The one thing life has afforded me is the opportunity to meet, visit and make friends with strangers. That happened earlier this month at a craft fair in Clarinda, in the southwest corner of the state.
Debbie and I traveled there to sell our books at a popular craft fair that has been in business for 62-years.
Two older ladies stopped at our booth in the early afternoon and struck up a conversation. One of the ladies purchased Debbie’s first book, The Auctioneer, and was wanting to have it signed.
Debbie had stepped away from the table. As we waited, I mentioned that my mother-in-law was 80 and still worked at the bank.
“We are about that age, but we’ve been retired for a long time,” one of the ladies said as Debbie returned to the table.
I said something to them about wanting to visit the Ax Murder House in Villisca while in the area, but that we didn’t get there in time to do so.
One of the ladies pushed her mask down, rolled her eyes and said, “Don’t give them your money, it’s not haunted.”
They went on to say that they had grown up and went to school in Villisca and neither of them had heard about the ax murder as youngsters. Both said they attended a Halloween party while in school when they had no idea that an ax murder had taken place there.
“We noticed an ax over the door, but never gave it any thought,” one of the ladies said.
After high school, they traveled to Estes Park, Colo. to work for the summer. They were talking to someone they met the first night in Colorado and said they were from Villisca.
“That’s where the ax murder took place,” this person said.
“Ax murder, what ax murder?” they both asked. “We haven’t heard anything about an ax murder.”
They called their mothers back home and asked about the murders.
One of the mothers said, “Yes, there had been an ax murder in 1912. Relatives still lived in town (at the time) and it was a sensitive topic and we just didn’t talk about it.”
Their mothers told them all about the murders and what had happened.
They were having a good talking about the ax murder house. It was no big deal to them. We had to chuckle at it all.
Anyway, we stopped in Villisca on the return trip home. I noticed two cars filled with ladies parked by the house. They emptied out of the vehicles and headed into a barn-like building behind the ax murder house. Debbie and I figured they were spending the night in the house, one of the offerings available to visitors.
Maybe we can tour the house the next time we are in Villisca. I don’t know if Debbie will tour the house, but I will.
If you want to learn more about the ax murder house, visit http://www.villiscaiowa.com.
We enjoyed our time in the area. The craft show, which is located in five buildings across Clarinda, was great. We had a steady stream of customers all day. Many stopped to check out our books and some, like the ladies, stayed and visited a spell.
We spent Friday night in Shenandoah, home of the Everly Brothers, and enjoyed supper in an old train depot turned restaurant. They had good food, good prices and good service.
We are looking forward to having a booth at the 2022 show and maybe while in the area, I can visit the ax murder house and get there early enough to look around the area more.
Have a great week and always remember that “Good Things are Happening,” every day and always.