As every year since 1993, LeadingAge Oregon held a Creative Writing Contest. Cedar Sinai Park residents participated in great numbers. Winners were announced publicly on February 28; 50 top-rated pieces were also be published in Reflections: A Collection of Writing and Poetry by Oregon’s Elders.
The following entries by RSM residents were selected as winners:
- “Uncle Izzy” by Sam Berry
- “Friday, December 14, 2012” by Florence Blitch
- “Waiting” by Diane Budner
- “A Mother” by Alice Cahana
- “Haunted” by Evelyn Hirsch
- “Mother Tulip’s Chant” by Martha M. Pomeranz
- “Sonnet” by Robert S. Putterman
Here’s the eighth of 13 submissions we’ll be reprinting here (with permission from their authors).
“Haunted” by Evelyn Hirsch
Some people swore that the house was haunted. I agreed. The one time I had the courage to go in proved that images, smells, and sounds from unknown sources existed. The house was built in 1850, a beautiful four story Victorian mansion. It had all kinds of decorative work on the roof. It was painted white, with lilac colored trim on the windows and doors. We lived on the outskirts of Louisville, Kentucky and I passed that lovely old relic on my way to school each day. Jimmy double dared me to go in. You can’t refuse a double dare. As soon as I opened the front door, I turned back and saw Jimmy running away. Well I wasn’t scared, not much. As I entered the foyer, the door shut behind me. Oh well, maybe it was the wind. It’s funny but I smelled lilacs and it wasn’t even May. Why did the owners leave all the furniture? There was a big ancient clock leaning up against the wall. It was still ticking. How come? Who was winding it? I heard a clatter of dishes in the kitchen. Well, I got this far, I might as well go on. The huge old kitchen had an adjourning butler’s pantry. The kitchen table was set with pretty dishes and a silver coffee pot. There was no one in sight. Who set this up? I touched the silverware and got a shock as if there was electricity emanating from the spoons. Ok. Don’t touch. I went into the parlor, because that’s what they used to call it, way back when. The staircase was curved and the banister was made of oak with onyx knobs. I climbed slowly upwards with great trepidation. I had to, as I was double dared and I was brave and curious. The first door I opened showed a huge mahogany four poster bed. There were indentations on the pillow, as if someone was just laying there. Again the odor of flowers and suddenly the rocking chair in the corner started to rock back and forth and creak. I wanted to run, but now I couldn’t move and I got very cold as a breeze was blowing into the room. Then the humming began, a baby’s lullaby. A sweet voice was singing Rockabye Baby. It was the song my granny sang to me a long time ago. Suddenly I felt calm and tranquil as I knew no harm could come to me from this voice. Suddenly my legs were taking me down the hallway and I opened another door. There was a woman dressed in a great shawl covering her hoop skirt standing at the window. She turned and smiled at me. I wasn’t afraid. She seemed to be so nice. Then she vanished. The smell of lilacs was so strong. I have always loved lilacs. I guess she did too. Slowly I went back down the steps and each creaked as I stepped on it. But it was ok. Nothing to fear. Nothing to be scared of. Nothing was the same anymore.