I was doing a Countdown to Cole but it appeared in stores sooner than I expected! (GO GET IT! You know you want to!) So I guess now I’m doing a Celebrating Cole. 😀
Cole Dempsey’s Back in Town is set in a murky, moss-draped antebellum plantation in Lousiana where secrets and lies have covered up the truth about a murder for fifteen years. Here’s a bit of trivia about me: I once lived in an antebellum plantation for ten months. My father was a Church of Christ minister and up until I was I was nine years old–when my father started buying his own homes–we lived in church-provided homes. The year I was in second grade my father took a job preaching for a church in Alabama. Next door to the church was an old antebellum mansion and the church owned it. The surrounding land had once been a plantation. It was, bar none, the most awesome home I’ve ever lived in. Massively tall ceilings and windows, columned portico, fireplaces in every room, Scarlett O’Hara staircase, the works. This being the 1970s, my mother went in and painted my (gigantic) bedroom, including my fireplace, pink, and she painted my sister’s room lavender. We were quite colorful. 😯 She hung coordinating bead strings from the windows. There was a well in the sideyard and a coach entrance.
Unfortunately, I was in second grade, so I didn’t really appreciate it. I was also terrified the entire time we lived there because everyone said the house was haunted. There were numerous ghost stories associated with people who’d lived in the house in the past, and my older brother was kind enough to regale his little sisters with the ghosts he said he saw in the house at night. I was particularly worried about taking baths because one of the ghosts was said to have died by getting his toe stuck in the tub faucet. How that can result in death, I’m not sure, but that was not the point! He was haunting the bathroom, you know….with his toe stuck in the faucet….
10 things I remember about living in a plantation mansion:
1. Some bad person ran over my brand new bike in the street and didn’t stop.
2. My mother taught me to make bread in that house.
3. None of my friends believed me when I said I lived in that house and one day some of them followed me home from school to watch me and see if I actually went IN.
4. Someone stole all my pencils at school.
5. My sister and I hid behind the bushes and watched our brother kiss our first cousin at the well. Luckily their love died before they married and had mutant children.
6. My brother was a budding modern artist and I would throw mud on his canvases for him before he painted his wild patterns on them. I guess he liked bumps in his paintings. I just thought the mud-throwing part was fun.
7. I never got to have a fire in the fireplace in my bedroom and I’ve never had a fireplace in my bedroom since then.
8. My mother always got mad at us for sliding down the banister. But how could we resist?
9. There was a really cool sun dial in the backyard but I could never figure it out.
10. My sister had a windowseat in her room and I didn’t. Life was so unfair.
About six years ago I took my children on a cross-country trip and we stopped in Alabama on the way. I wanted to see that house again. I was shocked to discover it was gone, and upon some investigation I learned that the church had sold the mansion and it had been moved to another town. Who knew you could move a house that size?! Apparently you can! I stood on the bare ground where the house had been and wondered if the ghosts had gone with it…..