Grandmother’s Guest: The Blue Lady of Wilton

A grandmother uses storytelling to explain the unexplainable to her granddaughter

You might not believe in ghosts, but it sure seems there is one in a Wilton graveyard. Sightings of a blue mist moving slowly behind the cemetery’s stone walls are said to be common.

Robin Schoen hadn’t heard those stories when she bought the beautiful brick Colonial that sat right below the cemetery. But it wasn’t long before she got acquainted with what locals call “The Blue Lady of Wilton.”

She found it “creepy,” she says, and thought about moving, especially since her 8-year-old granddaughter Alex was reluctant to come for sleepovers.

Shoen decided to write a children’s book for Alex, to reassure her with “a kinder, gentler approach to our new ’neighbor.’” The result is “Grandmother’s Guest: The Blue Lady of Wilton” [Hobby Horse Publishing, $16.95].

Told from her granddaughter’s point of view, it’s a lovely, mostly true, story of grandmother and granddaughter learning that the Blue Lady is “simply a shy and misunderstood woman” who is not to be feared. The story takes an interesting turn when the two buy a teacup from an old children’s tea set and find a note in it with the actual name of the Blue Lady, Mary Ritter Spalding. What happens next, you’ll have to read.

The book is beautifully illustrated by Gail Hoar. Her drawings exhibit a certain otherwordliness appropriate to the tale being told. At the same time, they realistically replicate the antique features of Shoen’s lovely home and property — and the cemetery behind it.

Children will enjoy this story, and adults will enjoy reading it to them.   

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