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A Goth Wedding, A Victorian Mansion and My Demise

Updated on March 11, 2015

I got the call from Tim. He called twice just to talk to me. He could have left a message earlier. But he was more concerned that I should hear it first. I appreciated it that he wanted to talk to me knowing our last encounter. He knew I was so worried. He wanted to tell me the good news.

Cravens Estate (Victorian Mansion), Pasadena, California
Cravens Estate (Victorian Mansion), Pasadena, California | Source

My Demise

Everybody was packing up to leave the place pristinely clean before the time limit. Sarah, the maid of honor, nursed my bleeding finger. I cut myself with Sudoki’s Japanese meat cutting knife. When Sarah was finished, I went to the lavatory to wash my blood-stained hands. The room was clandestinely located in a narrow hallway across the main kitchen. I could hear the faint rock music from the dance floor. On the way back, I was able to meet Tim on the hallway. He was polite despite the trouble I caused him and the building. He checked if my finger was okay. I said, “I was more worried about the sink than my finger”. I tried to explain desperately that I wanted to help yet I still got into a mishap. I said that I was so careful but the busted sink could be because of the food accumulated in the pipes. I have been washing the dishes since late this morning while Carol and her friends were preparing for the wedding. It could be the shrimp that slipped my hands that got into the drain.

The Kitchen Inside the Cravens Estate (The sink that is on the left side was the one I clogged during the Goth-inspired wedding.)
The Kitchen Inside the Cravens Estate (The sink that is on the left side was the one I clogged during the Goth-inspired wedding.) | Source

The Goth Wedding

Informing the bride’s mother that the sink was busted in the middle of the wedding reception was horrifying. Carol had to tell her or I will faint if I will say so myself. Even though I was comfortably secured from shame by the kitchen walls, the echo of Carol’s voice in the hall almost made me collapse. Crashing into a wedding with nobody I knew, tagging along as a kitchen help for someone not “technically” invited to the occasion, and bringing down the fifty year old sink of a hundred year old Victorian Mansion in the middle of a wedding reception were not in my list of expectations when I signed up my van and be a kitchen help.

When Tim decided that the sink was not workable on the second rescue attempt on my ordeal, I was forlorn. I wanted to vanish from existence. I knew this could entail additional charges to Gayle, the bride’s mother. This could also somehow jeopardize Carol’s friendship with her. In my intention to help without asking for anything in return I made a terrible ending to Shelby,'s, the bride to be, memorable night.

Gothic Wedding
Gothic Wedding | Source

The Introduction

“So what are you?” a middle-aged man asked me while we he lifted the other side of the cooler that morning.

“I am with Carol. I came here to help.” was what I said. I had to mention Carol’s name to remove any doubt they have that I am an intruder. My looks alone made me an outsider to this event. Anytime they could escort me out of the premises.

Carol was out looking for Jackie to convene on the plan while I enjoyed the façade of the hundred year old Victorian Mansion as I made my trip from my van to the kitchen. Carol told me that the place was built in 1908 by some rich landlord who came from northeast. It was situated in the neighborhood who had adapted the Victorian influence to the California climate. It was donated to the Red Cross (San Gabriel Pomona Valley Chapter) a couple of years back. Red Cross, being a non-profit organization, whose operation is supported by donations, had to make income by renting the venue to certain occasions. A perfect venue for Shelby’s Goth-inspired wedding.

The Cravens Estate
The Cravens Estate | Source

Jackie was able to get everyone together in the kitchen for the strategy meeting. She was Gayle’s long time friend from Portland who was in charge mainly of the order of the food. She had prepared entries for the hors d’oeuvres and salad while Sudoki, a Japanese chef, was in-charge of the main course.

Becky, also one of Gayle’s long time friends, was handy in bringing some of the stuff needed for the preparation of the food like big platters, trays, mixing bowls, ladles and knives. Even if the whole mansion including the terrace and the manicured garden was rented, we were not allowed to use anything from the kitchen.

In that gathering, I learned that the man who asked that morning of what my role would be was Gayle’s brother. No wonder how he made everyone feel so comfortable and at ease while the chaos was starting to happen. Then I was finally able to meet Gayle in person. Gayle introduced Tim; he was the doorman of the mansion. Tim was there to make sure that the venue was ready for the occasion.

Tim: The Doorman

I never thought I would be in contact with Tim while the event unfolded. I was more concerned of people being oblivious to my presence while making sure that I do not get in trouble. I had to ask Jackie, Becky or Carol for anything I was in doubt before making my move or I would not forgive myself for anything it would cause

The Main Door of Cravens Estate
The Main Door of Cravens Estate | Source

The Tour of the Mansion

Before we caved in to our chores, Gayle gave us a quick tour of the mansion. The main hall, which could have been the former family’s grand dining room, had nothing in it except one long table draped to the floor in black linen. The table was perfectly situated parallel to the wall with mirrors from the waist up to the room’s height. Opposite it was a mural, dating back to the construction of the building, that extends to the entire length of the room.

Exiting the main hall led us to the receiving area, this was also the first room you get into when you get through the main entrance. Jackie said, that hors d’oeuvre will be served in this area. Carol also made a note of where the coffee stand was when I will be arranging them before the slicing of the couple’s cake.

The Main Hall (Cravens Estate)
The Main Hall (Cravens Estate) | Source

Gayle and Jackie went ahead to the family’s den where it was already flanked with chairs for the ceremony. As we were tailing on them to cross the aisle, Gayle’s brother warned us not to step on the runner. Even if he didn’t say it, I would have crossed over it as I saw him do it too. I turned my head back making sure that there were no shoe prints. Then I caught the glimpse of the arch where we entered and the massive wall presented itself in front of us, all clad in ornate wood panels from floor to ceiling. But the most breathtaking view was the terrace overlooking the manicured garden which can be seen from the glass doors encompassing the entire length of the room.

The Open Terrace (Cravens Estate)
The Open Terrace (Cravens Estate) | Source

Back To My Demise

I knew that the tour was over because Carol was already asking about the food. In that hint, I already made my way back to the kitchen for my part.

Such a picturesque backdrop for stupidity. The kitchen sink gave up on me halfway into the reception. Although I may have been careful not to drain morsels into the sink, build up of chaos in the kitchen made other people forget that the sink was not equipped with a crusher. Since I was assigned with the dishes, naturally the blame was put on me.

How can a massive structure be so old fashioned and ill-equipped? My only recourse was that Tim will be able to fix it. But he didn't. Our only option was to pack the soiled dishes.

At the back of my mind, I knew Gayle will send me the bill for the repair.

Tim Called

Tim's call was anticipated a few days later. I was already prepared for the worse. I could not deny the fact that a damage was done.

But no. Tim said that there were several functions held before the day of the wedding. It could already be a disaster waiting to happen. It so happened that I was the one in-charge.

Although it was reassuring that I had no bills to worry about, I already turned a pleasant opportunity into a regrettable experience.


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