I am remembering that long ago Halloween party at my best friend Mary Sue’s home in Douglaston, Long Island. Second grade giggly girls, loved like candy. My mother bought my plastic costume in a Woolworth’s store. The whole shebang – cowgirl costume, including cowgirl hat and lasso, cost several dollars. I was thrilled until I arrived at Mary Sue’s. The door opened and I found myself surrounded by gusts of gossamer - petticoated princesses and bubbly ballerinas in creamy pastel gowns and child-size tiaras. I was the only cowgirl at the ball.
What happened to the Halloween party, like the great Halloween parties my mother put together every year – skeleton and ghost costumes, my brothers and I biting floating apples in a tub of water or blindfolded, spun around and paper tail in hand, hesitating toward the big donkey picture on the wall. Where was the orange candy corn at Mary Sue’s party? Where were the candy apples on a stick? Even the candies at this party were the soft, muted colors the wealthy are so fond of. What do pastel colored candies have to do with witches, ghouls and goblins? At the party, a classmate named Peggy, asked me how much my father paid for our house and when told (yes, very young children overhear these things) reported gleefully her father paid five times that amount for their home in Douglaston. I didn’t care. I did remember being impressed at a sleepover at Peggy’s that her bedroom was the exactly same chartreuse as the Wicked Witch’s face in “The Wizard of Oz.”
I loved our little ranch house in Little Neck, Long Island. It was the first time I had my “very own” room and my mother said I kept it so nice we could charge people to see it. My brother Bob and I especially loved that our family moved into the house before landscaping for the whole area was completed. We could play “King of the Mountain” on big hills of unleveled dirt. We could shout straight out and our voices would echo back. Before the lawns were laid down, I was the princess of play – without a gossamer gown.
The Rocking Chair and Ghost Girl, my two ghost poems, appear in the Halloween edition of Quail Bell Magazine.
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