This is a true story about my Mom's mother ~ my maternal
Grandmother, whose name was Marie. The facts I am about to
tell you are ones that were told to me by other family members
and some of which I experienced first hand.
When my Mother was only eighteen years old, her father became very ill and
died. This left Marie widowed and alone with my Mom and her sister Eleanor
Susan who was only eleven years old.
Marie was a stunningly beautiful woman and as a consequence had many
suitors after her husband died. She chose to marry an equally handsome and
very tall robust widower from Sweden. His name was Godfrey. Shortly
after their marriage, he moved Marie to his home in Indiana. From what I have
been told, my Grandmother was very happy in her new home. She had a
beautiful garden and grew most of her own vegetables. Godfrey planted an
apple tree at her request and fenced in her garden with a charming
picket fence. She became very active in the Lutheran Church that Godfrey
attended. It really seemed to be an idyllic life for Marie and her young
daughter, Eleanor Susan. My Mom was away at school in Ohio.
But there was a dark and secretive side to Godfrey. He would
sometimes become very depressed. Marie also wondered why Godfrey
kept the door to the attic locked. She wanted to store some of her
own excess belongings there, but Godfrey refused to provide her
with a key. She finally stopped asking.
As Godfrey seemed to be suffering from more bouts of depression,
Marie decided to send young Eleanor Susan away to a girl's
boarding school back in Ohio.
After Marie sent Eleanor away, she learned the truth about her
new husband Godfrey. She knew that Godfrey had been married
once before and that he had a daughter from this marriage and that
both his wife and daughter had died quite suddenly. What she did not
know was how Godfrey's former wife and daughter died.
From some of the church members she finally learned that both the
wife and daughter died in her house. The wife had been unhappy and
one day while Godfrey was at work, this woman went into their
kitchen with their daughter, turned on the gas in the stove without
lighting it and they both went to sleep and died.
Godfrey was devastated. He especially adored his daughter. He resented
his newly deceased wife for taking his child to the grave. Being
widowed herself and also suffering through the loss of a child, Marie
understood Godfrey's periods of depression. She encouraged him to do
things he enjoyed and tried to build a warm and comfortable home for him.
As much as she loved her new home, Marie became alarmed over the
odd little noises she would hear. This was especially true as she sat at her
dressing table putting on her powder and her lipstick ~ getting ready for
the day. She could hear footsteps in the hall. She knew that only she
and Godfrey were in the house. And Godfrey was a large man and these
foot steps were light, like those of a young child. She would call out,
"Who is it? Who are you?" No answer.
One day she found the key to the attic and opened the door. There was a
big old trunk in the musty space. One of those lovely old trunks with the
rolled top. She opened the lid of the trunk and inside were children's
books and sweet little dresses all neatly folded. Dresses that no doubt
belonged to Godfrey's little girl. There was also a rocking chair under
one of the attic eaves. In the chair was a beautiful doll. As Marie
looked at it, the chair began to rock very slowly. Marie knew that this
little girl's spirit was in that attic room and that spirit was playing with
her beloved doll.
When Godfrey learned that my Grandmother had opened the attic door,
he was not angry. He had kept that door locked to keep his late
daughter's things safe and I suppose to protect her spirit.
Over the years, every family member who stayed overnight in that
house heard Godfrey's little girl playing in the attic. She is a
friendly little ghost and never means to harm.
Years later, after my Mom married my Daddy and I was born,
they would take me to visit my Grandmother and my step
Grandfather. I loved Godfrey very much. I followed him
everywhere. He took me on fishing trips and helped me to
catch my first fish. Because I reminded him of the little blonde
haired girl he lost long ago, he didn't become depressed
On the day my Grandmother died, we went to Indiana for
the funeral. After the service, I went up to the attic and
played with my own dolls. I was very young and it was
the first time anyone I loved had passed away. As I
played quietly with my dolls, the little rocker in the
corner started to rock back and forth. I am not sure that
I understood what that meant at the time, but I do now.
My Aunt Susan (she dropped the Eleanor)
still owns the house in Indiana. She left it just
as it was when Godfrey died. The trunk is still in the
attic along with the rocking chair and the doll.
I suppose one can still hear the footsteps in the
hall and I am guessing that dear little spirit is still
playing with her doll.
Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley