The Token

My grandma Holmes had three children that survived to adulthood, my father, my aunt Myrtle and my aunt Betty however grandma lost four children that all died as infants, something that was not uncommon in those days in that part of the country.

As this story begins my grandma had given birth to her second child a month earlier but the baby had been suffering from a series of respiratory problems since birth. The old house on Tuppers Creek road was set quite far back off the road up on a hill with great grandma's house at the foot of the hill by the road side. The woods ran down from the hill to within a stones throw of the house and an Erie fog often ran down the bank off the hill and into grandma and grandpa's back yard in the morning.

Grandma often said she would get frightened in the mornings as grandpa had to leave the house at a little before 5 o'clock in the morning to get to work on time and she and my infant father would be alone in that old house until sunrise with that fog rolling off the bank and surrounding the house. Grandma said she would often wrap the baby in a blanket and go down the hill to great grandma's house till daylight. After all grandma was still just a kid herself as she married at 16 years old and was still a month short of her 18th birthday as this story unfolds.

Each morning grandma would get up and make breakfast for grandpa before he went to work. This autumn morning grandma got up to make breakfast and after checking on the baby in the crib beside their bed, she went into the kitchen and lit the fire in the stove and started her coffee. After rolling out the biscuits and placing them in the oven grandma noticed a glowing light through the curtains in the kitchen window that looked as though it could have been a fire. Grandma pulled back the curtains and saw a small glowing light that seemed to slowly come from around the side of the house and after a few moments began to slowly move across the back yard through the fog and by the garden.

As grandma called for grandpa to come into the kitchen the light moved up the bank toward the family cemetery where it faded from view just as grandpa got to the kitchen. "did you see that" Grandma asked grandpa "I saw something" said grandpa but he couldn't say what it was.

All her life grandma had heard of "Tokens" warnings of the impending death of a loved one, seeing this light frightened grandma who quickly went into the bedroom to check on the baby and found that the baby had stopped breathing. This was the first of the four infant children my grandparents lost, two of which were born premature.

For many year now grandma has heard "Tokens" in the form of someone knocking on the door three times within a day or two of the death of a relative. Did grandma actually see the life-force of her infant child leaving the house, was the light a "Token" of her babies death, even now at 91 years of age grandma believes that it was.