Archive for December, 2010

The Myrtles Plantation & Oleander Poisoning (Angola Prison Reprise)

Friday, December 17th, 2010

I finally made it to the Angola Prison Rodeo this past October.  It was absolutely amazing.

About three-quarters into the two-hour drive from New Orleans, somewhere in St. Francisville, I saw a sign for the Myrtles Plantation.

“What’s that?” I asked Adrienne.

“You don’t know about that place?  It’s haunted, and it’s a bed and breakfast,” she said.  “You can stay there.”

She went on to tell me the story of Chloe, the most famous ghost said to haunt the estate.

In 1817, the Myrtles Plantation was owned by Judge Clark Woodruff and his wife Sarah who resided there with their two young daughters.  One evening, a household servant named Chloe was caught eavesdropping on Clark’s business dealings, and this wasn’t the first time.  As punishment, the Judge cut off one of Chloe’s ears.

Chloe feared further punishment of being sent to the fields to work with the rest of the slaves.  She devised a plan to bake a cake poisoned with oleander leaves for the Woodruff’s.  Once the family became sick, she would redeem herself by nursing them back to health.

Oleander is one of the most poisonous plants in the world and contains numerous toxic compounds, many of which are deadly to people, especially young children.  Reactions to oleander poisoning are evident quickly, and ingestion can cause both gastrointestinal effects (nausea and vomiting, excess salivation, abdominal pain, and diarrhea that may or may not contain blood) and cardiac effects (irregular or erratic heart rate).  Extremities may become pale and cold due to poor or irregular circulation, and the central nervous system may also be affected.  (These symptoms can include drowsiness, tremors or shaking of the muscles, seizures, collapse, and even coma that can lead to death.)

Unfortunately for everyone, Chloe’s plan backfired.  Only Sarah and her daughters ate the cake, and in a matter of hours all three were dead.  The other slaves, afraid that Clark would punish them for harboring Chloe, beat her, hanged her, and finally drowned her in the Mississippi River.

Since her death, the ghost of Chloe has reportedly been spotted at the Myrtles.  Although historical record does not support the story of Chloe and the Woodruff girls, it is the most popular tale among visitors and employees.

There are more murders said to have taken place at this historic building since its construction in 1796, all resulting in paranormal activity still taking place to this day.  Additionally, it is believed that the house was built over an Indian burial ground, and the ghost of an Indian girl is said to roam the plantation.

In any case, I plan on going to the rodeo again, and when I do, I will stay a night at the Myrtles Plantation.

Myrtles Plantation (above), Oleander (below)

My New Clock (And The Final 2004 Entry)

Monday, December 13th, 2010

Every year is getting shorter
Never seem to find the time.

- Pink Floyd, “Time”

And it’s time, time, time
And it’s time, time, time
And it’s time, time, time that you love
And it’s time, time, time.

- Tom Waits, “Time”

I knew this would happen.

I could hear the clock from my bedroom, ticking on the floor of the den where I had neglected it since my trip to visit Andrea over a month ago.

Still, I moved it into my room.

Aesthetically it’s a great clock, and lately I’ve been wanting to change things  – I want to redecorate while ridding myself of the unnecessary.

But I cannot decide if the constant tick-tock is aggravating or soothing.

There’s the masochist in me, wanting to deprive myself of a peaceful journey into the sandman’s terrain, getting off on being driven crazy by the sound of this machine hard at work while I lie awake with my internal dialogue as its accompaniment.

On the other hand, it comforts me with its distracting tick-tock.  The sounds divert my attention from thoughts that make me cringe, from fantasies that will never be real, and from scenes replaying in my mind that I wish had never occurred in the first place.

Like so many things, I can’t decipher what level of disgust or adoration I have for this clock.  It’s just another noise in my head, and my mind spends hours wondering if it’s ticking towards something or ticking away from something.

It must be ticking towards something.  Towards my fucking head exploding.

The need for more redecorating is weighing on me.  But I think the clock has made me realize that I want to change other things.  Things that only I can see.

