by Re Carroll
Abbotsford, British Columbia
March 1, 2004
The house is advertised as part wax museum and part haunted house. After paying our $5 admission fee we entered a narrow, dimly lit hallway where life sized wax effigies of both the real and the fictional family of Samuel Clemens/Mark Twain were lined up and displayed behind a glass window. The guide followed us into this part and explained that all the wax statues were hand carved and then gave us a brief overview of Clemens’ life. He and wife Olivia had four children -- one boy and three girls. Their son Langdon lived for less than three years and two daughters (Susy and Jean) both died before their 30th
birthday. Clara was their only child who lived to a ripe old age. She married a Russian pianist and moved to Europe where they had one daughter. The daughter never had any children, so Clemens’ direct line lasted only two generations. Fortunately, Twain’s literary family has survived much longer and is still alive in the hearts and minds of millions of fans. Tom, Huck, Becky, Aunt Polly, Jim and the whole fictional gang were all featured in the display.
After viewing the wax museum, we ventured into the haunted house. As adults who knew it was phony. we still managed to jump, scream, laugh. and holler as much as anyone. I don’t want to give away their secrets. but the house had everything from gunshots through the floor to things that go bang in the night. On a lighter note, we passed by a display of headstones with comic inscriptions such as "John Yeast who failed to rise" and "Samuel Peas -- no Peas left, just the pod."
It didn’t take long to visit this place -- probably 15 minutes in total. Overall, the wax museum was a bit of a disappointment since it was just one big display of characters either sitting or standing -- there was no effort to create scenes or arrange the characters artistically. The haunted house was pretty basic as well but provided us with a lighthearted change from the more serious tasks of eating, sightseeing, and shopping.
From journal America's Hometown