My mother owns an Inn where she runs costumed Victorian tea programs. Take a moment. Process that information. We also lived in the Inn, so I was used to the insanity of hundreds of little girls in Victorian costumes running around my house every weekend.
When I was about fifteen, she started running Haunted Tea programs. A lot of people think my house is haunted, my husband included, and someday I will tell you all the legends that surround my house. In fact, I’ll make a Halloween blog series about it. Come back in October for special posts on the haunting of my house. But today’s post is not about ghosts in the front yard. Today’s post is about Birdy.
For the Haunted Teas, I played the part of crazy cousin Elizabeth: a seriously insane relative who for some reason was allowed to roam the candlelit corridors. My job was twofold: first, scare the pee out of the children; second, if the children looked like they might actually pee on the soft wood floors, to calm them down by being more afraid than they were and asking them for comfort. There really isn’t a better way to make a child stop crying than asking them to protect you.
To aid me in these tasks, I had two props. One was a butcher knife, which I only used when sitting huddled in darkened corners. The other was Birdy: a Styrofoam, feather covered, fake bird that was crazy cousin Elizabeth’s closest friend. I would sit huddled under a table in the dining room, singing songs to Birdy. If some of the kids were freaking out, I would make them sing to Birdy to comfort him. Sometimes after the group had seen Birdy a few times, I would wander back into the room singing to Birdy without actually having Birdy there. It was good fun. Creepy as hell, but good fun.
Over the next three years, cousin Elizabeth and Birdy became famous with the Inn’s regular visitors. Even when Haunted Teas weren’t running, guests would ask about Birdy. When it came time for me to go to college, Birdy retired. My mother bought one of those little domes that are meant to hold taxidermy birds. We dressed the dome up, and my little Birdy friend now lives on the piano in the parlor at the Inn. The memory of Birdy will live on until his Styrofoam heart biodegrades.
R.I.P. Birdy Brown.
Stay tuned as the rest of this week’s posts follow the afterlife of Birdy.