My Great Grandparents Home

16 July 2018 | Your True Encounters

My great grandparents spent their entire lives in Johnstown, Pa, a city once vibrant and thriving thanks to the steel mills of of Andrew Carnegie and the like, but has been in slow gradual decline as many cities are now a days. On May 31, 1889 there was a massive flood when the South Fork dam broke killing around 2,200 people.

My great grandfather was a hardworking man, he dropped out of school when he was just 12 to help support his family. He got a job at a local glass factory and worked there for the rest of his life, except the three years he spent in the South Pacific during WW2. When he came home, him and my great grandmother bought a tiny 3 bedroom house in 1945 and moved in. I didn’t come into the picture until 1983, 11 months after my brother Eddie. The first great grandchildren, and not nearly the last. My first memory is of that house, I was in the bathroom and staring at the yellow wallpaper with whimsical cherubs taking baths. Every time I visited my great grandparent’s, I always felt there was something watching me and my brother as we played especially in the garage.

The garage was below the main house. In fact you had to walk up a long thin staircase which at the time had no railing, from the garage to enter the house. Since there was not a lot of space to play upstairs, Eddie and me would play in the basement. We would stare in wonder at my great grandfathers immaculate 1941 Dodge Town Sedan as if it were an ancient relic and play with a box of toys from both my grandfathers and my fathers childhood, which would now all be worth a fortune if they still existed.

From the time I was 4 to the age of 7, we went every Sunday with my grandparents to visit my great grandparents so my folks could take a break from having two rambunctious children running around. Well, we would play with the battling tops, and and jack in the box laughing and enjoying ourselves. We would stop every once and a while to look around as we had felt a breeze as if someone had come into the room. When we saw nothing we would usually just continue to play our games.We would put toys aside and they would move, we would not be able find them. My brother and I would argue about if one of us was tricking the other, but would agree there was no way this could have been done, as we were in each other eyesight the entire time. We would later find the toy hidden somewhere in the garage we had not been anywhere near.

To this day, me and my brother are not sure how this came about, as we were so very young, but we decided that we had an imaginary friend that played with us at Great granpaps house. His name was Donald and he was bigger than us, but very nice. We never played with him anywhere else but in that garage, and boy did we play! Hide and go seek, the aforementioned battling tops, we put on puppet shows, performing fairy tales and fables our mother and grandmothers told us, setting up massive block buildings only to know them down. My brother, me and Donald always had a great time. The only time he seemed to get upset was when we were on the stairs. He wanted us to be careful and we could feel him tense up when we went up and down the steps.

It slowly occurred to our family that my brother and I were not the only ones in the basement. They would hear us speak about Donald and they assumed he was just imaginary and put no thought into it, but when my brother and I would come upstairs and recite stories stories that there was no way we could have known (The babes in the woods, by the Grimm Brother stands out specifically) and using slang we would have never heard (fiddlesticks, dilly, duck soup, etc. ) and my family started to get a little more curious. Saying to each other that is was like when my dad and his brother Marty played in the garage. Didn’t they have an imaginary friend? And didn’t my Grandfather and my Aunt Debbie talk to someone? My Grandfather said he did not remember. I don’t know if they ever asked my Dad. But the adults didn’t seem to concerned as long as we were all playing nicely.

The day of the accident came like any other Sunday before, I was six. Eddie and I had been visiting upstairs and eating lunch. We were excused and went downstairs to play, I was excited because I had gotten a new coloring book and I wanted to show Donald a picture of a horse I had colored for him. I am person who now has the grace of an uncoordinated house cat, so its fair to say my skills to walk down a flight of stairs and flip through a coloring book at the age of six left something to be desired. After going taking about five steps, I missed the next step and fell off the unrailed stairs onto the concrete garage floor, appox. 10 feet below. I am going to quote my brother Eddie for this portion of the story. “I have played that moment back a thousand times in my mind, and every time, I grabbed you before you fell, I caught your leg as you were falling, but I didn’t. I saw you dropped like a stone and crumple into a heap on the floor below before I could even yell for help.”

Eddie did not grab me, but something did. I felt it. I felt a hand grab my ankle and tell me to put my arms in front of my face. The next thing I remember is waking up with my grandmother sobbing and my grandfather telling her not to move me. I broke my left arm and had a mild concussion but no other injuries, the doctor said it was a miracle. I should have broken my neck or cracked my skull. I know Donald had saved my life and for that I have always been grateful. I thanked him the next time we went to that home. I think he said your welcome.

My great grandparents finally put a rail on the stairs shortly after the fall. Eddie and I still played in the basement, and Donald was still there. As we got older we didn’t play downstairs as much. When I was 7 my Mom, Dad brother and I eventually moved out of state to California. We didn’t visit my great grandparents again until I was 12. I have never seen Donald again.
But he is still there, every one of my cousins who visited that home and played in that basement had an imaginary friend named Donald. My great grandmother shrugged and said she supposed Donald had come with the house. When my Great grandparents passed away and we sold the house about 10 years ago. The people who bought the house had grand children. I hope Donald is happy to have more children to play with.

A few years ago on a whim, I decided to look a little deeper into the home I have so many happy memories in. The home was built in 1893 and it always had a treacherous staircase. In the early 1903, a male child died after falling off the stairs. The last name of the family was Weber, but try as I might, I could not confirm the first name. But I know in my heart It has to be Donald.


Submitted by Amanda R to Weird Darkness and My Haunted Life Too

© 2024, G. Michael Vasey & My Haunted Life (Unless indicated otherwise by author’s own copyright above). All rights reserved.

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