Art ~ Writing ~ Life

From Handprints To Footprints

Going On My Own

January 15, 2019
Lola Gentry-Dey

I plan to leave Art-Writing-Life and park my writing and art at my own blog again. Not sure what I will call the site or when I’ll do this—probably February or March—but I’m ready to go it alone again. I am feeling healthier and the cancer is in remission, and my muse is percolating with poem and story ideas.

I appreciate Steve letting me move in and being my blog’s caretaker after I told him about my cancer discovery. From a passion he has for independent artists and writers, he felt it necessary to keep my contributions alive should I die, not sitting in cyberspace limbo, forgotten.

Is my writing and art worth showing to the world? I have my doubts. But too many people tell me otherwise. So here I go, baby steps, on my own again, with support from people who care about and love me.

Vree’s Journal Entry 6

August 13, 2017
Steve Campbell

It took me a while to dig up this information. Here it is:

Balen Renfrew, My Wizard Uncle

Balen James Renfrew is my maternal grandmother’s 45-year-old son. He has thick, dark-brown hair, beard stubble (he calls it 5 o’clock shadow—he always looks like he needs to shave before the end of the day), dark blue eyes that sometimes look black, and very white teeth, which shows often when he smiles. He has a thin build but is strong. I saw him once without a shirt and he had a well-toned chest and muscular arms. And he walks with a small limp—he favors his right leg.

He often wears buttoned shirts with collars and sharp-pressed trousers, though he does wear jeans. His shoes, however, are dark brown leather oxfords, and his socks are black. Oddly, when the weather cools, he wears a long, knitted gray scarf around his neck.

Balen is a wizard with limited magic. He can move small objects with his mind, see an hour into the future (in short flashes and not always clearly), communicate/converse aloud and silently with animals, see auras (energy fields), hover up to 3’ off the ground for almost 5 minutes, leave his body and travel in spirit to locations less than a mile away, sense psychic impressions (vibrations) left on an object by someone connected with it, and sense the needs, drives, and emotions of people nearby. Really weird and unsettling is how well he can communicate mind-to-mind with me, read my thoughts and hear me when we’re miles apart, and how quick he can start fires with his mind.

Although he is 45 years old by mortal standards, his wizard blood has slowed his aging and he looks younger. (At 100, he will hardly look any older.) His eyes, however, reveal the truth, if you look hard enough. Because he lives on Myers Ridge, he battles every second the effects of the curse a witch named Margga Dekownik unleashed years ago. He has to take a special medicine to survive the curse and not lose his magic to it.

Since wizards can live to be 800+ years old—Balen is a child at 45. By comparison, his father Trevor Renfrew is in his “senior citizen” years at 693. Like many wizards, Trevor Renfrew has the unique ability to appear a tenth of his age for every 100 years. When my grandmother lived with him, she discovered his true age after Balen’s birth and felt deceived by his dishonesty. When she left Balen in his care, he raised the boy in Paris, France. Balen returned to his birthplace three years ago and moved to Myers Ridge three months later, secretly watching over his birth mother, his half-sister Karrie, and me.

Balen has 2 stepsisters and a stepbrother sired by Trevor: Phoebe is 516, birthed by Trevor’s first wife Bianca (who died from complications while giving birth), Dextra is 475 and Julius is 401—both birthed by Trevor’s second wife Floris (who presides over the Council of Magic).

Balen lives in a double-wide trailer on a tiny parcel of property along Russell Road on Myers Ridge, though he is tremendously wealthy, with 90 million dollars in various banks, local and abroad—wealth given him by his father, earned and stolen over the years. His father and stepmother belong to the Council of Magic that executed Margga and imprisoned her ghost/spirit to Yalendora. I accidentally released Margga’s spirit to return to Myers Ridge where she tormented my friend Lenny Stevens and his family and tried killing them before she destroyed herself while fighting me for my psychic powers.

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Vree’s Journal Entry 5

December 16, 2016
Steve Campbell

Lightning struck Grandma Lybrook when she was 4 years old while she fished with her father at the backside of Alice Lake; the strike left her with low-grade psychic ability, which she kept hidden and secret from us until I saw it psychically. Her psychic ability allows her to see ghosts and other creatures invisible to everyone but me.

