This is a traditional home in Alsace. I see many of them everyday and still think that these houses are charming and beautiful. Many times while walking around a city or village I have been stopped dead in my tracks forced to take notice of one of these homes with red or pink flowers spilling out of the windows. Yes, it is true that I am finally over the feeling that I have just landed on another planet. Everything has become home to me. And even though I am still stunned by how lucky I am to live and walk inside a tourist’s postcard everyday I am still not without the homesickness. It comes from no where and reaches deap inside me pulling out all those memories of America with a vengence! As if to say, “How dare you fall in love with another country making her your home. How dare you!” And then I see my “Home sweet home”, I see America. And the tears well up in my eyes and heart. I feel like Dorothy must have. “There is no place like home.”
This is my favorite time of year back home. So, it is the hardest for me. I love autumn. The trees where I am from must be proudly swaying in beautiful full dress. Whole streets are full of orange, red, yellow and brown. The color green holding on to scattered leaves refusing to be left out of this display of brillance. I miss the farms full of fun for the whole family. I love eating fudge, caramel apples, pumpkin pie (as you know by know), pecan pie, apple pie, brownies and more. I love riding on haunted hay rides or hay rides out to the pumpkin field to pick out my own pumpkin. I love searching for just the right Halloween costumes for my children.
I miss running home from work to get the kids ready for Halloween and then parading around the neighborhood admiring and being admired for an original or to cute for words Halloween outfit. Any mother that has stood at the end of a drive way watching their baby wobble up for the first time to get their treat will understand what I am missing. I have watched Angel Girl walk boldly up to the door in her clown suit with her beautiful dark brown curls hanging out of the clown hat. She was eleven months old and walked to almost every door to get her candy by herself. All night I heard over and over how adorable she looked. The sweetest clown they had ever seen! She would not let me help carry her plastic pumpkin container that was so full of goodies I am sure it weighed almost as much as her. She must have dropped it twenty times!!! Luckily I carried an extra bag which she allowed me to dump her stash in only because I had explained that this way her pumpkin container could be filled again. More Candy!!! No problem. And this childhood ritual was shared with Sweet Bear as well. Of course she wore her sisters clown costume and of course Angel Girl and I taught her the secret chant to get candy in a sing song voice. “Trick or treat. Smell my feet. Give me something good to eat!” There is nothing more precious than hearing your child say this for the first time!
I remember when I was a kid my parents were afraid because of some children getting apples with needles in them. So, my uncle and aunt and my mother and father offered to take my cousin, brother and I to Toys R Us instead of trick or treating. My brother and cousin went for it. Not I! Even then I LOVED Halloween. No one or thing would take this special and magical night from me. I don’t remember what I was that year. I do rememeber walking around my hometown from street to street asking for my candy at each door that had a light on. Secret code for I have candy. Come and get it! I took a huge pillow sack with me to gather the candy in and by the end of the night it was full. I remember being shy and afraid to say even, “Trick or treat” in no more than a wisper. By the end of the night I was running up the street from door to door as fast as I could chanting the entire verse, “Trick or treat. Smell my feet. Give me something good to eat!” loud and clear. All my fears were gone in this night full of monsters and a dark moody sky. My brother was jealous when i got back. He had a toy and I had much more than a pillow case full of candy. I had and still have memories of scary houses with scary lights and music and the smell and feel crunched leaves under my shoes as I ran from one house to the next. I have the memory of my fathers proud face after I sang the entire “Halloween Chant” in my best sing song voice for the first time. I have all these memories I relive each Halloween when, like my father, I watch my children go house to house and proudly smile when I hear them singing “trick or treat”. Last year I missed this wonderful ritual and will miss it again and again. I probably will never see Petite Clown or Boy Blue walk proudly up to a door demanding candy. If I ever have enough money to go back to visit America before my kids are to old to trick or treat I will go just before Halloween and stay at least until Thanksgiving. And I will give thanks that I got to include them in these wonderful American traditions. Until then I will still dress them up and teach them the proper chant. We will find some village throwing the closest thing to home I can find. And our little family will start our own Halloween ritual and tradition.