Big Daddy (Joe Reese McDaniel)
When my husband’s elderly grandmother became ill, the family employed a friend of mine to take care of her. Eleanor practically lived with Nanny up until the day she died. I often wondered if Nanny’s house was haunted. I never could determine if it were because Nanny lived alone and the home just felt empty or if because there really was something else there. I decided to ask Eleanor.
“I’m not sure,” she answered with a laugh. “Sometimes I think it is and other times I don’t know. Every now and then, I’ll hear something in the other room and I know no one is there. You know the house is small; you cannot go past one room without anyone in another room seeing you and it’s just me and Nanny here. I’m sitting with her so it can’t be anyone else.”
Several months later, I stopped in to visit. It was just days before Nanny passed away. Eleanor and I went into the living room to talk and as we sat down, she said to me, “I know the house is haunted now.”
“How do you know?” I asked curiously.
Eleanor motioned to the rocking chair I happened to be sitting in at that moment. “Well, I heard something here in the living room one day so I came in to check and although no one was here, that rocking chair was rocking back and forth all by itself like someone was sitting in it. Then it suddenly stopped as if someone stood up from it.
“And, that’s not all,” she went on. “I heard music one afternoon and when I came in here to check, the music box was playing. Someone had wound it up and sat it back down to play. In all of the months I’ve been here, that has never happened before.”
“Which box?” I asked, as Nanny had several scattered about the living area.
“That one,” Eleanor said, as she pointed to a little white floral music box that Big Daddy (my husband’s grandfather and Nanny’s late husband) had given to Nanny as an engagement present after he had proposed.
“It hasn’t done it again, though,” Eleanor stated when I told her the importance of that particular music box. “But you know, Michelle, I think Nanny is going to leave us soon. I think Big Daddy is here to get her.”
“Why would you say that?” I asked. I was pretty sure she was right, as Nanny’s condition had progressively gotten worse over the course of the last couple of weeks.
“Because, sometimes Nanny is staring off into space as if she’s looking at something and I wonder if she’s seeing him. Also, there are a lot of times when I’m asleep I’ll hear someone call my name. I’m a light sleeper, too, so it doesn’t take much to wake me up. Anyway, I’ll hear someone call for me and when I go to check on her, she’s still asleep. It’s like whoever is calling me wants me to check on her.” Eleanor went on, “There were a few times they called my name like it was urgent and when I checked, Nanny was wake and she always needed something.”
“Was it Nanny calling for you?”
“No,” Eleanor answered, “It is a man’s voice.”
My brother-in-law moved into the house shortly after Nanny’s death. He’s since remodeled it and even added an upstairs to the home. Years later, his two sons were telling me they thought the house was haunted. I thought that interesting so I asked why they came to that conclusion.
“We hear someone walking up and down the hallway at night,” Kevin, the older boy, answered.
“Maybe it’s Nanny checking on you?” I said reassuringly.
Kenny, the younger boy disagreed. “Nope, the footsteps are heavy, like a man’s. I was thinking it was Big Daddy checking out the new renovations.”
“It could be your dad,” I offered.
Again, Kenny disagreed. “No, sometimes it’s late at night. My dad isn’t getting out of bed and checking on us at that hour.”
“Besides,” Kevin added, “It’s not just the footsteps. Sometimes you hear things in another room when it’s real quiet or you see something move out of the corner of your eye. It’s just different things.”
I mentioned it to my brother-in-law one time. He’s convinced the boys are only building on my ghost stories. “I figured you told them about Big Daddy and Eleanor,” he stated.
“No, I never, ever, told them anything about that,” I insisted. “I didn’t want to frighten them so I just kept it to myself.”
As if he wasn’t entirely sure I didn’t say something to the boys, my brother-in-law asked, “So how do they know the house is haunted?”
(The music box image is the art of Phillip Light)