The Case of the Mysterious Mansion

Part One

Laura loaded her plate with waffles and fruit at the Red Oak Room at Cantigny. She was happy to be part of Delightful Dining’s first Extra event. She returned to the table and joined Larry and Tina. They were both halfway through their omelets. The conversation wandered from one topic to another finally settling on Laura’s news.

“I have a great uncle who passed away and he did not have any children. I have inherited his house in Wilmette.” Laura said.

“Oh wow!” Tina exclaimed. “Have you been there yet?”

“No, I am a little nervous going by myself” she said. Laura showed them pictures of the house she had found on the internet. It was a beautiful Victorian mansion on Sheridan Road. It had been built in the 1890s. “My uncle was never married and traveled the world.”

“I bet there is a lot of cool stuff in there” said Tina.

Larry said “We will go with you! It will be fun.”

The trio made plans to meet the following Saturday and explore Laura’s new-found treasure.

Part Two

Laura, Tina and Larry were standing in front a beautiful old Wilmette home surrounded by large trees. Laura had inherited it from a great uncle and the trio was about venture inside and see what it had to offer.

They stepped into the foyer and Laura let out a small gasp! “Look at the beautiful woodwork!”

The house had hardwood floors and intricate crown molding. As they walked from room to room they felt the history of the house speaking to them. Some of it sad and lonely and at other points warm and cozy. The library had bookshelves surrounding a single leather chair. A pair of glasses and a copy of A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess lay on the table next to it.

Larry picked up the book and checked the copyright – 1962. “This might be a first edition and worth something.” he said.

Tina pulled out her phone and did a quick search. “This rare books website says it is worth $9,000!”

Larry quickly put it back on the table. “Wow and that is just one book.”

Laura said “let’s keep looking around. “

They looked through the kitchen and did not find anything unique. When they opened the door to the master bedroom, it was filled with a gorgeous four poster bed and matching antique armoire.

Laura opened a drawer that was stuffed with old photos. She said “This is overwhelming! How am I going to be able to go through everything?”

Tina put her arm around her friend and said “One drawer at a time”
Part Three

Laura was sitting on the bed in the master bedroom of the house she had inherited from a great uncle looking at old photos. She pulled one of them out. “Look at this one. Who does that look like to you guys?”

Larry took the photo over to the window and examined it. “Is that Franklin Roosevelt kissing a baby?” He turned over the picture and scrawled on the back it said FDR and Joey 1932.

“Oh wow! Joey is my great uncle!” Laura said. “This house is filled with cool stuff.”

“I agree. It is like were living the History Channel.” Larry said as he leaned back on the wall of the bedroom. The wall swung open and Larry caught himself before he tumbled down a flight of stairs.

“A hidden passage!” Tina exclaimed and help Larry to his feet.

They turned their phone flashlights on and proceeded down the steep and narrow staircase. At the bottom of the stairs they reached a brick tunnel. The all took a collective breath and kept moving. About 50 yards latter it opened to a wide room.

“I found a light” Larry said and pulled the chain. They room was filled with empty barrels and broken whiskey bottles.

“I bet your uncle’s family were bootleggers!” Tina said.

“Too bad these are all empty!” Laura said as she picked up one bottle and turned it upside down.

Part Four

Four weeks ago, Laura, Larry and Tina began exploring the house she inherited from her great uncle. Tonight at Delightful Dining, everyone was peppering her with details about the house. Laura said “The house is amazing between the stuff in it and the house itself.”

Suzanne said “Larry told us about what you found the first day! That is so cool! What else did you discover?”

“My great uncle was a map maker and traveled the world exploring uncharted areas. I found a shield from Africa, a Buddha from Tibet and a Viking sword. These were all gifts from the people he met through his journeys. I have decided to move into the house! It is the only way to slowly sort through everything. I talked to the curator at the Field Museum and they may be interested in some of the things. I may even try to retrace his travels and see what he saw.”

Tina raised a glass “To Laura and her new adventures!”