The Lemp Mansion
Lemp Mansion has been vacant these last 90 years. The last of the Lemp family had hung himself from the top rail of the banister
on the servants stairs that fateful All Hallow's Eve. Some say he was distraught over the death of his dear beloved wife.
Some say it was the madness that had run throughout the history of the Lemp family trees men.
This year we, the courageous
VWF group were going to win that prize money from the Post Dispatch! They had put a challenge to anyone or any group who would
spend a weekend in the Old Lemp mansion, over Halloween. The prize...$1500.00 in jellybeans! And I for one couldn't wait to
get my share of those beans!!!!!
We met at the elegant wrought iron gate to the mansion. Mr. Greene handed the gate
key to Bev. Jo quickly snatched the key out of Bev's dust cloth covered hand. Oh no! I think I'll open the gate, and why do
you have a dust cloth? You promised not to push any buttons or clean anything! Put it away! ( Jo was going to prevent
any accidents this time if at all possible. Bev reluctantly put the cloth in her bulging coat pocket. "But Jo, the lock looked
a bit dusty and I didn't want you to get your hands dirty..." Bev said.
PJ, Kat and Pam start
mumbling about cleaning!! For Pete's sake, there are jelly beans at stake here.....who cares about dust?? PJ has
already claimed all the buttered popcorn Jelly Bellys and is determined to win this contest!!!! Someone give Bev a tranquilizer
so we can get on with this!! Kat and Jo take the lead (sort of...Kat's hanging onto Jo's shirttail and trying to peek over
Jo's shoulder, but she's shaking so bad that Jo's shirt is about to become history!!) Jo turns around and smacks Kat on the
head and says "LET GO!!!!" Kat gets huffy and goes around Jo; starts up the stairs to the mansion and on the third step, there's
a loud creaky sound and the mansion door slowly opens on its own!!!!!!!! Kat then scurries to the rear of the line and gets
behind Danny, who's giggling like a maniac.
Meanwhile, PJ, Jo and Pam slowly head toward the open door after first
checking to see that Gus is right behind them.....for security measures, you understand!! There is an unearthly chill in the
dark foyer, and the sheets thrown over the furniture add to the spookiness. Jo tries to turn on her flashlight only to find
that the brand new batteries have failed. Irene pulls several candles out of her pocket (always prepared!!!), but forgot matches!!!
Sheesh! PJ finds a nearly empty lighter in her pocket and voila!! we have light.........dim, flickering light, but it's better
Pam wants to find the kitchen first; Irene wants to go upstairs; Jo wants to investigate the front
parlor; Carole's standing just inside the door, humming "Whistle a Happy Tune" because she's shivering too much to get her
whistle pucker to work; Gus is leaning on the bottom newel post of the stairs, when suddenly..........................
There is a blood curdling scream coming from the direction of the front parlor where Jo wanted to go investigate.
All creep forward to see what and who screamed right then we see Jo pointing towards some thing on the floor with a shaky
hand, we inch forward to look. Carole even stops humming and Danny stops giggling....Jo ever the list Mom says okay head count
we all chime in with raised hands. Gus says in a weird voice "this hand is holding a dust cloth we all know who brought the
cleaning equipment with them" Bev did and where is she? Just then the mansion door slams shut and
there are shrieks .. Pam wants to go home to check on the girls and PJ starts with I have to go wash my hair again, Carole
and Irene are having second thoughts about joining VWF with adventures like this, but think of all the reward all those jelly
beans. Right then every one feels a terrible draft and a voice says okay who the heck stole my dust cloth? There stood
Bev who had been cleaning so she wouldn`t get her hands dirty, Jo asked if she had touched any knobs. Bev swore she
hadn`t......Kat said oh screw this and the jelly beans I`m going home and went towards the front door but there was no handle...
PJ yelled get back here being her usual bossy self!!!! Pam Jo and Bev were whispering, Carole Irene and the guys were trying
to find some way to open the door when........
