(I had nothing to do with the creation of the banner above. It is from the Trundle Manor website. Link below.)
Aw, hells no, that isn’t all, are you kidding me? I shall now proceed to tell you about the coolest place I’ve been in a long time, one that probably makes my “top five of ever list.” I’ve been a fair number of cool places, but the way Trundle Manor is cool makes it special in a way impossible to qualify or quantify. The House on the Rock but on an infinitely more fucking personal, please- touch-me and make-yourself-at-home kind of way. Also, Trundle Manner doesn’t smell like wet 1970′s shag-bad-porn-movie carpet (which should not, in any way, deter you from going to THOR, just suggests you might want to consider going in January).
I’ll change it up a bit and start with the GREAT LESSONS of the place: Be who you are. Love what you do. Don’t give a shit what the neighbors think.
Yeah, yeah, I hear you making fake puking faces (yes, hear you). Quit it. I have some taxidermy to show you.
That’s right, he ( <–) wants you to stop giving me lip.
As do these dudes:
And some of their friends:
Do I have you attention? Good.
(FYI: nothing in the house was killed by the residents. They did much of the taxidermy work but the animals were not harmed in any way prior to death by unrelated accident or natural causes)
You wouldn’t know the utter insanimazingness (I’m a writer, I’m allowed to make up words!) of this place from the outside. Well, okay, there is a sideshow carnival wagon on the front yard and a bench made from a coffin on the porch. And a guillotine. But honestly, the collections some people have of seemingly infinite plastic lawn ornaments? Way, way creepier than a coffin bench. Don’t tell me you haven’t wanted to sneak into your neighbor’s yard and night and cut some of those things UP.
Fine, whatever, liar.
Our tour today was conducted by the lady of the manor, Velda Von Minx, who greeted us at the door in a fabulous, black cocktail dress, shimmery-rainbow fishnets, and zombie platform heels. She has platinum hair down past her waist and makeup like one of the bad girls in a 50′s greaser movie.
Truly one of the nicest and most genuine people I’ve ever met. Here we come, traipsing into her house in the middle of the day on a Saturday and she was nothing but gracious and enthusiastic. I grant you, tours are part of the way she and her fiancee market their business and make a living, but still. Saturday afternoon. I’m sure there’s something she’d rather have been doing.
Velda knew every object, every tidbit of backstory (even the.. erm… “legendary” stuff, like the details of the skeleton of the much maligned bindle:) and she so clearly enjoyed sharing those stories with us. I’m not sure I’ve ever felt more welcome and included. Each of the four of us shared out stories in return, an old school, almost bardic exchange that suited the place surprisingly well.
As to the collection. Well. It’s definitely odd:
<– There are old bits.
Gorgeous bits \/
And really very gross bits:
Every bit is lovingly curated.
More than that. Every bit is loved.
Loved by two individuals confident enough in who they are to fully embrace who they are, unabashedly. Amazingly.
Go there. Buy stuff in the giftshop. Leave a big, honking donation. Bring them a gift that might fit with the rest of their treasures.
And if you don’t have money or gifts, go anyway. Give their life’s work your attention and your time.
Show them you’re amazed by people who resolve fully embracing the nuances and oddities and gorgeous individuality of their own characters.
My wish for you is that a little bit of Trundle Manor and her residents rubs off on your pants or your shoes on the way out.
I got an entire brain worm.
I fully intend to return it someday in the form of Hell Division, chapter ?, which will take place in Trundle Manor and will, hinging on her okay, feature Velda as a character.
When I do bring it back, I’m hope I get to pet Absinthe, the ball python, again. And maybe, maybe, if I’m very lucky and very good, see Trixie in action:
Trundle Manor is located at 7724 Juniata Street, Pittsburgh PA, 15218. The website has all the contact info. Remember, it’s Mr. Arm and Velda’s house, so dropping by unannounced would be, well… really, very rude. They’re happy to book tours and are flexible unless on the road.