The Blue Light Special
One winter for Christmas, my present was a trip south to visit the herd of relatives hoofing it around the Biloxi, Mississippi, area where I was born. I stayed with Uncle Frank and Aunt Roro, who lived in the Todtenbier original house that had been in the family for generations. Their only daughter Mabelle told me her daughter Rosie was the sixth generation to live there.
I loved the "warren-like" aspects of their house. The main hall was a show place and opened into neat and tidy "sitting rooms" and "music rooms". As a child, I remember being fascinated by the sheer NUMBER of doors that existed. Mysteries existed behind the doors in that house. I longed for the freedom to explore.
The back hallway was what I imagined was once the "servant's hall", or maybe even slaves, I don't know. That hallway was dark and not as polished as the front, elegant one, but it still had as many intriguing doors. I was sleeping in a nice bedroom on the ground floor that trip, and had withdrawn for the night when Rosalie popped in through that back hallway.
A cosy chat and a back rub later, she left the same way. I returned the favor eventually, and commented that it was a shame that she and Uncle Frank did not sleep together any more. I was young enough to imagine that all sexual activity stopped at some magic number, probably around 30 or so...
Roro gave a throaty chuckle and informed me that Frank still had visting rights. She told me about a blue light that was the signal. I was fascinated.
It still must have bothered me, as I can clearly remember talking to Frank the next day about it. He told me he was in such pain that he needed to sleep alone. He, too, slyly alluded to visiting.
Later, Mom told me about one night when Rosalie saw the blue light flashing and went dashing gaily down the hall, flushed with anticipation. Arriving in Frank's room, she found him sound asleep. Outside, a squad car's blue light was flashing...
Frank Snyder, 12/30/99
raptly reading this story.
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