Thursday, October 11, 2007

A Favorite Halloween Memory

It was a dark and stormy night. Alright, not really, but I was in Philidelphia and it was cold. Thanks to my Dad working for Delta Airlines, I got to travel for free a lot in college. I actually remember finding out I could travel for free. Conversation went something like this at the age of eighteen:
"So, Daddy how much would it cost for me to go to somewhere on a plane by myself?"
Daddy replies, "Well, You and your sister technically get three free flights a year until your 23 years old or you get married."
Eyebrows raised and mouth opened by eighteen year old daughter. "Are you serious? By myself?"
"Yeeeeeeesss," oooh, he was hesitant, "but it is stand-by flying and you would have less priority than paying customers."
Really all I heard was free. "Can I pick where I want to go?"
His eyebrows go up, amused. "Well, I guess so. Within reason."
"Can I go to Europe?"
"No." Darn.
So I got to travel a bit in college. Very fun. By the time I had moved to Alabama I was 21, almost 22. That Halloween, I decided to fly to Philadelphia to see my old friend, Ryan. I love Philadelphia. It's great to sightsee there and there is always somewhere fabulous to eat. I had been wanting to go to Philly for Halloween to see the PhilHarmonic Orchestra do there big Halloween thing. I've never seen it, but I hear they all dress up in costumes and have this great concert. It was sold out that year. I was disappointed, but if there was one thing Ryan knew how to do, it was have lots of fun. He told me about how he had heard of this old place in Lancaster that did Edgar Allen Poe readings or something on Halloween. Lancaster was not close, but I did not care. So a group of us trooped over there and eventually pulled in this mansion parking lot. Wow. Gorgeous. And a little spooky. The mansion used to be a livable house, but now was a public winery that would house special events. We went into the house where we were welcomed by the Bronte sisters (yep, Charlotte and Emily) and escorted to a room. It was a night to honor Edgar Allen Poe (it was Halloween, after all) and the Bronte sisters, Mark Twain, Mary Shelley, and Edgar Allen Poe were all there to read his stories. It was fantastic. You would go into different rooms at different times and someone would read one of his stories or poems. My favorite was one of the Bronte sisters reading "The Cask of Amontillado". She had a brick and a mortar scraper thingy (yeah, I don't know what it's called) and would scrape the brick while she quoted the entire story. Very chilling. You could almost feel how damp and cold the cellar was and hear the sound of the bricks being laid to wall in a drunken nemesis. It was, as Anne of Green Gables would say, deliciously scary.
I don't remember anything else about that trip, except that it was cold and I didn't have enough cold clothes to wear.
I have my own Edgar Allen Poe traditions now. For the second year now, a group of us get together on Thursday nights in October at eight o'clock and read something by him to the kids. Actually, last week we read "The Spider and the Fly" by Mary Howitt, which has the most fabulous illustrations by Tony Diterlizzi (check it out), but tonight it will be "The Raven". And next week will be "The Tell-Tale Heart", my absolute favorite by Poe. I have this great reading of it by Glenn Beck (the CNN guy) and it is so scary. The first time I heard it was about three years ago on the radio and I stood completely still until it was finished. It is GOOD! A little too scary for the little ones, so they'll have a funny story next week in the house. " The Tell-tale Heart" will be heard outside, in pitch dark. Last year, it was raining and chilly. What will it be like this year? Wanna come?


HEWY said...

Great Story!

Paige M said...

no thanks, unless you want to come over and sleep with Landy for the next month! Sounds fun, but I'll stick with the arts and crafts!

Virginia said...

I LOVE that version of the Spider and the Fly. I actually took it to read to my preschoolers at the Prep School I worked at in Vestavia and the administration wasn't too hip on that. Oops. I guess the pics were too creepy or something? I personally still think it's cool. hehe

michelle said...

I just checked out from the library Poe's Greatest Hits on CD. I thought it would be very Octoberly of me. hee. I have always loved him to. My fave is The Raven and some of his not so scarey poetry. That sounds SO fun!! My kids would love it too. I have a VERY LARGE "scarey" book you could borrow to read to the kids if you want. It turns out not so scarey but it is creepy the whole way though.

Marsha said...

Great post Kimmy, even though I'm not into the Halloween scene, your write about it so convincingly that I would like to secretly be a fly (or spider) on the wall on Thursday nights at your house! Have fun with your "ghoulfriends"!

Missy said...

"Attention scary story readers...please secure all objects that could fall, fly, be bumped into, or pose a concusion hazard to our reader before beginning the story."

Abbey said...

Oh me loves Halloween!!! You are the best halloween mom ever! If I wasn't so lazy, I would do the same thing. But I must wait for halloween week. The whole month would make me tired.
But I wish I did that.