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Dallas, Texas, United States

Monday, May 11, 2009

Tallulah Lives

One of my favorite telly shows these days is A & E's "Paranormal State." I'm not sure where I've been hiding myself until recently, because this show has been on for quite awhile, yet I only got on the ghostwagon in the last couple of months.

I dig this stuff mucho - well, maybe not in person, but on the tube when I'm in the safety of my own un-haunted home, it's the stuff that gets my ghost. Pun intended.

There have been nights when I have to watch old Frazier or Golden Girl re-runs to get the heebeejeebees out of my head from watching this show. No kidding, I'm a sucker for this shit. And Ryan Buell? Oh yeah. He can exorcise me anytime.

Last weekend was my high school reunion and it was fun seeing everyone that I wanted to see. That's really not related to this blog entry, but it does bring up the fact that I missed my college reunion this past year. And that reminded me that I had a ghostly encounter in my dorm room at said college.

The college I'm talking about is a beautiful campus on a hill in Virginia. The dorms are old plantation homes from the civil war. The school was a seminary for girls for awhile and then became a liberal arts college at some point. Blah blah blah.

ANYWAY - one of the most famous students at the seminary was Tallulah Bankhead. (don't ya love that name?) Tallulah attended the college in 1913, but only lasted about a semester. See - she was a little tough to tame. In fact, she was expelled from the college for hanging upside down from a tree in a skirt. Tsk. She also bit a student or perhaps a professor. Not on the same day. Well, I don't think so.

When I was at the college some many decades later, I was a theatre major. All I could do was eat, sleep and poop the theatre. (Notice the "re" and not the "er"...yeah, that's how I roll.) My senior year was awesome. I finally found a roomie that I could truly giggle with and we were both hall officers - she was hall president and I was the judicial rep for the dorm. (I was always a stickler for da law. Take that!) Barbara and I had an awesome room on the second floor of a beautiful dorm / plantation home. On pleasant days, we'd hang out the windows like proper southern ladies, smoking ciggies and drinking grain alcohol, but unlike Tallulah, we never hung from trees in skirts, never bit anyone and we both made it out alive within 4 years.

Being a theatre major, I was directing my first play just after the Christmas break and had been living solely on Dr. Pepper Big Gulps and cigarettes for about 3 weeks. Sleep was a luxury I couldn't afford. One night, Barbara was studying on her bed and I was stressing about my directorial debut. Though I can't recall just how late at night it was - it was bloody dark outside and it must have been cold as our radiator (yes, this place was old) was banging more than usual. We both looked up from our studies and a rocking chair by the window started rocking pretty wildly. I can recall not believing my eyes and looking over at Barbara only to encounter her eyes - now baseball sized. I think I levitated over to her bed and we embraced, watching the chair continue to rock back and forth for several minutes. I'm not sure what we did next, but I'm sure it involved blowing off our studies in favor of eating or drinking to purge ourselves of that vision.

Being curious about whether or not our vision was a ghostly visitor or just a group hallucination, we did some research in the library....back in the olden days when there were libraries and card catalogs, remember those? We had heard about Tallulah Bankhead being a student in days gone by, but were stunned to find out not only had she lived in our dorm, but had lived in our ROOM. Yes, my friends, Tallulah may have checked out, but she never left.

I think what allowed me to not get completely creeped-out was the thought that perhaps she approved of what I was doing with my play, one theatre person to another. I've often wondered if any other appearances of Tallulah have been witnessed in that room.


hapsmysis said...

Hey why don't I remember that story?

CruiserMel said...

Perhaps it was your home-made kahlua?