One thing my sister and I generally agreed upon as children was Dr. Seuss. Usually, we understood and received well the message of each story, such as “The Sneetches”, and each tale was well loved. Often, Dad, if not on call at the Emergency Room, or on the Pulmonary Floor, or tied up with some long-winded meeting in the Administration Building, (aka Old Hillman), would read us a Dr. Seuss story at bedtime: one for me, and one for my sister. Being the youngest, my story always came second. This was one way for him to spend time with us, while giving my mother a much deserved break at bedtime, while also aiding in instilling in us the value of reading, creativity, and imagination.
One particular story stands out for several reasons….one Autumn evening, near Halloween, my sister chose “Horton Hears A Who”; my first thought was: BORING!!! But, rules were rules – she got hers, and then I’d get mine. I was bored with Horton. FINALLY. It was MY turn, and when Dad asked which one to read, I demanded that he hand me the Dr. Seuss Anthology so that I could flip through it, as I could not remember the name…. it was the last story in the anthology, and I needed to make ABSOLUTELY SURE that Dad did not go on some unrelated tangent. Nope, I needed to SHOW him how to get to that last story in the hard cover collection of Seuss stories. I even knew which page the story, “What Was I Scared Of?” began on. Being spotty in my reading skills, being just under 4 years of age, I knew to go to the page with the Pale Green Pants With Nobody Inside. I loved the drawings and illustrations, but even without them in front of me, my imagination was ignited – I could just see those Pale Green Pants with Nobody Inside – riding that bike!!
As Dad read my story, my sister plugged her ears, screeching, “LALALALALALALA!” The story petrified her, in spite of the ending, where the narrator and the Pants decided to get to know each other, and understood that each was just as scared as the other….and for no reason! Upon lights out, as Dad turned off the light switch, Suzanne asked a question.
“Dad, why does Lisa have sharp teeth?”
Dad lowered his glasses to the end of his nose, and looked at her over his glasses….a thing he does whenever baffled, and contemplating; it has always been a thing he does when an odd question or statement arises, or when trouble was about to ensue.
“Sharp teeth??” he asked, with a muffled laugh, as to where this was escalating to….”OOOOOO, wait, you mean her CANININE teeth?”
“Whatever, Dad…she has sharp teeth!!”
“YOU HAVE SHARP TEETH, TOO, YOU DO-DO BIRD!!” I declared.
“Dad, she’s ABNORMAL!! How did that HAPPEN??” my sister demanded. Exasperated, the response given was taken literally, and remains as a lifelong, mythical ‘fact’: “Lisa’s a vampire.” Dad then turned out the lights and went into the hall.
“DON’T CLOSE THE DOOOR DAAAADDD!!!” Dad left the bedroom door opened, with the lights in the hall on. Oddly, when we woke up the next morning, the door had been shut, and I had not bitten my sister in the neck – although she had apparently gotten up in the night and drawn a picture of a cross and laid it on her side of the bed nearest mine.
Many years later, my niece, an avid ghost story lover, heard this story. It tickled her to believe that she might have descended from a family of vampires. A favorite meal of hers, in her younger years, was a Happy Meal; one Saturday, before her 4th birthday, she sat at the breakfast room table, and hung 2 French fries between her upper lip and her upper gums, giving the look of a Walrus; she bent over, dipped them in ketchup, and muttered,
“I am the First Vampire…EVER!!”
The bloodline continues.