The basement of my childhood home was not huge, but it did have a few nooks and crannies that made it both an interesting and frightening place to be. In addition to several old wooden wardrobe cabinets and the area under the stairs we had this strange half-built room that occupied about a quarter of the space down there. I am not sure why my father had started building it, but he never finished it and what he did finish became storage. Storage that we continued to add to year after year until one day my Mother said, “no more” and asked me to clean it out.
I did not spend a lot of time back there and I have to admit, I was sort of curious about what was back there, so I dove in full of pep and energy. After two hours I hardly made a dent in the nest of old crutches, outdoor furniture and rusty flagpoles (we were a patriotic family). But something caught my eye deep in the center of this mess. I could see my childhood spring-powered rocking horse. Excited to see my old friend I attacked the pile until I was able to get at him and maneuver him out into the center of the basement. I am happy to announce that he is still with my family and has been enjoyed by multiple generations now.
While removing him from the mess I rubbed up against some very thick blankets that were draped over something. Going back into the tangle I lifted up the covering to find wheels. Not knowing what they were attached to, I tore them off to reveal some ancient baby carriages. I called to my Mother and asked her is I should pull them out. She gave a very affirmative, yes, and told me that these were her carriages from when she was a kid.
I thought by that she meant they were what she rode in as a baby. Instead, I would find out that they were her for her toys. This I would discover the hard way, because when I was able to get them into the weak light of the center of the basement I could see their contents. Dolls! Not just any dolls. Dolls dressed like Nuns in various states of disrepair. Arms and legs at weird angles, but all eyes fixed on me. Judging me.
It was terrifying and when I yelled to my Mom about the scary dolls, she just started laughing. The kind of maniacal laughter that can only come from a childhood of exposure to broken, terrifying nun dolls. I will never forget those baby carriages and their horrible contents and I suggest that if you are ever in a basement and your Mom tells you to retrieve their “cherished” childhood toys, you refuse. Some terrors are best left unseen.
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