Earlier I revealed that she lived a secret life. She has a son—Balen Renfrew—from a relationship with Trevor Renfrew, a young wizard she met while at college. She befriended Trevor while attending college at New Cambridge University. Trevor saw potential of developing her magic to greatness, but she feared possessing a power her father called Satanic. (Grandma had a strict religious upbringing that kept her from talking to her parents about her abilities. This made her seem shy and awkward around them and others who poked fun at her. Trevor made her feel better about herself and helped her develop confidence while at college.)

Grandma lived off campus with Trevor at their apartment above an occult bookstore that he owned. Though Trevor supported her financially, Grandma worked as a cook and meal server at a nearby Pizza Hut after classes. During her third year, she dropped out of school when she became pregnant. She gave her son Balen the last name Renfrew, though she and Trevor never married.

Her parents refused to support her financially and emotionally, so Trevor paid off her student loan and helped raise their child for 3 years. Grandma returned working as a part-time cook and meal server at some of the local bars and clubs.

One day when Balen levitated a lamp and broke it, he struck back with magic that almost killed Grandma when she scolded him. She left the child with his father and sat at the local bus station deciding where to go. That’s when she met Jack Lybrook, a business classmate from college who had majored in agriculture and owned a small dairy farm on Myers Ridge in Ridgewood. His car was in the shop, so he had taken the bus to visit his parents in New Cambridge. He invited her to a cup of coffee and lunch at his parents’ place. She accepted.

Later, with nowhere to go because of the friction between her and her parents, Grandma told Jack her predicament of being homeless, though she omitted having a son and psychic abilities. Jack took her in and she worked at his farm. He convinced her to return to college. They married after she graduated with a degree in business, whereupon she ran the business end of the farm. She and her parents reconciled their relationship and she never saw Balen and his father again.

Psychics and Luminaries

The white crow Enit Huw (pronounced ee’-nit ho’-ew) calls me a Luminary, a term I prefer over psychic.

Enit Huw, is a mysterious white crow with black eyes and beak. His magic is limited to transporting himself through space to locations in and around Ridgewood, and seeing beyond the third dimension. Lenny’s paternal grandmother told him that Enit Huw is the soul of time—past, present, and future, and brings hope for healing and new beginnings in life. He appeared twice to Lenny’s grandmother; his third appearance was the sign of Margga’s end—at my hand.

He visits me rarely, which is good since his visits so far have been to warn me of danger. Unfortunately, though, he is often sketchy on his information about whom or what the danger is.

The book of magic that Margga stole from the Council mentions the word Luminary and uses it to describe powerful sorcerers and magicians whose bodies produce light. My body glows white when I’m excited or nervous. It’s hard to hide such a condition from others, especially when I’m with Lenny and he happens to touch me.

Talks with Grandma have revealed that my powers came from ancestors on my maternal family tree, which were unlocked when lightning struck me. I am recording her information here for future reference.

My Maternal Family Tree, at a glance

Joseph and Hendrika Groot
(My maternal great-great-great-great-great-grandparents)
begat 2 children

Daughter Mina Groot
(My great-great-great-great-grandmother)
married to Baltisar Andersson
begat 7 children

Daughter Ruth Andersson
(My great-great-great-grandmother)
married to Jonathan Kaufmann
begat 2 children (sons)

Youngest son Joseph Kaufmann
(My great-great-grandfather)
married Helen Baker
begat 5 children (daughters)

Daughter Adali Kaufmann
(My great-grandmother)
married to James Doyle
begat 4 children

Evelyn Doyle
(My grandmother)

lived with Trevor Renfrew
begat 1 child: son, Balen Renfrew

married to Jonathan “Jack” Lybrook
begat 1 child: daughter, Karrie

Karrie Lybrook
(My mother)
married to Charles Erickson
begat 3 children

My Family Line of Psychics

(Relations with known psychic/magic abilities are listed in bold.)

  • Josef and Hendrika Groot had 2 children: Rutger Groot and Mina Groot;
  • Mina Groot, whom at 13 married Baltasar Andersson, 16, (139 years ago), had 7 children, of which daughter
  • Ruth Andersson, whom at 17 married Jonathan Kaufmann (112 years ago), had 2 sons, of which son
  • Joseph Kaufmann, whom at 23 married Helen Baker (87 years ago), had 5 daughters, of which daughter
  • Adali Kaufmann, whom at 19 married James Doyle (68 years ago), had 4 children, of which daughter
  • Evelyn Doyle, struck by lightning, whom at 19 had 1 son with wizard Trevor Renfrew (45 years ago), of which son
  • Balen Renfrew is half-mortal, half-wizard and has limited magic;
  • Evelyn Doyle, whom at 27 married Jonathan Lybrook (37 years ago), had 1 child, of which daughter
  • Karrie Lybrook, whom at 21 married Charles Erickson (16 years ago), had 3 children, of which daughter
  • Verawenda Erickson, (me), struck by lightning at 13, has psychic/magic ability.

