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Posts Tagged ‘Death’

Dear Bob Cassilly,

My guy, WHAT were you smoking when you created City Museum? Whatever it was, it was some good stuff. City Museum is like nothing I’ve ever seen in my life — in person or in movies/on TV. Not even “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” comes close to this crazy place.

When I moved to St. Louis, people kept telling me I needed to visit. However, I don’t like museums. (It’s true. I’m sorry. But I don’t think you do either.) Finally, my friend Kate said that it is not a museum in any traditional sense of the word. She tried to describe it, then basically gave up.

“You have to see it,” she said. “It’s … sensory overload.”

So I went. And she’s right.

City Museum is like a museum in the way that I am like Beyoncé: barely any resemblance in form or function.

It is a building that houses artifacts — artifacts presented in chaos. It’s a 10-story fever dream.

I’ve now been four times.

Why?

You created notable features such as:

• An actual school bus cantilevered on the top floor over the street

• A Ferris wheel on top of the building

• A 10-story slide

• A five-story slide (that has not been open any of the four times I’ve been)

• A cave system

• The world’s largest (maybe) pair of underpants

• Two airplanes

I can’t even begin to summarize what is there. And every time I go, I discover something new.

Dominic and Gideon were in town, and I said we were going. They, like me, are not into museums. I said, “Hold that thought.”

Neither of them could believe what you created. Dominic lamented that, at 6’2″, he is too big for some of the tunnels.

“I wish we had come here when I was a kid.”

I fully agree. This could have entertained them for HOURS, and they would have slept well. (Every parent knows a day that wears out the kids is a good day.)

Here is just a sample of what we got into at your creation.

A seagull disgorges Dominic.
Gideon finds a tunnel under the first floor. No, thank you.
Dominic goes where I won’t.
This is the entrance to a slide. Seriously.
The caged bird yells, “Take my picture!”
My hips don’t lie, nor do they fit in this opening.
Dominic makes it to the top of one of two castles.

Speaking of the castles:

I’m sorry, TWO WHAT NOW?

There were a few moments where I worried about their safety and mine. I was right to worry. From the actual City Museum website:

The do-it-yourself, trying-anything nature of the museum led, not surprisingly, to injuries and, also not surprisingly, to dozens of personal injury suits. Mr. Cassilly’s response was to post telephone numbers of lawyers at the door.

The kids and I developed the habit of them going first into some cave/tunnel/hole to do reconnaissance then reporting back about the viability for me.

This tunnel was not for me.
But this one was ok.

Yes, I used my own children as canaries in a coal mine.

I make no apologies. They were willing participants. And had a fabulous time.

I’m sorry you died an untimely death — a death that turns out not to have been a bulldozer accident. L’esclandre!

And I love that people who love City Museum can also live there.

It’s not for me (not enough windows or, you know, standard amenities), but I recognize the appeal.

So thanks, Bob, for never growing up. For creating a place so outlandish there is no equal.

Your fan,
Beth

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Dear Bio Family,

You’ve only known me a short while, but you KNOW me.

Do I want to go?

Does my Senator (Josh Hawley) run from chaos he helped create?

Yes. The answer is yes.

As some readers may remember, I went to this event in Atlanta. Alone. (I’m the “weird” one.)

But yesterday, it was a family affair.

Mom, sister, niece, nephew

Perhaps I’m jaded, but I felt like the offerings were not as varied as the prior event and were more expensive.

Here are some fresh things I saw but did not buy (because expensive).

A gumball machine filled with cow eyes
A creative use for vintage photos
Part of a giraffe
Fun (and horrifying) night lights
The worst item anyone could dream up for me: a clown doll. IT (the character and the doll) haunts me still.
Mothman (To be fair, he wasn’t for sale. Actually, he might have been. I don’t know.)
Whatever scene this is

But I did buy two things. Very cheap. Necessary, I felt.

A snakeskin pendant and a chicken foot. Everyone needs a preserved chicken foot. (Yes, everyone. 😄)

So thanks, Fam, for showing me once again that DNA is remarkable.

