TOY PHONE CALL
Kids love telephones. They like to imitate adult conversations on their toy phones; and of course today they have the toy cell phones. Back in 1960, however, when Sandy was five years old, her toy telephone was the old-fashioned kind. But it might have been a very unusual phone indeed.
At that time, Sandy and her family lived in the beautiful Berkshire Hills of Massachusetts. And it was Christmas Day when she had this remarkable experience. Sandy wanted to call her grandmother to tell her about the new Chatty Cathy doll and the other presents she had received for Christmas. The house phone was hung high on the wall, however – too high for her to reach without help. Unfortunately, her dad and her brother had gone out to shovel snow, and her mother was in the shower.
Sandy couldn’t wait. She thought she would burst if she couldn’t tell her grandmother right away about all her new treasures. “I was becoming increasingly impatient,” she remembers. “I decided to pretend to call my grandmother on the toy telephone that I got for Christmas. Back then, where I lived, there were no dial phones; all calls were operator assisted, and when I picked up the receiver on my toy telephone, I distinctly heard an operator say, ‘What number please?’
“I was shocked, but I told her my grandmother's number, which I still remember to this day. I heard the phone begin to ring, and soon my grandmother, with her heavy Italian accent, was saying hello. I immediately began telling her all about my Chatty Cathy doll, but she wanted to know where my mother was. I explained that my mother was in the shower, and my dad and brother were outside. She knew that I could not use the telephone by myself, and asked me how I climbed up to use the phone high up on the wall. I explained that I had called her on my toy telephone. She laughed heartily before telling me to have my mother call when she got out of the shower.
“When my mother got out of the shower, I tried to tell her that I had really talked to Grandma on my toy phone, and that she wanted my mother to call her. My mother laughed like my grandmother did, but since I kept insisting that she call Grandma, she finally did. When she discovered that I really had talked to my grandmother, I got in big trouble. My mother insisted that I had somehow dangerously climbed the wall to use the phone. I insisted that I had called Grandma on my toy phone, and I got in bigger trouble for lying.”
Sandy spent the rest of Christmas morning in her room, falsely accused of dangerous climbing and lying. “I was frustrated about that,” she says, “but I couldn't help but smile over the fact that I had somehow called my grandmother on my toy telephone that Christmas morning. It had to be magic.”
SPIRIT BROUGHT ME SWEETS
Adults (usually grandparents) sometimes spoil children by letting them have too many sweets. But what can we say when it’s a disembodied voice doing the spoiling?
In early summer of 1954, Douglas was eight years old and living in an eastern suburb of London, England, close to Epping Forest. His neighborhood was a mixture of terraced 1930s houses interspersed with "fields" – empty lots where the houses had been destroyed by German bombing and nature had taken over, much to the pleasure of the kids.
It was tough going for Douglas in those days. “My dad had left,” he says. “The stress of the war and the lure of a young woman. My mum, two sisters and I lived on, feeding on potatoes, cabbage, eggs, and bread. Mum got a job at the engineering factory just around the corner to pay the home loan.”
One particular day after lunch, Douglas walked his mother back to her job before he was to head off to school. He asked if he could have a few pennies to buy some candy. “I can still see the open handbag and the big leather purse she opened, which was empty,” Douglas recalls. “I can still feel the immense mutual embarrassment that there was no pocket money to be had. I skipped away wishing I had never asked.”
Douglas ran across a field behind some shops, then on a mud path through the grass across another open space. Still craving sweets, he decided to implore a higher authority. “In my grief and childish need, I just demanded of Jesus pocket money for sweets,” he says. “In reply, a deep male voice somewhere above and behind said, ‘Kick the grass.’ I looked about... I was alone. I kicked the grass. ‘Kick the grass,’ said the voice. I did again. This was a clump of solid, wild grass, almost wild oats that seemed to take over bomb sites in those days. ‘Kick the grass again,’ said the voice. I did.”
Out of the grass rolled a hexagonal coin, worth three pence in those days. Elated with his astonishing “luck”, Douglas dashed off to the sweet shop with his coin and consumed the result of his surreal experience.
“I've thought of this occurrence throughout my life,” Douglas reflects, “and have no conclusions except that it actually happened and I consumed the result. To my knowledge, the voice was coming from just behind and above, although no one was there. The voice was deep, English, and male, and I did not recognize it. My further attempts at securing instant money by praying did not work!”
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