Timeline, Josef Groot to Me

  • Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Grandfather Josef Groot, b. 173 years ago, deceased;
  • Great-Great-Great-Great-Grandmother Mina Andersson née Groot, b. 152 years ago, deceased;
  • Great-Great-Great-Grandmother Ruth Kaufmann née Andersson, b. 129 years ago, deceased;
  • Great-Great-Grandfather Joseph Kaufmann, b. 110 years ago, deceased;
  • Great-Grandmother Adali Doyle née Kaufmann, b. 87 years ago, alive, lives at Alice Lake’s Lakeview Living Center;
  • Grandmother Evelyn Lybrook née Doyle, b. 64 years ago, alive, lives at weird farmhouse on Myers Ridge;
  • Mother Karrie Erickson née Lybrook, b. 37 years ago, alive, lives with Grandma on Myers Ridge;
  • Me, Vree Erickson, b. 13 years ago, still alive, I live with Mom at Grandma’s weird farmhouse on Myers Ridge.

Brief Family History

Mina Groot Andersson and her husband Baltasar had seven children. They lived in Ridgewood and were influential members of the community before Baltasar killed a man and went to prison. After their youngest child was old enough, Mina left home for a nunnery. She stayed there until her death. Mina had telepathic powers. She prophesized her husband’s act of murder, along with other prophesies, including the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and the sinking of the Titanic. Her daughter Ruth could also see future events. Ruth’s son Walter was a vaudeville magician who could move objects with his mind. His brother Joseph claimed to see and speak to spirits. Psychic abilities in my family stopped with Walter and Joseph until lightning triggered them in Grandma Evelyn. But she suppressed them and let them die. Then lightning struck me and triggered them in me.

Journal Entry 6

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Vree’s Journal Entry 4

December 11, 2016
Steve Campbell

Leonard “Lenny” Stevens is my best friend Zoey’s big brother. He’s a handsome boy, with dreamy dark brown (chocolate) eyes and thick, burnt sienna hair. He stands around 5’ 7” tall and weighs 125-130 pounds. He is older—15, born July 5, a day that he and his family know also as “Margga’s Curse” because of a witch’s spirit that killed his great-grandparents on that day a long time ago.

Lenny

Lenny works helping my maternal grandfather Jack Lybrook do yard work and odd jobs at my house. The house used to belong to a bad—as in evil with a capital E—witch named Margga (marj-guh’) Dekownik, who inherited it from her father, Ludwik Dekownik.

About Margga Dekownik

According to Lenny, his paternal great-grandfather, Reginald Myers, and Ludwick were neighbors on Myers Ridge and best friends. They hunted together until Reginald accidentally shot and killed Ludwick on July 5 while hunting in the woods behind the 2 houses. Ludwick’s only daughter Margga Dekownik was a self-proclaimed witch who swore vengeance for her father’s death. She conjured magic that killed Reginald and his wife Kate and spellbound their ghosts to Myers Ridge. I met both ghosts after my release from the hospital.

The Fifth Council House of Magic sentenced Margga to a 1,000-year incarceration, but she escaped, stole a valuable spell book from the Council, and used a powerful spell from its pages to create a plague that drained 90% of magic from all creatures within a thousand-mile radius of Myers Ridge—including members of the Council. A protection spell she put on herself saved her from the plague. The Council called on other councils and obtained enough magic to capture her. They stripped her of her protection spell and added to her incarceration, but were unable to lift the spell on Lenny’s great-grandparents. She was killed during another escape attempt. The powers of spirit law bound her spirit to serve imprisonment in Yalendora (a deep, underground abyss reserved for evildoers, similar to the underworld Hades in Greek mythology) for 2,000 years.

Meanwhile, Reginald and Kate Myers’s daughter sold the house and moved from Myers Ridge. The Council left too and never recovered the spell book Margga hid inside her father’s house. I found the book after my release from the hospital and was able to read some of the spells. One of the spells released Margga’s spirit from her imprisonment.

