THE CARD ARRIVED, not unexpectedly, today in my mailbox as one has every Halloween for the past I can’t recall how many years.
In slanted and uneven letters, my name and address are printed across the plain white envelope, the return address a simple “A.M. 56292, MN.”
Inside I find a Halloween card, this time with a wish that we could be together, Annie Mary and I.
Then my eyes fall upon the familiar message Annie prints every year, always in capital letters: I MISS YOU! ANNIE MARY
Sometimes she adds “LOVE” to her signature note.
Chills run up and down my spine.
And then I laugh at the fun of it all, at the card A.M., aka Aunt Marilyn, sends every Halloween because she knows how very much I dislike the story of Annie Mary Twente.
As legend goes, 6-year-old Annie Mary fell into a coma and was buried alive in 1886 in Albin Township near Hanska in southern Minnesota. Later, Annie’s father had his daughter’s body exhumed only to find claw marks on the inside of her coffin.
It is a sad and unsettling, and supposedly true, story. Many years ago I made the mistake of telling Aunt Marilyn, who lives in my hometown with a 56292 zip code, that the horrifying tale upset me.
Every Halloween (and sometimes on Christmas and Valentine’s Day, too) she remembers…
© Copyright 2012 Audrey Kletscher Helbling