Well, it is another hot day in the Chicago land area. I cannot imagine how we all managed these sort of days back in the days without air conditioning. I recall as a child not having one. I remember how hot the house was and the houses were so close together that no breeze could ever get through the gangways to your bedroom window. I can remember that in those days I would put my pillow onto the sill of the window in the room...my bed was right up against the window. I would attempt to sleep, although it didn't always work that well.
Growing up, I lived in a 2 story home in the city of Chicago with my grandparents and mom. Hot days were always the worst, because there was really nothing you could do about it. Back in those days, we never seemed to fear anything either. It seems that back then we never had the fear factor. Well, at least it was that way until one particular night.
I had spent the evening over at the church's carnival. I had come home that blistering hot night and went into my bedroom to get my nightgown and clean underwear to go take a bath and try to cool down. Now, the bi-fold doors to my room faced directly across from the window. Now when you walk into a room, you are not necessarily gazing at the window to see something. I was on a mission to gather up my night clothes and out of the corner of my eye, I thought I saw a person standing at my window. When I turned again, there was nothing there. I thought it had to have been my imagination, since the person seemed to be standing at the window from their waist up. The window was at least 8 feet from the ground. That would mean that the person had to have been at least 10 feet tall and of course that was impossible. It had to had been some odd reflection that made it look like a person. I just dismissed it...I was only 15 years old and didn't think twice about it.
I gathered my things and off to the bathroom I went to a nice bath. In those days, we didn't have showers, only the bathtub. In fact, when I grew up, in our bathroom, we didn't even have a sink. The toilet sat right next to the tub. Well, I took a nice refreshing bath and put on my light cotton baby doll pajamas and got into bed for the night. It was a real scorcher. I took my pillow and scrunched it up on the sill and got as close to the screen as possible to try to breathe. While I lied there, I noticed the movement of shadows on the next door house. There was a huge Catalpa tree on in the front and when there was any sort of breeze the leave cast their shadows in the gangway. It made me contemplate what I thought I had seen and it made me a little nervous, although my head told me that it was impossible. I finally fell asleep.
The next morning, I was at the kitchen table eating breakfast. Grandma was perched in her usual rocking chair at the other end of the kitchen table. As I was enjoying the eggs in a basket breakfast she had made me, I began to tell her what I had imagined I had seen last night when I had come home and went into the bedroom. I noticed as I was laughing about the possibility of a 10 foot man at my window...Grandma's face began to ashen. She had this sort of pensive look on her face. I asked her what was wrong. Grandma proceeded to tell me that when she went outside in the morning to water, she found the picnic table bench underneath my bedroom window. I almost choked on my eggs and bread. Then I wasn't imagining it! I really did see someone standing at my window. The thought made me shudder as I thought about the ramifications. There WAS someone there. The shadows....were they cast by the tree or by the person standing there? How close did that person come to me while I was sleeping. Then the "Oh my God....he could have killed me kicked in". Was it just what they called a peeping Tom? To think someone was that close to me and I had no idea! Fortunately, nothing happened because of it.
I don't even think that we called the police or anything. It was just an odd occurrence. It certainly made me check the window before going to sleep, but I have to admit, it never stopped me from sleeping on the window sill. I sit and look back now and wonder why my bedroom window? My room was at the backend of the house. How would someone know who slept there? Was it just a by chance attempt or was someone watching, or did someone know? I guess I will never know for sure. I am glad that at 15, I didn't take the time to ponder over it. So I guess when we think of all the things that go on today and all the reasons to be afraid were valid even back then. The only difference was that in the old days, we just never heard much about it. We didn't have the news coverage or the radio coverage like we have today. And even if we did...I was 15. I wouldn't have paid any attention to it anyway. We were never given any reasons to be afraid. My Grandmother, God rest her soul, used to say.... "Never be afraid....if someone took you, they would give you back after 5 minutes". I know that it might sound terrible...my Grandmother loved me like crazy. I think it was just her way of telling me not to be afraid of anything. And to be truthful, I have really never been afraid of anything in my life. Well, that's not entirely true...I am afraid of heights, but that is another story!