The Mean Lady and the Zoot Suit Man

Happy Dia De Los Muertos.  I hope you had a good Halloween and a blessed Samhain.  I continue my story with the story of a real haunted house that I lived in with my family in the 70’s.

The house was an old white wood two-story located on the main street of town, half a block from my grandmother’s house and the Shop – the cabinet company my grandfather founded. The house was old – so old that there wasn’t central heating.  Instead there was a large space heater on each floor and as soon as it got chilly you would find me warming my feet beneath the largest one in the living room.  The ground floor had a living room, dining room, kitchen and bathroom and the upper floor held the bedrooms and an unfinished room that we used to store things. My sister and I shared a bedroom at the top of the stairs in front of the house, my parents room was to the left of the stairs and in the rear of the house. It held the space heater for the floor. Our brother’s room was through my parent’s room and next to the attic.

In the winter our room would be so cold that frequently there was a half-inch of frost on the windows. My mother would send us up there to play and then it was my job as the big sister to pick up the toys and put them in baskets.  One day we had played for a short time and as my sister went downstairs to eat lunch I cleaned as I always did.  After I picked everything up I went down for lunch. My sister, who was 3, had fallen asleep at the table and my mother carried her up to bed.  In a few seconds, I hear her angrily calling my name.  I get to the top of the stairs and see all of the toys, even the ones we hadn’t played with, scattered across the bed and all over the floor.  My mother takes my sister to her room and then comes back to punish me. She stood over me as I picked the toys up, berating me for being a liar, and then spanked me and sent me to bed.  As I lay there shocked and crying I hear a little laugh come from by the window. I see the shape of a small hand form in the frost of the window.  This was the first time the Mean Lady, as she became known to my sister and me, showed herself.

After that the harassment became worse.  The sheets and blankets would be pulled off of our bed, our feet touched and pinched, hair pulled and once I was slapped so hard a hand print raised on my back.  I bore the brunt of most of the abuse. We would hear our names whispered, the sounds coming from my parent’s room. My father explained them away as the sound of the space heater and our wild imagination.  We would frequently both be spanked for “telling tales” and the punishments seemed to feed the ghost’s activities.

Then one day I was standing at the top of the stairs and I felt a sharp push. I toppled down the stairs and from the bottom I looked up and saw her.  She had a young face but she was wearing a house dress and apron from a time I didn’t recognize… And she was laughing at me. I was frightened and bruised but I couldn’t move.

The ghostly attacks became so bad that I was afraid to fall asleep and I would fall asleep while I was in class at kindergarten. The teacher would send a note home to my mother, my mother would spank me, the attacks would get worse and the cycle would continue.

One night I fell asleep with my sister by my side (we shared a bed for warmth).  She put her cold feet on my back to stay warm and I dozed off to the sound of her gentle snoring.  Then I was awoken, unable to breathe. A pillow was pushed over my face and I couldn’t get it off.  I thought I was going to die.  And then, a noise and the pressure on the pillow lifted.  I saw the Mean Lady quickly floating away from me. She seemed to be looking at the doorway where there was a shadow of a man in a suit.

Years later when my sister and I compared notes about this time she told me that she had seen him standing in the doorway before that day and she first thought he was our dad, but our dad didn’t own a suit so she knew it wasn’t him.  We called him the Zoot Suit Man, because we thought his suit looked like what we thought a zoot suit might.  In retrospect, I realize that the shoulders of the man inside the suit were very broad and the added padding of the shoulders created an exaggerated look.  The Zoot Suit Man would mostly appear to my sister.  When I was being abused by a relative, he would show up and the relative would stay away.  While the Mean Lady wanted to hurt us, we both felt that the Zoot Suit Man loved us and was there to protect us from her.

One afternoon my mother took me shopping with her.  My sister was taking a nap so she left her at home. My father was working on his car in the yard and drinking heavily. We came home to my extremely intoxicated father shouting out of the window of the attic.  He had been locked in.  We rounded the back of the house and found my sister sitting in her playpen, happily playing with an old doll we had never seen before.  My mom went upstairs to let my dad out and my dad said that he heard a man’s footsteps before the attic door swung closed and the hook and eye catch.  He himself had placed the hook and eye latch 5 feet up on the door jamb so we couldn’t get in there. He accused my brother of locking him in but my brother was down at my grandma’s house mowing her lawn and doing odd jobs for her so it wasn’t him. My mom asked him why he went up to the attic and he said that he saw a man in the upstairs window and my sister was crying so he went to check it out.  He said that he heard my sister crying in the attic so he went in there to find her.  No one ever figured out how my sister got outside. It wasn’t spoken about again, but my sister and I knew that it was the Zoot Suit Man protecting my sister from my father’s drunken ministrations.

We moved away from the house when I was in fifth grade. It was falling apart and the landlord was trying to sell the land for development. Another family moved in after us and I heard from the boy that was there that his sisters would never sleep in the front bedroom.

