A Brooks, Halloween Tale:
It was a typical Halloween evening in the 1960’s. The air had the crispness of autumn and a light rain, almost a mist, was gently falling.
By the end of October, Chicago had jacket weather…and more often than not, a coat was in order.
Bradley was wearing his, Rod Serling costume, and, more than a little excited, regarding all of the candy that would be procured that evening.
Bradley was a Twilight Zone fan and the Rod Serling costume was easy, in that it consisted of a sport coat and tie and a, Fedora, for his head gear…completed by a, candy, cigarette.
Danny was going to dress up as Daniel Boone and Pauly, his brother, was going to portray, Marshall Dillon, from the popular television series, Gunsmoke.
Steve had agreed to put on a marionette show, with his Punch and Judy marionettes…and it was not only lifelike…but creepy.
This was before the days of, unbalanced people, placing razors in apples or poison in candy bars.
It was the day of popcorn balls and baked goods, such as cookies with pumpkins on them or skeletons or ghosts.
On Halloween night…you were on your own…in 1962.
Last Halloween, 1961, Bradley Jay had dressed up as JFK and Susie had accompanied him as Jackie Kennedy. Susie was older than BJ…and he liked it that way.
The Cuban Missile Crisis…had just ended on October 28th…and all of the parents were relieved. BJ’s mom had cried when she told him that they did not have a bomb shelter and that she, simply, did not know where we would hide…if the bombs started falling.
Pauly, who was usually laughing, cried when Steve had the puppet show. Punch, looked a bit like a demonic clown…and he kept hitting everyone with his stick…especially Judy.
They all carried little, hollowed out pumpkins, as a repository for the candy…and sometimes money.
Last Halloween, Neva, BJ’s mom, had became convinced that she would not receive any trick or treaters…if she did not put her porch light on. So, she did not purchase any candy for the big event.
About half way through the evening…a knock sounded at her door. When she went to answer, she found a little fellow, about BJ’s age, dressed up as King Midas. The little king was really, BJ’s friend, Jackie Brooks…with a fake beard…as he was only five years old.
Neva began to, frantically search for something for the king. She found several canned goods consisting of; peaches and apricots and pumpkin pie filling and navy beans, and she joyfully gave the groceries to the, perplexed, king.
There was a strangeness to the night…that exuded from the, just passed fear, that we all were going to be annihilated by nuclear war and the misty fog…and Punch and Judy.
Life was full of; Chubby Checker and the Twist and President Kennedy and the New Frontier and the threat of the bomb…and Leave it to Beaver on our black and white televisions.
We all knew that there was something that was behind the curtain, much like the Wizard of Oz, but we relied on Rod Serling to show us what that something was.
We knew that life was fun and fragile and terrific and tenuous.
Danny said, ‘would you look at this…they gave me 3 full size Snicker Bars!’
BJ intoned, ‘the last house that I visited gave me a dollar…a paper dollar.’
Pauly said, quietly, ‘I got a popcorn ball.’
‘Let’s go to the big blue house on the corner,’ said BJ.
Now, no one ever went to the blue house on the corner. It was an odd shade of blue…BJ’s mom had said that it was Wedgwood blue…and there was not another house that color in the neighborhood.
It was said that an old man and woman lived in the big, wedgwood, blue house…with their son…and that they seemed friendly…but were, rarely, seen by the other neighbors.
As the, little troop, marched toward the big blue house on the corner…they encountered a foggy mist that, for a time, they could not see each other…or, seemingly, hear, each other, and then they were in front of the large, forboding, home…and the porch light…was on.
BJ, followed by Pauly and Danny, proceed to the front door.
The house just looked different than any other on the block. It, appeared to have a balcony or some type of room in the top of the A frame that was located in the middle of the home…as well as a basement. No homes in the area…had either.
There was a, heavy stone, in the front yard that said 108, on it. Also, there was jazz music that emanated from the dwelling.
BJ, tentatively, knocked on the front door, and an large man, well over six feet answered and with a big grin on his face said…I have been waiting on you.