Suddenly the door flies open with a big
BANG and the Jelly Bean Gang is showered with….stuffed bear parts!!!!! Everyone looks at Pam and in unison says, “Somebody’s
been running a black market bear parts scam!” Pam, in her defense, gets in Bev’s face and says, “Hey! Don’t
look at me! Who is the one with bulging pockets here! Sure, you try to tell us it is just your never-ending cleaning supplies
in there, but we know better now!” Bev shamefacedly admits that she had been putting all the blame on Pam, but that
she was really behind the whole bear-napping scheme. As if on cue, a bear head sporting a mob cap falls out of Bev’s
pocket. Everyone gasps and just stares at Bev....Finally, Gus steps up and says, "Look, let the bear thing GO ALREADY, we
need to win some jelly beans here!" Everyone looks at each other and shakingly agrees. Except Carole. “I want all the
buttered popcorn beans, PJ! Not fair you get them all! I’m the newbie, you know. Doesn’t that give me some kind
of break here? If I don’t get all the buttered popcorn jelly beans, I’m leaving!!!” Mind you, Carole isn’t
as sharp as her elegant persona appears…..after all, there are mountains of bear parts in the way and….some of
them are moving!!! Irene steps up, gives Carole a slap, says, "That's from Mom, now quit being a brat and move on!" Finally,
as one block of quivering humanity, they turn back into the foyer and find that Danny is missing. Everyone calls for him---and
a disembodied voice is heard from upstairs, calling, “It’s o.k., I’m up here and BOY did I find a treasure
trove of ancient undies!!!!!” With deep sighs, the group head for the stairs and……
Slowly creaking step by creaking step they walk up the ancient dusty stairs. Gus is in the lead and every one is
cowering behind him and clutching to one another. All of a sudden there is a noise like a foghorn, Standing there with
her cheeks red is Bev smiling sheepishly. Everyone turns and whispers at her" sshhhh! Quiet Bev! and Bev whispers back "Sorry
the dust got up my nose so I had to blow it" as she shoves the rag into Pam's pocket. Everyone turns back to their mission
of reaching the top of the stairs to see what Danny is really up to. As the gang reaches the second floor they hear in a room
off to the right some rustling. They enter the room and there is Danny sitting in a drawer full of womens old bloomers. He
has a beautiful scarlet red pair on top of his head. Danny exclaims "LOOK WHAT I FOUND I HAVE HIT THE JACKPOT!!" Kat
groans "Danny get the undies off your head and come on, we are on a mission and it isn't fishing for undies" While Danny is
crawling out of the drawer pouting, PJ and Pam are investigating a beautiful mirror surrounded by an ornate wooden frame.
Its glass surface glimmers as the light from the lighter reflects eerily back. All of a sudden PJ, Bev and Pam start chanting
"Candyman" as Carole and Irene join in. Suddenly in the mirror a figure appears as if the mirror was a window to some
distant place. As the figure walks closer and closer from the depths of the mirror, the girls back up and smack into Gus and
Danny. They all stand frozen as if in a trance, as the shadowy figure appears full length in the mirror. Like a wisp of smoke
the figure rolls into the room and.... As it moves closer and closer from the depths of the mirror the shadowy figure appears
Marci indignantly exclaims, "Well, Dud, You about scared the life out of me. It's about
time you got here, Where have you been anyway?" "Jeff and I were investigating the pantries," He licked his lips, "and found
the back staircase off the summer kitchen. So. Wendell and Coach went to check out those stairs to see what else they might
find and to see if any of the bedrooms are usable." Before anyone can react to that , there's a voice from the gloom of the
3rd floor gallery. "Hey you guys! Found some portraits on the walls up here, and you'd never guess but our own dear Wendell
looks A LOT like old man Lemp!" Deb yells down. "Come Check it out!" From the 2nd floor hall came
a call from Jeff, Hurry! Get Doc Tom in here right away. It's Donna, she's unconscious beside the dining table."
