1975 Kim HauntedAs a young child, I often feared creatures lurking in dark shadows. My bedroom closet ran under the eaves of the roof and into the depths of the attic. Here lived a number of gruesome, horrific beasties – monsters that scared the bejeezus out of me.

My father claimed they were squirrels.

Only the light kept the monsters at bay. After dark, I’d hit the switch, get a running start and leap to the safety of my lace canopy bed. I had to keep my feet away from the edge. This kept the gremlins from dragging me to the underworld by my ankles. Obviously. Each morning proved it so.

Sometimes the wind howled off the murky waters of Lake Erie. The skeleton white branches of the birch would scrape and claw at my window. Or was it the birch? I’d lay in my bed, covers overhead, eyes squinched shut against the darkness as I wished away the demons.

Today I turn 40.  Not much has changed. But with age comes wisdom and I know this to be true. My father was wrong.

The gremlins aren’t squirrels and they are very, very real.