September is here and it brings with it a break, at last, in ninety-degree temperatures. Taking advantage of this the other day, I took a walk with my kids. I was amazed by how very talkative my two boys got on this walk! We’ve lived in our house for not quite a year now, but they’ve thoroughly explored the neighborhood. They know more neighbors than I do, and we’ve had to impress upon them the importance of staying out of the woods during the summer due to the very real danger of copperheads and water moccasins.
On this particular walk I was thrilled to find that my boys have already discovered the local legend.
Every neighborhood has one. The house nobody lives in. The mysterious, unknown, dark, deserted house. Or the patch of woods nobody ever developed. Or graveyard. Or the park where some kid broke his head/neck/back (maybe).
These legends color our childhoods in a very real way, regardless of how loosely they’re based in fact. A friend of mine, Steve Lowe, recently blogged about another of my favorite childhood urban legends: the ghost boy in Three Men and a Baby. Check out his blog here: Three Men and a Flashback. As he says, we now have Snopes.com to dispel many of our old urban legends. But the neighborhood legends won’t ever be taken away. I mean, who can deny this legend from our new neighborhood? (Names changed to protect the very innocent minds that invented this one.)
“See that house, Mommy? Nobody lives there. The people who lived there were all killed. Drake says he looked in the window and there are books on the shelves and pots on the stove. And guess what? There was a balloon that said YOU’RE NEXT on it.”
Ooh. Feel the chill?