Monday, September 26, 2011

Beach Tale: "Miss Izzy's Obituary" (the inciting incident for THE BLOND LEADING THE BLOND)

<<News clipping from the front page of the  Braddocks Beach Bugle, Braddocks Beach, Ohio, May 31)>>

Town Matriarch Dead at Age 63
          Isabel Genevieve Tinsdale, age 63, was found dead yesterday at the bottom of the stairs of the Braddocks Beach watchtower. Although the autopsy report is not expected to be released for two more days, sources involved in the clean-up efforts indicate that loss of blood will be listed as a contributory cause of death.
          Police have declared Miss Izzy’s tumble down three flights of steep, cement stairs to be an accident, although the reason she was visiting the watchtower at two o’clock in the morning leaves many asking questions. Don’t expect answers from the local authorities, as according to Braddocks Beach Police Chief Albert C. Bennett, “Delving into a citizen’s personal business is beyond the scope of our duty to protect and serve the community. Miss Izzy took that secret to her grave.”
          Our dearly departed Miss Izzy has taken more than secrets; also gone is the magic and mystery that defined our societal leader.  Her gracious spirit was mimicked but never duplicated.  Her boundless energy was admired but never matched.  Her financial generosity was appreciated but never publicly acknowledged.  Regal in conformation and character, she was a true local treasure. 
          Born on the steps of the old Town Hall (now the Tourist Welcome Center), Miss Izzy left her mark on our small lakeside town. As a ten-year-old, she started a
Teddy Bear Drive
for orphans. It became an annual event, which last year distributed over $1,000,000 worth of toys and clothes to impoverished children throughout Ohio. As a teenager, she staged the town’s first sit-in to protest rising school lunch prices. Her actions led to a free milk policy still in effect today. Most recently, she appointed herself Braddocks Beach’s Goodwill Ambassador, making daily rounds of local eateries to spin tales of local lore in the manner of the great Samuel Clemens (better known as Mark Twain). Thanks to Miss Izzy’s efforts, visitors to our town left feeling they were as much a part of Braddocks Beach history as the gingerbread trim that adorns the shops that encircle Town Park.
          Miss Izzy’s direct lineage to the town’s founding father gave her “royal” status among local society, leading to the official title of Town Matriarch. She served with grace, pride and flair. Her fashion choices set the trend for the season. Recipes for her culinary creations (when she shared) were hoarded like gold. Her bestselling book, Etiquette-liness is Next to Godliness, will proffer mannerly guidance to young men and women for generations to come.
          Throughout her life, Miss Izzy received many offers for her hand in marriage. Despite such romantic overtures as sky-written proposals, a newspaper headline declaring undying love and the legendary footprints painted in the street leading from both Tandy Grisholm’s and Miss Izzy’s front doors to the steps of the Braddocks Beach Church of Divine Spiritual Enlightenment, Miss Izzy chose to remain single. The consequences of this decision are that she produced no heirs to the great Tinsdale fortune. Undoubtedly, the reading of her Final Will and Testament will be the most anticipated event of the year.
          Miss Izzy is preceded in death by her parents, Jonathon and Gertrude “Irene” Tinsdale, and her brother, Jack Elliot Tinsdale. The existence of Jack’s daughter, Ellery Elizabeth Tinsdale, born in San Diego, CA was only recently discovered.  However despite Miss Izzy’s funding of exhaustive coast to coast searches, no record of Miss Ellery has been found in over 20 years and she is presumed dead. Thus Isabel’s passing is not only the end of an era, but also the end of the lineage.
          Isabel Tinsdale’s life will be celebrated in true “Miss Izzy style” with a potluck picnic and chamber music concert in Town Park on Saturday afternoon. Donations in lieu of flowers are requested to be made to the Braddocks Beach Historical Society (or as Miss Izzy was fond of calling it, the Hysterical Society), of which she was a founding member.
          I'm sure one and all will join me in saying, "Peace be with you, dear friend."
~Mystic Sayers,
Beat Reporter, Braddocks Beach Bugle


Anonymous said...

So...what happens next? Are you getting excited about the big release day?

Charlottemacaw said...

Excellent prequel. Thanks for sharing. I'm anxiously awaiting my copy so I can get lost in Braddocks Beach.

Jayne Ormerod... said...

Catie, this "literary baby" has had a gestation period of five years! To say I'm excited for its "birth" is an understatement!

Thanks to both of you (and the other 50 people who peaked but didn't leave a comment) for stopping by!

Next Monday I'll post the heroine's day she hears about Izzy's death, so stay tuned.

L & T Hyde said...

We are so curious to find out what happened early that morning when Miss Tinsdale decided to go to the watertower....or how the town is going to react when they find out that her niece Ellery Elizabeth Tinsdale is alive!!! This prequel left us with so many questions...hurry please share some more...cant wait for the book!