This Halloween post is teeming with treats, the first of which is a ghost story. It all started when I unpacked this Dale Tiffany Antiques Roadshow Collection mirror from Zulily featuring a fancy lady in a pensive yet defiant pose. When the husband (who is a huge "Antiques Roadshow" fan) first saw it, he said, "It's cool. But also kind of creepy." I agreed, adding, "It's the eyes." (You can't see them well here, but they're weird and white and seem to peer out of her faux ivory face knowingly.) "Don't worry," I said. "You won't have to look at her; she's going to live in my closet." That's when I got the idea to write a slightly scary but mostly silly story. What's more, our house, a white Dutch colonial straight out of The Amityville Horror, is the ideal setting.
So without further ado, let's enter the troubled mind of Lousia Leigh Perkins (which is not, by the way, her real name. I don't say this for her protection or mine, but because I don't want those Antiques Roadshow hotshots stealing credit.)
It felt strange being back in the house. The last time I'd been there was 1927 when it had just been built and rose from the street like a tall, frosted pastry. "Oh Louisa, I'm so glad you could come," Diana had said, her long, knotted pearls and bobbed hair like a gash against the prissy wallpaper. "You're always so . . . theatrical in your hats and big dresses." I bristled. Although we'd been friends since we'd met at Miss Abby's Charm School when we were seven, Diana's comments about my old-fashioned style never failed to cut me. "Poor Louisa," I'd overheard her say to her flapper friends. "Stuck in the turn of the century in those frumpy getups. It's no wonder Winthrop jilted her." Although it was true that Winthrop had left me, my clothes had had nothing to do with it. The culprit had been Diana. He'd been bewitched by her cat's eyes and flirtatiousness, by the subtle yet bold way she slid her fingers across his arm. I had been devastated when I found out, destroying Winthrop's entire collection of ships in a bottle with a single swipe of my parasol. But what Diana didn't know was that things had changed. Winthrop had come back to me. Last night we met at our spot -- the gazebo -- and he said that he missed our evening strolls and how I always knew the names of the flowers. Also, that he thought he was allergic to Diana's huge tailless cat, Bertha. I even thought I saw him tear up a little, although I suppose that could have been the remnants of Bertha' s dander. He said he planned to break the news to Diana at the end of the week before they had lunch with her mother. That's when he would be mine again -- him and this glorious house. So, when Diana asked me if I wanted to go upstairs to see her closet, I could afford to be gracious. The stairs creaked as we climbed, and at the landing the cream and pink dressing room opened like a clam shell exploding with treasure. Even the sight of all those short skirts and fringed dresses hanging in what should have been the guest bedroom couldn't dull my spirits. And so I nodded as Diana droned on and pointed out her prized possessions. "Father is sending my shoes up on Friday, and I'm going to display them here, first by height, then by color." She indicated an alcove of shelves adjacent to the door to the terrace. The terrace was above the sunroom, and it was my favorite part of the house. I imagined sitting up there with Winthrop, discussing the gardens over tea and croissants at a wrought iron table as we watched the world parade by. Diana saw me eyeing the door and smiled. "Why don't we go out there?" she said. Her smile turned smug, but just for a second. Then she opened the door. It was a beautiful autumn afternoon, crisp but sunny, the leaves gleaming bright gold and crimson. I was lost in daydreams of what it would be like to be the mistress here, what it would be like to be Winthrop's wife. I was picturing myself in a lace ivory gown with a full train when I felt someone push me. "You'll never have him now," hissed Diana, "and you'll never live in this house." After a brief struggle, I tumbled over the railing, my hat falling to the ground where my head would soon follow. I tried to scream, but no sound came out, and within seconds I was plunged into darkness.
That was ninety-one years ago. From that moment on, I vowed that I would make it back here someday. Oh, I couldn't return to haunt Diana and Winthrop once they got married, which they did a scarcely respectable month after my funeral. I had to wait on account of some bureaucratic nonsense about re-entering the human world only after the elapse of ninety-plus years. But although I couldn't terrorize my former best friend and fiance, I could watch their lives unfold, and it gave me no small amount of pleasure to watch Winthrop step out on Diana with the cook and laundress. Now I'm back where I belong, even if I had to become part of this tacky mirror to get here. As I said, it's strange -- but also exciting. The new lady of the house says she's going to hang me in her closet -- no doubt the same spacious room where Diana used to showcase her ridiculous wardrobe. This new woman -- Theresa, or maybe Tracy, her name is -- reminds me a little of her, what with her shopping mania and flashy taste. It might be fun to mess with her, and throw her off her dress-up game.
Top: Bongo, Sears
Skirt: Merona, Target
Shoes: Delicious, Zulily
Bag: Cat & Jack, Target
Belt: B Fabulous
Green bangle: B Fabulous
Yellow bangle: B Fabulous
Black and white bracelet: Mixit, JCPenney
Purple heart bracelet: Cloud Nine, Ocean City
Purple bracelet: Wet Seal
Bright Black NecklaceIn happier hauntings, I've been wearing variations of these Halloween outfits this week. Today it's the orange dress and black blouse combo, only I've added my Beetlejuice black and white striped blouse underneath to keep warm. Yet the one piece that I've worn with everything is this ring:
Top: Material Girl, Macy's
Jeans: Vintage Threads, Target
Shoes: Betseyville, Macy's
Bag: Worthington, JCPenney
Bracelets: So, Kohl's
Also in keeping with the Halloween theme, I replaced Kermit's summer straw hat with a witchy version.