Butter Rum Cartoon

Butter Rum Cartoon

Search the Butter Rum Cartoon

Friday, August 29, 2014


The Witherspoon house was scary. On my first day of Kindergarten at Blaine Elementary School, after my parents dropped me off and I stood terrified in a strange room full of strangers, I took off. I shot out the door and began running down Martin Street towards home. I got about as far as the Witherspoon house before my teacher, Mrs. McMillan, caught me and carried me back. She was overweight but diligent, and ran more than a block after me, leaving her class in the care of her assistant; and ever since then I had the feeling that I was one of her favorite students. When I was in my upper teens I hitchhiked up to Blaine to see my old hometown and went to visit Mrs. McMillan, then retired. She recognized me and hugged me.

I wasn't paying attention to the Witherspoon house that day, but for the next six years after that I walked to school, from my house on 4th Street, along the four blocks on Martin Street (then a dirt road) to the school, and each day passed the Witherspoon house on the northeast corner of Martin and Elm. Nowadays there's a nice house there, and a freeway has cut across and destroyed Martin Street and a neat gully beside it, but in the 1950's the Witherspoon house was unkempt and old, secreted in by high, untrimmed bushes. It was spooky, and would usually be talked about by passing children.

One day, while making that daily trip alone, I was too involved in the spooky Witherspoon house to notice the road at my feet, and found myself in the middle of a large "herd" of migrating woolly bear caterpillars crossing the road. I was terribly afraid of bugs and their ilk at that time, and had never before seen a woolly bear. Each one was black and orange and huge! I wondered if they were even native to Earth when I let out a series of screams and danced my way out of the invasion and ran back for home. I'm sure my parents wondered at the sanity of their son who couldn't get to school because of creepy things all over the road by the Witherspoon house.

The only time I paid no attention to the Witherspoon house was in my later elementary school years when I happened to walk home alongside a new girl across the road. She was fascinating, cute, quiet but talked a little, saying wonderful things, and I was completely enchanted. With the help of my older brother, I learned that she lived in the apartment above the post office and that her name was Rhonda. But I never saw her again.

I never did see or meet whoever lived in the Witherspoon house. Most likely the rumor was true that just an old lady lived there. Most likely I would have been afraid of her, too. For some reason I've never forgotten the house. Had it been nicely kept up with its yard well maintained, I never would have noticed it or remembered it. So I'm happy it was the way it was -- the stuff of stories.

For the complete contents of the Butter Rum Cartoon, click here.

No comments:

Post a Comment