The dusty black spell book is actually an old, oversized log book that has no title on its hard leather cover. Its pages are askew and filled with numbers and strange figures, like secret code, which are predictions written as poems, spells written as songs, and some strange recipes that I’m sure no one would want to eat. I’m the only one who can read the book, when it reveals itself to me. When it doesn’t, the pages are riddled with numbers and strange figures. Having the book has been a blessing and a curse.

Speaking of curses, Margga revived hers and tried to kill Lenny and Zoey but I stopped her. She attacked me and tried to kill me for my psychic abilities. I had no choice but to defend myself and strike back. I destroyed her spirit and saved Lenny and his family from suffering her curse any longer.

Some of My Psychic Powers

Lightning struck me and, IMHO, unlocked strong psychic abilities in me. I believe everyone has degrees of psychic powers in them, but some people are more “gifted” (or cursed) than others, the same way some of us are naturally inclined towards music or mathematics, for example. The lightning changed me and made me aware of these abilities in me.

  • When Daddy came to me during my coma, he told me I was in a coma. I believe my “astral body” separated itself from my physical body, allowing me to travel out-of-body to meet with his spirit in the astral plane. This is called Astral or Mental Projection.
  • Though Precognition or Premonition is described as perceiving events in flashes of detailed insight before they happen, I hear buzzing sounds before strange events happen.
  • Retrocognition or Post-Cognition is the ability to see past events. I can do this only when I touch people. It isn’t something I do purposely … it just happens.

Psychic abilities are also known as extrasensory perception (ESP) and sixth sense. There are many kinds and I am slowly discovering and developing new ones.

But when I fought Marrga Dekownik’s spirit, I knew little about psychic phenomena, so I questioned my sanity a lot during that time.

I See Ghosts and Spirits

Mediumship or Channeling is the ability to see and talk to ghosts and spirits. My first experience was when I was in a coma and saw and spoke to my father’s spirit. Some people who study psychic phenomena say this was a precognitive dream. I disagree. But it was no dream when I saw Daddy’s spirit again in my bedroom after I came home from the hospital; I was wide awake.

The difference between ghosts and spirits is who is stuck on Earth and who has crossed the astral plane. Ghosts are stuck here for whatever reason, and spirits have left our earthly plane and travel the spirit world. Some spirits return to Earth from time to time, but not often because it’s a difficult process.

Having ghosts and spirits pop in and out is something I cannot control. And I cannot beckon them to appear. I always thought channeling was done on purpose by psychics to earn money from customers who wished to speak to their dearly departed. This isn’t so … in my case anyway. It’s unnerving when they appear unannounced. And it creeps me out every time.

Journal Entry 5

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Vree’s Journal Entry 3

December 3, 2016
Steve Campbell

“I was nine years old, down on the backside of Alice Lake, fishing with my dad one summer day,” Grandma Lybrook said to me in my pink and purple attic bedroom. “I never knew what happened until after I awoke in his arms. He was crying, and he nearly broke me in half when he hugged me.” Grandma tightened her embrace around my shoulders. “I still remember my confusion and the pain after I was struck. The lightning had burned my back where it hit me. I was numb and couldn’t walk, so my dad carried me to his truck and drove me home. For several weeks, I had strange dreams and I thought I saw ghosts. I even saw strange-looking dogs prowling the grounds.”

“Were they big and black with red eyes and bull horns on their heads?”

Grandma loosened her embrace. “You too, huh? Well, they’re not real. They’re visions caused by your brain healing from the lightning. You’ll stop seeing them after a while, just like I stopped seeing them.”

“Don’t you find it odd that we’ve both seen them?” I asked.

“It’s all part of the healing process.” Grandma took my right hand in her left one.

That’s when she and my bed and the bedroom vanished

I tried to be my quietest when I closed the apartment’s front door, but the click of the latch seemed like a gunshot. I held my breath as I leaned my forehead against the door’s cool wood. Would Trevor awaken this very moment and find me gone? Or would Balen awaken in his crib and alert his father that I had abandoned them?

What sort of mother abandons their baby?

I held the doorknob in my grip and willed myself not to cry. Not now. There would be plenty of time to cry later. Now was a time to be levelheaded and leave before I changed my mind.

All my young adult life had been spent running away from my past, searching for the real me. Trevor had been certain living a life of magic would be best for me. But when Balen levitated the lamp last night, I knew I would never be comfortable with that kind of life.

