Guest Post: Halloween Memories by Kathryn Meyer Griffith

This is the last post at this web address.  Tomorrow you will redirected to http://www.lizzylessard.com, the new blog address for Lizzy’s Dark Fiction.  But don’t worry, all posts and comments will be transferred.  A big thank you to Livia of Butterfly Meter Designs who made my dark vision come to life on the new site.  

Happy Halloween everyone!


Halloween Memories

Treat or Treat, Robots and Candy Corn

Guest Post by author Kathryn Meyer Griffith

I believe I’m lucky. I grew up in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Halloween was so different back then. Simpler. More innocent. Exciting. A true holiday for children. And I have memories I’ll cherish my whole life.

My family was large. I had six siblings, three sisters and three brothers, and we never had much money. My dad was a salesman and my mother, like a lot of women during that time, didn’t work outside the home…she was busy enough raising seven children. We were the poor family down the street with too many kids living in the shabby two-story spooky looking house. Our neighbors shunned us or felt sorry for us. But I didn’t care, I had my family to love me. I had Grandmother Fehrt, my mother’s mother, to fill our bellies with food when the table was a little too bare. I had my ambitions and dreams, science fiction and scary library books to read and pictures to draw (I wanted to be an artist from the age of nine). I frolicked in the empty fields riddled with deep gullies beside our house with my brothers and sisters or ran the dark streets and woods playing hide-and-go-seek. Sang to the moon on our rusty swing set in the backyard with my brother, Jim. Or, on a black and white TV set, watched Zorro, the Twilight Zone or The Lone Ranger on swelteringly hot nights in a house with no air-conditioning. Sweet days and nights. Poignant memories now that many of my family are gone.

Halloween was my favorite holiday, next to Christmas. I remember one, when I was about ten or so, vividly. It was cold and raining, but nothing stopped us four older children (the rest were too young that year) from going out into the neighborhood and collecting big brown bags of free candy. No, not when candy was so rare for us. My parents could hardly keep enough food in the house, much less buy us sweets. So Halloween meant a windfall of treats. Nothing kept us home on that night. We’d quickly eat the bowls of chili Mom would insist we eat as the sun went down. Another tradition. So we had some real food in our stomachs before the glut of candy came.

Copyright @ 2011 by Monkywing

My mother, money being sparse as always, dressed us two girls up as gypsies, using her old costume jewelry and tying bright scarfs around our heads and waists. My younger brother Jon, wore an old sheet with cut out eye slots. A ghost. My other brother, Jim, had outdone himself that year and, out of two cardboard boxes and paint, had fashioned himself a robot. Wasn’t bad for an eight year old, either. Made it hard for him to walk, though. He stumbled a lot.

That night we traipsed through the wet woods, a short cut, to the rich subdivision down the road that – oh, my – gave out those huge candy bars at each door, huge homemade popcorn balls or bags of candy corn, my favorite. My grandmother had taught Jim and I a catchy song…G-i-n-g-a, G-i-n-g-a, G-i-n-g-a…Ginga was his name. Never understood that song but I think it was about a pet dog or something. Jim and I got so much good feedback, so many treats for belting it out, though, that at Christmas we were performing The Little Drummer Boy for anyone we could corner and sing to. The beginning of our later singing folk duo (so big in the 60’s) and then my short (my brother kept singing out as I began writing my novels) singing career, no doubt.

We had a great haul that night. Cold and rainy as it was. Frozen as our faces and fingers became. Maybe got even more goodies because it was so inclement. We went to all the houses, collected our booty, and esthetic at our bulging bags, at the end of the night, ran through the trees toward home. Trying to beat the rain, which had become a deluge, worst of the night. With noisy thunder, and spectacular lightning. It was sooo spooky. In the spirit of the night, we were sure something bad was following us. We ran faster. Our paper bags getting soaked as we cradled them against our shivering bodies.

Then, clumsy in his robot disguise (he kept bumping into trees because he couldn’t see) Jim fell over a tree limb and spilled his candy everywhere. As he cried, we scurried around trying to salvage what we could. Didn’t do much good. Too dark. The rain was too heavy. So the three of us promised to share our catch with him and we led him home.

As we were drying off and warming up, Mom and Dad smiled at our stories of singing for our candy and all the strange ghouls and monsters we’d met on the way; laughed over Jim’s mishap and gave us hot chocolate with tiny marshmallows to drink.

Then there was a knock at the front door and when we looked, there was Grandma Fehrt, dressed as a wicked witch, complete with tall black hat and long dress, cackling at us. Trying to fool us. But we all knew it was her. She dressed up every year and knocked at our door. Always a witch.

We kids hugged her and laughed, then sat at the table counting out (and oohing and aahing with glee) over our candy haul. We shared it with Jim, of course.

To this day I remember that Halloween with a wistful smile. Such good times from so long ago. I see my brothers and sisters young faces through the mists of time, remember the thrill of singing with my brother for the first time and the delight of the people giving us the candy in exchange for the song. I remember my parents and the love in that drafty old house we scampered back to. I remember my grandmother with her smiling witch eyes and painted face. Remember going to bed with a stomach ache because I’d eaten too much candy. Heck, I always did. And I remember those no longer with us. My father, my mother, one of my brothers and all of my grandparents.

My childhood, when I think of nights like that, is just a moment away. The dead are with me again. Ah, I’d give anything to go back in time and be with all of them once more. The way we were. Young and hopeful and with our lives ahead of us. Enjoying each other’s company…and all that good candy.

Anything.

About Kathryn Meyer Griffith

Since childhood I’ve always been an artist and worked as a graphic designer in the corporate world and for newspapers for twenty-three years before I quit to write full time. I began writing novels at 21, over forty years ago now, and have had sixteen (nine romantic horror, two romantic SF horror, one romantic suspense, one romantic time travel and two murder mysteries) previous novels and eight short stories published from Zebra Books, Leisure Books, Avalon Books, The Wild Rose Press, Damnation Books and Eternal Press.

