Very Superstitious

January 13, 2017



I used to be superstitious and scared on Friday the 13th

When I was a small child I was very, very superstitious. Very. I was brought up in a household where my grandmother would say a novena at the mention of bad news and my mother would say things like don't put shoes on the table, it's bad luck. Black cats, walking under ladders and broken mirrors were taboo. Of course, when I broke a thermometer on the bathroom floor and played with the balls of mercury for a half an hour, no one batted an eye, but shattered glass?

The horror! You'd better get the rosary or start knocking on wood.

And fast.

While I don't remember Friday the 13th being a huge scary deal, until after Jason and his lovely mask surfaced in 1980, the date itself was thrown into the general cornucopia of things to fear.

For some reason though, I hated that date on the calendar. It was terrifying to me.

I'm sure it didn't help that my dad died the same year the movie premiered. The timing was also coupled with a few other suspicious happenings, although I don't believe either one of them happened on the 13th.

But who knows.

In elementary school, I had a friend who loved the occult and had started reading palms and tarot cards. One day, during indoor recess, huddled under a table in my 6th grade classroom, she asked me to draw cards and she would tell me about my future. One of the cards I chose represented death.

She told me that someone close to me would die very soon.

My father did shortly after.

Of course, it was from cancer and it was expected, although not from me, an optimistic 11 year old.

After my dad's passing, my mom told me a story that was eerily similar. She and my dad were at a party the summer before, where a psychic was giving readings. They decided to play along and there were a lot of laughs until she told my dad that he would get very sick...but never fear...he would get better.

Obviously, he did not.

When my mom's friends ran into their psychic neighbor months later, they asked her about it. She said that she knew he would not get well, but she didn't want to take hope away. And she sincerely hoped she was wrong.

Well, as you can imagine, these two incidents were enough to send an impressionable teenager into a superstitious panic that lasted for years. The mere mention of bad things were enough to make me believe they might come true.

Don't even say that and take that back, became common phrases in my home.

I had splintered and calloused knuckles from all the wood I knocked on. I picked up pennies and had a lucky rabbit foot...hot pink! I never ever participated when my girlfriends did the psychic party thing and the mere mention of tarot cards or palm readings sent chills up my spine.

Scary movies were a big no.

And for some reason, the number 13 in any form, was bad.

Very bad.

I managed to keep my superstitious nature tucked away and hidden from most people, although my husband was always well aware of it. We had been friends for many years before we dated and you can't hide that kind of crazy for too long. Teenage boys have radar when it comes to that kind of stuff.

He has never been superstitious. He thought my fears were irrational and as kids, he teased me about them, every chance he got. Once we were married, he toned it down.

Mostly.

Anyway.

We'd been married for a few years before the baby urge kicked in, but once it did, I was obsessed. Babies and getting pregnant were all I could think about, so naturally, like most things in my life, it did not come easily.

When I finally did get pregnant, I was thankful that it was without medical intervention, but it was a rocky road all the way through. Sonograms, blood tests, weekly visits, measurements and worry were all on my path to baby. I was having complications that no one could really put their finger on and whether or not I would carry the baby to term was always in question.

Each week I left the doctor's office with little more than a pat on the back and an appointment for the following week. I swear the doctor would say, "Fingers crossed!" as he left the exam room.

Superstitious behavior ran high during those months, as you can imagine.

And it all paid off, because on a sweet spring day, my baby girl arrived. She was perfectly healthy, totally gorgeous and only five days earlier than predicted.

On the 13th.

Best day of my life.

Ironic isn't it?

No. It wasn't a Friday, although her birthday has obviously fallen on that day a few times and rather than fear it, we've embraced it. One year, we had a Scooby Doo costume party. Lots of Daphnes. The festivities came complete with a mystery to solve and treasure chest (filled with party favors) that was guarded by ghosts (low hovering white helium balloons with streamers taped to them) in my scary (not really, just ugly) laundry room.

She even turned 13 on Friday the 13th, so we threw another fabulous party.

You see, I did not want my kids to grow up with the same fears and crazy superstitions that I did. That kind of thinking is restrictive and a burden. It has the power to taint everything if you let it.

Instead of "don't say that!", I tell them that words don't make magic. When a mirror breaks, I shrug it off and tell them the only thing I'm concerned about, is blood and when we see a ladder, I don't want them to walk under it because it could be dangerous if it falls.

And 13 is my super lucky number.

I have changed the script I grew up with.

Although, I still don't want anyone's shoes on the table, but who would?

