|It's just an old eerie story...|
January 11, 2012
A certain house has come up on the market, it's on Pine Street in Louisville. We have looked at it several times and someone had already made a bid on it. Our realtor is cautioning us that we should have it inspected from top to bottom and back up again. The people bidding on it don't seem to care at all and are just bidding on it.
Now, we have other places in mind, before I got sick, we had pretty much decided to go further out into the country. (Baby Boy II has already picked out the type of goats he wants to keep there.) Back and forth we go, from In-Town to The Boondocks and oh, LG&E is pushing us back towards town. Seriously. This plant is going totally crazy with its ash and toxic dumping and the huge huge cloud soars up further and further into the china-blue sky. When we were looking a gorgeous little place down around Milton...the sun set and there it was in all its horrid glory...the towering LG&E plant, glowing and glowering so powerfully (pun not intended) it seemed a living, breathing, viable, conscious entity. Seriously. It scared me.
So, as I slowly begin to feel slightly normal-er, I find myself drawn towards Irish Hill. And of course, am going back to spending time with my NewBestFriendForever. She was writing out a notecard and I noticed her middle initial is "A" and jokingly, I asked, "Does that stand for Amanda?"
LillyBelle (a nickname) laughed and said, "I don't remember telling you that, now did I? It's very old-fashioned." Uhhhhmmm, no she didn't tell us that. Or me. I made some silly remark and steered the conversation on to other things, such as the Pendennis Club New Year's Eve Party. Her dress...she was going for a 2012 Madame X sort of effect. That is John Singer Sargent's famous or infamous "Madame X" black dress. She sent me a picture taken by her boyfriend in the hallway of her house, just before they left and oh my goodness. And a close up of her shoes! (Skirt raised up a bit, one foot turned just so.)
The friend of Himself's that drove me crazy for three years trying to get me to meet this girl would always bring up that she was the only other person he had ever met that was semi-obsessed with John Singer Sargent's painting and had a print of "Madame X" in her study. This always tickled my husband because he knows I'm obsessed with this painting too and my sister told him all about the stories I made up about the painting and told her and all our little cousins about both Madame X and "the dress!"
Of course this meant, LillyBelle and I did the whole, girly-squee thing about this and as she planned for the party and shopped and had the dress altered, we would quip about her now being a 2012 Madame X, although of course, the real Madame X was married when her painting was done! (She's rather mysterious about this certain boyfriend.Very mysterious. That's okay, it adds to the glamour of it all.)
At times, I draw back from her, only because her world is so very very very different from mine and I feel uneasy, at times, as to why we get along so well. And then her eyes will go all pitch-black or change or my eyes will do the same thing, when we are around each other and she will laugh and clap her hands and when her eyes do that, I just drop my own and become very unsettled myself.
Soooo, after discovering her middle name is...drum roll please or perhaps spooky music is better, the exact same as my great-grandfather's sister (or daughter, there are two tales here), the one that moved to a beautiful house in Irish Hill under the care of her benefactor...and depending on whom tells the tale, was either never heard from again or died at a very young age. There are portraits of this young lady, some alone and some with her family and some with my great-grandfather and his wife and their children. In one of these, my grandfather, as an adorable toddler, is perched on his father's knee. LillyAmanda is standing next to my great-grandfather, with a waist so tiny, it's breathtaking. I was obsessed with that old photograph as a child and have a not-very good copy of it, I keep tucked away. Before my grandfather's youngest baby sister died, she whispered to me that she believed LillyAmanda was her father's daughter by another wife/girlfriend/mistress but her own mother insisted that "No...LillyAmanda was the daughter of her husband's father, my great-great-grandfather, born much later by either a second wife or mistress and then, my great-grandfather ended up raising her. AuntEvelyn said that Lilly believed this man, my great-grandfather was her actual father...until she was about eighteen, when somehow she found out that she was not his daughter but his sister or half-sister! Gothic enough yet?