The inner workings of this clock have been operating audibly and flawlessly for years, while my inner workings have been functioning silently and insufficiently.  This needs to change.

It’s time.

The final entry from my 2004 journal is below, entry # 10.

(Entry # 9)

(In black ballpoint pen, printed handwriting:)

04.14.04

This is stupid.  In my old journals, which I am now reading (they are giving me nightmares) I would write down everything honestly.  Every thought and every feeling.
I love him.  Not forever maybe, but right now.  And I am a nerd and I am nothing and it’ll never happen because that is how it always happens for me: Not at all.

My new clock (below)

April 6th, 2004 (Entry # 9 & A Juncture)

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

(Entry # 8 )

(In black ballpoint pen, cursive handwriting:)

04.06.04

I was right.  And so the story will go and go and go, at least for the rest of the year.  Where will I be on New Years Eve?  NY.  There’s just always something to look forward to, I suppose.  “Crimson and clover over and over.”

I can’t stop thinking about something that happened.

It happened then it paused then it happened some more.

The episode was brief, and at moments intense.  It reached a juncture, I made my decision, and here I am today, still thinking about it.

Maybe I should learn to keep my mouth shut about these things.  Still, I can’t help wondering if it will ever happen again.

March 28th, 2004 (Entry # 8, Prefaced By Another Talk with Justin)

Saturday, December 4th, 2010

And I thought the circle, it had an end,
I’m old enough to know.

-Charlotte Martin, “Sweet Chariot

(Entry # 7, but before # 8, yesterday:)

“Honest question: Your journal entries at the beginning of puberty are sooooo focused at finding love.  Obviously you’re not alone.”

I wondered where Justin was going with this one.  He continued.  “BUT do you think you put so much pressure on it being ‘perfect’ that you’ll never settle down with someone because it will never be perfect?”

I considered.  “I mean, sometimes i think along the lines of me wanting some ‘perfect’ love that is most likely nonexistent,” I started, “but super-honestly, I think i just… Maybe I pick the wrong guys? Or the wrong guys pick me?  Look at the last two guys I dated. They were not perfect but i felt so strongly for them, and then they both dicked me over.”

“Hm.  Yeah.  So maybe you’re the other kind of person,” he said.  “A suggestion, if I may: You run in the same circles all the time, and not for nothing, but most of the guys I’ve met through you are great, I just don’t think that most of them are at the same point in their lives as you are.  So maybe you should widen that circle a bit.”

I sighed.  “I’ve been realizing my circle recently.  I think I don’t know how to break out of it, to widen it.”

“Yeah it’s tough,” he agreed.  “I’ll have to think about that.”

There are only three more entries in this old journal (followed by some strange poetry whose publication I am debating, though knowing me I probably will), then back to the closet it goes… or the bookshelf… or under the bed.

(In black ballpoint pen, cursive handwriting:)

3.28.4

I wanna kiss him I want to kiss him into another world where I don’t even care if I breathe.  I wanna be warm with him.  I want him to feel me.  But I just really want that moment.  That nonexistent likely impossible moment.  Where the world stops.  It’s only on TV.  I watch too many movies.

March 25th, 2004 (Entry # 7 & Something I Realized)

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

(Entry # 6)

(In black ballpoint pen, cursive handwriting:)

03.25.2004

Kevin said “What if you go to New York and find the love of your life?”  Why did he say that?  No reason, no reason.  Without reason.  That’s why I’ll be moving there.  But it’s too late, the wheels are turning and I need to start again.  I’ve learned here.  I need a more drastic change.  I need someone to know me.  Alone alone alone.
“And I wish you all the love in the world, but most of all, I wish it from myself.”

“Hate is baggage,” Justin said.

“I love that movie,” I told him.  “American History X.”

Recently I realized that love is more powerful than hate, and that it feels so much better to love.  Hate is wasteful, love is redeeming.

I’m done with hate.  My arms are too weak to carry it, and life is too short to be consumed by it.