In those days, kids walked to school, and walked by themselves, even if they were tiny girls with skinny arms and skinny legs like me. I was expected to walk through the neighborhood behind our house, which was thoroughly haunted from end to end. It had grotesque trees that were ready to catch you up in their limbs and crush you if only they could reach you. The houses were all different from each other, not little variations on a theme as it was in my neighborhood, where all the houses were brick. No, on Polo Drive there were houses that looked like castles, and houses with circular driveways, and Tudor houses with crooked timbers and crazy crooked bricks. Some of the houses looked big enough to be schools or hospitals. Clearly, most of them were haunted: you never saw cars, or people going in or out. There weren’t any nasty loose Schnauzers trying to bite you, like there were on Davis Drive. There were gaping sidewalk cracks showing just where the trolls were hiding, just there underground. The sidewalks were not straight and square like there were in my neighborhood. They were curved. It seemed all wrong. Even the street signs used a scary, gothic, unreadable font, as if to let you know how haunted it was. Absolutely worst of all, there were the crows.
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I have a memory that a crow landed on the head of my next-door neighbor (Megan Schnoebelen) while walking to school in Warson Woods. I scared it away but not before it got one good peck in on her head. I'll need to verify this story because it could have been a dream but I think it actually happened.
We were only in Kindergarden or 1st grade. Based on today's standards, that was a really long walk and I think my Mom only came with us on the first day of school – after that, we were on our own. The other traumatic event I remember was dropping a peanut butter jar which held my pet slug which I had brought to school for show 'n' tell. It got sliced in half by the broken jar and I was bawling mess the rest of the way home. That definitely happened.