Living With Ghosts

You never knew who was watching.

Growing up in a small rural village in England back in the 60s and 70s meant that we knew everyone and, as it turned out not everyone we knew was still living.

In Endon, children congregated around the brook that flowed across the road at the heart of the village.  Summers were spent paddling around and splashing in the water or catching small fish with our hands.  We often had an audience; a little old lady would watch us from the upstairs window of an ancient weaver’s cottage, which overlooked the stream.  She sat in a rocking chair knitting and looking out the window; her grey hair pinned up with a small lacy cap on top, to our eyes she looked very old fashioned. We would often wave to her because we thought she might be lonely, she never waved back; she simply gave us a nod of acknowledgement.  We called her Grandma.

As teenagers, we found out that Grandma was a ghost, a revelation that did not alarm us. We searched and found her real name and when she died, as well as which family she was from. We even found her head stone in the church graveyard. Our village had loads of ghosts it was an old place with the age of the average house being 400 years.  A lot of ghosts can accumulate in that amount of time and they were commonplace to us.  Back then a family did not move often.  Most people were born and died in the same house. It was not uncommon for a home to be owned by a family for centuries. That was Grandma’s story.  She was quite happy to stay in the home where she had been born and had died.  A house that was so familiar to her and with great grand children keeping the place warm and cozy.  We should all be so lucky.

Jane Wilcoxson is an artist and owner of Girlie Girl Bead parties, she writes about creativity and her childhood memories of growing up in a small rural village in England.  You can see her artwork at www.JaneWilcoxson.com or find out about her bead parties at www.GirlieGirlBeads.com