- Some Surprisesby Liz O'Neill
Not yet exceptional. When the exceptional rating is reached this is highlighted
Mother had some surprises in the attic
A Particular Friendship
: Some Surprises by Liz O'Neill

We continue to learn more about the surprises the hallway held.

I wrote tthe following poem about our exploits with the splitting up of the bags of craved candy



Check Your  Guns At the Desk 

 You got more candy than I did... You got more candy than I 

The only solution our mother could come up with was to have us divide the bags of candy evenly among the three of us 

my brother, myself and  

my little sister who didn't deserve any at all 

 One for you, one for you, one for me  One for you, one for you, one for me 

 The one or two left over from each bag was kept for our mother in a safe 

a cupboard directly under the silverware drawer.    

 But being the sugar addicts we were, we became obsessed with how to get our candy back 

 We decided to play Hotel--not what you're thinking..We strapped on our guns 

I had two gun holster­.  I was Billy the Kid-not Annie Okay,   

My brother was Hoppalong Casssidy   

My sister was Annie Okay 

 We signed  the hotel ledger­  

actually my grandfather's blacksmith ledger 

My mother said we ruined it and it could have been worth a lot of money 

 Should of put that in the safe too 

 We sneaked into the kitchen where Ma was washing dishes  

Carefully dialed the combination  

Silently slid the much coveted candy into our cold hearted hands  

 Galloped, clicking our tongues all the way back to the hotel 

checked our guns at the desk  and divided up the loot 

 We put the one or two extra in the safe to gather interest- 

our's that is 






I remember the first time I became aware of an that intriguing world above my head. Mother was lowering the Christmas decorations onto the blue top of the cleared off dresser.   Only our eyes could touch the special one which we held in high esteem.  

The curious hands and fingers of our imagining childlike minds longed to touch it to see what it felt like and to discover why we were told to stand away.  Unusually obedient, we folded the fingers of one hand into the other. 

Our eyes, filled with enchantment, widened as Mother carefully removed it from its box.  Raising herself up on the wooden rungs of a stepladder, she cautiously placed it at the very top of the Christmas tree.

 She once again cautioned us, “You know how Lizzy got cut and her finger was bleeding a little bit when she tried to help me pick up the broken glass she dropped?” 

We speechlessy nodded, resigning our little selves to wait until we were big like mother to ever be able to touch it.  

Mother continued, “That beautiful angel is kept in a special box and high up on the tree because it she is made of tiny pieces of glass just like the glass Lizzy got cut on.”

We tightened our teeth and sucked in air. Mother wanted to know she got her grave message across.  “So do you understand why I don’t want you putting your hands on it? Just look, no touch.”

We both quickly shook our heads to acknowledge we understood. 


 It was a different season and many years later. While tearing around in the hallway we never paid any particular attention nor gave thought to the small square board in the ceiling just outside my room. 

We became curious slowing our pace when Mother shoved the low bureau across the floor stopping just under that strange square board. Lining up a wooden chair beside the dresser, she climbed from the chair to the cleared off top of the blue bureau. 

Raising her arms to push at the wooden part of the ceiling revealed an opening.

We barely remembered the time mother brought down the enthralling glass angel. We were stunned as if in a different world when it slowly became obvious the mysterious yawning hole was just large enough for a TV antenna to fit through.

I hated heights; but there was something adventurous about poking my head through the hole in the ceiling and peering around the inside of the attic, even though it required climbing a shaky wooden stepladder. 

That was as far as anyone but Mother was allowed, as there were only 3x6 inch rungs with the 3 inch part for walking on. I felt like I was in a circus doing a famous act to be able climb up and down that rickety ladder.

Mother told us, “When I was a little girl,  I fell right through the ceiling of the attic in my house. You know, Nana’s house. I was terrified, with one of my legs showing through in one of the bedrooms below. I probably wasn’t supposed to be snooping around up there.   I don’t want anything like that happening to either of you.”

I don’t know when Mother first put the TV antenna up there, but it helped get an extra channel.  It must have had something to do with the turning of Earth on its axis.  Little by little we had to move the antenna from the attic to the hallway. We were older, so we weren’t chasing around quite as much.  

Some of you may know the routine; someone stands midpoint between the person posted at the TV, waiting for the exact moment when the visual snow and audio static clear to notify  the one who slowly moves the large awkward criss-cross roof antenna dragging a long flat brown wire when to stop. 

The carrier is instructed to move slightly to the left or the right, “there…stop…no.. back…there… no.. back…good…good…stop…right there…great…we did it.”  As time went on, to better and better the reception, the antenna needed to be moved down to the dining room and eventually out onto the front porch where I would eventually push Timmy down onto the gray wooden slatted floor.  

When we had to plant it on the lawn we were coming and closer and closer, ‘til in the end, it was actually on Timmy’s land.


Author Notes
Iā??d be curious how many had to move a roof antenna about like we did or if any of you had a glass angel. I researched one link and there are still some available for collectors or just for research of what they looked like.


© Copyright 2024. Liz O'Neill All rights reserved.
Liz O'Neill has granted, its affiliates and its syndicates non-exclusive rights to display this work.

Be sure to go online at to comment on this.
© 2000-2024., Inc. All Rights Reserved. Terms under which this service is provided to you. Privacy Statement