Oh, I'm not totally cured. Psychic readings are out, never got one, never will. I still hate scary movies and get chills when my husband hums the theme song from Friday The 13th.

I also occasionally knock on wood.

You know.

If there's a really good reason.

Are you superstitious?

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68 comments:

  1. :^)...I don't consider myself superstitious, but I have always knocked on wood if someone says "oh that'll never happen"...ummmm sure......
    You are a fabulous writer!! and I loved your story!
    Hope you are having a wonderful new year and many blessings to you,
    J

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    1. Thanks J…you just made me smile ear to ear! Blessings to you, too! :)

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  2. We must have had similar grandmothers, especially putting shoes on a table. When we had a thunderstorm, my Grandmother used to come into our bedrooms and sprinkle Holy Water on us. Wake you up from a deep sleep. Of course I was always afraid of thunderstorms until I had my boys and I had to show them how to be strong, of course I still don't put shoes on a table.

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    1. That is so funny!! I love that you know about the shoes on the table...every time I tell someone that, they look at me like I'm crazy. No one I have encountered has ever heard of it. Validation at last! ;)

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  3. My father was born on a Friday the 13th, and he was always a very lucky man...handy when you are a fighter pilot! So I never worried about the date...

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    1. Very handy indeed! My dad was a tail gunner in WWII, he was lucky too, shot down several times and thanks to a very savvy fighter pilot survived each crash. :)

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  4. I had my first ankle surgery on Friday the 13th July 2012...
    Brenda

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    1. Surgery on any day is no fun, Brenda. :(

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  5. well Kim.. I guess this means you don't want me to read your astrology chart or do a tarot or ruins reading for ya, huh. oh well, I'm already booked for 3 months anyway..

    Enjoy the 13th with your wonderful memories.
    ps-- the death card means the dying of one thing so something new can step in, not actual Death..just sayin'

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    1. The funny thing is that even though I don’t want a reading, I am very interested in all of it and love astrology. I have many friends who go for readings often and on one very special occasion, one of them was sent home with a touching and comforting message for me. I guess I am just scarred from events of the past. I have a dear friend now that does readings and she has enlightened me regarding the true meaning of the death card and how it can be a good thing. That was a fact that was certainly lost on my preteen reader!

      I hope you have a wonderful weekend! :)

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  6. Not really sure if I'm superstitious. I don't really pay much attention to it but every once in a while....

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    1. Right there with you...every once in a while! ;)

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  7. I guess I wouldn't call myself superstitious but I have a few quirks.
    I knock on wood, cross my fingers and pray to St. Anthony when ever I lose something.
    Black humor is off limits in my book. I remember being invited to a birthday party in a
    cemetery one time when the guest of honor was turning 50 or 60 . . .
    Not a fan . . . of connecting anything black to birthday celebrations.
    I will never forget a comment made at my late husband's surprise birthday party.
    "You better celebrate big time, you might not be here next year."
    He wasn't . . .

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    1. Yeah...that kind of black humor still throws me too. I'm not sure I would be thrilled to attend a party like that either. Yikes! And that's a terrible comment made to your husband. I'm so sorry...

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  8. I have never heard of the shoes on the table rule. We were never very superstitious growing up. We would repeat some of the usual ones, the black cat crossing the path, not going under a ladder, unlucky number 13 and knocking on wood but I doubt that any of us ever took it seriously. I think that I personally only ever saw a Ouija board in use once but I think it was more of a slumber party trick and no one really believed it. I don't know if I know anyone who has had a psychic reading or tarot cards. I wonder if it is something more prevalent in some cultures than others? You think of baseball players as being superstitious but perhaps some religions or some nationalities have passed it down thru the generations. Now, night shift nurses and full moons--that is a different story. That one is true.

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    1. Oh the sports thing is a whole other story...I remember if a team scored when I was in the room, my father and brother would make me stay in the room. Of course, if I walked in and something bad happened, I had to leave immediately. My mom was always bad luck to sports...although, I think the men just wanted her out, in case she was going to ask them to get up and mow the lawn or something!! ;)

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  9. Well, growing p in a Irish community it was full of superstitions, lore and leprechauns. lol I wrote a whole post today about the #13,too. I have had some very eerie things happen on Friday the 13th so I tend to avoid doing much on that day when I can. However, today my back felt better so I moved two rooms around (and the hall). My back is now killing me again---BAD LUCK or STUPIDITY---You decide. lol xo Diana

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    1. I think that certain cultures are more prone to superstitious traditions than others! My Albanian relatives were not as committed to the behavior as the Italian side...and since the Italians were louder, those are the voices that lived in my head! ;) Hope your back is better!