Soon all are gathered around Donna in the dining room and Doc Tom tells us that Donna just seems to have fainted.
Her vitals are normal and she will be ok. What a relief! . A rumbling noise can be heard coming
from behind the wall nearest our sleeping beauty. We are startled by the chilly eeeeeeeyyyyyooooowwww that followed.
Now what? What is making that strange noise and what are we doing in this place anyhow? Just then a hatch opens
to reveal a dumb waiter with a monsterous black cat peeking out of it at all the commotion in the room. "Where am I,
and why are you all standing there staring at the .... OH MY Gosh!" as Donna comes to and then sees the cat; " that's
what scared me!" she laughs shakily, "I heard the most horrid noise right beside me and there was nothing there but
the wall. She didn't seem to notice the WITCH!! Then the next thing I knew you were all here." "Well," drawled
Jo, "Not all of us, Coach and Wendell are still not accounted for!" "AND" Deb chimed in, "I found a picture of Lemp who looks
too much like Wendell to be coincidence." Dusting herself off, Donna says, "This I gotta see, lead the way!" Back along the
hall to the grand staircase and up a flight they go and find Bev dusting the hand rail as she goes, "Am
I the only one
to notice that there is too little dust on this hand rail for a place which is supposed to be abandoned?" Irene squeeked "You're
just trying to make me nervous." Jo: "Cut it out Bev, before you get the devilish trio going
too!" Gus: "Well, I didn't
believe you, Deb, but it does look like Wendell with a giant handle bar mustache!" looking around "Wonder what's taking him
and coach so long to get up here."
Just as Jo and Bev turn around they see coach has returned ....and
he sees them both fall through the floor, landing on a very dusty coffin. As they scramble to their feet to get off
the coffin, they notice that the coffin lid is slightly ajar... it starts to ever so slowly slide open . Bev and
Jo are getting very nervous. This is just to scary says Bev. Jo, you really don't need to hold my hand so tightly
ya know? Bev, I'm NOT....Jo shows Bev her own hands and looks at Bev's hand that is being held by a horrible bony
hand with fingers wrapped tightly around her own hand. Bev screams and pulls her hand free....Jo stands
there staring as if frozen. . Bev and Jo both nearly hysterical by now are calmed by Coach who had seen the floor give
way and is first to come to their rescue.
There is still no sign of Wendell, .Bev gives herself
a shake, and finally stops screaming. She reaches into her pocket for the bottle of Holy Water she always has handy for emergencies!
Then after pitching some on Jo, throws the rest of the bottle into the coffin .
watches as Debs eyes turn into huge saucers, she says in a shaky voice "Wendell turn around and look behind you" Wendell turns
around slowly and
looks behind him to see two smokey figures standing behind them. They reach their transparent hands out
toward the cage Wendell is holding. Wendell yells at
them "YOU CAN'T HAVE THEM BACK THEY ARE MINE ALL MINE"
he laughs in a maniacal way. Bev and Jo stop screaming for a moment as they look at Wendells face change into the same face
as in the portrait. Donna
yells "Everyone get in here something weird is happening to Wendell!!!"
Everyone comes racing
in as Wendell touches a panel in the wall and it opens up and he jumps inside and is gone. The smoky figures turn and race
up the stairs moaning and wailing and disappeared with a clanking of their
chains. Pam says "We have to go find Wendell"
and Doc Tom says
"First we have to get Bev and Jo out of the hole they are in. Come on fellas lets lend Coach a hand and
get the girls out and than we will try to find Wendell" The boys throw the rope that Coach came back with down to the girls.
Bev yells up that she thinks she found something. There is a breeze coming through a hole that appears to be a passageway.
Carole says " Do you think it could be the tunnel that goes to the
brewery?" Gus says " Hmmmmmmmmm maybe we better go check
it out" Danny says "I think we better all stick together so we don't lose anybody else in this place" Coach ties the rope
off onto the bannister and one by one the group climbs down the rope into the hole...
