a question and answer forum.....for the time being. All things change and become something else if there is growth even Olde Baggs.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

So here's a story from a long time ago in a galaxy far, far....oh no that's not it.

I haven't really given you a story or a tale in quite awhile and since this is a day of sharing friendship, I'll go for it and give you one from my childhood.

As the youngest by 11 and 12 years of three kids, I was raised basically as an only. My sister was married and out of the house by her senior year of high school and right after my brother graduated he went into the Air Force. So at 6, I was it.

I was a latch key kid starting right after I started first grade. Scares me thinking about it now but times were after all different back in the dark ages. I did in fact walk home a little over 3 miles from school, most of that distance by myself. I had all kinds of adventures and back roads to get home and kept myself entertained in ways that I would die if my grands told me they had done. I walked on railroad tracks, across route 66 and down too many alleys and pass thrus. They were all "short cuts" in a matter of speaking.

There was an Italian restaurant whose cook, a really chubby happy man, gave me rolls,  a Chinese place where I ate chow mein when they had cooked too much, a grocery store where I got the empty fruit crates and took them home to built things from them and my favorite place of all.....a house with three huge stone lions out front. It was a massive enclave with rolling lawns and pecan and walnut trees one which had this fabulous rope swing that you could fly to the moon on. And the most divine tiny flower garden under the window of an old lady who after awhile invited me in to talk. For a long time she would visit with me through her open window. No matter what the season. I remember going to see her in the summer and in the rain and when it snowed. She was the purveyor of magick for me.

She is the one who told me about the faeries that lived in the black walnut tree right outside her window. There was a huge hollow (probably from blight or something) at just about 6 year old eye level and she would hand me tiny cookies on a silver coaster and milk or tea in a tee weeny cup to place in the hollow. She taught me to respect and love the fae and know that they would do the same in kind.

Once I was invited inside, her house it was like a museum. When you walked the sound of your footsteps would echo behind you. She had a maid or caretaker who reminded me of Olive Oyl from Popeye, never smiled. The walls had paintings of the olden days and there were pedestals with statues of naked people and animals.

Her room was the palest yellow I had seen and the curtains were a rich cocoa color. She was so crippled that she never moved out of her wheelchair but her eyes were very animated and very childlike. Sweet, kind, dark blue eyes with green at the edges. Her skin was so deeply wrinkled she reminded me of my Mom's laundry in the basket before she hung it up to dry. And her room always smelled of roses and lavender.

Her name was Mrs. O'dell. I never knew she had another name. She told me she had traveled all over the world but that New Mexico had the best air for what was wrong with her and she loved the color of the light in autumn in NM best. She used to be a painter and many of the paintings in the foray were either ones she painted or by some of her friends. She asked me if I knew who Georgia O'Keffe was? Of course at 6, the answer was no. She showed me a painting of a big old flower and said it was a gift. (You can see that big old flower at the Georgia O'Keefe museum in Santa Fe). They had been friends when she lived in northern NM before she met and married Mr. O'dell who she said had been gone several years. One day I asked her when he was coming back. She laughed so hard she cried. I liked seeing her laugh, her wrinkles disappeared and her voice was like a bird and she liked me because I made her happy. She was the first person to make me feel good about the real me.

I never rang the front bell but would, when I wasn't eating my way home, tap on her window. If she as too sick to see me, she would leave a note in her window which said to look in the hollow and there always was some something there....a polished stone, a pretty flower, a button, a thimble, a sprig of lavender.

And then one day it just stopped. You see I think Mrs. O'dell left with the faery folk because first the notes and things for the hollow stopped, the flower bed went to seed, then the curtains came down and then someone closed and locked the gates.

Every Litha, midsummer, I think of my mentor of the magickal ways of the fae and I leave a special treat for Mrs. O'dell. I know she is whole and happy and laughing and probably is instructing faery children about the magick inside of them just as she helped me see it in me.......this is one of my greatest magick stories and a treasure to have.


  1. Oh what a wonderful old woman and how lucky for you to have her in your young life. and did I read correctly? she had a real Georgia O'Keefe?! wow

  2. What a wonderful story and wow Linda, you brought me back too. I did those long walks from school too, often by myself, sometimes in the company of a boy, and shortcuts - lots of those, some through heavily wooded areas that would be cringe-worthy today. Stops at local restaurants to get out of the southern heat here - a pizza place where they had the best pizzas, a Lums restaurant where they sold beer hotdogs and had a jukebox, & a laundromat where they had a snack machine (how did we eat all this? we had no money!) & a trophy shop next door where the fella used to give me some of the colored ribbons. I never had a Mrs. O'dell though, and boy I sure coulda used one like her back then. She was a treasure & you are right - things were certainly different back then. Did the hatefuls just stay hidden or were there really much less of them?

  3. Linda, lovely story and told beautifully. Everyone should have a Mrs. O'dell in their life.

  4. Oh oh what an amazingly beautiful wonderful story. I do so love it. I could see the whole thing in my mind with your wonderful story telling powers. How awesomely magickal - it brought back memories of my own childhood - probably in the same time period - magickal walks home from school, gardens, faeries, the crow my dad had as a friend. Thank you for your story and reminding me of mine.

  5. What a wonderful story. The world has changed so much since the time we were young. Have a great day.
    Hugs, Maddy

  6. childhood was different then...and this wonderful story proves it...the magic of your friend ship is almost more wonderful than the fairies...that a child and an old woman could become so important to one another....yes, I remember childhood and discovering the world all on our own....that was magic too....

  7. Oh those are the bestest sort of adventures, finding people and things all by yourself and discovering all sorts of interesting things :o) Mrs O'Dell sounds like a fabulous little old lady, and I'm sure she's having hours of fun with the faeries now!

  8. What a wonderful story, thank you for sharing. That little ol' Mrs. O'Dell was a wonderful lady and gave you great memories of that time. I am so glad she was a part of your growing up, that is special.

  9. Oh Linda, what a beautifully told memory. In all honesty, I was held spellbound by each word and nearly shed a tear at the end, when it all stopped, a little at a time.

    I wish more people had a Mrs. O'dell in their lives to bring out all the magical wonder of life, the fae, teachings from the wise to the young. She set such a wonderful foundation beneath your feet and you have excelled through those teachings to become the fairy godmother to your grandchildren and those of us in Blogland who hold you dear. Blessings to the memory of such a special soul.

  10. This is pure gold Linda, I loved this as I followed you on your visits and felt the magic that woman bought to your life, just gold, it sounds glib to say thanks for sharing, but I will say it & from the heart, a wonderful story well told & made to be shared :)


You are always welcome to comment on my thoughts and I love them all......