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  10. So happy to hear you broke the cycle of superstition in your family! I am not very superstitious at all, except I swear that deaths do come in threes. I got married on the 13th (it was the only date we could pull it all together) and went to Italy for our honeymoon. Imagine my relief and happiness when I found out that 13 is considered a lucky number there. I bought a silver 13 charm to remember it all by. Now my husband and I celebrate our wedding day on the 13th of every month with a little gift, so it is a good thing.

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    1. I love the idea that you celebrate your anniversary every month!! That is the sweetest! ♡

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  11. The number 13 has always been lucky for our family....going back to my parents. I don't believe I'm superstitious. But, I still knock on wood three times whenever necessary! Not taking any chances! ;)

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    1. I'm with you! Why take chances! ;)

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  12. Logically, I know superstitions are not real and other than knocking on wood no one ever suspect all the strange things that come up from growing up in a superstitious family. Definately no shoes on the table, haveing to put money in a wallet or purse gift, give a penny wth a gift of a knife... But the funniest thing "that I still do always, although not outloud" is say "bread and butter" when walking with someone around an obsticle on opposite sides. Mostly I don't know where these old superstitions come from or why we respond in specific ways but I still do it. Too funny.

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    1. Oh yes, the money in the purse or the new car!! I forgot about those! We didn't do "bread and butter", but we did do the "don't step on a crack or you'll break your mother's back"...I forgot about that one! ;)

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  13. Hi Kim,
    Another great post! I enjoyed reading this, I will say you had chills running up my spine about the story of your mom and your story regarding your dad.
    I am happy a blessing happened on the 13th!!
    Carla

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    1. Those stories still haunt me...but that baby on the 13th definitely changed a lot!! ;)

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  14. I am not real superstitious but do knock on wood a lot lol! Hope your Friday the 13th was good and lucky today. Have a great weekend.
    xoxo
    Kris

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    1. Knocking on wood seems to be a very popular behavior...superstitious or not! :) Hope it's a great weekend!!

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  15. "I have changed the script I grew up with."

    you are funny and wise and dear.
    i love that you have changed that script you grew up with.
    kudos dear girl! xo

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    1. Thank you, Tammy! It wasn't easy, but I guess it's easier to do things for others, than it is for ourselves. :)

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  16. My mother was superstitious about not opening an umbrella in the house or if a wild bird got in your house it meant death. She used to "read" the cards (learned it from her grandmother) and she was usually right. My younger son was born on the 13th and has always considered it to be his lucky number. He was expecting good things to happen yesterday! Thanks for an interesting post.

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    1. I hope your son had a great day!! I think it's all in our perspective! :)

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  17. Kim I got married on the 13th although it was not a Friday. There was no other date available. Lucky for us it turned out to be a good number because we are married 28 years.

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    1. I would say that turned out to be a lucky day for your indeed, Mary!! :)

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  18. I am superstitious but do not mind Friday the 13th. I don't like glass being broken in the house and I have had it done twice this week. Let's pray for a good year ahead!

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    1. Oh no, broken glass is never a good thing! I hope this weekend is void of any more broken glass and yes, praying for a wonderful year ahead! :)

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  19. As I read your story, I knew something was going to happen to change your mind about #13. How wonderful that it was the birth of your daughter.

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    1. You know my style, Carol! ;) I learned quickly that babies are wonderful no matter what day they arrive!

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  20. I try not to be superstitious and when I am I think about it, like yesterday was the 13th I felt maybe I shouldn't have left the house? I think about not walking under a ladder or not have a black cat cross my path...but I often feel is I say something I should it could come back to haunt me?

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    1. I still think about these things all the time, too, Cathy. As I said, old habits are hard to break...

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  21. I never really thought of myself as superstitious. After all, one of my favorite things is a baker's dozen. Lol! I can see why it affected you so much though. Maybe your daughter being born on the 13th was the universe's way of letting you know GOOD things, really good things, can also happen on the 13th. I love the Scooby Doo party idea! I was Scooby for halloween a few times growing up and so were my boys. :)

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    1. A baker's dozen...well, now, that is something I never thought about. Clearly you, my friend are an optimist and I am not! ;) I blame that on my family, too... ha!!

