Edgar Allen Poe and the weeping willow tree #AtoZChallenge

E is for Edgar Allen Poe and the weeping willow tree. Fifth of 26 posts in the April 2021 Blogging From #AtoZChallenge. Theme: “Endwell: My Early Teen Years”— adding my story to the family history mix. Please join me on the journey.

Scaring the pants off yourself is a time honored teen tradition. Today it’s done by watching terrifying movies, but in my early teens in the 1960s I had my own method — and it involved Edgar Allen Poe and our soaring weeping willow tree. So let me set the stage.

Weeping Willow by Max Pixel. In my early teens  in the 1960s I had my own method of scaring the pants off myself — and it involved Edgar Allen Poe and our soaring weeping willow tree.

Start with a towering weeping willow

My dad started our weeping willow tree from a branch stuck into a bottle of water shortly after we moved to Endwell in 1957. Willows are notoriously fast growers — so by the time I was a teenager our willow tree towered high above the roof.

Most days the diaphanous tree looked stately and beautiful, its green, sun-dappled leaves cascading down the branches. But at night the willow was huge and imposing — and when whipped about in a storm, atmospheric and scary.

Enter Edgar Allen Poe

My parents encouraged reading — and my mom regularly took us children to the George F. Johnson Memorial Library in Endicott so we could tote home stacks of books. I was a voracious reader and loved those library trips.

Classic Literature set. My folks purchased a set of Modern Library Classic Literature so we always had some good reads at home — and one of those classic volumes was the scary Works of Edgar Allen Poe. Photo: junkyardelves.com

But just to be sure there were always some quality books around the house, my folks also purchased a set of Modern Library Classic Literature — and one of those classic volumes was the scary Works of Edgar Allen Poe.

Wait for a thunderstorm

We had an enclosed back porch off our garage with a sturdy roof, screened walls, a pop-up wall mounted table and wall-hung lamp. When the sun was up, it was a shady place for us kids to hang out — and our family sometimes ate dinner there in the summer.

But in the dark, or when it was windy, or especially during a thunderstorm, it was the perfect place to curl up with the terrifying Works of Edgar Allen Poe.

Premature Burial by Antoine Wiertz. During thunderstorms, as a teen, I would crack open the Works of Edgar Allen Poe in our enclosed back porch — and before you know it, I was being buried alive in “Premature Burial” or walled up in a deep, moldy wine cellar in  the “The Cask of Amontillado.” Yikes! Image: Wikipedia

Surrounded by the roaring darkness outside, with the willow tree thrashing about amid flashes of lightening, I would crack open the Poe volume under the little cone of lamplight — and before you know it, I was being buried alive in “Premature Burial” or walled up in a deep, moldy wine cellar with the “The Cask of Amontillado.” Yikes!

Up next: F is for Farm visits and Family Fun. Please leave a comment, then join me as Endwell: My Early Teen Years unfolds one letter at a time!

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7 thoughts on “Edgar Allen Poe and the weeping willow tree #AtoZChallenge”

  1. Molly,

    My grandparents had a weeping willow in their yard. I always liked watching it sway in the wind but I hated the bugs that seemed to flock to it. Edgar Allen Poe is perhaps the first poet I recall from my childhood despite my lack of interest in reading. I think I became interested somewhat after seeing an old Vincent Prince horror film that had something to do with Poe.

    If you haven’t already, I invite you to check out my Looney Tunes Art Sketch of Elmer Fudd! Happy A2Zing, my friends!

  2. Great story to add to your family history. You have a talent for building a visual image of the scene as you build tension in an entertaining story. No weeping willow in my childhood but plenty of wooded areas in general.

  3. Ohhh I remember my own adventures in the weeping willow tree at my grandparents house until a storm took it down in the 70’s. Luckily my grandmother snapped a pick of me in it with my grandfather before he took the chainsaw too it. Those were some scary stories, but so much fun.
    Cheers
    Crackerberries

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