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On Saturday, I finally had a chance to visit the Bayless-Selby House Museum in Denton, TX.

Bayless-Selby House

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Please come in. You're invited to make yourself at home! Join us beneath the doodle...

Other may think it's silly to drive 3 hours just to spend an hour looking at a small museum, but overall, I think the trip was worth it.  I should have taken way more pictures than I did - I didn't even think of taking pictures until we were upstairs.

On the way to the Museum, we drove past the northern edge of North Texas State University - right through the student food district.  

There was The Crooked Crust - "Pizza just this side if normal", Cool Beans Bar and Grill that didn't serve any beans at all - not even coffee!, The Pita Pit serving a huge variety of pita sandwiches, and the restaurant that proved to be utterly irresistible:  Mac Daddy's macaroni and cheese bar.  

They had over 25 different mac and cheese dishes.  It was the kind of mac and cheese I make, except I didn't have to make it!  My daughter ordered the Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese:

Mac-Daddy's Buffalo CHicken Mac

And I had the mac alla ajillo with shrimp:

Mac-Daddy's Shrimp Mac

They were both excellent.  I would probably have had less mozzarella and more lemon on the alla ajillo, but that's personal preference.  It was well-prepared, well-presented, and the staff was delighted to be working there, very excited about the dishes.  When asked about their favorites, every one had 2 or 3 favorites, and they got into a debate over them, so in the end, we picked based on our preferences, and not their recommendations. It's cool to go to a restaurant where the staff likes practically everything on the menu.

They gave us a sample of their mac zeppole - deep fried mac dusted with cinnamon sugar, just because they "made too much" and wanted us to try it.

I am very glad that they are a 3 hour drive away. If they were closer, I'd eat out way too often.

From there, we went back to the Bayless-Selby House. Saturday was the very last day for their Victorian Mourning exhibit, wherein they displayed how a Victorian home would look when it was in mourning. They removed the outdoor black drapings because it was very windy, but the interior was nicely done.  

All the mirrors were covered with black cloth, all the portraits were draped with black.

Draped Photos

The portrait of the "deceased" had candles burning in front of it. There was a child's wicker casket in the side parlor, along with a tambour where someone was working on a hair ornament. A lock of the deceased's hair was under a bell jar for display.

The main parlor had another coffin - apparently this house was stricken with the dead...  This coffin was a heavy, lead-lined coffin made of mahogany wood.  There were calling cards on a side table, black edged to indicate mourning.  

The ceilings of every room were wall-papered, except the kitchen, which was painted.  The walls had up to three different wall papers on them:  the main wall paper, a complimentary "wainscotting" wall paper on the lower quarter of the walls, and a wide band of contrasting wall paper just beneath the crown moulding.  The ceiling papers were often embossed and usually picked up the primary color of the main walls.

I didn't take pictures downstairs, and by the time we were finished with the upstairs, the downstairs was too crowded to take pictures.

Then, we went upstairs.  The space at the top of the stairs was decked out like an office - later we saw the exact same desk at an antique store.

The first room we saw was a child's room, filled with toys and a wash stand -and lots of home remedies - cough drops, paragorics, and liniments. The toy animals all had black ribbons tied on their necks, and the dolls had black ribbons tied on their arms.

I didn't think to take pictures until we were in the parents' room, the room where, for the purposes of the exhibit, someone had died.

The first thing we saw walking in were the eye caps.

Eye Caps

These were used to help the eyes retain a look of "just sleeping", because the eyeballs would sink into the head without these caps propping up the eyelids. I'd seen the boxes eye caps were in before, and I'd seen modern eye caps,  but never a set of Victorian eyecaps. So I took a picture.

On the same table as the eyecaps were various implements used to make a corpse look pretty.

Funerary Tools

Beside the table with the eyecaps was a table with the mortician's make up case.

Mortuary Make-Up

Inside the door, set aside as if they were no longer needed, were various surgical tools and other medical items, presumably used to try to keep the "deceased" alive.

Funerary Tools

Funerary Tools

This is the mortuary bed used to lay out the deceased for his final portrait before he was placed in the coffin for the wake. Note that the museum found a funeral portrait - those are not easy to find.

