it was a house of spirits

but somehow we always knew

they were a gentle kind of ghosts

who never meant any harm.

They never broke things or

made disturbances

but simple made their

presence known from

time to time,

like the time

when my nephew, Ryan, was a toddler

and was in the living room

alone but talking to someone;

his mother asked him

who he was talking to and

he said “the boy in the ceiling”;

“Oh” I said “He has seen the

house ghost”

We used the term singularly

but I came to believe

we had many such spirits

sharing our house and

gardens on Arleta Avenue.

Once, a girl my youngest son was acquainted

with came to the house and walked

around the back  yard, saying

she sensed a presence and thought

it was an Indian boy.

And once, when Kelly was very

young, a voice called out to him

one night from his bedroom window,

asking him to come out and play.

When he told me about the voice

I said “Just don’t go outside at night”.

Another time, a psychic friend of mine

was visiting and as she sat in the

living room on the sofa, she said “You

know there is a cold spot here”

to which I blandly replied, “so,

sit somewhere else”

I knew the spirits were there;

I knew they enjoyed my presence

amongst them and were happy

with the changes we made to

the old house and the yard.

Everything we planted flourished

and trees grew were none were

planted – simply volunteers.

I surmised that the seeds were

flying about and thought oh,

this looks like a good place

to land.  We had volunteer

peach, loquat and nectarine


We knew that an old couple had

lived in that house at one time

perhaps when the original part

of the house had been built.

I often thought I could sense

a presence when I was working

in the kitchen.

It was a house of spirits and my

heart aches, wondering what has

become of them and whether or

not they are still happy spirits.


Sandra Lee Smith

Originally posted June 17, 2010

Updated October 16, 2018

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