Evidence 101

EVIDENCE 101...Wherever you go, there you are...

Monday, July 28, 2014

Clapper Girl (Not VD)

As I drove up the brick cobblestone which was certainly original to the era of the architecture, probably from the early 1900s, I couldn't help but to step back in time.  Tree canopies lined the property which was perfectly groomed.
I checked into my suite and was overwhelmed by its royal luxury even marveling at the original subway tiles still existent perfectly matched with the new restoration. After what seemed like an eternity of jaw dropping admiration, I went for a walkabout on the grounds. There, in front of the grand hotel, I met Rose. She was a gentle beast who loved attention and would give me a romantic carriage ride around the picturesque lands.

Rose and I were beat from the heat. It was a sharp 93 degrees with 3,000% humidity. The air was so dense, when you walked forward, you most certainly got hit by a wall. But it was perfect weather.

After exploring areas which were intriguing such as the museum, restoration efforts-past and present, and the  PGA trophy adorning the entrance, I settled in on taking photographs, and listening to the various live instrumental music offerings in the dome including notes coming from a harp, piano, quartet.

The chaise lounge provided a comfortable seating as I soaked up the grandeur of the place. Not wanting to fall into a slumber, I went to my room and retrieved a book.

I sat myself down on the veranda to read "The Skeleton Crew" ( I plan to post a review soon of "The Skeleton Crew." So far, it is a fascinating read. )and soak up the warm weather. The sun fell on my shoulder like a soothing, fuzzy blanket. Wait. That combination makes me fall asleep.

The veranda, which was truly southern in all its glory, was adorned with ferns and welcomed all visitors. It was Savannah southern. I was expecting belles to be "glitting" around the gardens being courted by gentlemen. The 40's music was faint, but transported me back in time. I was truly feeling the nostalgia at that moment.

Before long, a weathered old man dressed in nice slacks, a collared plaid shirt, and sensible shoes came over to the wicker rocker next to me. He had a kind face.

"Miss, would you mind if I took this seat next to you?"

"Not at all, help yourself."

"Is that book you are reading a good one?"

"Yes. It is very interesting so far. Draws the reader right in. It's about solving cold cases."

"Hmm. I have not read it myself. My name is Soph." He stretched his hand out to shake mine.

"Soph. That's an unusual name. In fact, I have only known one. I had an Uncle Soph. I'm Kathryn. Nice to meet you."

"Your Uncle Soph must have been a good man. Mine is just part of my last name. Been a nickname since I was a kid."

"Oh. Not your first name then? I remember my Uncle Soph as a gentle giant of a man, but I was just a kid, so everyone was a giant. He used to pat me on the head. Always nice and kind."

"It must be in the name." He smiled.

I smiled back, Yep."

"Isn't the view of the woods and gardens amazing? This place used to be the buzz for socialites. Been coming here since I was a kid. My father was a doctor. Once I married Evelyn, I made it our special place. You should have seen it back then. You weren't somebody if you hadn't frequented the Springs."

"I can only imagine. It is so magnificent now."

I smiled at him and went back to reading. I couldn't decide if my magnetism for an admirer was a good thing and if I welcomed his pleasant conversation or if I was annoyed because I just wanted to be left alone to sulk in my sorrows. 

"You look very sad and your burdens looks heavy. A person's face always tells a story. Someone has broken your heart."

"Oh, you must be clairvoyant, but I am OK. Are you sure you aren't just mapping my wrinkles?" I was at my finest sarcastic moment, trying to make light of it.

His statement had taken me aback for a second and the tears welled up in my eyes. He must have really noticed I was a walking advertisement of emotions.

He patted my arm and changed the subject, "I had to come here one last time before I die. My Evelyn passed away a few years ago and my son and his wife brought me here this weekend. They are off exploring and I told them I just wanted to meander around."

 I instantly became sad, "Tell me about your times here. I would love to know what it was like in its heyday."

"Well, it was hustle and bustle. It was the place to be. Apparently, it still is. Everyone was joyous. All the stress taken away. So many activities. Relaxing. Dancing. Waltzing. Cocktails. Music. Spa treatments. Reading. Coffee on the veranda. Fanciest of foods. Croquet. Golf. Oh, the music, the laughter, the socializing. Evelyn and I loved to dance. The mineral springs were what drew Pops into this place, but it isn't what I was drawn to the most. I think it was just the whole magic of this place, you know. You name it, they had it here. It truly was and is a place of enchantment."

"Those are wonderful memories."

