Monday, April 21, 2008

You Went Where?

So, I took this trip at the end of last week. My wife and I drove 503 miles from South Carolina to Louisville, Kentucky. Though the drive there took us about nine hours, it really didn’t feel like that long—four hours was more like it.

We talked, we laughed, I said stupid stuff, which is not too uncommon. My wife drove most of the way there (to her surprise—most of the time I drive) and I drove the final two and a half hours. As my wife drove I was able to have a little fun sight seeing.

Some things I saw on the way to Louisville:

A newer looking school bus pulling a Jeep behind it. There were no kids on it but I got the feeling that there probably was at some point during the day.

A phone booth in the middle of an open field in Tennessee. I’m still trying to figure that one out. I know there is a Twilight Zone story in there somewhere.

Animals. Lots of animals. It didn’t matter what they were. Cows. Horses. Sheep. Goats. I yelled out the window at each of them: Eat More Chicken. My wife rolled her eyes, like she does when I hit stupid mode. But, it does get better. We got behind a semi loaded down with cows. My guess is they were off to be slaughtered. As we passed them I rolled down the window and yelled out: You should have eaten more chicken. Again, another roll of the eyes. But, this time she laughed.

A place called Stinking Creek Road. Umm . . . no thanks.

Signs in the mountains that read Falling Rock Zone. Hey thanks for letting me know, but what good is it going to do me if I am driving and can’t look to see if the rocks are falling on my head?

There was a Ferris wheel jutting out of one mountainside and right down the road from it was this HUGE cross. There was no church anywhere, just a beautiful cross towering into the sky, easily seen from down the interstate.

There is more—much more—but for now I will stop with the sights and get to why we went to Kentucky in the first place. My wife and I went to Waverly Hills Sanatorium. Yes, that place—the haunted sanatorium where 63,000 people died of tuberculosis. Most of the people I mentioned it to said we were nuts, but then, I guess they don’t know us that well.

And for all of you people thinking that I dragged my wife along with me against her will, well think again: she set the whole thing up. The hotel room, getting the tickets to Waverly, getting all the maps together and finding someone to keep the kids for the four day trip. So, don’t feel sorry for her—it was her idea.

On the way there I got a LOT of story ideas, which I jotted down, in my little notebook. I also managed to do short outlines for four chapters of a novel.

We had a saving grace before we even got started on the trip. You see, I hate maps and don’t read them very well. My sister, Anna, just so happened to have a GPS and asked us if we wanted to borrow it. Ummm . . . yes. The GPS was used religiously and we never got lost. We drove around Kentucky as if we were still in South Carolina, thanks to Mandy. Who? Mandy. That is the name that was assigned to the voice of my sister’s GPS. At some points, when Mandy was especially quiet, I found myself wanting to break into Total Eclipse of the Heart.

I am off on another tangent, aren’t I?

At any rate, we made a trip to the Louisville Zoo and took a lot of pictures. We even took several pictures with my wife’s favorite stuffed animal. His name is Santa Dog and I gave him to Catherine on our first Christmas together. She has kept him with her everywhere since then, including trips, two birthings and one surgery. The folks in Kentucky thought us a little odd. But who cares? We’ll never see most of them again anyway.

We caught a picture of three fruit bats that looked like they were See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil.

There was also the Cave Hill Cemetery where Harland Sanders is buried—you know the guy who founded Kentucky Fried Chicken. The neatest thing about this cemetery that had a map to it and lots of roads to travel on was the small cave near a “lake” within the cemetery. Though you couldn’t go inside, it was still creepy looking and gave me a wicked idea for a story.

I met my friend, Chris Perridas. He’s a really cool dude and very intelligent. We talked about writing for a while and ghosts for another while.

Finally, midnight Friday night came and we were in Waverly, walking the halls of one really creepy place. We went into the morgue and they still had a few of the body trays in there. Climbing into it wasn’t as spooky as I thought it would be, but sitting in the dark, even after my eyes had adjusted and all I could see was blackness around me—yeah that was eerie.

We had a few “personal experiences” and I hope I caught the shadows on the video I took. There is more to Waverly than just the ghosts. The history is amazing. The sheer size of the building is daunting and the many rooms where people died or where experimental surgeries took place or electroshock therapy could send chills up and down your spine just thinking about it.

At any rate, the morning came and the tour was over. We had seen the entire building and the body chute and it didn’t feel like four in the morning. Needless to say, we didn’t want to leave.

We’ve been going through the photos and it is a painstakingly slow process, but hopefully we have caught a few things.

There will be more on being inside of Waverly later this week, but all-in-all, I would say the trip was a great one and even with just three hours sleep from early Friday morning until late Saturday evening.

More on the trip and Waverly later, for now, I’m exhausted and the kids just went to bed. I think there is a hockey game on and I would like to veg out for a little while.

For now, I’m AJ and I’m out.

1 comment:

  1. Don't fall for all the legends of Waverly, most of them are false or exaggerated.
    5,000 to 6,000 people died there, less then 10% of the mythical number. The worst year (1945) had 162 death the entire year, and the worst DAY of that year was Dec 1916 with 4 deaths in a single day. Nowhere near a death an hour...Ever.
    And the electric shock room is 100% false. did you look at the panel that supposedly showed how much voltage went to the patient?
    It is clearly marked "old boiler", "new boiler", "pump", "flame" etc... it was a fuse panel or indicator panel for the boiler system. The room was most likely a maintenance office.
    I don't knock you, many many people have fallen for the urban legends. Just thought I'd give you a heads up.