I released the knob, crept down the stairs to the double glass doors of the vestibule, and entered the seven a.m. crawl of college students, professors, and campus workers along Maple Boulevard. I turned away from faces and automobiles that looked familiar and hurried to and out the black iron front gate of New Cambridge University. I buttoned my green wool coat to keep out the March wind blowing at me while I pressed on toward the bus station two blocks away. Once I made it to the bus station and had my ticket to Bakers View, I would call Sara and let her know I was on my way. Going home was out of the question. Would father ever forgive me for leaving our faith, falling in the traps of magic, becoming pregnant out-of-wedlock, and dropping out of the religion classes that he had paid for?

The Greyhound bus station was dimly lit but warm. My bus was scheduled to leave in fifteen minutes. Would Trevor know I was here?

I sat in the hard plastic seat near the loading doors, stared at the snack vending machine next to the cigarette machine, and wished I had brought some nickels and dimes with me. But I had put all my coins in Balen’s piggy bank last night, and the billfold in my purse contained only a few bills left from my last paycheck from O’Brien’s Bar.

A tall young man exited the phone booth next to the cigarette machine and dropped a white piece of folded paper. He seemed unaware of the paper on the dark tile floor. Was it important?

“You dropped something,” I said to him.

He looked at me with pleasant eyes that seemed as black as the long, wool duffel coat he wore. Unlike other men his age, his dark brown hair was short and he sported no sideburns or beard of any kind.

I pointed a forefinger at the paper. He held his gaze on me and his expression turned to curiosity and then to recognition.

“Evelyn Doyle. Hey, it’s me, Jack Lybrook.”

I flinched at the mention of my name. “Do I know you?”

“We went to Ridgewood High, though you were a grade behind me. And my parents and I used to go to your dad’s church for a while when you and I were kids. I was Jonathan … or Johnny back then.”

I nodded as recognition sunk in. Many boys had gone to my father’s Pentecostal church, but only Johnny Lybrook and few others had ever whispered to their friends how pretty I was.

“I go by Jack now,” he said. “You know, like JFK did.”

The clock above the loading doors told me that only five minutes had passed since my arrival. I looked again at the folded paper on the floor.

“You dropped that,” I said, pointing again.

“My notes. Thank you.” Jack fetched the paper and sat next to me. “Just got back from Ridgewood. I’m looking to buy some farm property there … maybe start a dairy farm.”

“Are you a student at New Cambridge?” I had never seen him there, but most of my time was spent with Trevor, and now Balen.

“I was,” Jack said. “Graduated last year … agriculture with a minor in business. I’m on my way to my parents’ place. My car’s in the garage.” He raised an eyebrow. “You?”

I looked around. Except for the man at the ticket window, it was just the two of us. I broke down and wept. I felt Jack’s arms around me. I welcomed his comfort and tried to hide inside his embrace. He hushed my sobs, wiped away my tears with a handkerchief, and held me until a man’s voice announced over the intercom that it was time to board the bus to Bakers View and points east of New Cambridge. Once aboard, I would forever leave behind the wizard and the thirteen-month-old son whose magic was stronger than mine and Trevor’s combined.

“That’s me,” I said, pointing at the loading doors.

Jack stood when I did. “You’re not a student?”

“I dropped out. I’m on my way to my sister’s. Her husband doesn’t like me much.”

I don’t know why I told him that.

“Wait,” he said. “Join me for a cup of coffee.”

I shook my head.

“Cash in your ticket,” he said, “have coffee with me, and I’ll drive you anywhere you need to go.”

“But you said your car’s in the garage.”

He checked his wristwatch. “For another hour. Come on. It’ll save you some cash and give us a chance to catch up on old times.”

There was honesty and safety with this man’s kindness. I took his hand and let him lead me to the ticket window. Then, with the refunded money in my purse, I went with him for coffee, vowing to myself to never involve myself with magic again.

“Vree?” Grandma released my hand. “Are you okay?” She waved her other hand in front of my eyes as the remnants of the vision faded. “I seemed to have lost your attention for a moment.” Her face bore a concerned look.

“Tired,” I said.

She left to finish cooking supper.

The vision left me startled and anxious. My grandmother had another child—a son named Balen.

Journal Entry 4

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Blog Changes

January 14, 2015
Steve Campbell

Hello readers and followers of my blog. Some quick news for you:

I spent today changing the look and feel of my blog. Changes to this blog/website include a new Books page called The Library, located in Writing. There you can read about my creations and order them. Topping the list is Night of the Hellhounds, the mini e-novel I wrote 2013. Nook readers will be happy to know that they can find and order the novel at Barnes & Noble. Visit my Books page for more info.

