This story was put together about 30 years ago. My mother, Tina, my sister, Sandy, and I each had a part of it. When the pieces were put together we had this stunning story.
To begin with, I know there is spiritual evil in the world. There is truly evil personified. There are demons. And, there is spiritual warfare. The greatest lie perpetrated on humankind is what I have just written is a lie. Only the truly unsophisticated, uneducated, non liberal minds believe such “stuff.” My answer to that is “they” have never seen it or faced it in its many forms… I have. Their life has never been threatened by it, mine has. With this said, let the story begin.
I have always been sensitive to the spiritual world. At eight years old, while very ill, I was given my first book. It was very large with a slick Navy blue cover with a scene of a distant city at night. A couple stood on a hill overlooking the town. A man with a staff was holding on to a donkey that was carrying a young pregnant woman. It was the Gospel of Luke. My first book told me about Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. About Angels and Evil and sin. About God’s love, miracles, and Salvation. When it was finished, I knew in my mind, heart and soul, that Jesus was the Son of God. Mary was his mother. Satan was real. And, God’s great power raised Jesus from the dead and He lives. The Methodist Sunday school I attended reinforced my beliefs.
I was attending the Methodist church in Rochester, Illinois, because that was where my stepfather’s family attended. From age five on, my stepfather, Robert Ratz was my dad. I loved his quietness and his funny laugh. And, from age five on, I knew I was not his daughter because his mother, Josephine, told me that I was not her granddaughter, only my sister Sandy was. The memory of this tall gaunt woman, standing over me and saying, “you may call me Josephine or Mrs. Ratz. But don’t ever call me Grandmother,” is as vivid today as it was then. She continued, “Because I am not your Grandmother, I am only Sandra’s Grandmother.” So, as much as I loved dad and Sandy, I did not belong to them by blood. I especially did not belong in Rochester society because I was the daughter of a divorcee. As Mrs. Ratz aged and became ill, she tried to reach out to me and make amends. She started introducing me to her lady friends as her granddaughter. I was sixteen at the time, and it was just a little to late for that for me.
It wasn’t too long after that that Mrs. Ratz died. I remember seeing her laid out at the funeral home in a beige dress with lace on the collar and cuffs. While waiting around to go home, mom came to me and asked me to take Sandy outside, because she was pulling on her Grandmother’s sleeve saying, “Get up, Grandmother, Get up.” I took Sandy outside and we walked up and down the street looking at homes and talking. I stayed by Sandy during the funeral and at the internment at Buckhart cemetery. Then we went home to the farm while cousins, friends and neighbors came by. That was the end of a era of moving to and from the farm because mom got tired of living with Mrs. Ratz and her ways of running things. Now, it was just our home.
One morning while we were getting ready for school, mom pulled me aside. She began, “Candie will you please wake up and comfort your sister. She is waking me up at all hours because of nightmares. Her grandmother is calling to her and she can’t reach her. She is waking me up and I have to go to work.” My only reply was, “O.k., mom.” I really thought nothing more of it after that. Until one night. I had a dream.
I remember seeing Sandy and me in bed asleep. I was on my left side facing the wall. She was on her back tossing and turning, saying, “No, Grandmother, No.!” There at the end of the bed on Sandy’s side stood Mrs. Ratz in her long beige dress with the lace on the collar and cuffs. Her arms were extended to Sandy and she was pleading, “Come to me, Sugee, Come to me.” In my dream, I rolled over and raised half way up, looked at her and said, “Why don’t you go back to hell where you belong, and leave her along!” With that said, I rolled back onto my side and went back to sleep…
Sandy got up the next morning, and said to mom, “you don’t have to worry about grandmother any more, mom. Candie took care of her last night!”