Day 592: Haddam Madam

Laetitia and her group drove north out of Old Lyme toward Haddam, Connecticut. Their route took them through the scenic Connecticut River valley. They made a brief stop at Deep River, formerly known as Saybrook, a colony founded in 1665.

Haddam was settled in 1660 on land purchased from the local Native Americans for 30 coats. On arrival, Laetitia and her group did a walkabout in the town’s historic district. Several in Laetitia’s group had joined the tour because they were fans of Ileana Douglas, who was in several Martin Scorsese films. She grew up in Haddam and still had a home there, although it wasn’t open to the public.

Laetitia had an interesting happy hour experience. As she sipped a glass of Old Vine Red at the bar, the young man sitting next to her introduced himself as Bob and began talking to her about his favorite subjects: himself and his idea for a new musical that was sure to be a big hit on Broadway and in Hollywood. All he had at this point was a sort of outline, mostly in his mind, but he thought it was coming along very well.

Sources of inspiration for this project were somewhat eclectic. He had been out west and, among other places, visited Universal Studios in Hollywood, the Bordello Museum in Wallace, Idaho, and Music Man Square in Mason City Iowa. Then there was the old Victorian house in Haddam that Bob thought would be a perfect setting. He hadn’t come up with a title yet but The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas Comes to New England would serve in the meantime.

Ideas for his script weren’t fully developed, but would include a “whore with a heart of gold” madam named Priscilla and four clients who would spontaneously burst into barbershop-quartet-style songs as they emerged from the girls’ rooms. Bob hadn’t written the music yet and, indeed, didn’t even read music, but he told Laetitia, “How hard can it be?” He seemed to believe that something magical would happen like when the River City boys miraculously learned to play, albeit badly, the instruments Professor Harold Hill sold their parents. Bob finished his drink and left. Afterward, Laetitia smiled and wrote the limerick of the day.

In Bob’s play there’s a house down in Haddam
That’s a place where an Eve meets an Adam
On a four-poster bed
In a room decked in red
In the house of Priscilla, the madam.