Ever since touring that slice of Bavarian heaven in Sharpsburg last December, I’ve been determined to revisit the Bayernhof Music Museum.
“I need a picture of Andrea in a small frame,” I said to Henry one night last week.
“Why?” Chooch butted in. “So she can haunt me!?”
No, but now I know how to fill the empty spaces on his bedroom walls.
Actually, I thought it would be a nice homage to my good friend in California to leave a picture of her inside the place she hated the most in Pittsburgh.
My brother Corey quickly agreed to join me on my return visit. I really wanted him to see it, because there are so many elements of the Bayernhof that remind me of our grandparents house (obviously their house was not even close to being that impressive, but it has that same time capsule charm). My Pappap was Austrian, so their house had a similar European decorating style to it.
To tour the Bayernhof, you can’t just show up. Real life reservations have to be made to prove that you’re serious about music box shit. Last year, I made Wendy call on my behalf because I’m a big baby about talking on the phone. But this time, I felt inflated with many brave balls so I did it myself.
Dick answered (who else would, really?) and I had to stave off the giggles.
He had only one appointment open for the upcoming weekend and acted like he was doing me some hearty favor by making room for my party of 2. (We actually had 3 in our party, but I made the reservations before my friend Kristy said she could go because I’m so great at jumping the gun.)
“Erin Kelly,” Dick repeated after me. “I like that. I like that name A LOT. That’s a good ITALIAN name!”
Maybe you should stick with German shit, Dick.
The tour was Sunday at 2:30. Corey and I arrived promptly at 2:15 and there was a decent-sized crowd milling about outside. (Decent for the Bayernhof, so—roughly 6 people.) Dick opened the doors for us shortly thereafter and let us congregate in the den while he made sure everyone was there. I started to panic because Kristy wasn’t there yet and I had forgotten to call and tell Dick to add another to the Italian Party of 2.
He did a quick roll call and deduced that everyone was there and that the tour could start early. My panic began to mount. Dick hates being interrupted and he wouldn’t STFU long enough for me to raise my hand and tell him we were expecting another person. This was actually making me perspire a little.
We were still in the den, getting a quick rundown of the rules (NO TALKING AND POINTING AT THINGS DURING THE TOUR! IT DISTRACTS DICK!), when the doorbell rang.
“Oh, that must be my second person,” he said, quickly mumbling about how the director doesn’t permit such large groups to be alone in the rooms. (“Such large groups” – there was about 13 of us.)
When Dick left the room, I looked at Corey in fear and whispered, “OMG what if it’s Kristy and Dick yells at her!?” It wasn’t even 2:30 yet anyway! She wasn’t late! But I was worried that my reservation faux pas would make Dick blow one.
But everything seemed fine when they came back into the den together. Still, I felt the strong urge to pull her behind us, cloaking her from Dick’s disgust.
I instantly hated the lady in the white (off-the-shoulder, wtf) sweatshirt. There was something about her that reminded me of my Aunt Sharon, the way she’d zealously nod her head and murmur, “Mm-hmm!” like she knows everything. And her reactions to all of Dick’s jokes were totally exaggerated and unnecessary. When Kristy asked me if it was OK to take pictures, I wanted to say, “Well, that lady has her camera strung around her neck, and she knows everything, so I guess so.” But I was too afraid of speaking in tandem with Dick, so I just nodded instead.
I was trying desperately to stay off Dick’s radar in hopes of depositing Andrea’s picture somewhere without being detected. But then, while we were in the kitchen learning about the cooking techniques of Ye Ol’ Bayernhof Baron, Charles, Dick’s “Second Person” arrived. Her name was Shelly, and she was equipped with a magazine.
Dick introduced her and explained that Shelly would be tagging along to make sure no one was left alone in any of the rooms. She also did performed random head counts and always seemed to have her eyes on me, like she could just tell I was up to no good.
Motherfucker, how was I supposed to complete the dare that I had given myself with some ginger music box bodyguard tailing me through the entire house?
Charles’s oven-thing. Henry would probably spontaneously ejaculate at the sight of this.
Oh great, the dining room. Last year, I completely lost my shit when Dick cranked up the first music box of the afternoon. I was pretty well-behaved this time, but almost lost it when Dick exclaimed, “OK, everyone should know what song this is!” and just like last year, absolutely no one did. I did, because I remember from last year, but I didn’t want to look like a nerd.
Surprisingly, Shoulder-baring Know-It-All didn’t know, but she was acting like it was on the tip of her tongue. When Dick, shaking with disappointment, told us it was the “Good Ole Summertime,” she practically lunged forward in her mad fit to finish his sentence.
I wish I had counted how many times Kristy raised her eyebrows in mock interest at Dick’s anecdotes. Her head must have been hemorrhaging with commentary.
Corey and the Sad Grandson, trying to get a better look at some organ’s insides. Every time Corey and I made eye contact, we’d start cracking up. Meanwhile, Shelly was sitting on the steps, reading her magazine but I know she was really making sure no one was keying any music boxes. God, her presence was so awkward.
Dick was very upset because not only were some of the music makers covered with tarps to protect them from a ceiling leak, there were others that weren’t performing properly. “This sounds terrible so I am going to turn it off!” he spat in a huff at one point. I was telling Andrea about this later and she pointed out, “Um, isn’t that his job? To make them sound good?”