an eye for the peculiar...........
Written by
Beverly Steeves
June 2012
Written by
Beverly Steeves
June 2012


sue here is your tale
i come from a place where people's crazy is just below the surface, not buried deep but visible to even the most untrained eye. this is neither here nor there in terms of correctness but you must learn early how to tread water. you must never come right out and point out the obvious. but instead you must watch and wait. the man with the wheelbarrow, the hermit with over 100 cats, the woman with the shrine to rex humbard. they were everywhere, literally you could not swing a dead cat and not have one pop out of hiding. i wasn't one to shy away. bring on your crazy. i'll take a look. my mother recognized early on that i could be counted on when the situation called for an audience. "let beverly go", she's say, "she doesn't mind that kind of thing". and strangely, i didn't. i could pet imaginary cats and listen to ranting all the live long day - well the promise of a bit of lunch was always appreciated. you learned that crazy was dangerously close to the path, one miss step and you be living an entirely different life. this kind of early training has served me well. normal became an wide expanse. sanity as odd as the alternate but in the mean time you must maneuver your way through both worlds and you must learn to live with the envy. because believe me there is a crazy that is so inviting, so liberating that even as a child you watched it in awe.
ihad an old auntie that inhabited that kind of wonderland. i was too young to appreciate the tragedy that sent her there. i could only revel in the place she had come. there was tea and mayonnaise sandwiches. the table was always set to include Queen Elizabeth, my aunties sister and a long dead prime minister who had become her priest. the absent people were represented with framed photos and my auntie spoke to them. i never heard the photos speak, i never saw elizabeth drink the tea or the priest make the blessing but my auntie did. this was enough for me and the sheer contentment i felt would sometimes take my breath away. after the refreshments we all went to the parlor and elizabeth and the priest would watch while auntie and i did the highland jig. the same scenes were played out for nearly every visit. it was for me how happy feels.
another wondrous woman i visited with was the wife of let's say my eye doctor. this was a case of my mother volunteering me for a bit of psychiatric nurse training. me being under 10 didn't bother anyone. just sit with her for a while - give the caretaker a break. i loved it. i was at times a wee bit scared - this gal was unpredictable. she wore wildly flowered caftans and her hair was piled high on her head in curls we called bubbles. she smoked and things sometimes caught fire. as soon as we were alone she always asked if i wanted a boiled egg and i always did. she would put an egg in a pot sans water and turn up the heat. smoke and or fire usually was the finale of all our visits. i would always catch hell from the returnees about not stopping her. stopping her never occurred to me. the fear i felt was tempered greatly by the anticipation of what would happen next. what i could possibly miss if i ran screaming from the room. so i happily sat next to a smouldering pillow or listened to conspiracy theories because personal danger cannot compete with entertainment. the highlight of most visits involved a tray of rings. the kind of ring you get for a successful doctor's visit. well mrs had her own large tray. we would sit like two young debutantes and try on rings. picking our favorites from each row. we discussed what situation would be best for each ring. when we had exhausted our imaginations the rings were returned to the tray and she would light a smoke and i wondered how a person could get their hands on such a large tray of rings. i always left with the idea that this was the type of life i wanted to lead.
i have always suspected i might be crazy or at the very least a crazy magnet. in real life i have attracted some pretty freaky people. to be honest i've been known to campaign for them. but, i have been very fortunate to also have attracted some really sensible people. they sort of hold on the balloon string and keep me from floating off to god knows where. because sometimes i like to inhabit that place where reason is often pushed aside for something more entertaining. and as an added value - here is my favorite poem.
first fig
My candle burns at both ends; It will not last the night; But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends-- It gives a lovely light!
i feel this way approximately ALL the time. it runs through my head at least once a day. a mantra if you will
so light her up
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  • Margaret Wacker

    Eccentric people have the most interesting stories.

  • Christina Miller

    lovely! :)

    lovely! :)

  • Hi Bev, I loved your tale of all the crazies in your life (well probably not all).  I am happy you've added me to the list.

    I'm a nightowl and no doubt that adds to my craziness.  :)

  • Beverly Steeves

    growing up in a isolated fishing village i think  prepared me to accept and appreciate all kinds of people

    thanks for commenting


  • Barb Best

    Interesting piece, Bev. Somewhat crazy or merely eccentric people surely make for entertaining company.

    This is also one of my favorite poems: My candle burns at both ends; It will not last the night; But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends-- It gives a lovely light! - Edna St. Vincent Millay