My Mother was Superstitious ~ Dreams ~ Tales from the Dark Side

I thought I would spend these next 3 weeks leading up to Halloween telling stories of things that happened in not only my childhood, but in the lives of my Ancestors that helped form most of my mothers superstition beliefs or were a result of her beliefs, the ones she tried to pass down to my sister and me. I hope you will enjoy them and even get a laugh or two out of them.

Superstition -” A Friday night’s dream on a Saturday told will always come true no matter how old!”

Aunt Nellie

In 1966 while we were living in Tucson Arizona my Dad received a phone call that one of his twin sisters, Nellie, just had a heart attack. Apparently it was a bad one, and they didn’t expect her to live more than a couple of weeks. It was a Thursday evening and the decision was made to leave the next morning and drive to Seattle Washington as quickly as possible. Because of the urgency, my parents decided to drive straight through, with them taking turns driving. The next morning we left before the sun came out and started the long 1650-mile one way trip.

The Long Trip

We headed toward Los Angeles so we could take Highway 5 straight up to Washington. My Dad and Mom took turns driving for 8 hours each. First my Dad drove while my mom slept then my mom drove so my Dad could sleep and so forth. My sister and I sat in the back seat reading, playing games, watching the scenery and sleeping. About 10 pm that Friday evening my mom woke up and took the wheel and my Dad found a comfortable way to recline, and he was soon asleep. My sister and I also fell asleep. It was hard to stay asleep because my mom had a horrible habit of whistling. It was never a tune, just a sound and it was never loud enough to actually hear it, but it was loud enough to be annoying. In the quiet of the car it made sleeping next to impossible, at least for me.

I guess I finally did fall asleep at some point because all of a sudden we were all 3 jarred from our slumber by a horrifying scream. The sun was just coming up over the Western Mountain range illuminating the gorgeous pine trees and making the sky appear red. Of course it was hard to enjoy these beauties because there was my mom, sitting in the front driver’s seat, both hands on the wheel, holding it so tightly her knuckles were white. She had brought the vehicle to a complete stop, and she had a look of terror on her face like none I had ever seen before. She just sat there screaming to the top of her lungs. My Dad tried everything to try to calm her down, and he even tried prying her hands from the wheel. Nothing helped. Looking behind us there was a line of cars and trucks piling up for miles and some of them were honking their horns. Remember this was the mid 60s, and there was only a one lane road going in both directions. There were no passing lanes. My Dad climbed out of the car, walked around to the driver’s side, opened the door and literally picked my mom up off the seat. He had to yell at her to get her to turn loose of the wheel. Finally, he was able to carry her around to the passenger seat and put her in the car. He then reached into the glove box and pulled out a large handkerchief and made a blindfold out of it. Once he made sure it was securely in place he then got in the car, and he drove off. It still took about 10 minutes for my mom to quit screaming. All my sister and I could do was to hold our hands over our ears.

When we got to the next town we stopped at a rest area and my Dad had us all get out of the car. After eating sandwiches for breakfast my sister finally ask “What happened?” My mom just shook her head and looked pathetically at my Dad. He told us that she had always been afraid of heights and never liked driving through any mountains. That night we had driven over the Sexton Mountain Pass just north of Grants Pass Oregon which was about 2000 in elevation. My mom had driven all night through mountainous roads but because of the darkness she didn’t realize it. Once the sun started to come up she could see where she was driving and panicked.

My Dad then told us that this is not the only thing that had frightened my mom. Apparently about a month before this, on a Friday night, she had a dream that she was driving down a foggy road, and she ended up having a bad accident. As a result she lost her legs. She then told my Dad about the dream the next day. This is where the Superstition comes in. Mom believed ” A Friday night’s dream on a Saturday told will always come true no matter how old!” She was convinced that she was going to have an accident and lose her legs. It didn’t matter that in her dream she was driving alone and on a flat road, she had told her Friday night dream on a Saturday so she was doomed! From then on, all the way to Seattle and then all the way back home again, my Dad drove. We did stop for the night on the way back so we could rest. My mom rode the entire rest of the trip with the blindfold on.

My Aunt Nellie did get better and went on to live a long and happy life!

Here are some more Superstitions that my mother had:

If you lose an eyelash make a wish then blow it away

If you bite your tongue while eating, it is because you have recently told a lie

It is bad luck to open an umbrella inside

Do you or anyone in your family have a Superstition? I would love to hear about them.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

In My Wildest Dreams

Ok, this title sounds kind of strange coming from a Genealogist. It does make you wonder what kind of dreams do people in this profession have and why would they write a blog about it?

bg-dreamcloudActually, this blog is about a dream that I would love to have come true! A couple of weeks ago I was walking through the cemetery where my grandson is buried. We live close by, so quite often I walk over, and I spend time looking at the headstones and the flowers left by loved ones. I find it peaceful and it gives me a chance to just think. This cemetery was built-in 1883, a youngster compared to other parts of the country. There are many types of headstones of various shapes and sizes. I sometimes contemplate as to why the family chose this particular one. I may be odd, but these things fascinate me.

I came across a headstone and thought “If only I could find one like this in my family!”. IElla McGowan Smith headstone have been cross-country, visiting the cemeteries of my ancestors and taking photos. They usually look like the one I posted here. This is my Grandma Smiths stone. It is very plain and has just the basic information on it. Name, Date of Birth and Death and the word “Mother” on it. Don’t get me wrong I was thrilled to find it in a little graveyard in Buckner Missouri. But it was nothing like the one I just found.

Digital CameraLet me introduce you to Rosalie Nichols Woods. In this one headstone, I was able to garner quite a bit about her and her family. First, her maiden name was Nichols. Second. Her husbands’ name was Murray Edwin. Third, since there is no death date on Murray’s’ side, I assume he is still alive. Fourth, the date they got married, June 6, 1947, is included on the front as well as the normal dates of birth and death. This gave me a small look into their lives.

I walked on by and I happened to look behind me and there it was….my dream. On the Digital Camerabackside of the stone was listed the names of their 6 children and their spouses! 3 boys and 3 girls. What a nice, big family they had. I then started thinking of all my deceased ancestors where I have had problems verifying a family connection because I don’t have some of the children/sibling’s names or marriage date. With this headstone, there would be no doubt of the connection. I wonder if Rosalie loved Genealogy.

What is your “wildest dream” when it comes to Genealogy?



I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.