A few days ago, I was going through some old pictures when I ran upon a photo with my brother Tom and sister, Jennifer that literally snatched me out of the present and pulled me into a part of the past I didn’t necessarily want to go…
Some time ago, our family lived in a small clapboard house in the rural setting of Robbins Road, which was outside the city limits of Nelsonville, Ohio. I was the youngest of six and we lived in this quaint cottage (OK, so it was a shack) until I was eight, so I don’t have an abundance of memories instilled in my mind concerning this place. However, I kept having a recurring dream/nightmare of hurrying along the path between the back porch and our detached “facilities”, commonly called an outhouse. Something was lumbering along behind me and I was running as fast as I could to reach the back porch and the door that led to safety. I desperately tried to open the kitchen door, but it was locked as the monster or whatever it was crept ever so closer. I never looked back as the fiend reached me but, I would wake up in a cold sweat, never knowing what the predator was or what it looked like.
Fast forward more than a few decades. I had some time ago stopped having this particular dream as I grew up and life moved on. My family gathered at our parent’s home for some event and the siblings were all gathered around sharing memories. Someone mentioned this dream they used to have that sounded remarkably similar to my own. The room grew quiet as one after another sibling chimed in that they had also had the very same dream. We were all amazed and at the same time, taken aback as the realization hit all of us; for there was an eighteen and a half year span from the oldest to the youngest sibling.
To this day, my youngest sister can’t sleep at night unless all of her limbs are unexposed and secured under the blankets of safety, still cautious of whatever lurks beyond. Call it coincidental, perhaps a subliminal memory gone awry, but each of us knows what we remember and it is still an unsettling source of an unsolved mystery.