Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

My cousin receives a chilling letter from the Bates Motel December 15, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:35 PM

ON MONDAY, MY COUSIN Dawn e-mailed with interesting news. She had received a letter on Saturday from Norman Bates, proprietor of the Bates Motel in California, confirming a room reservation for that evening.

And yes, this would be the same motel of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho fame. If you’ve seen the 1960 movie or even heard about it, you know that it includes a murder in a motel room shower.

Dawn went on to complain that her Bates Motel correspondence arrived too late. She already had plans for the evening. “I guess Norman has gotten a little slow in his old age,” she e-mailed. “I was excited though that he remembered me. He must have taken a trip to St. Paul because that is where the post mark was from. Imagine that!!”

Yes, imagine that, Dawn.

And imagine my excitement when I realized early last week that the anniversary date of the notorious murder at the Bates Motel was coming up on December 12. I was nearly giddy with glee over the possibility of having some fun at my cousin’s expense.

This would be the perfect date, I decided, for Norman to reconnect with Dawn. She had previously received letters—one even included a dead box elder bug—from the motel proprietor. Dawn said she was thankful that Norman had forgotten her and moved on.

Big mistake, Dawn.

Although I could not find a dead box elder bug anywhere in my house, I managed to compose a chilling letter (yes, I’m confessing to the letter-writing crime), which read in part:

“You will be pleased to hear that your room, suite #1, has recently undergone extensive updating that includes a lovely new shower enclosure in an expanded bathroom.

We promise only the best of accommodations. I’m certain you will find your stay to be most pleasant and enjoyable.

Because we are located off the main highway, you will also discover this to be a quiet escape from the stresses of everyday life. A picturesque lake is located near the motel for your relaxation.”

And then, I cunningly ended the letter with this pleasantry:

“If I can be of further assistance, contact me via e-mail at ohcysp@batesmotel.com.”

Of course, there’s no such e-mail address. But, if you read the first word backwards, it spells psycho. Did you catch that, Dawn?

© Copyright 2009 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

(Read my November 4 post, “Annie Mary Twente sends Halloween greetings” for more background behind the above post.)