Most Frightening Moment of My Wee Life…
Age 3, 1967, Orangeville, Ontario
Funeral of my father’s brother-in-law’s father.
Yes, small towns seek out any entertainment.
My mother holds my hand as we enter this weird place — plush red carpeting, so thick no footsteps could be heard, fake triad candle light fixtures affixed to the dark walnut panelling, the fake flames flickered.
That entryway led to the main room. People, adults, talking in whispers, all in dark suits or formal dresses, hats, gloves, real linen handkerchiefs being blown into…the sobbing between sniffles…
I’m so small. All I really see are legs.
Mom says, “Wait here.”
Wait here?! I thought. No way in Candy Land Hell was I going to stand alone in this moving nightmare! I’m only 3 but I know ridiculous when I see it!
I follow my mom, right through the milling crowd.
She ends up at this long wooden box, so big, so shiny. I quick calculate how many Barbie dolls could fit in this brass-handled beauty. Answer: a lot! More fake candles, now on wrought iron stands, holding court at either end, and so many flowers, the scent was choking.
Mom is leaning over into the box.
Heck, whatever my mom does is good enough for me. She has taken care of me this long, my 3 year old gut says to keep the trust.
I go on tip-toe and peek in…
LON CHANEY, PHANTOM OF THE OPERA!
THERE WAS A SKELETON IN THAT BOX AND MY MOM KISSED IT!!
For a coffin’s worth of years later, she would try and convince me that Less Hall’s father was just very old and very thin.
On that horrific day, I wasn’t born yesterday. I was 1095 days old. I had been around the block a few times. I knew better.
After that moment, I trusted my mom. But if she ever looked into a box again, she was on her own.
There’s only so much a wee gal can take.
P.S. I write on the process of death now. Thanks mom……..