I plan to offer free books at that page, too. Right now, you can read two versions of Kismet there. Files are downloadable PDFs.

With my books residing at The Library, I omitted them from the sidebar, which will help my page load faster. Plus, I have cleaned up the site’s overall look and added a splash of color below my header. And finally, the buttons for Facebook and Google+ are back to their basic looks.

Let me know what you think of the new look. And if you have any suggestions to make this site better, please leave comments.

It’s Like Shopping for Shoes and Dresses

September 8, 2014
Steve Campbell

My wife and I are home together and I’m sitting with her and my laptop while I consider how I want my blog to look. I have been testing themes lately and my wife has started comparing it to shopping for shoes and dresses.

“You’re looking for the perfect fit,” she says, shaking her head. “You’ll never find it. There will always be something lacking in the design.”

True. But I’m looking for something I will like the moment I see it and keep on liking years later.

“Good luck,” she says. “Why do you think I have so many shoes that look like they’ve been worn only once.”

Hmmm … I’ve always wondered about that.

Still, the search continues until I find the one that says “Eureka!”

Hey! I wonder … are any themes called that?

I’m off to look. Meanwhile, enjoy the modeling changes here.

Vree’s Journal Entry 2

July 18, 2014
Steve Campbell

I was born June 19, 13 years ago at St. Clair Hospital in New Cambridge, PA (a city 35 miles north of Ridgewood) to Charles and Karrie Erickson. My sister Trina is 2 years older than I am, and my brother Chase (Charles Jr.) is 4 years older than I am. His birthday is January 7, and Trina’s is April 21.

Vree

The day I turned 13 was a disastrous one when lightning struck my father and me. I awoke from a coma to discover I had developed telepathic powers and that the lightning had killed my dad.

About My Dad

My father, Charles Keith Erickson, was born 41 years ago on May 11 in Wheeling WV where he grew up. His parents are attorney Reginald Maxwell Erickson (70, retired) and school teacher Katrina Jane (McGuire) Erickson (67, retired). He was the second child of three children and the only son born to Grandpa and Grandma Erickson. Dad’s sister, Jane Anne Erickson (45, graphic designer, married and lives in Cincinnati OH with husband Paul Watson and family) is the oldest, and Michelle Alexis Erickson (43, kindergarten teacher, divorced from Justin Roth, and lives in Monroeville—suburb of Pittsburgh, PA) is the youngest.

His Parents
Reginald Erickson, married Katrina McGuire, Wheeling WV, retired; winters St. Petersburg FL; 3 children: Jane, Cincinnati OH; Charles, deceased; and Michelle, Monroeville PA.

His Siblings
♦ Jane, married to Paul Watson, Cincinnati OH; 4 children: Sara, Joel, Thomas, and Holly.
♦ Michelle, divorced from Justin Roth, Monroeville PA; no children.

Dad graduated from Wheeling Park High School at age 18 and then from University of Pittsburgh School of Law (Pitt Law) at age 22. He met my mom at college and married her when he was 25. They lived in Upper St. Clair where he was a lawyer. He and Mom moved to Myers Ridge after I was born, and he practiced law in Ridgewood until lightning struck him while he helped me put away his lawnmower from the rain.

He was tall (6’ 3”) and had blonde hair and blue eyes.

About My Mom

Karrie Louise Lybrook was born 37 years ago on November 19 in Ridgewood PA, the only child of her dairy farmer parents Jonathan “Jack” Edward Lybrook (66) and school bus driver/substitute teacher Evelyn “Evie” Renee (Doyle) Lybrook (64) on Myers Ridge. She lived a childhood of milking cows, baling hay and harvesting crops when she was home. At high school, she was a 4-year cheerleader for the football team.

Mom graduated Ridgewood High School at age 17 and moved to Pittsburgh where she attended University of Pittsburgh School of Education. She graduated at age 21, receiving her teaching degree in secondary education. She lived with her Aunt Helen (Pittsburgh schoolteacher) and Uncle Ken McCormick (news editor) while attending college, met my dad Charles Erickson while at college, and married him in a July ceremony in Pittsburgh after a whirlwind relationship. They lived in Upper St. Clair where Mom taught school before she and Daddy moved to Myers Ridge. She teaches 8th grade science at Ridgewood High School.

