Susan Marie Molloy

🌺 Life in the Oasis 🌴


The Visit (A Ghost Story)

The blue skies that day had not a billowy cloud, nor a wisp of one. In fact, it was the kind of day in winter that I most disliked, when cloudless skies meant nothing was holding in the heat. The high that day was 32 degrees Fahrenheit and the low was a biting 17 degrees. I walked to school every day, and in that kind of Chicago weather, that meant a heavy coat, a knit hat pulled down to my eyebrows, and a long wool scarf wrapped around my nose, chin, and neck. My grey rabbit fur gloves and black zip-up boots completed my ensemble.

I was in high school. It was Friday, and school was back in session for the fourth day after Christmas vacation. There was a new class schedule, a new class or two with new teachers to get used to, and the year-long classes resumed with the same teachers.

That day was like most of my high school days: looking forward to lunching with my girlfriends, passing notes with them through the vents in our lockers, getting as much homework done during study hall, and b-o-r-i-n-g gym class. I only liked gym class when we had sports I liked: fencing, tennis, cross country skiing, dance, softball, and the like.

The beginning of that semester found me in trampoline class, around noon. I disliked it immensely, with all that bouncing up, down, around, falling, bouncing up, down— I didn’t see the point.

I was wearing a silver charm bracelet my uncle gave me. It had whale, dog, cat, horse, and bird charms. Sometime during that bouncing up, down, around, falling, I lost the whale charm. I couldn’t find it anywhere in the gym. I was sad about it and hoped someone would find it.

The rest of the school day was nothing special, and before I knew it, I was plodding my way back home in the biting cold, worried about the lost whale charm.

That night, while I was in bed, something caused me to wake up. My bed was directly across the closet. I saw someone – a man, and not my dad – standing there, in dark trousers and a white dress shirt with the sleeves rolled up to his elbows. It looked like my uncle. It was my uncle. I smiled, then laid down with the blanket over my head.

The next morning, my parents were already up and in the kitchen. I went down the stairs, and I heard my brother telling our mom that during the night our uncle was in my brothers’ bedroom by their closet, in dark trousers and in his white shirtsleeves rolled up to his elbows, just like he usually wore his dress shirts.

I didn’t imagine it!

I told my mom the same story as my brother. She told us to say a prayer.

You see, the day before when I was in trampoline class and lost the whale charm off the silver bracelet my uncle gave me, I lost it at exactly the time he passed away. I learned that he passed away when I came home from school, and Mom told me.

Today, it’s 45 years since my uncle passed away. He was 51. And he stopped by the night of the day he passed away to say, “So long.”

©Susan Marie Molloy and all works within.



The Christmas Herons

Over the past couple of weeks, small and large flocks of white herons have been flying over the neighborhood. Late last week, a tiny flock of about a half dozen swooped across the road I was driving on. Around 7 o’clock yesterday morning, we spotted about thirty or forty showing off their Flying V Formation about a block from our cottage.

Each time, I didn’t have my camera ready, so I couldn’t snap a picture. But I’m hoping I’ll time it right one of these days.

My beau now calls these birds “The Christmas Herons,” since so many of them are congregating and flying overhead during this Christmas season, and there are much more now than what we see throughout the year.

There’s something nostalgic-sounding about “Christmas Herons,” and though maybe not so traditional in the traditional sense, from now on we, at least, have our “Christmas Herons.”

Stay tuned. I’m really hoping to snap a picture of an impressive flock of them soon.  Meanwhile, enjoy this photo of one I took last month.

©Susan Marie Molloy and all works within.


Merry Christmas!

Here’s a postcard of Marshall Field’s State Street store in the 1910s, decorated for Christmas.  I miss going to Marshall Field’s, especially around Christmastime and seeing their windows prettily decorated.  The service was top-notch, the merchandise top-shelf, and you really felt special shopping at Field’s.  Now it’s Macy’s, and it’s not the same, not even close.  (Photo courtesy of Chuckman’s Photos, here on WordPress.)

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!



Morning Meditation: Baking and Brewing

Homemade pfeffernüsse  cookies in vintage nut dishes, as presented at the breakfast table.  Coffee brewing.  What time are you coming over?




Date Night: Country Clubbing and a Couple of (Really) Odd Movies

The past couple of days were frenetic, with preparing the Christmas Eve Party menu, cleaning the house, filling orders from our bead shop, and a big landscaping job that ended our week on a delightful note. Then there was the catering to His Lordship and Her Ladyship (our dogs) to satisfy their whims, and the usual mundane things that we all do.

Feeling kind of celebratory since the landscape project went extremely well (more on that in a later blog), we decided to get dressed up and hit the local country club for supper last night. We went out a little later than we usually do when we eat out. Since the temperature was still in the mid-60*F range, we opted for outdoor seating. I brought my shawl along, just in case it got too cool on the veranda.

Imagine our delight that our going out late, closer to sunset, was kismet:
The flare of the sunset smeared the sky with reds, oranges, and pinks. The golf course was serene except for someone looking for golf balls with a flashlight. The lake reflected the sky just right, too. And the air temperature stayed warm enough during our meal, so I didn’t have to wear my shawl.

After eating our entrées, and sharing an apple pan dowdy with French vanilla ice cream for dessert, my beau and I headed back home via a detour to see some neighborhood Christmas lights. Even crawling along at 5 miles per hour didn’t help my picture-taking; they all turned out blurry.

After we had enough of this voyeurism, and realizing we had a string of cars creeping down the streets behind us (whoops!), we found our road and arrived home.

Too tired to read, we decided instead to find an old movie on YouTube. We came across the 1944 film “And the Angels Sing” with Fred MacMurray, Dorothy Lamour, Eddie Foy, Jr., Betty Hutton, et al. It was cute, in its way, to watch MacMurray play the saxophone and sing (!), and it was good to see Lamour in something other than a Road picture, but Hutton was annoying—a show boat screaming a la “Annie Get Your Gun” it was, with her.  I just stared at her musical numbers, thinking “What is wrong with her?” She didn’t fit well in the movie.

We had time to catch a short, whacky 1955 sci-fi flick, “This Island Earth” with a young Russell Johnson (The Professor on “Gilligan’s Island”) and the incomparable Rex Reason (mostly known in the television series “The Roaring ‘20s”.) Though I’m not much for science fiction, it was a scream to stare at the make-up of the aliens that made them look like Beavis and Butthead prototypes with Gorgeous George’s platinum blonde hairdo. Take a look at the pictures below. Am I right?
And so ended our week, our day, our evening. I hope your week was good, and not too whacky.

©Susan Marie Molloy and all works within.