While the crew is one by
one joining Bev and Jo now down in the bowels of the mansion after the stairway swallowed them up, are discussing their predicament.
Bev says "Jo, what are we doing here and what's going to happen to us next?" Well, Bev, seems that some eerie events are taking
place that's for sure, says Jo....and I'm still wondering how I got talked into this adventure!!! But we will be just fine...don't
worry! I just would like to know how my black cat got here and how he fits into this picture...It is very strange that the
mansion ghosts seem to want those critters that Wendell is protecting. What does it all mean? Bev, says Wendell better keep
those creatures in that cage or I will have to hurt him bad! Another crash is heard as Dudley jumps down into the hole.Good he says, we're all here...now let's go have a beer! Someone said there is
a brewery down here and I want to find it...I'm very thirsty and Marci and Jeff said it would be ok as long as I share......the
heck with jelly beans!! Bob likes the idea as well. He leads the way as we enter into the tunnel that seems to go on forever.
Pam wonders now if the ghosts will return and couldn't help but notice that coach is busily resetting every clock as we make
our way through. Don reminds us that we have about 16 hours left in this mansion before we can claim our prize and the key
to the city! How fitting for our halloween adventure he notes...as the lightning strikes and luminates our path....the thunder
has made Irene and Carole nervously giggle but we proceed ahead reassured by our fellas that this halloween will be one to
be remembered. Danny, Bob and Dud have found the brewery! The beer is most definitely aged! Doc cautions them as he points
out the blue glow that is generating around the wall of kegs. Too late...Dudley has smashed the first keg open and eagerly
drinking the liquid that flows from it. He immediately begins to dance and is suddenly taking on the appearance of ....
VAMPIRE!!!!"Run for your lives" Danny yells. Everyone starts fighting to get thru the tunnel which they now realize is filled
with Bats, snakes, rats and other rodents and reptiles. Bev starts crying and screaming once again ,flipping out over all
the guests, Jo is trying to Drag her along, Carole is laughing herself silly. From deep in the tunnel Doc and Wendell are
yelling "This way". Finally the girls find Wendell and Doc but Bob and Danny are missing. After a short while a noise is heard
back up the tunnel and just as everyone gets ready to run again Danny and Bob appear with a keg of the beer that was left
behind. Everyone sits down to take a break and since this keg isn't glowing Bob and Danny decide to test it. Just as they
tapped it huge spiders start falling from the ceiling and Jason and Freddy Krueger come out of adjoining tunnels and everyone.........
as one to stare...Freddy K. didn't have his glove on his hand and was reaching for Dud's full beer stein! Dud, being the gentleman
bear he is, shared with a good natured growllllll. Jason looked from Bob to Danny and put out a gloved hand. Danny offered
him a smirk and said...Jason! You ain't 21 yet! Bev started to wail big time and hollered in protest of all the weekends shananigans
and there was still plenty of time for more. NOoooooooooooooo Danny! Don't make him mad. Just give him a beer and let's
move on! Bev digs in her huge Wal Mart bag and pulls out a 32 ounce plastic glass and hands it to Jason. Jason without a sound
turns the spigot and sits down to enjoy the brew. Bev pops a straw into his glass...(the mask you know)
Bob looks around
a little confused and says, I don't remember the walls being this old brick when we walked through here before... hmmmm Look
there is writing and an arrow on that brick by that passageway...JO come over here and read what that says for me! Jo starts
over and trips on some of the loose bricks on the floor then adjusts her specks and says....Oh Bob! I don't know if I like
this or not!!!! It says,"......
