Time to Give Thanks...

An unusual recollection that is triggered by an old image.

THIS IS MY PERSONAL BLOG...not an opinion nor a news story, nor representative of the station.

This is the time of year when one takes stock of what you have, how the year's gone, and where family and friends have moved to.  If you're lucky, you'll be able to have a holiday dinner with family.

But recently, I have been thinking about my family's early history, when I was just a small lad. It was sparked by a request in a story about Veteran's Day to hunt up WWII veterans and get some oral history before they pass.

In my case, my father and my uncle have passed on, So the only ones who saw military service are gone...but it started me thinking about my OTHER uncle and why he never talks about his military service.  The answer is really quite simple, and I should have thought of it earlier. Although he was always an adult  in my childlike eyes, he was in fact about ten years younger and therefore was too young for WWII military duty.

This was buzzing around in the back of my head when last week, I had an epiphany. I was looking through a comic collector's bound edition of the monster magazines from that time period just before Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four were created.  You could recognize the artists and the similar themes that would be continued into the superhero works that would prove SO successful for Marvel Comics.

But as I flipped through the pages, I paused as I looked at the "splash page" of one of the Steve Ditko scarey fantasy stories that only runs five pages. The image showed a man cowering as he is enfolded in a white sheet...by a ghost.  The image looked familiar to me, though I was sure that I had never owned nor seen the comic before. It was from March of 1961 when I was six.

A quick check of the Grand Comic Book Database (a wonderful resource for researching ANYTHING that was published in comic book form, ever) confirmed that this short 5 page story has never been reprinted anywhere except for in my bound book that I'm reading.  Therefore, "I am the Living Ghost" was printed in 1961, when I was six, and must have been in someone's possession that I knew either that summer or at Thanksgiving when I went to visit relatives.

Slowly, as I read the story, my memory began to click in. When I was six, I walked in on my slightly older cousins reading comic books in their bedroom and asked to join in. They had shooed me away, saying that I would get nightmares from the scary stories. But I persisted, and when they left the room, I picked up a comic or two and looked at the panels of comic artwork, not knowing how to read them or the word balloons.  In short, I imprinted the stark image of this man being wrapped in a sheet/ghost and have retained the image in my deepest memory for over 50 years!

What a revelation this is for me.  This is the earliest comic book that I have any direct knowledge of, and I can't wait to tell my uncle about it.  I would tell my cousin about this memory, except he died about 20 years ago after his liver failed, and so, all his memories are lost to me. It may not mean much to you, but this is terribly important to me. It's tied up in my sense of family, and going to visit family for the holidays.

I hope you have fond memories of this holiday and that you get a chance to pick the memories of those older family members before they pass. Cause once they are gone, so are the unspoken tale of memory.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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