Friday, February 13, 2009

Spooky Things

My great-aunt came over yesterday and dropped off some books from her storage shed. Books from my childhood, books I read and played with and drew all over when my sister and I spent every Friday night at our grandparents' house. Those nights were a decent break for my parents and an opportunity for my sister and I to get away with murder. We basically had no rules at our grandparent's house except eating. My grandmother was always concerned that we weren't eating enough ( and with our bowel movements...she used to give us chocolate milkshakes laced with laxatives...) The only rule was to eat complete and healthy dinners and breakfasts. Actually, that wasn't even a rule because if we wanted Long John Silvers, Baskin Robbins and Ding Dongs for dinner, then that is what we got. But eating a healthy breakfast was not an option. We always had a boring, healthy cereal and some kind of fruit, usually either grapes or canteloupes, grapes being my favorite and canteloupe being Jill's.

We played oodles of games at their house. They were extremely accomodating to us and would play anything we requested. For instance, board games. I'm sure playing Life, Murder She Wrote (yes, there was a Murder She Wrote board game and we actually OWNED it) and Clue was not their idea of a fun Friday night (although, to be fair, Wheel of Fortune was their favorite tv show), but they loved us so much that they did it anyway...and with a smile. Another game: Trick or Treat. It didn't matter if it was June or January, we would play T or T. This is how it went: my sister and I would get paper grocery bags (usually from Dillon's - remember that grocery store? ... way before Supercenters...) and stand in the laundry room. Then we would knock on the laundry room door (which led to the kitchen) and say, "Trick or Treat, smell my feet, gimme something good to eat!" and my grandaddy would open the door and put whatever he could find around the house in our bags...apples, peanuts, a can of 7up, an orange, a pencil. What he gave us didn't was the thrill of getting tricks or treats dropped in our grocery bags. Then we would dump it all out and start all over again. Fun, huh?

The most fun, however, came from a book we had as kids. I had forgotten about it until my great-aunt brought it over. It was a Weekly Reader book called "Spooky Tricks" , copyright 1968, by Rose Wyler and Gerald Ames, and it is full of magic tricks and optical illusions for kids to impress their friends. Since the book stayed at our grandparent's house, we only had each other to impress, but our grandparents acted amazed again and again with their ooohs and aaahs following our magic trick performances...tricks such as "You are Full of Holes," "Your Extra 'Spook' Finger," "Pincushion Hand" and "Spooky Hand." Our favorite however, was... "Mummy Finger"(ooohhs and aaaahhhs please) and I wanted to share it now:

First, the kids have to say the Haunted House spell:

"Over this house I cast a spell.
Hocus-pocus, watch me well.
Hocus-pocus, watch and see
things as scary as can be.
Hocus-pocus, danger and doom!
Ghosts and spooks come into the room.
Haunt the house. Start the show.
Hocus-pocus - ready, let's go!"


Say, "What do I have in this box?
A mummy's finger
that I dug up in Egypt.
Do not faint, now."
Open the box.
It is packed with cotton.
Push aside the cotton and --
there is the mummy's finger!

The trick:
It is your own finger.
You poke it into the box
through a hole in the bottom.

The End of this tricky trick

When I showed my husband this "Spooky Tricks" book, he said he had the same book as a child and his favorite trick was also "Mummy Finger." Very spooky.

"The spell is broken. The ghosts all go.
This is the END of the spooky show."

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