Thursday, October 11, 2012

Boo and Me

I grew up in a time when parents let their children trick or treat by themselves.  In the dark.   There was no fear of real-live monsters.   It was a good and innocent time.   Every year my sisters and I would put on our costumes, grab our pillow cases and head out together to see how much candy we would have by the end of the night.   Up and down the streets we went, stopping often to take stock of the goodies we had accumulated.   We knew the houses that gave the "good stuff" and we knew the houses that gave the "apples".   We avoided the "apples" houses.   There was another house we avoided - - the house where Witch Hazel lived.   I can't really remember why we thought a witch lived there, and I can't remember why we called her Witch Hazel.   But we knew she was a witch.   And we stayed away from her. 

Every year at this time I think of Witch Hazel.   And every year at Halloween I also think of Boo Radley.   To Kill A Mockingbird screams Halloween to me.   Scout and Jem spying on Boo Radley's house reminds me of my sisters and me and Witch Hazel.  I'm not sure that we ever ran up to her house and touched it, but still . . . there's something about Jem and Scout and Boo that resonates with me. 




I can't remember exactly when I stopped thinking of To Kill A Mockingbird as just a scary kind of movie and recognized it for the poignant, touching and profound movie that it actually is.

You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.” 
 
“I wanted you to see what real courage is, . . . It's when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.
 
“... before I can live with other folks I've got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience.” 
 
“Ladies in bunches always filled me with vague apprehension and a firm desire to be elsewhere.” 

So, Atticus, Jem, Scout and Boo --  I salute you this Halloween season!   And, to Witch Hazel, I'm sorry we never rang your bell and gave you a chance. 


20 comments:

  1. Love the post. I'm thinking every town must have had that 1 or 2 houses that the kids were scared to go to. :) Thanks for the deja vu post!

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  2. Poor Witch Hazel. I wonder if she liked Halloween. Maybe she was a good witch.

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  3. Those were sweet and innocent times. Witch Hazel probably got a kick out of her reputation.

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  4. I lived in a small town in Ontario Canada. Nothing ever happened there, so going out without parents was a given. We had a couple of houses like you describe, and there was once a fully dressed up character that came into my yard and scared me to death (to this day I have no idea who that person was). It was the best of times!!

    Thanks for the walk down memory lane!!

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    1. Those truly were the good old days :)

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  5. Maybe you missed out on the mother lode by not knocking on her door!

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    1. This is true. Would probably be karma :)

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  6. Oh! oh! Oh! You and I MUST discuss this film!!!! Did you know that I have watched it on or near Halloween for nearly 20 years? Besides it being my FAVE FILM EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And the final scene taking place on Halloween is so perfect too.

    We sorta had a Boo Radley on my street too; his house was way off the road on a pond in the woods near the railroad tracks so of course no one was gonna venture down there, as he had a dirt driveway that went pretty far in. He was an old man who kept to himself.

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    1. I grew up in Anaheim, so we didn't have any woods or ponds :) Witch Hazel's house was in a regular neighborhood, no dirt driveway :) You know, as much as I love the movie, I have never read the book. Shame on me!

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  7. In all the places I lived in as a kid, I never had a Witch Hazel to be wary of. I think I missed out! My sister and I have always taken our kids out trick or treating, but we use it as a time to walk and talk as we trail behind the kids. First it was just my two, and now it's just her three, but Halloween is one of my favorite nights becuase of the time she and I can spend together.

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    1. that sounds wonderful! i wish my sisters were closer :(

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  8. I may re-read this. For you.

    And you are really a Halloween kinda gal, aren't you?

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    1. :) Halloween just brings a lot of really sweet memories of my own childhood. When our children were younger it used to be a lot more fun but I still love the whole season! And, I am confessing now that I have never READ the book, I've only seen the movie a bunch of times. I am now going to read the book :)

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  9. There was a house where my husband grew up that had a Witch Hazel. She was an older woman with a heavy accent and lived alone. No child would go there. One child finally got up the courage and rang the bell. Low and behold this dear lady had been waiting many years for trick or treaters, and in a good way. She had wonderful stuff. It has bothered Pat ever since that he used to call her a witch.
    I also remember going all over the place with my cousins to trick or treat. I look back on some of the houses and my parents were crazy to let us go.

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    1. I know. I've wondered if our Witch Hazel was kind of like Pat's Witch Hazel. I'm kind of glad I don't know, because I would feel terrible if she were.
      We grew up in the good old days . . . so it wasn't crazy back then for our parents to let us loose!! haha

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  10. I didn't have that kind of house in our neighborhood where I grew up and to make matter worse... Our neighborhood is not 'Halloween friendly.' One time, I took the girls and wondered off at our street. And people are scrambled to find candies :-) Perhaps it is an old neighborhood and all the kids were grown up adults and here we are a family with young children.

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    1. Oh, I'm sorry - - that's the worst feeling. We don't get many trick or treaters, but we always are prepared for whoever may ring our bell!

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