The Peeping Tom of Willoughby

The Peeping Tom of Willoughby
By: Stephanie L. Robertson

wooden house art

I’m not a peeping Tom.

The residents of Willoughby can rest easy.

Those rumors are false!

I do have a problem, however.

An embarrassing secret:

I sleep walk.

Please…It’s not funny.

I’ve done everything from hanging bells on my doors to tying a rope from my foot to my bed post. Nothing works. I can untie rope in my sleep, apparently.

I’ve been a sleepwalker ever since I moved back to Willoughby and into my parents old house. I’ve come to the conclusion that most folks are suspicious of an unmarried 35-year-old male. It’s none of their business that I lost the love of my life ten years ago and will never love again. I suspect that the accident drove me back to Willoughby and may be the cause of my walking. More about that, later.

Whatever makes me walk, unfortunately, sent me to the window of our illustrious post-mistress. Her stupid Papillon, Smirkymonkey, woke her with her barking. (The dog’s barking, not the post-mistress!) There I was, from what I’ve heard Deputy Morris Greene say, peering into the woman’s living room window.


Greene’s a good fellow, unlike that no-good drunken sheriff of ours. Greene was called to the scene and questioned me, later, at the station. He sent me home and promises to keep an eye out for me if he sees me walking while patrolling his midnight rounds…about when I start walking.

It doesn’t always work, but at least I haven’t peeked in the post-mistresses’ window lately.

Last night, I learned a secret about another Willoughby neighbor.

Apparently, I’m not the only Willoughbean who roams the streets of town at night.

I actually woke during one of my nightly rambles. I found myself outside of Mayline Crisco’s house. A noise woke me, I guess. Granted, I was probably half asleep when I saw a horned creature rise from Mayline’s forsythias. The hairs on the back of my neck prickled. Two bulbous eyes bore into mine, and a twisted mouth pealed a harmony with a scream of my own.

True, I was half-asleep.

But I know I saw something.

upcycled fence art

Summers on Grandma’s Farm

Hey, Everyone! How did you spend your summers?  I am re-posting Summers on Grandma’s Farm from July 2016.

Summers on Grandma’s Farm

A gray barn like Papa’s. I took this picture near Springfield, MO.

A gray barn like Papa’s. I took this picture near Springfield, MO.


Maywood Christian Camp

When I was a girl growing up in south Alabama, my parents would take my brother and I up to north Alabama to attend Maywood Christian Camp for a week, and then my dad’s parents would pick us up and take us to their farm for another week.

My cabin at Maywood Christian Camp.

My cabin at Maywood Christian Camp.


North Alabama is further from the Gulf of Mexico than my home town, thereby a lot less humid, which was nice!

I’m sure the first day back from camp was spent resting up, we would attend church on Sunday, and then the rest of the week was full of wide-open possibilities!

Farm equipment on my cousin’s farm. My cousin now owns my grandparents’ farm.

Farm equipment on my cousin’s farm. My cousin now owns my grandparents’ farm.

“Big” City

Grandma always took us into town, which is Russellville, Alabama, a much bigger town than what we were used to.

She would buy us each a toy at TWL, and we would go to a big grocery store.

Since my parents owned a general store in Jachin, we weren’t used to going grocery shopping, which was great fun! We loved to help pick snacks and sugary cereals that we would consume during the week.


Big Gray Barn

Then we would head back to our grandparents’ farm, and eventually end up playing in their great big gray barn, which was stocked with hay, spider webs, and so much dust.

Our parents would come and get us at the end of the week.  We were always so glad to see them and missed them so much!

We would go back home to our own piece of Alabama, which had an entirely different culture and it’s own rendition of an Alabama farm.

Our south Alabama farm.

Our south Alabama farm.


The Man who Died Twice

The story about the Man who Died Twice begins with my trolley ride and ends with a What would You have done?

Into the Montford Historical District

Like I said in a previous post, I visited Asheville, North Caroline and had the nicest trolley ride around town. I boarded the Gray Line Trolley Tour of Asheville at the lovely Asheville Visitor’s Center.

The tour is a fully-narrated historic tour with ten famous sites where you can hop on or hop off. If you stay on for the whole ride, it’s 90 minutes.

Annie, our guide, was a history major who is looking for a job as a teacher…Please hire this woman! She is a wealth of knowledge! Not only that, she’s a good driver and kept us entertained with little-known facts about Asheville. For instance…

The Wright House and Carriage Inn

The Wright House and Carriage Inn.

When You Marry Mr. Wrong

As Annie drove us through Asheville’s Montford Historical District, she told us about the man who died twice. Mister Osella Brent Wright (ahem, Mister Wrong) married one Leva D.  Both hailed from Rock Island, Illinois. In 1899, they built themselves a home with porches and parlors, gables and slate roofs, Doric columns and spindles…All in the Queen Anne/Colonial-Revival architectural tradition, according to the National Park Service.

