Archive for December 5th, 2009

Maniacs in Yorkville

Saturday, December 5th, 2009


When my sister was 7 and I was 8, we used to love staying at Aunt Esther’s house in Yorkville, New York. Aunt Esther never had any kids so she treasured these visits in her large Victorian home and always took us on strange ‘capers’. We came from a small town, Mom and Dad were Beaver Cleaver parents, and we never knew ANYONE who was “out there” – so these visits were always special for us.

On one visit, Aunt Esther was ‘spooked’ – so she sat us down for a serious talk. She told us (can you imagine?) that Marcy State Insane Asylum was close by (I now know it was about 20 miles away) and sometimes the patients escaped and murdered unsuspecting, naive people who let them into their homes – usually slitting their throats with their own kitchen knives.

I can only imagine our faces and open mouths as we heard this unhappy news. (Thinking back, maybe the lesson here was not to let anyone in when we were at her house…. or …maybe she was just crazy.)

BUT – not to worry – Aunt Esther had a PLAN to save ourselves if a crazy person got in (which must have slipped the minds of all those naive Yorkville homeowners who had their throats slit.)

The plan? DISTRACT the maniac. He was crazy, right? As soon as he picked up a knife, we were to say (in a friendly voice) “Say, would you like something to eat?”

And when we went to the kitchen to make him lunch or a snack, we were to throw open the back door and run like hell!

I don’t remember questioning the wisdom of this plan, but I know neither Joanne nor I EVER let anyone into Aunt Esther’s house.