The Store in the Basement


As I work in this house, it takes me back to Baltimore and Grove Park and Miss Whatchamacallit’s house, a large Victorian. I know now it was built in the mid-1800s. After school, after the run, after the chase, we would stop at Miss Whatchamacallit’s house for snacks. She ran a little store out of her basement. She was always nice but always sad. Her Son Mr. Chris went to Vietnam and did not come back but they could not find him, so he was missing. My uncle said she was in limbo. She was getting old and sometimes she would ask the kids to get the stock from the attic; “Now that you think about it something wasn’t right with that.  How did the stock get in the attic? Well one time she asks me. Even now I remember the conversation I was having to this day; almost Forty-five years later. It was almost Halloween the new peanuts were due to come out and the new BMX bikes were being advertised for Christmas. I was getting teased because all my friends knew my mom was a JW, no Christmas for me. So, they thought. My dad was catholic. Back to the story. So, Miss Whatchamacallit offered me my fav after school snack a box of LHs and that soda that makes you want to buy the world one. I was hooked and up the basement steps I went. One thing “S—–son”. Do not forget to turn the light on at the bottom of the steps not the top, turn them on at the bottom. Here is where I first learned to pay very close attention to what people say. Hence the bottom of the stairs. (Master Carpenters Tip #1 Listen). But I was 7 almost 8 and I was getting free candy so I could save my snack money. So, I head up the second flight of stairs to the attic steps straight up the steps and as I reached the top, I know I should have turned the light on at the bottom of the step. Because as I reached for the pull sting I saw (Hmmm) It??         

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