After I grew up I met a lady who knew the family that had owned the house during World War I.  She told me that the man who lived there was a widower with 2 little girls.  The war was raging and he wanted to enlist but he had nobody to watch his daughters so he married a young woman who was impressed by his social standing and the lovely house he brought her to live in. About a month after they married he enlisted and left to fight on the front.  The young wife was left with the children and a large house.

She couldn’t afford to keep the help on her husband’s military stipend and was soon overwhelmed so she took her anger and sadness out on the girls.  One day the man came home on leave and found the girls filthy, thin and battered by their abusive stepmother.  The man was so angry at his wife he packed her suitcase and banished her from the house in shame. She was not welcome home with her family so she headed to Chicago. Some say she became a bar maid and others a prostitute, but she died of influenza a few years after she moved away. The man sent the girls to live with distant relatives and he went back to his unit.  He was killed in battle shortly after returning.    It seems that the two had not resolved their issues in life, so they met back at the house and continued their roles of abuser and protector in their afterlives.

The house is no longer there and every business that occupied this corner has gone bankrupt or went out of business in short order.  It is currently sitting vacant.  Every time I go past I get the chills and wonder if the Mean Lady and the Zoot Suit Man have resolved their problems and have moved on to the afterlife. I honestly don’t think that they have.

How it all began

I’m often asked how I came to this life, how I knew that I had a connection with the dead.  I honestly don’t remember when I didn’t have that connection.  My first memory was when I was almost two years old.

I was sitting at the back of the funeral home while my mother and her sisters were preparing it for my Grandpa Wood’s funeral.   I remember admiring my pretty new oxblood red Buster Brown shoes.  They were my first big girl shoes and I was happy to have them although I had no idea that they were bought for such a sad event.  My reverie over my beautiful shoes was interrupted by the smell of cherry pipe tobacco.

Grandpa smelled like that! I looked up to see my grandpa sitting next to me.  He raised his fingers to his lips and made a soft shhh sound. I looked at him again because he looked pink.  My grandfather’s skin tone had always been gray when I was around him and he rarely smiled because he was in a lot of pain. He was a plater at the American Nickeloid in the early part of the century before there was any OSHA and developed rheumatoid arthritis from the heavy metal poisoning. But my grandpa was sitting next to me all pink and smiling.  It made me smile back at him.

A loud noise from the front of the room caused us to break our gaze.  My Aunt Dorothy was screaming at the funeral home director because the VFW sent over the wrong sized flag for the casket.  I looked up at my grandpa and saw that he was chuckling.  He said, “Dorothy was always a little excitable.” And he laughed.  I laughed even though I didn’t understand what excitable meant and turned my head to watch the funeral director scurry off with the flag.  After a few minutes I looked up and grandpa was gone.

I jumped down from the chair and went to my mother who was ironing table cloths in the next room.  I told her that I saw grandpa. She nodded her head at me and kept working.  I told her again, that I saw grandpa and he told me that Aunt Dorothy was excitable.  My mother dropped the iron and looked at me with a shocked, white face.  She grabbed me by the arm and proceeded to spank me while shouting that I shouldn’t lie about things like that.  Lie? I was a week away from my second birthday.  I don’t know that I could formulate a lie like that much less use the word excitable in proper context.  My aunts came in and took me away from my mother because they were afraid that she would hurt me but the damage was already done.

After that I was afraid to tell anyone about what I saw and heard.  I knew the people I was talking to were not real, not flesh and blood real.  I knew that if I wanted to fit in and survive I would have to keep these things to myself.  At some point I convinced myself that they weren’t real and learned to ignore the energies that tried to contact me.

Little did I know the price I would pay for ignoring the gifts I was given…… (to be continued)

Update!

With the closing of Crystal River Gifts in S. Elgin, Illinois, I am looking for other opportunities and outlets for my talents. I am pleased to announce that I am at Snowflake Healing in Willow Springs, IL. several days a month. I am reading here as well as scheduled to teach several classes in October. This is a new store so please come by and meet the owners and absorb some of the amazing energy.snowflake-announcement

Love Readings for Valentines Day

This Saturday (February 13) I will be doing Love Readings for Valentine’s Day at Crystal River Gifts in South Elgin, IL.  Call the store for an appointment at 224-535-8708.  For a private Valentine’s Day reading via phone or FaceTime,  contact me via email , my page on Facebook and we can set an appointment.
(Special Valentine’s Day pricing will be honored until February 15, 2016.)

Lovereadings

Conscious Community Magazine, January 2016

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I had the pleasure to read Theresa Puskar from the Conscious Community Magazine for her ALL ABOUT TOWN column. Theresa was at Crystal River Gifts in South Elgin, IL for the Intuitive Gala.

“My first appointment was with RoseWolf (Shamanic counselor, healer, reader, and teacher). While I have known RoseWolf for several years, this was my first opportunity to receive a reading from her. Upon meeting her, one of the first things I noted was her energy. She is an extremely powerful woman, and fully embodies the warrior archetype of the divine feminine. Both priestess and healer, showing strength and benevolence, RoseWolf clearly walks the talk.”                                                                                                  

             ~Theresa Puskar, Conscious Community Magazine January 2016

Read the complete article here.

 

 

Do you need an 11th Hour Christmas gift? 

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