I’ve been married to Russell for thirty-four years; have a son, James, and two grandchildren, Joshua and Caitlyn, and I live in a small quaint town in Illinois called Columbia, which is right across the JB Bridge from St. Louis, Mo. We have three quirky cats, ghost cat Sasha, live cats Cleo and Sasha (Too), and the five of us live happily in an old house in the heart of town. Though I’ve been an artist, and a folk singer in my youth with my brother Jim, writing has always been my greatest passion, my butterfly stage, and I’ll probably write stories until the day I die…or until my memory goes.

Check out these 4 short stories on sale for $.99.

Ghost Brother  |  The Banshee and the Witch  |  Too Close to the Edge  |  Running with the Train

All Kathryn Meyer Griffith’s Books available at Amazon.com.

Novels and short stories from Kathryn Meyer Griffith:

  • Evil Stalks the Night (Leisure, 1984; Damnation Books, 2012)
  • The Heart of the Rose (Leisure, 1985; Eternal Press Author’s Revised Edition 2010) Buy
  • Blood Forge (Leisure, 1989; Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition, 2012)
  • Vampire Blood (Zebra, 1991; Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition, 2011)  Buy
  • Damnation Books Buy Link:
  • The Last Vampire (Zebra, 1992; Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition 2010) Buy  |  Book Trailer
  • Witches (Zebra, 1993; Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition 2011)  Buy
  • The Nameless One (short story in 1993 Zebra Anthology Dark Seductions; Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition, 2011) Buy
  • The Calling (Zebra, 1994; Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition, 2011)  Buy
  • Scraps of Paper (Avalon Books Murder Mystery, 2003…soon to be an Amazon Kindle Direct ebook)
  • All Things Slip Away (Avalon Books Murder Mystery, 2006…soon an Amazon Kindle Direct ebook)
  • Egyptian Heart (The Wild Rose Press, 2007; Author’s Revised Edition, Eternal Press 2011)  Buy  |  Book Trailer
  • Winter’s Journey (The Wild Rose Press, 2008; Author’s Revised Edition, Eternal Press 2011) Buy  |  Book Trailer
  • The Ice Bridge (The Wild Rose Press, 2008; Author’s Revised Edition, Eternal Press 2011)  Buy  |  Book Trailer
  • Don’t Look Back, Agnes novella & bonus short story: In This House (2008; ghostly romantic short story out; Eternal Press 2012)  Buy  |  Book Trailer
  • BEFORE THE END: A Time of Demons (Damnation Books 2010)  Buy  |  Book Trailer
  • The Woman in Crimson (Damnation Books 2010)  :  Buy  |  Book Trailer
  • The Complete Guide to Writing Paranormal Fiction: Volume 1 (I did the Introduction)
  • Dinosaur Lake (from Amazon Kindle Direct 2012)

My Space  |  Facebook  |  Author’s Den  |  Goodreads  |  Email    |  Bebo  |  Jacketflap  |  Shoutlife  |  Romantic Writer & Reader |  Romance Book Junction

Book Review: Two and Twenty Dark Tales (Anthology)

Two and Twenty Dark Tales:  Dark Retellings of Mother Goose Rhymes

Edited by:  Georgia McBride and Michelle Zink

Publisher:  Month9Books

Genre:  Horror

This anthology is available as an ebook and paperback from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  More reviews can be found on Goodreads.

In this anthology, 20 authors explore the dark and hidden meanings behind some of the most beloved Mother Goose nursery rhymes through short story retellings. The dark twists on classic tales range from exploring whether Jack truly fell or if Jill pushed him instead to why Humpty Dumpty, fragile and alone, sat atop so high of a wall. The authors include Nina Berry, Sarwat Chadda, Leigh Fallon, Gretchen McNeil, and Suzanne Young.

It’s always hard to decide what to rate anthologies.  Some stories are amazing and others bore me.  So, I decided to to highlight the short stories that were dark, disturbing, and make this anthology worth buying.  5/23 lived up to their promise to be haunting.  These 5 stories were A+++.

Clockwise by Leah Cypress – A retelling of the hickory dictory dock rhyme.  Amarind was a princess transformed into a mouse and only the magic of a clock switched her back to a human.  She has to unravel the mystery behind the enchantment with the help of a witch.

Boys and Girls Come Out to Play by Angie Frazier – Bronywn tries to save her sister from the Beckoning, but she soon learns that you can’t deceive the witches in the woods.

Life in a Shoe by Heidi R. Kling – She can’t understand why her mother keeps getting pregnant when there’s no money to feed the children she has.

The Well by K.M. Walton – Jack and Jill are the only two left alive after a deadly virus kills everyone else in the world.

The Wish by Suzanne Young – Lauren hates her life so much that she makes a deadly wish upon a star.

A copy of Two and Twenty Dark Tales was provided by the publisher (Netgalley) in exchange for an honest review.

Since there are so many authors, I’m only going to spotlight the ones from the stories I loved in this anthology.

Leah Cypress – website  |  Changelings – a FREE collection of short stories  |  Mistwood –  A Kirkus 2010 Best Book for Teens

Angie Frazier – website  | Everlasting – YA historical fantasy  |  The Midnight Tunnel – first in a MG mystery series

Heidi R. Kling – website  |  Witch’s Brew – YA active fiction paranormal story

K.M. Walton – website  | Cracked – YA contemporary about bullying

Suzanne Young – website  |  A Need So Beautiful – YA angel book  |  My reviews of A Need So Beautiful and A Want So Wicked  (Can you tell I LOVE this author?)