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  22. I've never been superstitious but I can certainly understand how it was part of your family culture growing up, and I'm sure quite hard to really put behind you. How wonderful that your daughter was born on the 13th! Yesterday dear friends of ours had their second child born on the 13th too :) I always enjoy your story telling, Kim, you have a gift for sure :)

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    1. Thank you, Marilyn! Storytelling is my favorite. It always makes me smile when people find some joy in my words. ;)

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  23. Kim you have a gift for stories / this was one to make one think :)

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    1. Perfect! Just what I was going for, Deb! Thanks for the feedback, it always makes my day!

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  24. I'm not superstitious at all, but I suppose that's because I didn't grow up that way. I enjoyed hearing your story, though very sorry to hear about your dad.

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    1. Thank you, Melanie...and yes, I think it's all about what we grow up with.

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  25. What an amazing writer you are! Kim, this was such a wonderful post. Yes, I guess I grew up just like you, with all that superstition around me. I don't thing about it much now that I am older, but, even then, I still catch myself sometimes knocking on wood. :) I really enjoyed reading your post! Take care, Maria

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    1. Thank you, Maria Elena! You just completely made my day!! :)

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  26. What a fun post this is! I hate to admit it, but I'm superstitious also. I really had to giggle with the no shoes on the table thing...I seriously thought that only my mother said that! My mother is very superstitious and I guess she just passed that craziness on to me & my siblings.

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    1. I am so happy I wrote this post, Gina, if only to find out that somebody else's mother talked about those shoes on the table!! I really thought I was the only one all these years! Glad to know the crazy is out there in other families, too!! Ha!! ;)

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  27. Well now that you mention it I am superstitious! I grew up in a toned down version of your upbringing.
    We could not walk under ladders, open umbrellas in the house, we screamed if a black cat walked in front of our car, we were even know to turn around and take an alternate route...
    Oh goodness! But we all survived.
    Fun Post!

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    1. The umbrellas...yup, not indoors, you never open them inside! I have to admit I still do that one, but only because I don't want water on the floor. Well, at least that's what I tell myself! ;)

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  28. I am a little but superstitious. I don't like Friday the 13th of any month or any year. I start getting a little queasy as it draws near and on those days, I try not to remember that it is Friday the 13th. I do still occasionally knock on wood and don't like seeing black cats. I have no memory of where these quirks came from, but here they are nonetheless. :-) Love and hugs!

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    1. So many of them are such a deep part of our collective culture that I guess it would be hard not to be aware of them or feel something. I wish you a black cat free weekend, my friend!! :)

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  29. We must have grown up in similar households, Kim. Breaking a mirror was reported to bring 7 years bad luck, spilling salt means one throws salt over their shoulder, never open an umbrella inside the house, etc., etc. I'm not superstitious, though. It's pretty liberating, actually. Great story from an excellent storyteller. I'm glad it was your daughter's birth that turned things around for you. Very special. Hugs, Nancy

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    1. Thank you, Nancy. These superstitions are so pervasive aren't they? It is freeing to let them go, but certainly not easy. Those beliefs you grew up with seem to be the hardest to shake. Her birth definitely helped to free me, although, my mom always said, "Now you're just too busy to care about them!" With a tiny baby in the house, she may have been right!! ;) Hugs back to you!!

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  30. Hi Kim, I enjoyed your reading post today. I am not really superstitious about anything.
    Have a nice weekend.
    Julie

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  31. Dear Kim ... I am not at all superstitious. But, I do not and have never watched scary movies, nor have I read books along that line. I prefer warm and cosy movies and books. Weekend Blessings ♥ Teri

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  32. A girl after my own heart, Teri!!

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  33. I had a terrible car accident years ago on Friday the 13th, so I've always been super cautious on that date since. I never put shoes on the table, I never walk under a ladder, and I always knock on wood. And I would never, ever go to a psychic, because I'd obsess over what they would tell me. And there's no way you'll ever get me to participate in a ouji board or a seance! (sp?)

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    1. I'm sorry to hear about the accident, Debbie...that is scary! It's so funny to hear about the shoes on the table from so many...thought I was the only one!

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  34. I guess I'm pretty superstitious, or maybe just 'cautious'. I figure what could it hurt if I don't walk under a ladder, don't pick up a penny unless it's on heads, and knock on wood? And scary movies?! Hell no!

    I'm a 13th baby too. Your daughter must be special ;).

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    1. She’s super special, Doreen! It's a distinction that comes with the birthday! ;)

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  35. I am not superstitious, although I do stay away from things that I feel could compromise my relationship with God. You are right, it is all about how we grow up and what we are exposed to. I am so glad you were able to break that cycle Kim! Hugs :)

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