For help with the vampires
and Freddy break glass.... but there is no glass....it`s another trick Bob says Jo watch out ! There's loose bricks
there, look there...see the glow underneath?? under the bricks the glow starts to rise and oh God help us it`s
the vampire again but this time he is not alone he has another one with him and they are right beside them. Jason and Freddy
are right behind us , where to go? what to do, ? will need help....PJ and Kat both say they are not too scared of the vampire
(which everyone knows they are lying) but their excuse is that vampires like younger blood then theirs.......Suddenly Bev
reaches in to her big bag and she has in her hand a vial of holy water but the vampire`s laughs manically and says in a terrifying
voice that stuff doesn`t work on me ladies!!!!!!.......There is another hair raising noise and all look back and Freddy and
Jason are approaching on Dudley fast, the beer seems to have made Jason madder than ever and being with Freddy isn`t helping.........the
group is getting desperate suddenly Danny yells "over here quick! We all run over and Danny has found another tunnel opening.
Good! Anything to get away from spiders and monsters not to mention vampires, They decide as one to catch up with Danny and
leave this place. They following the yells of Danny, Gus, Wendell calling them to run faster. "C'mon,
hurry!" Bob and Coach are bringing up the rear and watching our backs. There's another yell way out in front somewhere
but the guys have disappeared as though like magic. Pam I thought this place was just haunted grumbles Jo.. Pam wails I didn`t
know about all the other things here, as the earth beneath their feet starts to shake. They go crashing through
into the basement where they see a dungeon. This huge house, must hold many evil secrets. Is every one alright
Jo asks?; all are okay. Bev complains about all the dust and every one is coughing but in just a few minutes the dust had
settled and they could see a light. They notice something beyond the light...looks like many treasure chests!!! A somewhat
closer look and yes riches, beyond their wildest dreams. However it appears it is well guarded.... surrounded by all kinds
of ghastly looking creatures and a voice coming from somewhere says "welcome to my home". Why its old man Lemp and he moves
towards them with an object in his out stretched hands its a...
It's a beautiful pocket watch! We all are amazed
that the old man has appeared after all ....the portraits in the big hall indicate that he was born more than a century and
a half ago.....and we have many questions for him....But first, COACH wants to look at the watch closer and in so doing ofcourse
re-sets it and gives us a wink....then returns the watch. Speaking of time....Don how much longer until midnight for pete's
sake? In this mansion and in the depths of tunnels and passages it is impossible to know if it is night or day. Donna wants
to know what time it is? We are all eager to get out of this place. The old man raises his hand to silence us so he can speak.
We listen to his crackling words. He summons Wendell to his side and tells him the chiropters must be returned or an evil
curse will be placed on him and his family for generations to come. From out of no where the ghosts appear to collect them
from Wendell. Bev, thanks them for taking them back while Kat Donna and Irene say a prayer and Danny offers them some of his
beer. Pam wants to know where the jelly beans are but is afraid to ask. Bev says, well thank goodness those horrible things
in the cage are gone but Wendell is not sure if he is happy about that or not, although didn't want to chance bringing doom
on his family for the next hundred years. Jo looks at PJ who is busily fumbling with something and asks...Hey, PJ...what's
that ya got there??
I don`t know what it is answered PJ it has dials on it and some weird markings,
Bev said oh let`s see! let me see it and before any one could stop her she had what PJ had been holding and started to press
buttons much to everyone`s horror there was a loud noise like air escaping and we went back a century and a half in time when
Lemp was just a young man, we knew we had gone back as Coach looked at his watch that had the date on it....now what every
one groaned what is the time and how do we get back to our time PJ said I know let`s....
around while we're here (I've always loved history anyway!) and maybe we can gather information that'll help us get back to
where we were. BUT, will someone tie Bev's hands behind her back so she can't touch anything else??? Bev, time to turn
in your dust cloth. All the women notice how beautiful the house and furnishings are.....after all, a century and a
half ago, it was brand new!...and are happy to be seeing and touching everything. (Except Bev who is not allowed to touch
ANYTHING!!!!!! and will stay restrained until we can find a way out of here!!!! If she breaks loose, PJ has threatened to
fill Bev's pockets with more chiropters!!!) The men are grumbling and mumbling and banding together to try to figure out this
new development. The poor things can't handle being out of control, and their "macho" is slipping! Carole is noticing that
Mr. Lemp was really a FOX in his youth, and is considering staying here....assuming that we find a way back to the future
and we don't all have to stay here! Since Wendell resembles Lemp a great deal, Carole is blowing softly in Wendell's ear,
while Irene keeps dragging her away and saying "Down, Carole, Down!!!!"