Mortuary Bed

They still take funeral portraits and then a photo of the grave site in Germany.  My grandparents had several sets of their children who were killed in WWI and WWII.  My mother had the funeral and grave site photos of her parents. And I have all of those, plus the ones of my parents. I don't know if that tradition will continue for my children.

Anyway, the highlight of the exhibit was the embalming bed and kit - one of the most complete kits I've seen.

Embalming Bed

Closeup of Embalming Tool Kit

It was worth the drive down, and worth the donation we left in their donor box.

Because we still had a large part of the day left after the museum, we decided to stop at a costume shop we passed every time we went to DFW but had never stopped in before.  Rose Costumes was always closed when we'd drive by early in the mornings or late at night, but for once, we'd be passing during their hours, so we stopped.

There were also 2 antique stores in the strip mall, and we had time to visit both of those as well.

Then we went home.

From the time we left until we returned home was 10 hours, and cost 1 tank of gas and one meal, plus the donation we left at the museum. Not bad for a fun little day trip.

And here are some more fun things:  the awesome Tops!

TOP COMMENTS  
November 12, 2012

Thanks to tonight's Top Comments contributors! Let us hear from YOU
when you find that proficient comment.

JayRaye says  

"Yes! absolutely, more Schadenfreude, not less!

Schadenfreude goes best with Beer and Polkas!" to tobendaro's suggestion of a National Schadenfreude Day on Weatherdude's diary Late gets it wrong on iberal Schadenfreude

cohenzee submits:
As a huge NHL fan, which regular TC readers no doubt know, I submit these two comments in Laura Clawson's diary on the latest from the NHL lockout.  Th first is from Dirk McQuigley, who out lines what the lockout is really about.  The second is from Damnit Janet, who writes a righteous rant and decides to support her local WHL team over the NHL.
Puddytat submits:
Appreciation of Nate Silvers predictions takes a hilarious turn in this fine comment from Dave the Wave on Kaili Joy Gray's Open Thread:  Why Nate Silver Got Drunk
emmasnacker submits:
antirove waxes poetic on Earned Benefits in war on error's diary Boehner Under a Huge Twitter Attack Today
Steveningen submits:
In Vent's diary The untold truth behind the GOP election meltdown, G2geek brilliantly shows us how to talk about immigration with the wingnuts.

TOP MOJO
November 11, 2012


(excluding Tip Jars and first comments)

Got mik!


  1) I didn't buy your shitty pizza to begin with. by psilocynic — 368
  2) "Revenge Layoffs"  I believe you've coined a meme. by DuzT — 217
  3) We need a LIST of all these asshole CEOs by Lisa Lockwood — 181
  4) You can never have by Mnemosyne — 180
  5) My favorite by Tara the Antisocial Social Worker — 171
  6) Wow by middleagedhousewife — 136
  7) Corporate National Chain Resturants by RUNDOWN — 133
  8) Here's why it's quasi-important.... by CanisMaximus — 128
  9) Hey, it's just good clean fun, Jeff. by hotdamn — 124
10) more. by Christin — 121
11) You're a nicer person by gramofsam1 — 118
12) there comes a point where.... by G2geek — 117
13) Great diary except for the Geronimo analogy at the by brainwave — 113
14) I'm sure Darryl Issa will convene a committee by rasbobbo — 113
15) I don't think liberal schadenfreude is out of by Susan from 29 — 109
16) My favorite comment over at RS today by Siri — 110
17) I do! I fucking love it! by lookit — 107
18) I believe a meme has sprung up and we, the by Cruzankenny — 107
19) Thought You'd Like This by JekyllnHyde — 100
20) Oh, and PS by Lisa Lockwood — 100
21) Same here! by mint julep — 98
22) Deemphasize religion, focus on morality by Dallasdoc — 94
23) So happy to read this by Dallasdoc — 93
24) it seems so hard by Laurence Lewis — 93
25) It's ironic when... by Blazehawkins — 93
26) Oh Hai Whoknu! Plus We're Just Plain, Smarter... by leonard145b — 89
27) Wow , I agree with some tea party members ! by indycam — 89
28) My co-worker is in shock, and it's not pretty by funluvn1 — 89
29) I was looking through my family tree by Thunderthized — 88
30) JOB DESTROYERS by drewfromct — 87
31) We had the turnout! by Ekaterin — 87

TOP PHOTOS
November 11, 2012


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