Have you ever believed something almost all your life and then found out it just wasn't so? Well, I have! I just found out that one of my childhood memories is wrong. I've been thinking recently about fears in childhood. I thought about the fears I had in elementary school; fear of riding the bus with those big kids, fear of not being liked, or fear of being embarrassed. I had all the usual fears, but one year I had a very big fear...fear of a spooky castle. In the 50's and 60's the threat of nuclear warfare was very high. During this time it was feared that a nuclear bomb could be dropped on our heads at anytime. We were told that in case of a nuclear attack we would take safety in the stone building next door to the school that we thought was a monastery. To me it looked like a spooky castle. The castle was obscured from the highway by large cedar trees, the house itself was covered in English Ivy, and it even had a drawbridge. I remember as we peeked through the tall shrubs and fence, we could see the huge stone castle and watched fearfully for the the monks dressed in black robes wandering around the yard. I wasn't afraid of nuclear attacks, I was too young to even know what that was, but I was terrified of the castle next door!
After thinking about this castle looking monastery, I did a little research. To my surprise and disbelief it was never a monastery, there were no monks that lived there. They were all rumors told by children to frighten other children. I didn't make up the monastery story, my sister, who is three years older than me, went to this school and she has the same memories. We both remember monks walking around the grounds. I wonder if they were just people in long coats or if it may have been Halloween?? More than likely, we both just had nightmares of this place!! "The Castle" as it is called has always been a residence, owned by four different families. It was built in the early 1940's by a Little Rock dentist, Dr. Koch. The house was even used in the 70's horror film "So Sad About Gloria."
My husband and I were by there recently, he stopped let me out, and waited down the road a bit while I took a few pictures. The castle looks nothing like it did in my childhood. The huge trees and Ivy are gone and the property is nicely manicured. I was a little saddened by my discovery! It made a much better story when I thought it was a haunted castle with black-robed men wandering around!!