The Palm Grove Avenue house was so much more than a house. It sprawled out like one of the structures in a Gothic Novel. The large lawn area in front of the house accented the massive nature of the building set off to the back of the property. Under the drooping branches of the largest tree, children played and told stories of the 'Ghosts' which walked freely in the house and on the property.
Apparently these ghosts were the lingering spirits of those who had lost their lives in the building. If stories can be believed; the building had been used as one of the temporary headquarters for the invading Japanese army. Upstairs, in the round room, people were said to have been tortured and many beheaded. Whether these stories were true, I do not know, but the telling of them offered seed for many a bad dream and eeiry experience. :)
People who slept in the round room would wake up telling tales of figures walking through the room, being choked during the night or seeing crooked little men with lanterns leaping up to the windowsill and jumping out the window. The strange thing was most of these visitors had not heard the ghost stories before they experienced these things.
How can I describe what it was like to grow up in this mysterious place? The house for me was amazingly comfortable, despite the stories. After all, it was home for me from the time I was a new born baby til I was ten years old. And yet, the nooks and crannies, the long dark hallways, and the sweeping wooden staircase tantalized me with thoughts of 'what could be lurking.'
When I had to go upstairs to my father's office, I would stand at the bottom of the wooden staircase and take a deep breath and off I would dash, disappearing into the blackness. There was no stopping until I reached the top of the stairway and pounded vigorously on the huge door. I remember getting up to the top one day and pounding on the door and no one opened it. The round room peeked over my five year old shoulder; my little heart pounded its own frightened tune inside my tiny chest. The darkness moved in around me; my little fists pounded desperately on the large door. Mustering my last bit of courage, I spun around and bounded down the eeiry stairway- bursting out into the sunny front yard. Flopping down on the grass, it took awhile before I could catch my breath and reassure myself that I was still in one piece.