After Granny and Grandpa moved to the Great Northwoods, The Machine and I sometimes received cassettes in the mail. We popped the cassettes into our tape deck and heard Granny’s voice reading The Wind in the Willows and other classic stories. So The Machine decided that we should reciprocate these treasures and make audio books for Granny. They were performance pieces, really.
So we holed up in our dank astro-turfy basement and recorded awesome renditions of beloved tales and poetry… which were all Edgar Allan Poe masterpieces. We performed The Raven, The Tell Tale Heart, House of Usher and The Pit and the Pendulum. Naturally complete with sound effects often synthesized from my little Casio keyboard. Sometimes when The Machine felt particularly professional, he would clear all the great composer busts off the piano. (Post-recital gifts from our piano teacher. We had like 5 Chopins and Beethovens but never could get that Schubert!) The Machine would then flip open his music books and bang out particularly spooky concertos to complement the recordings. Hee hee. Fun times. But why was Edgar Allan Poe so close to our hearts?
Baltimore is home to The Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum where Mr. Poe lived for a bit with his 13 year old cousin/wife Virginia. He also had a home in Philadelphia, which is a National Historical Site. There’s also the Poe Museum in Richmond, too. Baltimore, however, is also home to Edgar Allan Poe’s grave site, as he died there after being found delirious on Baltimore’s streets. Says Vincent Price, “This place gives me the creeps!”
The Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum, Baltimore version, hosts “Halloween at the Poe House” which takes place usually the weekend before and the weekend after Halloween. “Local actors provide theatrical presentations for the Halloween season.” I wonder how they stack up to my childhood renditions. I hear that the house/museum itself is tiny and a quick jaunt is all that’s needed to get the effect. The Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum is located at 203 North Amity Street, Baltimore, MD 21223. Give ’em a ring at 410-396-5666.