Love,
Beth

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Dear Snow,

I love you. I do. I just don’t know what to do with you yet.

I got home from Costa Rica to plenty of you.

There’s a snowdrift in my backyard!
At least two toasted raviolis deep.

I didn’t even own a snow shovel until yesterday.

Lime green, no less!

Interestingly, I apparently wasn’t alone in that: St. Louis was all sold out. I had to go to Illinois to find one.

I waited too long, though. You had morphed to ice in many places.

This was the best I could do.

Now I know why people have heart attacks shoveling snow.

Anyway, I’m better prepared for next time.

Hope to see you again soon!

Your friend,
Beth

*Yes, that’s a Foreigner nod.

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Dear Netherworld:

For some reason, I’ve never had a burning desire to visit you. I guess I prefer “real” haunted houses/places.

“Fake” ones rely on jump scares, which are too much like pranks for me.

However, when your children — whom you haven’t seen in almost two weeks — want you to go with them someplace, you say, “Yes.” Or at least I do.

Our group consisted of three moms and five teenage boys, ages 15-16.

Someone needs to shave.

Here are the things that I found scary upon arrival:

  • The ticket price. It was $30 each. Yikes!
  • The porta potties outside didn’t have lights inside them.
  • The lack of masks indoors. COVID isn’t gone, y’all!

Once inside, there were other things to scare me:

  • Just as I started to walk in, the dude pulling back the curtain stuck his hand in front of my face. I screamed from shock. Then giggled because HOW DUMB?!?
  • A huge animatronic demon face bum-rushed me and shoved me into a wall.
  • The floors were designed to match the “rooms.” Squishy flooring to represent grass in a cemetery, for example. What’s scary about that? The broken-ankle potential. I don’t need that again.
  • There was a corridor of clowns. HORRIFYING. I loathe clowns.
  • Each of the two haunted houses ends with a chainsaw-wielding madman. Or three. I loathe chainsaw-wielding madmen. (That comes from a certain movie seen at an impressionable age.)
  • One of the boys’ friends putting on a badass act. “What? I can’t help it if I’m not scared.” OK, then, Buzzkill.

I did have a good time, though. One of the best things was the boy banter.

Dominic: Gideon, be careful they don’t put you in one of the exhibits.
Gideon: What?
Dominic: “Oh, here’s another skeleton.”
Dylan: More bones, all Fernbank style.
Gideon (laughing): My superhero name can be Bones.
Dominic: I feel like this right here is a villain origin story.

I’ll probably see you next year.

Happy Halloween!
Beth

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Missouri State Penitentiary: They’ll leave one light on for you.

Dear Jenny,*

Thanks for the tour of the Missouri State Penitentiary Saturday night. You took 28 people on a wild ride through the site’s terrible past. More than 168 years of torture at the hands of the government and factory owners. Delightful!

The tale of the young woman starved in the “blind cell” was more horrifying than the prospect of any phantoms, as was the experience of being in there — especially knowing that of the thousands of keys needed for the prison doors, there are only four left. Four!

What was as incredible as your stories was the fact that I was the only guest wearing a mask.

Not only is COVID not gone, but I’m not interested in breathing in 168 years of lead paint, asbestos and general prison dust.

Thanks, but no thanks.

And it’s not like anyone was social distancing either. Not even the ghosts.

While you were at one end of Death Row talking about shifting floor shadows, I was having my own spooky moment.

I moved to the back of the tour to get away from a lady who insisted on being right at my elbow. I wasn’t alone. There were about four or five people on my left, with everyone else on the right.

You made us all put away our phones, and you turned off your flashlight.

It was so dark.

But I felt fine. I was surrounded by people, after all. I FELT THEM near me.

But then my left side got really cold. Just my left. My right was warm.

The guy on my right took out his phone.

In the light from it, I realized there was NO ONE STANDING NEXT TO ME ON THE LEFT SIDE.

So that was fun. 😬

I’d like to say I captured the presence on my phone. But no. This is just me trying to put my phone away.

I was glad when the tour got going again.

