Back in the olden days when I was in college studying photography and being artistic, I had a friend named Brandy. We were going to school in the tiny Oklahoma town where I grew up. Imagine a big group of photography students roaming around a little town trying to find things to photograph. Ideally it would be something that no one else had already found. Hopefully it would be something strange, unique, dark, maybe even scary. Then you would get all the glory of having that perfect original shot!

One day Brandy and I were driving down an old road and found the holy grail of subjects. Just off the old road there was an old house, lots of things there are old, and this was not just any old house. It had not a single window or door left on it. I don’t mean the glass had been broken out. Entire windows were gone including the frames. The door frames were gone too, not just the doors.

You could see straight through the house and out the hole where the back door had been. This amazing view was even more amazing because every room in the house was painted a different, bright, crayon color. The living room was bright blue, the dining room was a brilliant pink, then came the vibrant green kitchen. Brandy screamed for me to stop and I pulled my little white Geo Metro to a screeching halt in the overgrown yard.

We whipped our cameras out and started clicking away. Now this was back in the days of film, darkrooms, and 35 mm cameras. My camera was an ancient Canon given to me by my Grandma June’s friend, Mrs. Norma Doogan. It had belonged to her late husband who also trained bird dogs. They were famous for making the most incredible variety of candy every Christmas. I used Mr. Doogan’s camera throughout school and still have it safely stashed away in my closet.

At first Brandy and I couldn’t believe our luck. There was no way any of our classmates could have found this house yet. I knew all the backroads and interesting places in town and everyone else was new to the area. I walked into one of the bedrooms, this one an intense red. Kid’s artwork was tacked to the wall. It was a little sad and kind of creepy but I was too busy finding that perfect shot. Then I noticed that one drawing was signed “Ralin”. This stuck in my mind since it’s an unusual name. I’d only met one family with a kid named Ralin. There’s no way they could have anything to do with this abandoned house though.

I found Brandy in the green kitchen changing to a new roll of film. Looking around I saw a letter tacked to the wall by the spot a fridge used to sit. I read it aloud, “Dear Randy, We don’t know where you went and why you never came back. We can’t stay here anymore. The kids and I left. Don’t try to find us. Linda. P.S. We took the raccoon with us. You can’t have him back.”

With a shock I realized that I did know this family, the family with a kid named Ralin. Why they had lived there, where they had gone, and what they were doing with a raccoon I did not know. I shouted to Brandy to get in the car, “I know who lived here! Let’s get out of here!” She was equally shocked. “How in the world do you know the people who lived in this house?” A legitimate question considering we were in an abandoned, rainbow colored, window and doorless house on the side of a road.

What Brandy didn’t know was the unusual amount of strange people my family knew in this weird little town in Oklahoma. As the years have gone by and I’ve told stories from my growing up years, many people have pointed out that my family knows a disproportionate number of very unusual people and quite a few unusual things have happened to us.

Maybe it’s because I’m from a big family. Statistically that would increase your chances of weird things happening. Maybe it’s because I’m from a small town in Oklahoma. Strange things to seem to happen there and there does seem to be quite a few strange people there.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this little story. I’m planning to post stories every so often and I hope they give you a laugh. Happy weekend!