Tuesday, October 2, 2012

A hearse! My kingdom for a hearse!

I'm going to do my best to be a regular blogger again. But only two days a week. Three is just too much for me, with as much as I'm writing. And honestly, the writing of actual novels is more important.

The plan is to resume doing dresses, on Thursdays this time. On Mondays or Tuesdays there'll be something else. Like today. Next week it's going to be about cotton, because cotton harvest is in full swing around here.

The title of this post is not a typo. I really mean a hearse. As in a horse-drawn hearse from around 1900. I heartily approve of the City of Grapevine, Texas, because they had a hearse on display in a glass carriage house.

How cool is this? The placard said it dates to around 1900. Back then it would have been painted black. The name of the funeral home is on the window of the hearse and through the window you can see a coffin. It's draped in the Confederate battle flag, which of course pleased me to no end.

There were also some coffins on display, but for some reason I didn't take pictures of them. Should have. Not everybody knows what 19th century coffins looked like. The wicker thing under the hearse appears to be a coffin, but there was no sign to go with it so I'm not sure. Doesn't seem very smart to have a wicker coffin.

Why am I posting pictures of a hearse? Partly because it's cool, partly because it was in the middle of downtown Grapevine, and partly because 19th century mourning fascinates me. Goes back to when I worked at Kent House. For the month of October the house is draped in mourning. When I first started working there it was a generic thing. But once I took over preparing the tours and doing research, I revamped it.

As it turned out one of the builder's sons had the decency to die in October. How nice of him! In 1853. Perfect. Of yellow fever. Which, coincidentally, is the theme of tours in August and September. Match made in heaven. Kent House is currently draped in mourning for Sosthene Baillio.

Also, I was in the middle of writing an 1860 funeral scene and couldn't figure out what I was missing to bring it to life. A description of the hearse fixed the problem.

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