PJ wanders into the library, where Bev dropped
the transporter that got us here in the first place. She fiddles with the dials and buttons while she's looking through the
book titles. Every now and then the transporter chirps and clicks, so PJ sits down in the big wing-backed chair by the fireplace
to examine it more closely. She learns that by pressing a long bar, and the button with the Windows sign on it, the transporter
lights up and vibrates in her hand. Whoa!! This is exciting!, she thinks to herself. Deb comes up behind her and says, "Let
me see it for a minute" PJ hugs the object to her chest protectively and says gently "NO WAY!!!!!!"
The rest of the
group starts crowding around the chair, with hopeful hearts. Jo says she has to get back to the 21st Century so she can finish
painting; Bob..covered with blue paint speckles....agrees vehemently; Danny, Gus and Wendell.....who's still trying to avoid
Carole!...get closer to the chair, to tell PJ that women don't know enough about gadgets to know how this thing works, and
she should give it to them to figure out. Her green eyes flash red, a snarl creeps across her lips, and her fingernails are
arched to claw if necessary. The guys back away! At that moment, the fireplace once burning quickly goes out! The back
wall of the fireplace slides slowly to the left. As one, they gasp and stiffen with fright!!!!! PJ is so startled that she
presses all the buttons on the transporter at once, and just before they are all whisked back to the future, they can see
behind the wall and there are....
boxes and boxes of jelly bellies!!!! But alas!, the group is once again in
the tunnel where they were before Bad Bev sent them to the past. PJ's crying broken heartedly for her buttered popcorn
jelly bellies, and Kat comes to comfort her. She says, "Oh Hon, please don't cry! If I could, I'd go get them for you!" So
PJ dries her tears, grins evily, points the transporter at Kat, and presses all the buttons!!!! Kat disappears
in a poof of smoke! Danny, Don, Gus, Wendell and Bob yell.....'what did you do that for?????? It's ten minutes til midnight
and we'll never get Kat back in time to win this contest and get out of here!!!" Deb, Irene, Donna, Jo, Bev, and Pam are staring
horrified at giggling PJ, who turns her back on them and heads for the library. They follow even though they can't figure
out what she's doing or why. (Carole will follow as soon as Danny, Gus, Bob and Don pull her off of Wendell's neck!)
again heads for the wing-back chair, snickers to herself, points the transporter at the fireplace, and presses all but one
button...........the group screams as one.........NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
The back wall of the fireplace opens, and there
are the jelly bellies ( a bit stale after 150 years!)!! We found them before midnight!!!!! But the damper on the happiness
is that everyone's asking where Kat is and thinking PJ is the cruelest ol' thing they've ever known!!! Soon a feeble and faint
voice is heard, "here I am!" And out jumps the Kat! She'd been behind the boxes of jelly bellies and is now covered in soot
from head to toe, and her clothes are hanging in shreds! She opens her mouth and says "HA! I already ate all the black ones!!!!!"
At which, PJ snickers again and says "HA! I don't like the black ones anyway!!!"
The jelly bellies are divvied up
between all the group....except for the buttered popcorn ones.....and everyone is happy.....except Bev whose hands are still
tied and who is most unhappy with the situation. Irene is busy feeding Bev jelly beans saying "This one is bat flavored,
this one is cricket, this one is spider....nummy nummy, Bev!!!"
It's midnight and as the group leaves the house,
the front door closes behind them. Lemp's voice can be heard saying, "Can you BELIEVE that VWF group????
And they call ME crazy!!!!!!!" When the group reaches the iron gate they turn to look back at the source of tonight's adventure,
and see the house dissolve into a black cloud. And they all lived happily ever after!
A special thank you to graphics contributors.
©Veterans, Wives & Families 2003
pages created by Jo