Mom is 5’ 4” tall, has thick auburn hair, and green eyes like mine.

About My Brother

Charles Jonathan Erickson
♦ Named after our dad; Middle name is maternal grandfather’s first name.
♦ He is sometimes called Charles Jr.
♦ His nickname is Chase.

Chase has green eyes, is 5’ 11” tall and lean like Daddy was, and has brown hair kept short most of the time, except that one time in 10th grade when he wanted it long for some reason. I’m sure it was because of a girl—an incident Mom refers to as The No Haircut Year.

Chase is sports active, outdoorsy and loves playing football, basketball, and baseball. He enjoys bicycling and riding motorcycles and 4-wheelers. He is mechanically inclined and is handy at fixing small engines, which has endeared him to Grandpa Lybrook. Since he is the only boy in the family, he seeks out other boys with similar interests.

About My Sister

Trina Evelyn Erickson
♦ Named after paternal grandmother Katrina Erickson.
♦ Middle name is maternal grandmother’s first name.
♦ Her nicknames are Tree and Tee (from her initials), though she dislikes both.

Trina is 5’ 5” tall, has greenish hazel eyes, and shoulder-length auburn hair. She is musically inclined and likes to write and play songs on Grandma Evelyn’s piano and on her own Gibson acoustic guitar. She sings with a beautiful soprano voice. She belongs to an all-girl “rock band” called ARC, which was formed by friend and neighbor Amy Evans.

About My Maternal Grandfather

My grandfather Jonathan “Jack” Alan Lybrook is 66 years old, tall and thin at 6’ 2”, has thick, gray hair, handsome blue eyes, and wears glasses.

Our house is a Colonial one that someone renovated before my parents bought it. Here is a photo of how it looks today:

000 Erickson Colonial Home 1

The original house was built around 1890 by a sheepherder and farmer named Ludwik Dekownik. His daughter Margga (pronounced marj-guh’) was a self-proclaimed witch. Although she is dead, some people believe her spirit haunts our house and Myers Ridge.

Grandpa grew up in nearby New Cambridge where his father George Lybrook and his brother Paul and sister Janet Baker live. His brother Jerry lives in Albany NY with his wife Alice and family. His mother Helen Jane Crawford Lybrook is deceased and his 91-year-old father lives at New Cambridge Retirement and Health Center, a senior care home.

His Siblings
♦ Paul, married Elaine May, New Cambridge PA; 2 children, daughters: Erin and Kay.
♦ Janet, married to Ronald Baker, New Cambridge PA; 2 children, daughters: Debra and Anne.
♦ Jerry, married Diane Marrs, Albany NY; 3 children, daughters: Brianne, Donna, and Gail.

More About Grandpa Lybrook and Our House

Grandpa moved from his dairy farm on the other end of Myers Ridge because the ground collapsed years ago, creating a sinkhole in the cornfield next to the house. The hole grew larger and 2 other holes appeared last year. One of them collapsed his milk house and the other appeared while he was plowing near it. No one was injured in either incident.

A sinkhole in the Karst topography of northeast Iowa funnels ...

We live on Myers Ridge at 31619 Ridge Road, Ridgewood PA. Below are the floor plans to our house. The living room, dining room and family room have wall-to-wall plush cream carpets, plush furniture, velvety drapes, animal and pastoral prints and paintings on white walls, and a glass chandelier in the dining room. The rest of the downstairs has polished wood floors. Grandma and Grandpa sleep in the master suite, which was Mom and Daddy’s room.

001 Erickson Colonial Downstairs

The rest of us sleep upstairs. All the rooms are carpeted, except the bathrooms. My room is the smallest.

001 Erickson Colonial Upstairs

Downstairs, the basement has a low ceiling with copper pipes everywhere make going there a headache for anyone who is taller than 5’ 10” and forgets to duck their head. Luckily, I don’t have a problem hitting my head on the pipes, but Grandpa does. Still, he, along with Mom and Grandma, keeps it clean. The cement floor has good drainage, so it’s good place for storing dry goods. Right now, Mom and Grandma plan on using it to store their canned goods during the winter. Grandma still has her vegetable garden at her old farm, even though Grandpa sold the property a few months ago.

