April 2, 2008

Shy Ghost

I headed down to NJ this past weekend to see my mom and grandmother and catch sight of the ghost of my great-uncle. Unfortunately, the trip was a let-down.

We called the guy who lives in my great-uncle's old apartment, and he invited us to come over. I don't remember his name, but will call him Mr. Magoo because he so totally looked like him: short, bald, with large round glasses, a pot belly, and a Mets starter jacket. Also at the apartment was Alex, a very nice 70-something man who for some inexplicable reason has the hots for my 87-yr-old grandmother but whom my grandmother professes to be unable to stand. (His favorite pastime is sending her those cards that play a song when you open them, regardless of the appropriateness of the song. But I digress...)

My mom started by telling Magoo about her conversation with the ghost psychologist, who said that Frank probably doesn't realize he's dead. We need to keep telling him that he's dead and get him to walk to the light. Magoo wasn't a dummy - he'd seen Sylvia Browne on the Montel show. Every time Frank showed up, "I says to him, I says, 'Go to Jesus,'" Magoo reported. It seemed that Magoo was doing everything right, then. We pressed him for more details on the sightings.

Apparently Magoo has been seeing Frank for 7 or 8 years, he said. He'd also occasionally seen a woman and a 5-year-old girl walk through the apartment as well. His description of Frank was reasonable, but "tall and thin" describes a lot of people. Magoo had gotten annoyed recently, though, because he thinks Frank is trying to wake him up at night by banging on the TV. (We're still unsure how he knows it's the TV when he's in the other room.) He also is convinced that Frank is moving stuff. First, this tube that's part of his breathing apparatus popped off, and Alex witnessed that. (Mm hm, tubes that carry oxygen could never pop off because of air pressure, nosiree.) But then there was some crepe-paper bird that was sitting on top of one of the many Jesuses in the house, and apparently it flew off, crashed, and broke. (It's unclear if he witnessed this or just saw the ensuing carnage.)

Not much else happened as we talked to him for a good 45 minutes. My grandma kept trying to summon Frank, Alex kept looking fondly at my grandma, Magoo kept interrupting my mom with stories about how he once predicted what would happen in a Yankees game in 1942. He's convinced he has some kind of gift of premonition and ability to see dead people. I'm convinced that all the Roman Catholicism that pervades the house in the form of Jesus figurines (including one bust inexplicably topped with a paper sailor's hat) make him think the dead walk amongst us.

So no ghost. We even went to the graveyard where he (and his brothers and parents) are buried, but nothing interesting happened. Ho hum. I did get a lot of food out of the trip, including a ton of Italian ice (which my family calls 'shalalee' for a reason I still can't figure out etymologically), Italian cheese, and Patrick's favorite Croatian cookies, Napolitanke.

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