Mom Stories: Spiders

My mother is a great storyteller, and although I currently live as far away from her as is possible, we talk on skype once a week. She grew up in the North Country of New England. Her stories paint a picture of an America I never experienced and I’ve decided to try and capture some of them in writing. Here’s my first attempt:

The year is 1959. My mother is 9 years old, and with her 6 year old brother, Brien, is going on an unusual outing with their father. Candy, my mom’s older sister, is attending a doctor’s appointment with her mother, and this is the reason the family has driven 10 miles south from their home to Littleton. Littleton’s redeeming quality is the movie theater located in the center of town. Every couple of weeks they get one movie and people from all over fill up the seats. My mom’s dad has decided to take the younger kids to see “The Incredible Shrinking Man”, which he believes is a comedy. They sit down in the middle of  the theater, one kid on each side of their father, and wait as the lights dim. A hard working carpenter, it’s only minutes into the film when their father lays his head back and starts snoring loudly. The kids sit there waiting patiently for the comedy part of the film to kick in. My mom recalls a scene where a person is lying on the basement floor in the pitch black when furry monstrously big spider legs pan into the frame. Simultaneously the children each grab their sleeping father and let out a scream filling the packed theater. When their startled father awakens to a pitch black theater he is greeted by an image of a spider filling the entire screen in front of him. His children’s screams are topped when he yells “JESUS H CHRIST!”. The collective laugh of the theater occupants’ is embarrassing to say the least and the three of them are grateful for the darkness of the theater as they sneak out. That was both the first and last time my mom’s father took them to the movie theater. She has been petrified of spiders ever since. When asked what the “H” stood for in “JESUS H CHRIST” she said she was not sure. She had asked her dad a few times out of curiosity and he never gave her an honest answer.

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