Age 9 – Birds, Pigs and Witches

That’s me smack in the middle. Like my “Garanimals?”

We moved back to the States in December of 1974.  We transferred to Maryland for 6 months and then moved to Tennessee in August of 1975, when I was still 8.  I have to say, out of all the places we moved, Tennessee was my favorite.  We lived there for 3 years and they were probably some of the best 3 years of my childhood.  It was during this time that I began to emerge, albeit slowly, out of my shell.  I made many friends and joined some clubs (Girl Scouts and 4H).  School was still a struggle, as usual, but aside from that, I finally felt like I belonged.  I mean really, really belonged.


This little guy is very similar to my Finnegan


Birds – I had wanted a parakeet for a long time.  My grandmother had one and she taught it to say fun phrases, like “Bottle of Booze, Bottoms up.”  For my 9th birthday, my parents broke down and bought one for me.  I was drawn to the quietest parakeet sitting all alone in the back of the cage at the store.  My heart went out to him, he looked so sad and I was going to make him happy.  I named him Finnegan, and I soon came to realize that he must have been depressed.  He never tweeted and every time I opened the cage to pet him, he always found a way to escape.  I spent more time trying to get that bird back in his cage than I care to remember.  I should have changed his name to Houdini.

I had a book on how to take care of Parakeets and I read it from cover to cover.  I was determined to teach him how to talk.  Every single day I would put a towel over both his cage and my head and repeat over and over again, “Polly want a cracker?”  It didn’t work.  Even though he was pathetic and stubborn, I loved him to death.

One day, I brought his cage into the garage to clean it out.  I told my brothers not to come in and out because I didn’t want my little escape artist to get away.  Well, boys will be boys and they opened the garage door anyway.  Out Finnegan went, free as a “bird” to be one with the sky for eternity.  I threw myself on the ground and screamed my bloody head off.  I was devastated.  I kept calling him to come back, but he never did.  I remember looking up in the trees for months, hoping that he would come to his senses and return home where he was loved.  It actually took a really long time to get over his loss.  My parents probably should have gotten me therapy.

Pigs – We lived on a quiet street with a farm abutting our property.  The farm housed a family of the biggest pigs I ever saw.  When I say big, I mean BIG.  Those pigs could dwarf a rhino!  During the rainy season, we would have so much mud in our backyard that you needed waders to get through it.  These pigs must have had mud radars, because they came running after every rain storm.  We would go outside only to be met with swine rolling around in our yard and having the time of their lives.  I remember my dad chasing them out of the yard on many an occasion.

The Bell Witch Cavern

Witches – When my friends and I would get together for slumber parties, we would always hold séances with levitations — Ouija boards and all.  We also would try to conjure up the “Bell Witch”.  I didn’t know much about her, but the deal was you had to go into the bathroom with the lights off and eyes closed.  After chanting “Bell Witch” while spinning, you had to quickly open your eyes and her image would appear in the mirror.  Now of course, we did this several times and she never showed herself.  I have to say, I’m not quite sure what I would have done if she did.  Years later, my family and I went back to Tennessee to visit our old house and stomping grounds.  During the trip into town, we passed a sign that read “The Bell Witch Caverns.”  I couldn’t believe it!  I made my dad turn the car around so that I could further investigate.  It turns out that the Bell Witch is an actual evil spirit and is a legend in Tennessee.  Apparently, it’s the most documented haunting in all of America.  All those years, I thought it was a folktale and we were just some silly kids having fun.  We were probably playing a dangerous game, but it was the most fun at the time and makes for a great story!


About scrapbookeasy

Thank you for visiting my blog! Here's a little about me: I am now a stay-at-home mom courtesy of a little epidemic called "A Bad Economy." It was quite a blessing in disguise because all this new-found free time gave me the opportunity to start an online scrapbooking supply business (you can find us at We are geared toward the busy scrapper and offer easy to use products and kits -- sorry, shameless plug). Scrapbooking is a craft I found, jumped into and became an addict of almost 20 years ago. I love history, so what better way to preserve my own history through this wonderful craft, right? I love to share new things that I learned, discovered or think about with everyone so enjoy!

Posted on November 10, 2010, in Memorabilia Pockets. Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. What a traumatic thing to loose your bird that way! I felt so sad for you, reading that. Did you ever get a bird who you could teach to talk?

  2. I had two parakeets when I was growing up. The first was not in his right mind and never would chirp, fly, or much else. We just figured he was “retarded”. My second parakeet was much better and eventually learned to say a few phrases. She lived way longer than we thought she would. I think I would have been scared of that pig!

  3. Poor Finnegan (awesome name btw)! I had no idea that you could teach a parakeet to talk. I know about parrots, but I’ve never heard of a parakeet talking. I do hope that Finnegan was finally happy uncaged, but something tells me he probably “befriended” a neighborhood cat. That’s what would’ve happened around here. Poor little fella.

    Ok, the witch thing is just creepy. I would’ve been so freaked out to find out about that. We never did Ouija boards or things like that in my house (my mom would’ve flipped!), but girls who slept over always wanted to do “Bloody Mary” (basically the same thing you mentioned). I’d always say “no way!”. Who on earth wants dead people and witches in their house?! Not me, thankyouverymuch!

    • Yeah, I figured Finnegan probably didn’t make it through the night. Silly bird! As far as the Ouija board, I had no idea the power it can hold until recently. If I knew then what I know now, I would never have played with it. I still have the Ouija board hidden in a closet because I heard that the only way you can get rid of it is to burn it or bury it! It creeps me out but it stays in the box and is completely off limits to my 12 year old. Luckily, she isn’t like I was and has no desire to go near it.

  4. Wow! your parakeet story totally makes me laugh because I would have been the same way… determined to teach him to speak and then looking for him daily after his ‘escape.’ I would probably STILL be wondering…

  5. Good thing you never saw the witch! That’s just creepy. Thanks for sharing your stories. Poor Finnegan, what a typical brother thing to do… 🙂

  6. You are such a great storyteller. Ahh! I’m not sure how many shells I have. It seems I’m always emerging from a new one and happy I did.

    How longsuffering you were with your parakeet to teach and to love.

  7. Great story ! Love that you had a parakeet ….Finnegan , so cool.
    Isn’t is incredible how these memories stay with us ?!

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