When in doubt, keep a light on

When in doubt, keep a light on

While we kids were growing up, our family lived for a few years in an old house in a small town in New England. It was a lovely craftsman-style place with big rooms, a stone-walled basement and a huge attic. We siblings loved that house.

The next-door neighbor was an old fellow who excelled at storytelling, and we kids were the ideal audience for his tall tales.

One tale was about the ghost of an old lady that lived in our attic. The lady evidently died in the house, and her ghost decided to stay there. An old lady ghost didn’t sound very scary to us girls, but it did to our brother.

Poor guy, the door to the attic was in his room. From that time on, he never closed his bedroom door and slept with his lamp on. Our parents tried to convince him the ghost tale was pure fiction, but our brother wasn’t buying it. From then on, the door stayed open and the lamp stayed on. Of course, once he was asleep, Mom or Dad turned his lamp off. The rest of us teased him mercilessly and made jokes about him, but it mattered not — he kept that lamp turned on and the door open.

Then late one night when we were all sound asleep, a fierce thunderstorm arrived, waking us all up with flashing lightning, booming thunder and howling winds. It was a very scary storm. My sisters jumped into my bed, and we pulled the covers over our heads.

The wind blew open an attic window, then the door into our brother’s room. Needless to say, he reacted wildly. Shrieking at the top of his lungs, he raced into our room and tried to leap into bed with us. There wasn’t enough room for another sibling, so he dived under the bed.

When Dad was finally able to get our brother from under the bed, the storm had passed. It was a traumatic night for us all — one my brother has never forgotten. Even now, many years later, he still sleeps with, yep, a nightlight on and his bedroom door wide open.

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