"Dear, would you indulge an old man with a walk around the gardens? I'm afraid I might be a little unsteady on my feet and would love your company."

"Sure, I would be honored." What could it hurt, right? Be a little sociable and crawl out from my recluse behavior? I was not in my comfort zone, but that was soon to change.

Soph extended his elbow to me and we descended the granite steps to cross the brick cobblestone toward the gardens.  

He talked about the times in the late 20's and 30's when he was a kid, living through The Great Depression, the era, the 40's, and the changes in life over time. He remembered little about the "roaring 20's" because he was so young, however, he said Pops talked about it being the best. He started to bring Evelyn in 1946 to this magical place. He was such a romantic, very interesting, and a dear, dear man. We came to the mineral bath house that had been filled in with cement. I wondered where the thermal water ended up going and if that type of diversion was a good thing. I didn't see any exploding geyser.

His love for Evelyn was like my grandfather's love for my grandmother. So precious and so rare. The kind of love I always dreamed of but never got. I was definitely born into the wrong era and such a romantic at heart.

The mineral bath house was open to visitors with historic information posted so we snooped around.

"So sad, the original bath house is no more. It looks like a great place to dance. Can't you hear the music, Kathryn?"  

I smiled and watched him as his mind went somewhere else, probably hearing 40's music, reminiscing about Evelyn. 

"Would you dance with an old man?"

"Uh. I am not a great dancer, but I guess what the heck?"
Of course, he picked the waltz. At least it wasn't a polka. I had a hard time keeping up with Soph and I felt quite the fumbling fool. He was more spry for his age than he led on. Or maybe it was the remnants of the mineral bath house that gave him back some youth.

After our quick twirl around the room...er...visit to the moon...( I am so out of practice with ballroom dancing), he bowed and kissed my hand, thanked me for the dance. 

We continued on throughout the grounds and he spoke of history and memories. I was drawn in like an old movie. As we went around and circled back, we approached the veranda where our journey back in time began. I saw a handsome man and lovely lady standing near the top of the stairs. As we got closer, it was apparent this was perhaps kin to Soph.

"Dad, where have you been? We have been looking all over for you."

"Kathryn, meet my son, William, and his wife, Miranda."

We exchanged pleasantries and made our way back to the rocking chairs. Soph escorted me to the exact chair I had chosen to read my book and relax earlier. His family made small talk and then found their exit move, talking about dinner reservations which were pending.

As he shook my hand, he kissed me on the forehead and stated, "Kathryn, thank you for making my last memory of this place such a delight. You are a marvelous and lovely young lady and I am sure your father is very protective of you. I am sorry you have a heavy heart and I hope you find some peace. God bless. Jazz from 9-midnight in the big fireplace room. I hope you come."

I thanked him and told him I was the one whom would cherish his visit. As he walked away with his family, I couldn't help but think about his memories, his romantic heart, and his Evelyn.


Maybe God sent me an angel that day to uplift my spirits. It was a "delight" to spend time with him as Soph would have said.

I sat there for a moment thinking of the history and imagining the carriages moved by Rose lining up along the way, then later turning into automobiles passing by as times got faster. Clapper girls. Socialites. It was all very magical.  


Old NFO said...

Sounds like a great day! :-)

Coffeypot said...

It is always a treat to spend time with us elders, especially if we are in a talkative mood about the past... I guess. No one around here seems to give a shit.

Well Seasoned Fool said...

I like that hat picture.

Momma Fargo said...


Momma Fargo said...

I care!! LYLT

Momma Fargo said...

It was a blessing!

Allenspark Lodge said...

Ma'am, thank you for sharing your day with us.


Momma Fargo said...

You are welcome, Bill. I thought it was worth sharing.

Momma Fargo said...

Sorry about the replies not matching up to the comments...so here is to clarify:

Old NFO: It was a blessing!
Coffeypot: I care! LYLT!
WSF: ;)

Momma Fargo said...

PS this trip was brought to me by a free gift certificate from West Baden Springs Hotel and EB Rabbit.

Slamdunk said...

Sounds like you both were sent an angel, MF. Thanks for sharing and love the classic look.

Momma Fargo said...

You may be right, Slam, I just think I was pretty fortunate that day.

GunDiva said...

Sounds wonderful.

Bob G. said...

Momma Fargo:
Out of all the chaos, and craziness, comes those (too few) days like YOU had...and the best part was that you got to share it with someone who knew what life used to be like.
(a lot less "complex")

I hope you cherished it as much as I enjoyed reading about it here.

You were truly blessed that day, dear.

Roll safe out there.