We (my brother and two sisters) watched Fright NightTheatre on WKBW Channel 7, Buffalo, New York, every Friday night. We did not have to go to school on Saturday, so our parents let us stay up.
Fright Night Theatre played all the old horror films. Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein, Son of Frankenstein, Dracula, The Wolfman, The Mummy, and many movies about ghosts and monsters.
It was time for bed once the movie ended. Oh no! Bed. That meant sleeping in the dark. Sleeping in the dark meant that the monsters would get us.
Dad tried to stop us from being afraid of the dark by showing us that our bedroom was the same whether or not the lights were on. He would turn the lights off and on and say, “See? There’s no difference with the room whether the lights are off or on. You have no reason to be afraid of the dark.”
I did not say anything, but I remember thinking that it was easy for Dad not to be afraid of the dark because he slept in the same bed as Mom.
My brother and I shared a room. Our beds were parallel facing north-south. His bed was against the west wall, and my bed was against the east wall. The doorway was in the west wall at the end of my brother’s bed.
Dad would not let us sleep with the light on. After Dad turned the light off, I would crawl into my brother’s bed and make sure that I was against the west wall. That way, the monster would get my brother first giving me time to escape through the door at the end of his bed. I loved my brother, but I was willing to sacrifice him to the monsters to save myself.
Every Friday night, after Fright Night Theatre, I would crawl into my brother’s bed after Dad turned out our bedroom light. By Saturday night, our fears subsided and we slept in our own beds. We knew that the monsters could still get us, but we were less afraid.
The monsters never got us. They lived under our beds and in our closets, but they never came out and got us. Eventually, the monsters moved on, and we outgrew our fear of the dark. Or perhaps we outgrew our fear of the dark, and then the monsters moved on.
What triggered this childhood memory? I don’t know. But when I think about the monsters, I suspect they decided to live healthier lives by getting out of the dark and becoming vegetarians.