I Shall Always Be The Big Sister

There are times when I really enjoy being the Big Sister in my family.

The ‘being responsible’ thing really does blow, but do you know what the upside is?

You get to get away with a lot because as the oldest you get to blindside your inexperienced parents. Seriously, they have no idea about what is normal and what is not when it comes to kids.

Especially if your firstborn is a creative thinker.

Like,  I  have been exploring my family tree and I’ve come across a few interesting things- like one of my relatives was a solider in the American Revolution- something I don’t particularly crow about because the other half of my family were British and Canadian and why cause a bunch of my dearly departed to spin in their graves?

Anyway-meet Isaac Ross:

But a recent find tickled my Big Sister funny bone.

This is a distant cousin of mine named Bertram Douglas Godfrey- he was a Reverend.

Yeah. I’m still trying to wrap my brain around that. The thing is, the Godfreys have been naming their sons Bertram since the 16oo’s- so finding another Bertram Godfrey wasn’t exactly a huge find- what I thought was great was that my Dad’s name is Bertram Godfrey and my little brother’s name is Douglas Godfrey.

So when I found a grave with both their names mashed onto the headstone I had a big laugh and great idea little brother’s birthday card  or better yet a Christmas card because I am THAT kind of Big Sister and I can get away with things like that.

If you would like, in the photos below, you can meet Bertram Douglas Godfrey in his final resting place.

He lived and died in England, he and his wife and children lived in Australia for about three years and he served in the military for the British ( ahem ) in WW1

and he made me glad I am the kind of Big Sister who shall always do and revel in being and doing the kind of silly stunts that Big Sisters do:

Yours,

Anita Marie Moscoso

formally

Anita Marie Godfrey

Rev Bertram Douglas Godfrey

Rev Bertram Douglas Godfrey Kirkley Cemetery Lowestoft, Suffolk, England.

If You Know Where To Look

You can find the Devil

if

you know where to look:

Sydney Curnow Vosper 1908

( Click the smaller picture to read an article about how to see

the devil in the woman’s shawl )

Interesting fact- the artist said there is no Devil in the shawl- but he did paint the ghostly, if not devilish face  looking in through the window over the woman’s shoulder.

By design or not, I think this is a great example about how stories and art

take on a life of their own.

Of course if that life is odd and macabre and a little wicked- well, it does not get much better then that, does it?

Self Reflection

Remedios Varo, Woman leaving psychoanalyst office, 1960.

So when people ask me if I got inspiration for my tales of the macabre from

working in a funeral home- the answer is no.

Do I get inspiration from those roads I used to ride my motorcycle down- the ones that you could say are in ‘ghost towns’ did I find it in the abandoned houses the ruined cemeteries the dark corners of churches and morgues.

Nah.

Not so much.

I find that my strangest ideas come from

inside

of

my

head.

The Ghost Writer

I haven’t always wanted to be a writer- I have always wanted to be a storyteller.

There’s a thin line that separates the two things and if you fall on one side or the other I don’t think it matters. But for me the difference is a big one and this is the reason I chose to become a storyteller.

My family comes from the side of the world- not only from where we live now but from the places we came from too ( The Philippines and England/Scotland ) but they have one thing in common.

They love to hear stories and if you’re lucky you are one of the people who can tell a story that everyone will listen to.

To me that was a coveted spot in our family hierarchy. You get lots of attention and a certain amount of notoriety because to this day I can tell you who the good story tellers in my family were.

They were colorful, they were always a little odd and when they died everyone was convinced they came back as ghosts and haunted the houses they lived in. They entertained us in life and death.

To set the stage, this is how the storytelling came together ( which was the same for both sides of my family ):

The lead up to the stories was the same- after dinner or after wr finished dessert, someone would close the curtains or light the fire ( during the winter ) or turn on a fan ( if it was summer ) and then one person would say ( for example ) ” You know that house where Mother’s friend died a few years back? Well, I was walking my dog past there and something really weird happened…”

My entire family loved those ghost stories, they liked funny ones too.

Like when my Great Aunt was a teenager someone thought it would be a great idea to send her Community Choir Group ( which consisted of young ladies ) into a men’s prison to perform music.

My Great Aunt also played the banjo and apparently she was a big hit at “The Pen”

I remember after she told us about that performance we all waited for a punch line or something. I mean. I was about 6 when I heard that story and even then I knew Men’s Prisons were, well, nasty places.

So I said, ” Did they like your Banjo? ”

For some reason everyone started laughing- but believe it or not from that event on when I told stories about my dog or my adventures with my best friends Bonnie and Linda ( we got into trouble once for digging up our Mother’s gardens because we were looking for Vampires ) every single adult in the room would let me spin my tale.

My Grandpa used to say I was a natural storyteller and that he loved the way I put words together- he said I made them fit even if I had to pound them into place like the way you do when you force puzzle pieces together.

He also said that after I got done telling one of my stories, pretty much everyone was ready for a drink and that they figured one day I’d be a lawyer, a writer or my picture would be hanging up in Post Offices and at the FBI where they put up pictures of the ” Most Wanted.”

After I learned to read and write I did got to town with the storytelling. I wrote all of the time and then after I got married I stopped writing. I’m not sure why but I guess I didn’t see myself as a storyteller anymore.

I saw myself as a Ringmaster in a circus where the performers where three sons, a husband and a cat named Wolfgang who fought dogs and won-

Every,

Single.

Time.

I had three pet rats too.

What I didn’t have was that little voice that would whisper in my ear, ” Hey, did you tell them about that weird thing we saw yesterday?”

That voice was gone.

And then like magic- I went on line to look up a place for lunch and I didn’t get the name of the spot right but I did come close- what I found was a website called ” The Soul Food Café “.

I was intrigued the minute I got on the site.

Instead of an address and menu and dining hours for your standard restaurant fare I found writing prompts and ideas for creating poems and challenges tied to advent calendars which contained even more ideas for stories or crafts and even recipes for pastries.

Without a doubt what I found at the Soul Food Café was food for the storyteller in me and in that moment as I clicked on page after page I found out how hungry I had really been and that I had been starving for years.

Photo by Wendelin Jacober on Pexels.com

The ‘doors’ of the Café shut for awhile, and like the ghosts of my story telling family members I guess I haunted it from my blogs until Bancroft showed up and like any restless spirit with time on their hands I happily moved in an found a new place to haunt.

What’s changed for me over the years as I have begun to haunt Bancroft is this, I am older ( of course because I came to the Café over ten years ago ) I feel like a writer AND a storyteller and now instead of wearing labels that were slapped on my back as I raced through life I’ve kept one because I am fond of it:

it’s one that my Grandpa Bert gave to me all those years ago- the one that said I was a natural storyteller and I knew how to make those words fit together, even if I had to pound them into place.

Self Portrait: A.M. Moscoso

Autoethography of a Writer

Nightjars

Standing on a Literary Legend’s Shoulders  I ask and answer the question:

What Would The Red Death Look Like?

.

Do you know what I saw last night?

Do you know what I saw when I looked out my bedroom window

just after midnight when the night sky was full of darkness and the air heavy with cries of Nightjars and bats singing out to their prey?

 

Do you know what I saw

when I looked out my window and a terrible creature

with a broken face and a missing eye screamed at me from it’s nightmare

 

I saw my reflection in my window.

That’s what I saw.