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
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
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