There’s something about six-eleven Ogden avenue and the woman inside. From the outside the house looks intimate and cozy but inside there is a cold presence that is difficult to explain. Tall, rectangular windows added to the overall charm of the house and let in just enough light to the rooms below the roof. The roof is high and triangular, layered with light gray shingles that cover the misery inside.
I carry the memory of six-eleven Ogden Avenue deep within me. The numbers appear to me in many forms throughout my day causing me to stop and reflect. I was born and grew up in a broken family in a small town, I lived in silence until I was about fourteen years old, but at that point things changed. The insignificant life of a teenage girl will be permanently altered as the woman from six-eleven Ogden Avenue enters her life.
What was it that made her want to bring children into her home? She worked in the school system so one would think she understood how her actions could affect young minds. It wasn’t my first foster home but it was the one that left the biggest impression on me. The woman inside contributed to my ultimate distrust of adults and people in general. She fueled my delinquency which taught me to break free from the chains of authority that kept me bound for so long.
It’s thirty-two years later and I still can’t shake the memory of Ogden Avenue. My time there was spent behind closed doors which made me intolerant and contemptuous of majority of the human race. I survived only because of my friendship with Penny. She’s hardy and independent. This is to be expected from somebody with her tormented past. Together we survive our time at six-eleven Ogden Avenue but I remain haunted by the memories. I often wonder if she sees six-eleven and remembers how our time spent there changed our young lives forever.

 

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When you give them away, do you know where they go?

Do you know who might touch them? and in what kind of way?

Will they know where they’ve come from? or know their birth name?

Do you think they’ll be cherished? and loved everyday?

When they hurt will you feel it? as if it’s your own

If they cry will you hear them? and tell them it’s okay

If their heart is unhappy do you think you would know?

Maybe one day they’ll see you, and then what will you say?

I did it for you, it was all for the best

You deserved a better life and a much better chance

Maybe they’ll forgive you and accept you again

Even though you sent them away to an unhappy place

Did you know they were beaten? and often unfed?

While your life was easier, theirs was so sad

Could you feel all the sadness? locked in that dark room

While asleep in your own home, the floor was their bed

If you knew all these things, would you do it again?

Would you give them away? or keep them instead

There was so much hurt, things you couldn’t have known

So never give them away, you don’t know where they’ll go

 

Kelly Kasper-Blake 2001

It has been fifteen years since Amelia and Lydia Clack last seen Black Hollow. They wouldn’t even be there now except their grandparents had left them the house when they died. Amelia and Lydia were the only set of twins ever born there in the history of Black Hollow. Their parents didn’t want them to be viewed as an oddity so they moved them away at a very young age. Black Hollow was built strategically at the base of Witch Mountain and it was the home to hippies and eccentrics.

Choosing to leave their hometown, of course, meant they would be outsiders and outsiders weren’t welcome. The twins didn’t have any intention of staying in town for very long so they weren’t worried about what the town folk thought. That would prove to be a mistake that both of them would eventually regret.

Amelia was the oldest twin by six minutes and she was definitely the more confident one of the two. Lydia was shy but she had a few strengths that Amelia didn’t have which is why they made a great team. As they pulled up their grandparent’s house they were in awe of the sheer size and beauty of it. It could easily be the largest house in town and definitely the most elaborate.

They felt like they had just stepped into one of the fairytale stories that their parents used to tell them. As they walk around the house they discover a secret garden and pond filled with various critters. This house would definitely sell fast and then they could quickly return home. As the girls walked around the house they never even noticed the person watching them from the woods. Lydia grabs the suitcases from the car while Amelia unlocks the front door. It has been several months since their grandparents passed so everything inside was coated with dust. They immediately commit to the task of opening up some windows and dusting.

They definitely didn’t want to sleep in their grandparent’s bed tonight so they chose to share the guest room. It was an elaborate room with large wooden furniture and several bookshelves filled to capacity. Lydia walks over to check out some of the titles but most of them were just numbered. She decides she’ll take a closer look later this evening once they have settled in. She leaves to join her sister who had already started setting up the for sale sign in the front yard.

Once the girls do some quick cleaning and unpacking they settle themselves on the couch. Amelia had brought her laptop so that she could work on some writing and Lydia brought a stack of books to read.The girls both sat quietly occupied for several hours until it started to get chilly.