About My Maternal Grandmother

My 64-year-old grandmother Evelyn Renee (Doyle) Lybrook is short at 5’. She is fit and strong from living on a farm. She has short, gray-blonde hair and blue eyes. She drives school bus during the school year and is a part-time substitute teacher for the Ridgewood school district.

Grandma grew up the youngest of 4 at nearby Alice Lake (approximately 2 or 3 miles east of Myers Ridge) where her father James Doyle (now 89) was a Presbyterian minister and school bus driver and her mother Adali (now 87) was a housewife; both live at Alice Lake’s Lakeview Living Center. Grandma’s oldest sister Judith Ziegler and husband Kurt live 10 miles south of Alice Lake in a small community called Blooming Valley where their son John Luke is a Presbyterian minister. Her older brother Matthew and family, and her sister Sara Davies and husband Nathan live north of Ridgewood in Brookside and Bakers View, respectively.

Her Siblings
♦ Judith, married to Kurt Ziegler, Blooming Valley PA; 3 children: John Luke, Mary, and James.
♦ Matthew, married Roxanne Stills, Brookside PA; no children.
♦ Sally, married to Nathan Davies, Bakers View; 4 children: Jean, Carla, William, and Pamela.

Journal Entry 3

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Vree’s Journal Entry 1

July 11, 2014
Steve Campbell

Vree

My name is Verawenda Erickson. My nickname Vree comes from my initials VRE. My name is a combination of Vera and Wenda. My mom named me after her paternal grandmother Vera Lybrook and Vera’s sister Wenda Walsh. My middle name Renee is my maternal grandmother’s middle name.

I live with my mom and older brother and sister on Myers Ridge, PA. Lightning struck my dad and me on my 13th birthday. The lightning killed my dad and put me in a coma for 10 days. After a 4-day recovery period in the hospital, I was discharged.

Now I see things that no one else can.

I sometimes have difficulty remembering past events from my childhood, which started after I awoke from the coma. When I’m tired or really stressed, it’s difficult for me to know if I’m remembering real events, dreams, or plots from TV shows, movies, or books.

Another thing that began after waking from the coma is my body emits white light when I’m anxious or excited. Crazy, I know. I try to hide it but I know people are gonna see it and think I’m a freak.

On top of all that, 13 is an awkward age, especially when you feel like you’re responsible for your dad’s death.

Myers Ridge

Myers Ridge sits southwest of Ridgewood, the town I go to school at. Did I tell you my mom is a teacher there? Eighth grade science.

Myers Ridge is mostly old farmland with a few farms in operation, though farming is almost a vanished way of life. My grandparents used to have a dairy farm but they moved in with us while I was in the hospital. A sinkhole appeared at their farm last year, so Grandpa said it was time to retire.

Where there are no houses, barns or fields on Myers Ridge, second growth woods fill the landscape. This is rural country life where lawnmowers are big and loud, tractors plow fields and harvest crops, small flower and vegetable gardens grow in every yard, and barbecues and lemonade are part of backyard activity, as well as swimming in outdoor pools. There’s also backyard camping, hiking in woods, and riding horses in summer. In winter, there’s deer hunting, plowing and shoveling snow, and sleds and snowmobiles to ride.

A Little More About Me

I have straight, shoulder length blonde hair that I usually part in the middle. Mom won’t let me get a pixie cut like hers, though I’d really like short hair so it’d be easier to dry when I’m in a hurry to be somewhere. Maybe some tease and curls added to the shortness … and dye it auburn like hers and my sister’s hair color. My eyes are listed on my birth announcement and student identification as green, but are really blue-green and gray with amber flecks in them. Some days they are bluer, some days greener—the blue stands out if I wear white clothing, and the green stands out if I wear dark clothing. I am 5’ 3” tall and weigh around 85-90 pounds.

Why Did I Start A Journal?

Sometimes I wonder if I awoke from my coma in an alternate reality. If so, it could explain why my skin glows and why I see things no one else sees. Like ghosts. Daddy told me in a dream that I’m psychic. I’ll pass on that. Wouldn’t you? I mean, what would you do if you found out you can see and hear and do paranormal things that most other people cannot? I need to record these things and prove that I’m not crazy. Being a teenage girl is hard enough. Your body goes through physical changes that make you look less like a teenager and more like a woman. And mine makes me look like a freak of nature, glowing in the dark. So you act as if nothing is wrong or different. But you secretly think about the past when you were innocent of the bad things in life, and you dream of a future where everything turns out right.

That’s all I want: to be normal again.

Journal Entry 2

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