Doreen McGettigan is the author of Bristol Boyz Stomp, the true story of the random road rage murder of her brother, musician David Albert and The Stranger in My Recliner, also a nonfiction story of the homeless woman her husband brought home one night. Sophie stayed with them for nearly three years.
Doreen and John live in Delaware County, Pa. (Philadelphia) Together they have 5 grown children (2 more in Heaven) and 13 grandchildren. Their lives are not boring.
Jillian, my youngest daughter was supposed to be napping. She was 4-years old and not much of a talker, so I was relieved to hear her having a, “real conversation.”
At first I thought she was talking to her dolls or her stuffed animals, but when I asked her who she was talking to, she replied, “My friend Mary.” I asked her what Mary had to say and her response was, “She said she used to sleep in my room and she left all of her toys in my closet. She said I could have them.”
I waited until Jillian was out of the room and ran to look inside the closet. I didn’t see any toys in there.
Later on, during the process of redoing my daughter’s room, the painter called me upstairs to tell me he found a false wall in the closet and wanted to know if I wanted him to remove the wall. What we found was a toy box full of toys from the late 1800’s. We did research and found that Mary was born in and then died in that house in 1980, the year Jillian was born. The house remained empty until we moved there in 1983.
A few years later, I had great tickets to see Kenny Rogers in Philadelphia. I completely lost my mind and spent ninety-dollars on a pair of jeans. That was a lot of money in 1985. Those jeans did wonders for my post “three babies” body. When I woke from a nap, I took the jeans, my blouse and a cashmere sweater and hung them on the back of my closet door and I went to take a shower.
Afterwards, I dried off and reached for my clothes, but the jeans were gone. I frantically searched every inch of the house but couldn’t find them. No one could have moved them. I was alone and my sister took the kids to stay with her earlier that day.
Three years later, I was going to another concert. I was running late from work and had no idea what I would wear. I opened my closet and hanging on the back of the door was my missing jeans, tags still attached.
Many years later, I injured my knee and had to have surgery. I was on bed rest and so bored, so my daughter hooked her Nintendo game up to my TV and taught me how to play. I woke up so early the next morning that it was still dark outside. At the end of my bed, in front of the TV, I saw smoke. I thought maybe I was dreaming so I sat up in bed. I was frantically rubbing my eyes and the smoke turned into an elderly woman. Still thinking I was foggy from sleeping, I just grabbed the remote from my end table, and switched from the Nintendo game back to TV and found an old movie to put on. I buried my face in the pillow and went back to sleep.
When my kids were older, I became a foster mom. One night, the three month old baby we were caring for was sound asleep in Jillian’s old crib in her old room, when her biological mother came for a visit. She was late, but I told her she could go up and have a peak. The next thing we knew the woman flew down the steps. I swear her feet did not hit one step on the way down. “Who is that old woman in the room with the baby,” she screamed. My kids and I looked at each other and then looked at her.
After my kids grew up, got married, and left home, I remarried and moved in with my new husband. Our granddaughter, Adriana was visiting, so I set her up on the floor of my office with crayons, colored paper, coloring books and a bowl of M&M’s, so I could write.
She asked, “Can we close this closet door?”
“Why do you want the door shut,” I asked her.
“I’m tired of listening to the people talking in there.”
Right before I shut the closet door I looked in and to the right. Yep, there they were, standing tall and proud on the shelf at the back of the closet, eight porcelain dolls, two of them, Mary’s.