Amelia got up and stretched before she headed over to the fireplace and that is when she noticed the large well-worn book lying open on the mantel. “Hey come over here and look at this.” She tells her sister. “It had better be a hidden treasure or something,” Lydia tells her as she makes her way across the room. Lydia gives her sister an annoyed look and says “It’s just a book!” “I know it’s a book but look closer at the pages,” Amelia says. As Lydia gets closer she notices the pages are filled with drawings and things that appear to be recipes. “I don’t get it.” She says to her sister. “They’re just strange recipes and pictures that make no sense.” Lydia continues. “I think they’re spells,” Amelia tells her.

Is this why their parents moved them away at such an early age? Lydia closes the book to read the title hoping it was some sick joke that they could laugh about later. The book was titled Witch Bones and that definitely didn’t feel like a joke. They quickly skim through it and learn that the book held various spells and secrets from their grandparents. Their grandparents were apparently the last two original practicing witches of Black Hollow.

The girls were shocked at the things the book revealed about this town and their grandparents. For the first time since they arrived, they were actually nervous about being in Black Hollow. The girls were interrupted halfway through the book by a loud knock on the door. Lydia jumped up to answer it and was shocked to see a tiny disheveled woman standing there. “You don’t belong here!” She says as she spits in Lydia’s face. The woman didn’t even wait for a response before she turned away and headed towards the woods. Lydia stands there horrified as she wipes the woman’s spit from her eyes.

“That woman just spit on me!” she screeched. Amelia gets up to go after her but she was long gone. “Let’s just try and make the best of this night by building a nice fire in the fireplace,” Amelia tells her. After splitting a bottle of wine they decided to just hunker down in the living room where it was warm. Amelia was the first one to wake the next morning and noticed blood smeared all over the windows. She tries to wake Lydia up but she wouldn’t budge in fact she didn’t even appear to be breathing. Amelia looks closely at her sister and notices her face is blotchy and her eyes are swollen shut. Lydia was barely breathing and Amelia could only detect a faint pulse.

Somehow Amelia felt the only thing that could help her sister now was her grandparent’s book. She knew that it must have an answer and after checking the table of contents she finds it. It seems as though Lydia had been infected with a poison delivered to her through the woman’s spit. There was an antidote that could easily be given to Lydia but she had to hurry. The poison was rare and could have easily killed any other person but the twins were made from witch bones.

 

 

Foster Care

It is so very difficult to go back and face the past. Wounds that have healed begin to bleed again. My heart hurts and my soul weeps at all the loss that I have suffered throughout the years. Even the good thoughts make me cry because I know I can’t ever go back to that time. I am haunted by so many things but I continue to write. Everyone has a story, but what sets us apart are the little details that we are terrified to reveal. The mistakes, the addictions, and the abuse… that is what I struggle with. I hope that I am able to exhale when I finish writing my life story. Once that story is out then I can write without feeling haunted inside.

Kelly Blake 2017

“Time is the indefinite continued progress of existence and events that occur in apparently irreversible succession from the past through the present to the future.”  From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Time is an ever changing little trickster. Time can be seen flying past us or dragging slowly in front of us but either way we all know that time waits for no one. I think of this simple fact as I continue to write the story of my life. When I first got back in contact with my mother she would often get angry with my responses to her messages. “What do you want from me?” she would ask. I wasn’t sure what I really wanted at first. I wanted answers to so many questions. She would get angry and tell me that she never abandoned us girls and if I couldn’t move on then she didn’t want to talk to me. I don’t tell you this because I want you to be angry with her I am just stating the facts of our conversation. I can see a lot of things from her point of view because I am a lot like her. I know the guilt and suffering from giving up a child. I understand the total lack of control when it comes to drinking and anger. I understand the need to put up walls and push everyone away. I have lived through all of these things just as she has. There is nothing that can be done to change the past which is why I chose to forgive. Forgiveness isn’t about forgetting because I will never forget where I came from and how I got here. So here I am writing my life story and I remember her final answer to my question “Why?”  I know it wasn’t easy for her to admit it to me but she did. She told me that she didn’t really know why everything happened the way that it did. I think she knew I wasn’t really buying that answer so she finally said ” I ran out of time, I thought I had more time to do the things they wanted me to do.”


(My question was why didn’t she ever come back to get us after she got out of jail. Her answer was she ran out of time.) 


The message I want to leave with everyone is – Don’t let time pass you by without doing the important things in life.  Live, Love and Laugh with the special people in your life because you never know when you might run out of time. 


Kelly Blake 2017

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