My Witch

October 24, 2010 at 12:42 pm (Book Commentary, Life, Memoir) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

Once there was a witch who lived at the edge of this slough. (The picture above is how the area looks now.)

I knew her…

I knew her heart…

In Spring, Summer and Fall her weathered, old shack was hidden. In Winter, it was a stark reminder just at the edge of town.

I don’t remember her name. I’m not sure I ever knew her name. I don’t remember what I called her, but I must have called her something. I use to spend time in her house. I slept there on occasion. I never called her a witch – that was my older middle sister’s name for her.

Her house was small and weathered. There was only one small window that faced into the woods. There was a dirt floor. There was a curtained off bed where we would sleep. There was a hearth, for heat and cooking.

Her house was a place of quiet and warmness. It was a cozy little cave.

She was eastern European. My grandparents (my mother’s parents) knew her. I suspect she was a childless widow. She lived alone at the very edge of a small town. Small as in everyone knows you; who you were and who you belonged to. Small as in 4 streets across and 5 streets down.

The town ended. The slough began. On the other sides of the slough there were farms. One of these farms use to belong to my grandparents. But this was after – after my grandparents built in town. I was seven. I was small & quiet & well behaved.

I recreated this šŸ™‚

We would spend part of the summer with my grandparents; my two older sisters, my younger brother and me. Two of us were handfuls. My grandparents were old. Their friends were old. My mother stayed home to work and build up provisions for when school would start.

The old lady, the witch, would get lonely. She would need help. I would get sent to spend the night. I was quiet. I was well behaved.

Crone waiting

We would gather weeds from the woods. We would make soup using vegetables my grandmother had sent along with me. We would bake cookies. She would talk. I would listen. We would go to bed when the sun went down and I would go home to my grandparents after breakfast was cleaned up.

I never called her witch. She was mine. She was my friend. I knew her heart and she knew mine. The quiet, scared child I was found refuge there.

I met a lot of strong older women through my grandmother.

There was Mama H. She was Darren’s grandmother (LOL. Bewitched.) Darren was the first boy who kissed me. I was thirteen. My grandmother knew of the kiss before I got back to her house, which was three houses down from Mama H. There was a Papa H as well but he died before she did. I could go have tea at her house all by myself.

There was Tanta Emma. She was my mother’s aunt, my grandmother’s sister-in-law and thus my great-aunt. It was at her house that I learnt how to make Honigplatzchen (Honey cookies). She had thirteen children; ten boys and three girls. Her youngest boys were only about ten years older than my eldest sister. My grandmother had two children, a boy and a girl born ten years apart.

There were other assorted older crones who lived alone and enjoyed it. Their husbands and children were gone. They survived in spite of the gossip and the labels.

These strong women, these crones, these witches are my role models. I wish I could go back and spend a century or so listening to them talk. Why are we so old so soon? Why are we so soon gone and so late smart?

Sitting at the top of my To Be Read pile is Green Witch. It is the sequel to Green Angel, a book I adore. I have renewed this book twice. It is a small book that will take me only around three hours to read. It has sat in my TBR pile so long because I am fearful that it won’t be as good as Green Angel. I would rather forever anticipate new books then be disappointed in them.

However, in anticipation of the season, tomorrow I will sit down and finally read Green Witch and recall, with fondness, all the old crones I have known and loved.


  1. Witches « Solitary Spinster said,

    […] written here before about my views on witches, most recently in October 2010. As I said, I have an affinity, a feeling of kinship with these women. They are my fairy […]

  2. Little Old Lady | Solitary Spinster said,

    […] the women I admired when I was growing up were little old ladies. There was my witch. There was Mama H. There was our landlady. There were the two honourary grandmothers who lived […]

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