I only had one chance to speak with this aunt about this and the reason why I did was because my grandfather used to speak of LillyAmanda and would tell me that I was very much like her. He apparently loved her very much, she was his big sister as far as he was concerned forever. My great-grandfather had a big ol' fashioned family, more Victorian than Edwardian...and this young lady helped raise and care for all these younger siblings/cousins/nieces/nephews? I never had the heart to ask Granddaddy what he believed...if LillyAmanda was his sister or aunt or what? He told me she died tragically and that wasn't unusual at that time. (He was still pretty young.)
My aunt told me that several times they were taken to Irish Hill to see Lilly's house...it is still there now. No one knows if she was married to this man or was being kept or what. She had this house, a few servants, a cook, and traveled with him (whomever he was or may be) all over.
Everyone knows the times then were a bit different than now but perhaps not really too much. Families were often broken up by death and disease, floods, and many many gentlemen had two families or mistresses.Or maybe it was just a previous marriage, lord knows women used to die so young...perhaps my great-grandfather brought the baby into his house because she was family and family is looked after and he didn't really inquire of his own father the exact details. Guardians and wards were very common then too.
I know I will probably never know the whole story or even the connections but I've seen the pictures, I listened to both my great-grandfather and grandfather speak of this lost person...that died tragically and far away in Louisville, from her family and childhood friends that loved her, once upon a time.
What is strange to me...is this:What if that person, that LillyAmanda, had left children behind? Or even one baby? Or simply she just had a different mother than my great-grandfather or if she was my great, or great grandfather's child. Born when he was single and young...how did those eyes get passed down to me? Fourteen children...in his family by my great-grandmother, all with brilliant blue eyes. All except Lilly. My grandfather had four children, all with dazzling eerie gorgeous blue blue blue eyes. Okay, my mother's family has some darker eyes...but not like mine. No one in my family has eyes like mine. On either side.
And I meet this person, considerably younger than I, living in Irish Hill, in an old house very very near to where *our* LillyAmanda lived! And this house I fell in love with? Apparently, friends of both my great-grandfather's and his father lived very close by and they all spent time in this house. Including some of my grandfather's older siblings.
The bidding on this house ends soon. Last time we went to a party down there, I went for a walk, in the dark down the street past this house. I looked at the skyline, I listened to the rain drop from the trees and the wind stir the tree branches.
My whole family loves the house but thinks it's too urban but I want to go look at it at least once more. My new BFF lives close by...so do other people we know. I could totally live there but have gotten really used to small town and rural life again. I would love to find a house like that out here...but so far, no luck.
My husband asked me why I feel so strongly pulled towards that house and I just look at him. In 2007, that house sold for well over 200,000 and I used to go look at then. Along with a few others...but always came back to it. Then, finally, early last year, I gave in and went to the Thunder party at my BFF's house and finally met her. (With my husband his friends watching us. It was funny, they all thought just because we have the same sort of eyes, we had to meet. None of them of course, know anything about my great-grandfather or my grandfather or the beautiful, charming, sweet, tender, passionate LillyAmanda in our family photographs or legends.
Of course, this Lilly is poised, educated, polished, beautiful, well-dressed, successful, world-travled, sassy and smart, and just knocks men of all ages off their feet. I know, I've watched her do it without even trying! *heehee*
It's enough, really, at times to really rattle me. And I suppose there is some reason why I have dreamed of this house, many times...maybe even I saw it before when I was too little to recall it. Same thing for LillyBelle's house.
Yet, it is funny, really...somehow, even though we move way out into the county, I meet someone finally and now spend a lot of time in this area, and looking at possibly moving into this area? Spending time with someone that is so eerie alike...well, except for the young, beautiful, successful and rich thing.
The last time I was there, it was as if something is simply waiting for me down there. What it is I have no idea. And a part of me wants to see what it is. Live there. In that house. See what transpires. If anything.
And another part of me shivers and wants to move far far out into the country at the end of a gravel road in deep woods and stay out of town and let all the family mysteries sleep.