Some of us are gifted with the ability to hold an audience enthralled by merely relating a story. Our Grandmother Letha Mae Potter was one such person. When we were young children we could sit for hours and listen to her sweet voice as it recounted family stories and oral histories of those that had gone before. She had the ability to bring them back to life, so real you could almost reach out and touch them. Many an hour passed as we sat around the gnat smoke she had built out back. These were happy times spent with her as she retold the story of her youth and her family.
As with any proficent storyteller she had her speciality and it was telling ghost stories. These stories could both frighten and fascinate. One such story involved her Aunt Emily. It is necessary before I retell this story to lay some background down. The families back in those days had iron bedsteads that they slept on. The bedsteads were generally hollowed out in the center and pieces of these pipes were fitted together to give the bed frame its shape. Also there had been talk that Uncle Role and Aunt Emily had money that they had hidden in their cabin. Now on to the story:
Word had been sent to our grandmother that Aunt Emily was critically ill and was asking for her. If you have any connection to the mountains you know that these summons are not to be ignored and require your immediate attention. Our grandmother and her husband Willie Cantrell were in Circleville, Ohio working at the time. As soon as word reached her she left and started the long trip home. Unfortunately upon her arrival she was to learn of the death of her aunt. Knowing our grandmother I am sure that this caused her much distress - she had not been able to grant Aunt Emily's last request to come to her before she had died.
At some point shortly after Aunt Emily's death our Grandmother awoke to find her standing at the foot of the bed, smiling and stroking the iron bedstead upon which our grandmother slept. This vision scared her so badly that she pulled the cover over her head and laid there trembling waiting for the arrival of morning. The next day she convinced herself that what she had experienced was either a nightmare or a delusion.
The next night she awoke once again to see Aunt Emily standing at the foot her bed stroking the iron bedstead. Once again the cover was swiftly pulled over her head and she lay there waiting for the arrival of the sun. This day it was harder to convince herself that what she had saw was not real. As evening approached she was praying that there would be no reappearance of Aunt Emily.
As in the past two nights she was awakened to find Aunt Emily standing at the foot of her bed. She was once again stroking the iron bedstead and smiling at our Grandmother. At this point Willie Cantrell our Grandmother's husband said, "Ask her what she wants Letha, she has been here the last three nights". Immediately upon Willie speaking Aunt Emily disappeared and never returned.
Years later our grandmother finally was able to decipher the meaning of Aunt Emily's visits. The money that had been the talk of the 'Flats was hidden in the bedstead!
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