Seems I’m not the only one who hears the singing ghost. I was speaking to my neighbour today who has lived in the street for 40 years. She hears the ghost too. So do her neighbours. So do people who live in the next block.
In the next street over there is a nursing home. Our laneway adjoins theirs. My neighbour believes the ghost is a former resident of the nursing home. She was a professional singer who worked in musical theatre all her life. Her name was Myra Hutchinson. She was placed in the home at the age of 76 after developing Alzheimer’s. She often forgot who she was, where she was, her power of speech was often impaired. But she never forgot how to sing.
Myra was the original Happy Wanderer, meandering along the streets and laneways of the local area, singing all day long. Often she could be found in the park, arms spread wide out to the bay, singing her favourite songs from South Pacific.
She was an eccentric, an enthusiast, an enchantress.
Her repertoire was enviable.
She died over ten years ago and over 300 people showed up to her funeral. A choir sang Gershwin’s Summertime followed by the title song from Oklahoma then The Trolley Song from Meet Me In St. Louis. My neighbour said she had never been to a funeral where so many people were smiling.
Myra’s music filled her world with joy right until the very end.
Not long after she died the singing in the laneway began, usually on a full moon or when the streetlights were out.
Now I feel less scared about hearing her songs.
I want to hear them.
I will be fortunate to hear them when I do.
They will make me think of a lady I know I would have loved in real life.
They will remind me that even when the mind is changed, altered with disease, that love and hope can remain.
Because music is joy and it endures.