The last stop was the gas chamber — same as it was for 40 inmates.

No ghosts here, which is surprising.

I was also surprised to learn that residents nearby were told to leave their houses for four hours when an execution was scheduled.

Cyanide in sulfuric acid is a bitch.

Anyway, thanks for sharing your knowledge. We all learned something and some of us even got the ghost add-on package.

Your creeped-out guest,
Beth

*I cannot hear this name without hearing it the way Tom Hanks says it as Forrest Gump: “JEN-AY!”

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Dear Fellow Blogger,

You said to me yesterday that I am “practically a foreign correspondent now.”

That resonated. I AM gathering information on a place that is new to me.

I’m trying to see and do as much as I can.

For example, I saw a billboard advertising tours of the Missouri State Penitentiary in Jefferson City.

Ghost tours.

Because of course they would offer ghost tours in October.

So I had to go.

Because of course I did.

I asked my mother if she wanted to go.

Me: I am booking a tour of the Missouri State Penitentiary Saturday night. Do you want to go?
Her: (long pause) No.

I have no trouble going places alone, so I called to make the booking.

Me: The website says there’s no availability on any weekend tour.
Lady on phone: We are sold out. When did you want to come?
Me: Saturday.
Her: How many?
Me: Just me.
Her: Just you?
Me: Just me.
Her: I can squeeze in one person.
Me: Great!
Her: 7, 8 or 9?
Me: A.M.?
Her (drily): P.M. It’s a ghost tour.
Me: Right.

So I went. It’s an hour and some change north of Rolla. Rural Missouri looks like rural Georgia.

Fifty feet from this sign, there was a dead deer in a ditch. Must not have been good eatin’.
What kind of fowl convention is this?

I got to Jefferson City early so I had time to look around.

Gov. Mike Parson’s place. He can walk to the Capitol building if he chooses. It’s a more modest place than Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s palace.
Lewis, Clark and the gang
Brisket, pulled pork, pit beans and jalapeño cheddar grits. Many animals were harmed in the making of this meal. I’m sorry.

At this point, you may be asking this:

But Beth, what about the ghost tour — the whole point of your trip?

Well, it deserves a whole post on its own.

Stay tuned.

Your Midwest correspondent,
Beth

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Dear Mid-America Apartments:

I hate you with a white-hot rage. The temp of a thousand suns.

I hate you like Bette hated Joan.

I hate you like a high-school boyfriend hated shirts with sleeves (much to my father’s chagrin).

(I hate you so much, but I still don’t hate you as much as I hate Mitch McConnell.)

You installed “smart locks” a few months ago. Ours has never worked properly. Your maintenance folks have been out to fix it more than four times.

Last night, it wouldn’t open. Period.

I called the emergency line. Twice. Eddie called too.

Someone will be right over.

Someone did not come over.

Someone called.

The someone: We don’t do lockouts. We only do emergencies.
Me: This is an emergency. Our lock isn’t working. We need to get into our place. Don’t you have the special key to get into the garage?
Him: No. You’ll have to check with the leasing office.
Me: They don’t open until Monday.
Him: I guess you’ll have to wait until Monday.
Me: How are we supposed to get into our apartment?
Him: I don’t know. We only handle emergencies.
Me: This is an emergency.
Him: We don’t consider this an emergency. Don’t you have the garage door opener?
Me: If we had that, I wouldn’t be calling you, would I?

I hung up on him.

I mean … WHAT the ACTUAL F?!

So we borrowed an extension ladder from a friend. I hummed the “Mission Impossible” theme while Dominic shimmied up and saved the day.

I was TERRIFIED of what bad things could happen here.

We should not have had to do this. Your emergency line people should actually have the capacity to help.

And you should have installed locks that actually work.

I can’t wait until our lease is up. I will NEVER recommend your company/complexes.

Beyond vexed,
Beth

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Dear Folks Who Won’t Get the COVID Vaccine:

I’ve created a handy chart for you to help in your decision making.

