The Secret of The Grand Hotel(Part one of three)

TV INTERVIEWER: “I’m Trevor Tate your host with Channel 52, Detroit with a strange story from Mackinac Island in Northern Michigan. The mysterious tale involves two young kids, ten and twelve years old, who stumbled on to a secret stairway in the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. But I’m not going to relate what happened. I want the kids to tell you everything. Here with me on the 660-foot front porch of the 1887 Grand Hotel is ten-year-old Heidi Howard and her 12-year old brother, Hank. Their parents, Mr. and Mrs. Howard are also with us. Hi folks! Welcome to the show. Ok, which one of you two kids is going to start off?”

HEIDI AND HANK (together): “I will!”

HANK: “Ok, Heidi, you go first.”

INTERVIEWER (interrupts): “Excuse me but this is the first time the parents have heard the whole story. Right? (The parents nod affirmatively) Go ahead Heidi.”

HEIDI: “We….ll, it was awful scary sometimes. Hank and I like to explore. Since our parents work here during the summer months, we snoop all over the island to discover things. Sometimes we’ve found an animal or two. Once we saw a beautiful fox, and, Oh! Lots of Indian arrowheads, some old French coins and Petoskey stones.”

HANK: “Move along Heidi, we don’t have all day!”

HEIDI: “Ok Hank. Why don’t YOU try but don’t take too long. I want to tell some of the good stuff.”

HANK: “Our parents work at the Grand. Mom works making wonderful flower arrange-ments for the Hotel and Dad is the head gardener and is responsible for all these lovely red geraniums across this huge porch. They’re gone all day so that leaves us to roam the Island after our chores. We sometimes run to Skull Rock and hide in the caves. The Island is only a mile around. We never get lost. Sometimes we’d go swimming. The water can be very cold. We never told our parents when we did that.”

HEIDI: “Well, show off, you haven’t even started the story. I’LL take over!”

HANK: “No, no, I’ll move along. Because our parents are employees, we were allowed to explore the Hotel inside as long as we didn’t cause any trouble. We looked in every nook and cranny. The Hotel was built in 1887 so there were lots of old things around. We particularly enjoyed the cellar underneath the guest room. Since the Hotel is over one hundred years old and was a popular summer resort, there were naturally many old discarded davenports, stuffed chairs, pretty but dusty oak tables. We even found tarnished silverware probably used in the “Salle a Manager.” That’s French for dining room.”

HEIDI: “Let me take over for a bit! Whenever we ventured to the cellar, we would pass an old door, boarded up and locked with an enormous padlock. It resembled an ancient, rusty, pirate lock or maybe one found on a steamer trunk. We were curious. No one knew where the door went and no one cared. “Probably junk thrown behind the door.” “It smells moldy when you get near it.” “It’s been there for years, etc. etc. etc.” are comments we heard about it.”

HANK: (loudly interrupts) “Let me tell about picking the lock. We knew we sooner or later would have to open the lock. This is where I come in. I’ve been reading about Harry Houdini, the world famous magician and how he picked locks with a wire. I had tried several licks and I had success… but an 1800s padlock? When things were quiet in the cellar, I tried to open the padlock. On the third try it released and sprung open!

Latest posts by Hal Vizino (see all)

Hal Vizino

A resident of Winterset Neighborhood Association, he is excellent artist & story teller. Hal author's a children's column in the newspaper. He became interested in writing children's stories and dedicating them to his four granddaughters. > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer