Well, we have established that I grew up a bit differently than a lot of other kids my age. I talked to my dead sister, I heard thoughts eminating from other peoples' minds. I saw people who were dead... and I saw and felt things that weren't physically there. Not things like a chair, or a book, or even a person. No, nothing normal like that. I mean like clouds of emotions, the presence of "something" other that what was physically present in the room with me - with the family - with friends. I felt and saw"stuff" just like you could reach out and put your hand on it, felt and saw stuff.
We lived in a really neat house. There was a gas fireplace in the living room, a landing at the top and bottom of the staircase that went upstairs, a great porch with a porch swing out front, a creepy walk-in attic, a cozy kitchen, a spooky basement and the dining room had a great big window you could stand at and see the entire back yard. It was an awesome house. I have such fond memories of that house. My first memory of seeing and feeling something no one else saw was in that house. It was the day of my sister's funeral. Back in the 1950's kids didn't go to funerals. It just wasn't done. So, my dear Granma babysat the 3 of us - my brother, my new baby sister and myself. It is a clear distinct memory for me. Granma was standing at the dining room window looking outside at the backyard and telling my baby sister about the birds at the bird feeder and the clouds and all the kinds of things one tells a baby. Moving from the living room into the dining room to talk to Granma, I saw a HUGE black semi-transparent cloud filling the room behind her and the baby. It felt icky and heavy and really sad. When I asked her "Granma, what is that?" pointing at the by now GIGANTIC cloud of darkness, she looked at me with the most puzzled face and asked me what I was looking at. "That's a cardinal. This one is a sparrow," she told me thinking I was asking about the birds. When I protested that I wasn't asking about the birds, she asked me what I was talking about. "The cloud, Granma, the cloud. What is it?" Thinking it was the fluffy white ones floating in the sky outside, she proceeded to try to explain to a not quite 6 year old about real clouds. "NO!!!!! The one behind you, going all over the room!!!!" "There is no cloud. I don't see what you are talking about," she patiently explained. "But, Granma, there's a great big black cloud in the room I can see through!!!!" "Sweetheart, Granma doesn't see it. But, if you do, well, I guess you do," and off she went to change my sister's diaper. Just like that. Basically, it was like she lovingly "humored" her granddaughter because she herself didn't see or feel what I had seen and felt.
That evening, after the funeral, when Mom and Dad came home, Granma told them about me asking about a dark cloud in the dining room. She told them she thought it was probably just a trick of the light coming through the windows in the dining room and that it was nothing to worry about, just me grieving the death of the sister I adored and tried to entertain whenever I could. How do I know this you ask. Well, having missed my folks all day, I snuck down the staircase after I was put to bed to listen to them talking to Granma. I just needed to hear their voices to feel comforted that they were home. They were in the dining room and their voices were easily heard from the staircase in the living room. It struck me that then that what I saw was something that the grown-ups thought was weird, unusual, odd - whatever. Not even 6 years old and feeling weird, feeling different from the rest of the world because I saw and felt a dark cloud that no one else saw or believed that I really saw and felt.
Weird continued on from that day. That was the night Lis started talking to me at bedtime. That was the day that I started perceiving emotions and the ways they can manifest themselves in a household. That was the day that I knew in my heart of hearts that I was always going to be considered a bit weird, different, odd or whatever. It scared the crap out of me to be that different. It was exciting to be that weird, but, it hurt that no one believed me... or, as I found out many years later, that they believed me, but didn't want to say so out loud. My folks were too busy trying to maintain normalcy in the household and grieving privately to have time for a kid who saw things, felt stuff, heard people that weren't there... they didn't have the time, energy or inclination for me to be "weird". I didn't understand why I was having all of these things happen to and with me. They didn't understand or have the patience to either. We were a mess. I was growing more weird by the day. None of us knew what to do with me... and it stayed that way for a long time.