Dear Friends and Readers,
It will come as no shock to everyone that today is my favorite holiday. Halloween! Growing up in a small town during a time when people made their own costumes, this was the primo holiday. No family obligations—just a determination to scare someone, get some candy, and have fun! I was so lucky to have a family that made it such a good time for me and my siblings and my friends.
This past week, I’ve been working with my niece, Jennifer Welch, and Mandy Haynes to make our burlap masks. I am writing this newsletter early, so I can only assume we did okay with the job. I love to be creepy (and sometimes I don’t even have to try!) so we are anticipating a lot of fun. Jennifer has some old coffee bean bags that are burlap and totally cool. I don’t even have a sewing machine any longer, but we should be able to stitch something together that will last through one evening of mischief. If the costumes are successful, I will include photos here. If we are arrested for terrorizing children, I will ABSOLUTELY post photos. And next month some good stories if I have any to share.
This is a month of family birthdays. My mother and grandmother were both born on October 24, exactly 40 years apart. Mama was the caboose, and very unexpected. My grandmother had seven children, two of whom died before she did. Little Frank was an infant, and Uncle Herman, who was my world when I was 8, died at 57.
My Uncle Herman told my mother one morning while we were at the kitchen table that he was going to die that night and for her not to be sad. He was born with a hole in his heart and in the early 1900s there was nothing to be done for him. He was never the healthiest person, but he never let that slow him down. Uncle Herman said he’d been visited by an angel the past night and the angel had told him it was time for him to come home.
He died that night of heart failure. It was the first nail in the coffin of my childhood, and to this day I grieve for him. He smoked Prince Albert tobacco in a pipe and had a gramophone. He would play those round cylinder records for me. Before I started school, he would pull me in a wagon to Neil’s Dry Goods store two blocks over from the house to get a banana popsicle in the hot summer months. He never scolded me and was always a willing playmate. Not every child gets that special treatment.
This is at the Harper Lee Ceremony where I got the award from AWF.
This month, October 30, is also my younger brother’s birthday. He would have been 66. No one in my family other than me and Susan lived long enough to draw SS. Ain’t that a kick in the pants? David was born at 11:45 p.m., October 30. He was scheduled to be born on Halloween, but he kicked a hole in Mama’s uterus (we were all C-section babies) and demanded to be born 15 minutes before Halloween. He was a whopper, too, 8 lb, 14 oz. My mother had told me she was going to have a horse for me (I know, I know, she thought I would forget about it since I was only 4, but I never forgot!) When I checked his feet and he didn’t have hooves, I was distraught. But he was a great little brother, all in all.
This month should also see that last of the yard cutting until probably February. It should be cold then, but the weeds don’t give a hoot about cold! They grow anyway.
I still have The Darkling and The Seeker up for sale for .99 cents for a few more days. Grab them both for Day of the Dead reading! And Lights, Camera, Bones is up for pre-order already. 2024 will see two Sarah Booth books! And maybe a surprise book. Something very different from what I normally write.
Now I’m off to take Scooter to the vet for a feline arthritis shot, and to get Lily’s “procedure” (anal glands) done. The golden days of October pass so swiftly now. Next month will be Thanksgiving. We rock on. Please keep a thought for world peace in your hearts. There is so much suffering now all over the world. I fully understand that it doesn’t have to be this way. IT is a choice that humans make, over and over again. Nothing is ever resolved, really. It is just a different location, a different name for another war, but the same suffering of innocent people. Will we ever learn?
Since that’s kind of a Debby Downer, let me liven things up with a tune. Try this one for a kick-back memory: Satin Sheets. Long ago, I used to sing this in bars with a friend. Neither of us could sing, but we gave it a lot of effort!
Until next month—eat all the chocolate and kiss all the dogs and cats! Happy Halloween.
Carolyn and the critters