Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered by The Brits


‘Cambridge gives The Child the Evil Eye’

Back in the Dark Ages BB* I used to make movies. I filmed anything—and everything—my family did. Then I edited the footage, set it to music and churned out dozens of DVDs that I foisted on one and all. It got so that the mere sight of my cute little Flip video camera drove them into hiding. “Mo-om! Stop flipping us!’  Hah. They didn’t realize how good they had it.

*BB: ‘Before Blog’. A more innocent time, filled with pestering people with filming, then pestering people to watch said films

Well now I don’t need no stinkin’ camera. Because now everything is fodder for The Blog. Including the fact that The Child just might be a witch.

OK. So these two Samanthas don’t look all that much alike. (For those of you who don’t already know, yes, that is The Child’s real, actual name, which I wouldn’t normally reveal, but there you go.) And for those of you who don’t get the ‘Samantha’ reference, here’s some info.

Basically, the black-and-white Samantha pictured above was the main character in a 60’s TV show called ‘Bewitched’. She was a witch married to a ‘normal guy’ who forbade her, for some inexplicable reason, to use her powers. Personally, I’d be all ‘Honey, could you turn my fat ugly boss into the toad he actually is?’ But that’s just me.

Samantha the TV Witch uses her powers to do laundry instead of winning the lottery

Samantha the TV Witch uses her powers to do laundry instead of to win the lottery

But back to what happened in Cambridge. This Witch Story occurred to me because a year has gone by since The Dude and I made our trip to visit The Child while she was studying at Cambridge. A whole year! And there’s still a big ole file of yet-to-be-movified footage staring me accusingly in the face every time I open my computer. Oh well. One of these days. Right now I’d rather tell you about The Witch Thing.

We were winding down after a full day of touring Cambridge—the Botanical Garden, the Scott Polar Institute, college after stately college—and enjoying a nice meal at a restaurant called St. John’s Chophouse. The Child had picked it because it featured Huge Cuts of Meat, which is something students, even students not at Cambridge, can’t afford. (Sushi; same deal. Flesh, raw or cooked, swimming or hoofed, is what Students want to eat when Parents are paying. No ‘Oh, Mom and Dad, can you please please take us to the vegan place?!’  Uh-uh. It’s pricey protein every time.)

Anyway. We’re digging into our very large slabs of meat (accompanied by strangely inedible rock-hard pork rinds; not like those tasty American George Bush Senior pork rinds at all) when, somehow, the conversation got around to some very weird things that had been happening to Our Child.

Like, she was running (for exercise, not from an exorcist) along the Cam and some girl on a bike passed her and hissed at her. Another time she was in the supermarket, minding her own business shopping for affordable foodstuffs, when a harmless-looking older gentleman approached her and hissed (again with the hissing) ‘Satan!’ 

Disconcerting, to say the least. So we’re discussing this. And I guess, between carnivorous bites, our conversation must have gotten a bit, um, lively, because our waiter not only overheard—he joined right in! He goes ‘Oh, yes. Satanism. Witchcraft. Very big here in Cambridge.

Well. OK. He seemed like a normal, waiterish fellow. At first I thought he was putting us on (who wouldn’t?) but then he continued: ‘I’ve done a few exorcisms myself.’ (O-kaaay. And, to quote Woody Allen, ‘I’ve got an appointment on the Planet Earth.’)

Then things really got weird. ‘Is she (indicating The Child) a Christian?’ I hazarded a (what I thought would be the correct) guess: ‘Um, no. I don’t think so.’

‘Well, that could be a problem.’

(That could be a problem?!?) Mr. Waiter goes on to point out that it helps, if thought a witch and you want to be unthought a witch and seek an exorcism, to be a practicing Christian. Otherwise it might not work out so well. Which I guess, come to think of it, does make sense. If you want to go down that particular road.

Our exorcist/waiter went on to give us more than just a good tip’s worth of information about the whole witches and satanism thing in Cambridge (Who knew? They even give satanism tours! Led by ‘non-jaded students’!); so much that it rather spoiled our appetites for dessert. And kind of gave us a skewed view of our next day’s sightseeing:

Even her college, good ole Lucy Cavendish, showed evidence of  a possible witch-in-residence:

Mysterious, inexplicable void in shrubbery

The shrubbery surrounding The Child’s college, where this ominous void mysteriously appeared after The Child spent a night of bacchanalian revelry with ‘some friends’

But, hey. It’s Our Child, and we’re proud of her, witch or no witch. We’re just glad she could parlay her skills into getting a Job so that she can Support Herself. Halilujah! (or whatever Satanists say these days.)

Enjoy your week. Stay tuned for more magical writings. And if you happen to run into The Child, for heaven’s sake don’t hiss at her.

Amagansett, New York. June 2015


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11 thoughts on “Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered by The Brits

  1. drallisonbrown

    We lived in Boston for 3 years, and I had never heard that Cambridge was filled with witches or Satanists….maybe that’s why people were so rude (no offense to the few nice Bostonians). Seriously, I’ve never been as stressed out as I was when I lived there – between the people, the weather, the traffic, and my job at the airport (!). Perhaps it is a holdover from the whole Salem witch trial stuff….it’s in the genes 🙂

    • My goodness! The ‘job at the airport’ part would have me at Maximum Stress all by itself! Actually, it was the English Cambridge where we had the Your Daughter Is A Witch experience. But it wouldn’t surprise me one iota to learn that American Cambridge was likewise Satanist-infected. Nutty place! And you can get so LOST walking around there. Notice I don’t even mention driving (tho once I tried, with predictably disastrous results)

      • drallisonbrown

        Well, then, I apologize for the completely irrelevant response to your post! Lol! Maybe I should start reading blog posts after I’ve had my morning coffee…

        • No apologies necessary! I just re-read the post, and it isn’t crystal-clear which Crazy Cambridge I’m talking about. Besides, your thoughts re Puritans and their scourging of witches were pretty darned spot on!

  2. lol. I guess it’s more acceptable to ‘pester’ people with a blog than a camera.
    …So Sam’s a witch or Satanist for not being christian? I show my teeth and maybe hiss back at these hissers! 🙂

    • Good point! You are so right about blog vs. camera. (Tho I do check with the ‘victims’ first.) And I too would enjoy hissing back at the hissers, if only to go back and visit Cambridge again. Such a beautiful place, even if it is full of witches(!)

  3. I am bewitched by this fantastic tale! I was always somewhat bemused that Darrin (the husband’s name, I believe?) was able to forbid Samantha from using her skills. My husband can only wish… Luckily you have given your Samantha the freedom to pursue her talents!

    • Thank you so much. For your comment, for your support, and most of all — for ‘getting’ what the heck I’m talking about (!) Yes, isn’t it swell that neither of us is married to ‘Darrin’!

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