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Rhonda Taylor-Becton says she has always had what she calls intuition, so she wasn't too spooked when she moved into a house in Ozone Park in October and immediately felt the presence of an old man sitting on her deck.
"There's a male presence with an odor, like a cologne or something, of an older man," said Taylor-Becton, who lives with her three children on the first floor of a two-family house at 97-46 76th St. "I always have to say 'Pop, could you please move over because I have to clean up.'"
The spirit did not leave her with bad feelings, said Taylor-Becton, although she did not understand from where it came. Then the Ozone Park mother began having recurring dreams in August about a little woman who kept telling her she wanted her house back.
It took a chance encounter in Flushing for her to unravel the identities of the ghostly pair.
In April, Taylor-Becton was telling her address to a waiting room attendant at New York Hospital Medical Center in Flushing, when a woman next to her told her incredulously that she used to live in the same house.
"The woman said, 'That's my old address,' and we got into a conversation. She told me how she grew up there with her brother and family," Taylor-Becton said.
Taylor-Becton told the woman about her dreams of the little lady and about the spirit of the old man she feels sitting on her front deck.
Francine DeCicco, a wedding planner who now lives with her family on 53rd Avenue in Flushing, immediately identified the little lady as her mother, an 86-year-old who lived in the Ozone Park house for 48 years before selling it, and the old man as her grandfather, who used to sit in a rocking chair on the front porch waiting for people to come home.
"My mother loved the house," said DeCicco, who now takes care of her elderly parents in her home. "She was very sad about having to sell it, and even now she still constantly dreams about it and about going back."
DeCicco's grandfather died when she was young, but DeCicco still remembers his sitting on the porch when she was growing up.
"That has to be my grandfather Jack (on the porch)," DeCicco told Taylor-Becton in the hospital waiting room after the two discovered their amazing bond.
DeCicco took down Taylor-Becton's name and gave it to her mother.
DeCicco's mother wrote Taylor-Becton a letter saying she was happy that someone was living in her old house and taking care of it and not to be afraid of her showing up there.
Taylor-Becton said the DeCiccos were welcome to come back to visit their old house any time. She meant to write DeCicco's mother back but never got around to it, she said.
After receiving the letter from DeCicco's mother, Taylor-Becton no longer has dreams about the little lady, she said.
The spirit of the old man whom she calls "Pop" is still in the house, she said. Generally, he sits with a throw rug on some sort of wheelchair or high chair and acts a little grumpy when she asks him to move over so that the area can be cleaned, Taylor-Becton said.
As for DeCicco, she said she is still "freaked out" about the odd happenings.
"Ozone Park is a place you never leave. No matter how far you go, it's always inside of you," she said, after reminiscing about skating in the streets and watching the A train go by in her old neighborhood. "I miss the old house. I constantly dream about it."
Reach reporter Tien-Shun Lee be e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com, or call 718-229-0300, ext. 155.
©2003 Community Newspaper Group
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