My friends and I sometimes meet in Savannah, Georgia for three-day weekends, with the kiddies and everything. We haven’t been able to do it in over a year, but when we get together it’s a good time. After pooling our resources, which really isn’t a whole lot, we get a reasonably priced hotel for the sleeping part of the trip and toss our bags into the room before heading out to walk the through squares and stroll up and down River Street.
*cue the baying wolves and eerie fog sweeping off the Savannah River*
Well, not really. We usually walk around during the daytime when stores are open and places are more child-friendly. The scariest thing about experiencing River Street in the sunlight is the smell of the river itself, a combination of the waft of the nearby paper mill and the fresh-pulled taffy inside two, count ‘em TWO, candy shops along the walkway.
It’s a sweet stench and isn’t all that bad, but definitely noticeable. You get used to it.
River Street is home to a small place called Moon River Brewing Company. It’s a pretty popular stop for the throngs of people who visit Savannah. Right outside the front door is a gorgeous view of the river straight ahead that gives tourists an up-close look at the many barges and container ships that use the river as a kind of highway, shipping goods via the tourist route.
During one such weekend in Savannah, my friends and I decided to eat lunch at Moon River. I remember hearing once about a supposed haunting in the building, but really couldn’t bring to mind any specifics. We sat a table near the staircase and placed our orders. Then it hit me…
Moon River had been featured on the hit television show Ghost Hunters a year or so before we walked into the place for the first time. I vaguely recall hearing about the upstairs section being roped off because of unexplained activity. Not the kind of activity that makes the floorboards creak and the doors slam. This kind of activity was of the something unseen just pushed a woman down the stairs kind.
And so it’s roped off. Even a number of contractors and their teams who were scheduled to renovate the upstairs section of the building have walked off the job. I can’t even make myself describe to you the video I saw of the upstairs pool table…
Oh, forget it! I’m not sleeping tonight.
So what brings all this up? Two things: Halloween and my grandmother’s birthday (which was on October 25th). My grandmother passed away in 1989 and because my family lived in Italy until 1984, I only had a few years with her. I remember spending the night with Grandma Charlotte in her apartment in West Allis, Wisconsin, and staying up to watch television. Grandma had her nightly TV schedule and never really seemed to be bothered by the fact that her two young grandchildren were around and probably not quite mature enough or able to keep from freaking the EFF out to watch what she wanted to watch.
Sure, I could handle seeing a few extra innings in the Milwaukee Brewers ballgame but was it necessary to watch Tales From the Darkside while the kiddies were five feet away? Every night after the ballgame, that show would come on and scare the wits out of me. I can’t speak for my brother, but I can honestly tell you that I only pretended to be asleep. I’ve never been a good sleeper. But those nights gave me an opportunity to catch my grandmother in her least guarded moments – poised in front of her television and totally into the whole other worldly thing, smiling to herself or laughing quietly so as to not wake up my brother and me. I loved watching Grandma Charlotte.
Mom says Grandma Charlotte believed in things unseen and was really into the whole spiritual world. I’ve been told stories about Grandma’s supposed premonitions and how she was fascinated by what we don’t know about the other side of things, the other side of life and death.
Grandma Charlotte, how I wish I could take you somewhere special for your birthday. I could get to know you again and have a chance to add just one more day to the short amount of five years’ time I was given with you. I’d take you out for lunch and a slice of birthday cake. Remember, I’m an October baby, too. We could celebrate together.
And I know the perfect place.