The door has opened on Part III of The Myrtles Plantation Mystery Tour : Inspiration, History and Mystery. The final portion of our story involves history, haunts and Houston. Here we go!
The furnishings inside The Myrtles Plantation include four-poster tester beds, crystal chandeliers, ornamental frieze work, and ornate English, French and Italian architectural attributes. Most impressive to me was the backstory, explanations, insights, legends and lessons of lifestyles, customs and ceremony of the period. Miss Hester told of how etiquette and ceremony were heavily emphasized. It was considered in poor taste and bad manners to broach the subject of how long guests would be staying at The Myrtles. When the owners decided the time had come for their guests to be moving on, the center bed finial would be removed while the guests were out of the room. An immediate departure was expected. Another story of interest revolved around the main staircase.
A mortgage button (decorative plug) in the newel post of the foyer staircase proudly signified the mansion mortgage was completely paid off. It is believed the property note would then be rolled up, placed in the hollow post, and capped with a decorative plug. Some historians totally debunk this theory. There are others who say the practice of the time would have been to burn the property note, therefore, placing the ashes in the hollow post. Of myth and mystery comes tales that may not be long on historical accuracy, but make for interesting and intriguing parts of the evening. The history of The Myrtles and its legend of murder, mystery and sightings is detailed in this short video from The Travel Channel.
I was really into the spirited vibe of the evening for the sake of the adventure. Far be it from me to discount the tales of tugs and ghostly reflections that others claim to have felt or seen. Miss Hester took me to the side and told me that the children like to show themselves to other children. She told me of the pull described in the video, and that our son could be visited during the tour. Dave was freaking out, our son was prepared for paranormal activity with a ghostbuster attitude, and I was dead up (pardon the pun) in the middle of all the mystery and mischief. Could this be what was in store for us this evening?
Everyone on the Mystery Tour was hanging on Miss Hester’s every word, braced and ready for impact. Between the ghosts and the thrill of what could happen I almost forgot I was on silver lazy susan lookout. When we entered the dining room I immediately saw the lazy susan prominently displayed in the center of the dining table.
Even though we immensely enjoyed every moment of the Mystery Tour, I’m sorry to report that no sightings, tugs, pulls or sounds emerged from the house or the grounds. We gave it our all trying to get that ghostly feeling, but it was a no-go. We met a couple from Baton Rouge who were staying in the General David Bradford Suite on the first floor of the main house. We stood on the back porch comparing our Mystery Tour notes. They invited us to join them for a post mystery tour spirit. We all got to laughing at the very animated Dave the Builder. Dave mustered up a shot or two of liquid courage, and in doing so was quite determined to wake the dead. I reminded him it was probably best to let sleeping spirits lie.
Of course my brother could not wait to find out how we liked St. Francisville, New Roads, and The Myrtles. The conversation began with two to the point questions. “Did you see the lazy susan?” Yes. “Can you find me one?” Yes I can. I filed his request away for a future antiquing trip. Three months after our Myrtles excursion my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, and another road trip of a very different kind was the plan. We moved to Houston, Texas for six weeks for my mother to receive cancer treatment at MD Anderson Cancer Center. My mother successfully completed her treatment, and thankfully remains cancer-free.
One afternoon while my parents were resting, Dave and I set out to explore the Westheimer and Buffalo Speedway area of Houston. We lunched at La Madeleine in Highland Village (now closed) and did an abbreviated version of a shop crawl beginning at Pottery Barn. I called to check in on the parents, who informed me they were rested and heading out to have dinner with a dear Houstonian friend of ours. That’s a go for more shopping. Three guesses what king of shopping I wanted to do! Oh, boy, is this great!
Carolyn Thompson’s Antique Center of Texas was hopping, and the finds and deals got my attention. I was thrilled to find a Pheasant mount, a black and brown English riding derby, and a large copper bowl. I was shocked when I flipped over the price tag on the bowl to see a super responsible price. The reason for the great price? The entire center of the bowl was covered with a poorly done free handed inscription. Where one person sees a problem another sees a solution. I simply hung the bowl with the center facing the wall. It is one of many items still packed in storage from the move, but as soon as I locate that bad boy I will post a picture. On our way to the check out Dave happened to spot a booth brimming over with vintage silver pieces. Well, well, well, what do we have here? We simultaneously spot the silver lazy susan and make a beeline for it. The dealer approached us with a smile and a dealing mood. I put my best broker face on and played the will you take $$$ game for right under one hour. Now comes the dance. I call my brother with the price, he would counter, Dave would pace, I would shop some more, Dave would continue to pace, the dealer would counter- it all goes with the territory. A fair and final figure was agreed on by all, and everyone came away a happy camper. That’s the true definition of a good deal.
I hope you have enjoyed the tale of how an admired treasure came forth from The Myrtles Plantation Mystery Tour. All roads leading to the lazy susan hold a special meaning to me. In the middle of the fun, the fright and the fight stood family. Speaking of family, can a brother get some silver polish?