Look. Listen. We all had to get vaccinated to start school. What is the sudden problem? And you don’t want to show proof? We’ve all had to show proof of vaccinations our whole lives for school. It’s a public safety issue.

We also have had to show proof of identity when flying. And driving. And returning to the country. And voting in many places. (Hey, Georgia!)

So what’s the big deal with vaccine passports? We’ve had vaccine records for years!

We already have government mandates for safety (OSHA, seat belts, helmets, speed limits, etc.).

But some of those things only protect the individual, while others protect, well, others.

Vaccines protect you and others. Many diseases are gone because of vaccines.

Please get yours so we can all get back to normal. And so, you know, you won’t DIE.

Thank you.

Sincerely,
Beth

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Dear Plant Murderers:

You are complete bastards. I went out of town for TWO DAYS, and my beloved tomato plant went from this:

To this:

I didn’t even know why until I got close.

Hornworm.

I had never even heard of you. And then I had to Google how to get rid of you.

As per instructions, I plucked you off my plant and yeeted you into the sun. (Plucking was advised. Yeeting was not. Directions suggested killing you in soapy water.)

Look at this complete asshole. His name is Adolph.

I will be vigilant against your return, but I don’t know if my plant will rebound.

TWO DAYS!

I hate you all.

Sincerely,
Beth

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Dear Friends of My Sons,

I feel lucky. You are all really good kids. I like you, and your parents seem great too.

I spent loads of time with you over the weekend as it was Gideon’s birthday. I laughed so much.

Let’s recap:

Friday night, I took Roscoe and Gideon to meet Trent to see “A Quiet Place 2.”

Gideon: I forgot my debit card.
Roscoe: I have $2.
All: [pause]
Roscoe: I’m ballin’
Me: [howling] Big pimpin’

Saturday, on the way to Six Flags, I discovered Cole is not a fan of roller coasters. He must really like Gideon to agree to go to a theme park with him.

We drive up to the entrance and see a coaster.

Me: That’s the Georgia Scorcher. You stand up on it.
Cole: [blanching]
Me: Are your hands clammy now?
Cole: My whole body is clammy.

Y’all are at that age where you don’t really want parents around, so Eddie and I peeled off.

You found us at Macho Nacho.

Me: Where’s Dominic?
Gideon: He wanted a turkey leg, so we left him.
Me: Dang. That’s cold.

Eddie and I felt sorry for Dominic, so we went to find him.

Me, calling Dominic: Where are you?
Dominic, sounding annoyed: I’m getting a turkey leg.
Me: Where?
Dominic: At the Sky Screamer Drinks and Eats. It’s across from the Sky Screamer.
Me: We’ll be right there.

We get there, and Dominic tells me he has had the exact same conversation with Josh, Gideon twice, me, then Roscoe. I started laughing, because he repeated the conversation each time for my benefit.

An hour in line (no exaggeration), he finally had his leg.

This is my son. (I do this too.)

We had to leave Six Flags. It was just too crowded. Clearly there’s no COVID in Georgia. 🙄

Trent chatted amiably with me on the way back to the car. I learned all about his job search. And other things.

Trent: I just need about a thousand dollars for equipment.
Me: When you get your job, that will happen soon. What kind of music do you do?
Trent: I rap for Jesus.
Me: Oh! Ok. You have a rap name?
Trent: It’s Trent Truth.
Me: That’s great!

We decided to resume Gideon’s birthday at the pool.

The next day, we took Dominic and HIS friends whitewater rafting. I’m eternally shocked at Dominic and Gideon’s choice of music for car rides.

Dominic: Green Day to Bee Gees to Taylor Swift
Gideon: Neil Diamond to Doom

And then there’s Adem’s choice of footwear. I was surprised to learn Crocs are hella trendy again.

Adem: I’ve got my Crocs in support mode.

That meant he used the back straps. Dylan could have taken a page out of Adem’s book.

If you are on the Ocoee River and find a shoe, it’s Dylan’s.

I feel fortunate. I do. My children have chosen wisely.

See you for plenty of adventures this summer.

Love,
Dominic and Gideon’s mom

*Dionne FTW.

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