous story is actually an anecdote about my mother. With Halloween right around the corner, I was reminded of one of my fondest memories of her.
My mother loved spooky, scary, mysteries and horror flicks. She watched Night Gallery faithfully for years. Sometimes, if my dad was gone on the night it aired, she’d get me to watch with her. This, I’m convinced, was so that she would have someone to walk her safely through the house and upstairs to bed afterwards. She would make me go ahead of her, and she’d follow behind me, hunkered over like the Hunchback of Notre Dame, and with a hand on each of my shoulders.
As we grew up, we began to have great fun playing scary pranks on her. Once, I threw a little stuffed toy into the open window she was sitting at during a scary movie. I thought for a moment, we were going to have a skylight in the living room. Sometimes, we’d sneak up behind her and rustle a piece of paper or rap or scratch on the wall lightly. Each time she’d fall for our prank and jump up with a scream. Each time we’d dissolve into a fit of giggles.
It was Halloween night and we’d finished with trick-or-treating and come home; the last trick-or-treater had come and gone to our house too. There were four of us and Mom and Dad at home now. We all settled in to watch “Halloween”. Dad, as usual sat at the kitchen table with a Louis L’amour western and his cup of coffee. He wasn’t much for scary movies and I’m sure he probably had a hard time keeping a straight face over our horrified gasps and screams whenever we watched those things.
At some part of the movie, someone noticed that we were out of pop and munchies. Dad graciously volunteered to go and get some more. He left for the store and we remained engrossed in poor Jamie Lee Curtis’ struggle to keep from being killed by Michael. She had managed to get to a bedroom and lock herself in the closet. He was searching through the house. She could hear his footsteps getting closer and closer. My mother was at the edge of her chair.
Michael entered the bedroom and went to the closet where Jamie Lee was hiding. He paused for a moment and looked around the room. For a brief second or two, it looked like he was going to leave the room. Maybe he wouldn’t find her after all. Michael reached for the closet door handle and tried to turn it. At the very same instant, my Dad, back from his trip to the store, put his house key in the lock on the backdoor. My mother, let out a terrified scream, jumped up and ran to her bedroom, locking the door behind her. We girls of course, screamed bloody murder. We were just sort of frozen there in disbelief. Mom had left us all out in the living room to be murdered along with Jamie Lee. Dad stepped into the kitchen with a grocery bag in each arm. There was enough soda and chips to get us all through the rest of the horror flicks we’d planned to watch. Of course, he had a good laugh when we told him what had happened. Mom, as soon as she realized that Dad was back from the store, came back into the living room looking rather sheepish. We teased her for years for leaving us out in that living room while she locked herself in the bedroom.