The Wrights owned the Carolina Carriage House, a leather goods business in Asheville.

You’d think their life together was idyllic, living in such a beautiful house in the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains.

Not so much.

Apparently, Mr. Wright ran off in the night. Mrs. Wright was so humiliated that she told peeps that Osella B died. She even staged a funeral for the man.

A 1930 census indicates that Awesome Osella was living in Apopka, Florida.    The census says he was married, but he didn’t name his wife. (What a guy!)  Source: Find a Grave.

One stormy night, a knock rattled Leva’s door.  It was Awkward Osella, dripping wet, hat in hand.  He begged Leva to take him back. Leva offered him a modicum of grace. She allowed him to stay if he never ventured out again. After all, what’s a girl to do when she’s already faked his funeral?  What would she tell his mother??

Osella agreed.  Like Boo Radley, Osella’s face never saw the light of Asheville (or anywhere else) again.  I would have gone stark, raving mad with cabin fever, how about you?

At his real death, Leva buried Osella underneath his first tombstone.  Or somewhere…I can’t remember what Annie said.

So, the man died twice.  Kinda.

Mrs. Wright died in 1945, according to NPS. Since the couple had no children, the house was bought and sold several times.  It slowly eroded until people started calling it the “Faded Glory.”

The Wright House and Carriage Inn

The Wright House and Carriage Inn signBut the story ends happily.  (Not for Osella and Leda, but for us who love southern architecture.)

In the 1980’s, some enterprising man or woman remodeled the Wright House to use as a bed and breakfast.  No longer a faded glory, it is now known as the The Wright House and Carriage Inn on 235 Pearson Drive.

What would You have done?

Because of my beliefs about marriage, I would have taken Osella back unless he had run off with someone else. We’re supposed to stay married for better or for worse, right?

So what about you? What would you have done if you had been lovely Leda?

Annie with rescue kitten

Annie works with rescue kitten, Wilbur. Visit my Instagram for video.

P.S:  Thanks, Annie and the Gray Line Trolley for the trip and the fabulous stories.  I know I embellished the story a little bit. Annie didn’t say that it was stormy when Osella returned home, I don’t know if he knocked on the door–all just speculation on my part–and I can’t remember where she said they buried Osella the second time.

P.P.S: Please let me know if you like this kind of story. I’ve got tons more, so stay tuned!

Note: I received a ticket in return for blogging on Gray Line Trolley, but (regardless) I had a great ride with a fantastic guide!

trolley selfie

Gray Line Trolley selfie.

A Visit to Alabama’s State Capitol

Lefty and I visited Alabama’s State Capitol while Princess Buttercup attended Alabama All-State for band this weekend. (Yayyyyyy! #proudmom)

I hadn’t been near the state capitol building since I marched in the Million Dollar Band for maybe Governor Guy Hunt in 1990. Wiki says he won the 1990 election, so it must have been for him.  Anyhow, it was a beautiful day, and the bright building stood out in stark contrast to the beautiful cerulean sky overhead.

Alabama State Capitol

Alabama’s State Capitol Architecture

My favorite part was the rotunda. (Go here to see a better photograph.) I wanted to take more photos, especially of the stairway and the Greek revival columns outside, but my phone was getting full, and I wanted to save my space for pictures of Princess Buttercup and her pals.

Lefty did take some fun pictures of me in the old legislature chamber. The Alabama State Historical Commission says that all 3 branches of the state gov’t met in the capitol until 1942. Then the SCOTUS moved off somewhere, and the 2 legislative branches moved in 1992.

I wouldn’t have.

I would have stayed put because who wouldn’t want to do all that legislation in a beautiful, old, historic chamber?

They painted the walls of one of the chamber with the trompe l’oeil effect. I would have n-e-v-e-r guessed! I thought they were wooden panels until I went up to them and looked really close after reading the sign that said it was trompe l’oeil! Amazing! I may have to try this at home.

Anyway, court is in session, and Lefty took the following goofy pictures of Judge Stephanie.  (Hey, who you callin’ ‘goofy??’)

Over-ruled, Counselor!

Order in the court! One more word out of your client, Counselor, and I’m holding him in contempt!

For Foodies

Lefty and I did some good-eatin’ while in Mont-g. We had good ol’ southern food at Cahawba House. I even had meatloaf, cornbread, and collard greens. I don’t think I’ve had collard greens since I lived at home. They put a cute, little cornbread muffin on top for garnish. Loved it (but Mom makes the best cornbread ever!)  I tried cabbage and hash for the first time at the Irish Bred Pub, a nod to my Irish roots.

Cahawba House

Geeking out with other Band Mamas

I’m a band geek through-and-through, and I was in my element as hundreds of talented young musicians stormed the Dunn Oliver Acadome. The top band played the “Star-Spangled Banner.” Absolutely beautiful!

I think it’s almost as sweet to be a band mama as it is to be in the band….Almost.

Hundreds of the best young musicians in the state.