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In search of a jewel

Eagle’s Trace residents invite their friends to set sail on a Titanic-themed party

Created date

December 19th, 2014
residents at a Titanic party

Trace residents and their guests traveled back in time to April 9, 1912, the day before the RMS Titanic set sail from Southampton, England.

“We thought it would be fun to throw a Titanic-themed party for our residents and their guests,” says Pam Burgeson, sales director for the West Houston Erickson Living community. “For a twist, we added some intrigue to the event.”

As partygoers arrived in the Audubon Clubhouse, they mingled with historical characters who sailed on the Titanic, including Captain Edward J. Smith, the Unsinkable Molly Brown, and American silent film star Dorothy Gibson.

The actors, from Frowbiz Entertainment of Houston, set the stage for a mystery to unfold.

As the actress portraying Dorothy Gibson made her way through the crowd, she flaunted her necklace, the Siren Star. No sooner were the salads served than Dorothy ran into the party, distraught and weeping that someone had thrown a bag over her head and stolen the Siren Star.

And just like that, partygoers had a crime to solve.

Piecing together clues

As guests finished their meal and enjoyed a themed drink, the Shipwreck, they pieced together clues dropped by the actors.

One clue, in particular, helped guests identify the perpetrator of the crime. A piece of paper with the cryptic message ‘4ATB 4 9 1912 SS on DG’ proved to be the undoing of Arthur Barratt, who was a bellboy aboard the real Titanic.

“We figured out the clue meant ‘For Arthur T. Barratt, 4/9/1912, Siren Star on Dorothy Gibson,” says Eagle’s Trace resident Betty Schell, who invited her friends Joel and Melinda Talley to join her for the event. Melinda is a frequent visitor to the West Houston community where she comes to play Mexican Train dominoes with Betty in the Eagle’s Roost Café.

As the actor who portrayed Barratt was led out of the party, Burgeson congratulated residents and guests for solving the mystery.

Jewels of Eagle’s Trace

“We were searching for a jewel today, but our residents are the real jewels of Eagle’s Trace,” says Burgeson. “They are the future of retirement living.”

Burgeson says residents are the best representatives of the Eagle’s Trace lifestyle. 

“Events like the Titanic party give residents an opportunity to host their friends at the community,” she says. “It’s a chance to connect with old friends and make new ones.”

For Tracy Kleinhans, who recently moved to Eagle’s Trace, the Titanic party was the perfect occasion to invite her friend Sue Blume for a visit.

“Sue and I have known each other for 26 years,” says Tracy. “We met at a new neighbors group and have been friends ever since. It was fun to dress up and enjoy the party together.”

Authentic touches

Members of the sales team weren’t the only ones working to ensure the Titanic party was a success. Eagle’s Trace resident Lewis Eggenberger crafted a ship’s rail from plastic piping. 

And when resident Dulcie Andreae learned of the party, she offered her mother’s wedding dress to add to the décor.

“My mother, Edith Jane Bartley, married my father, John Thomas Parker, in England in 1910, two years before the Titanic set sail,” says Dulcie. “She made her own wedding dress, and I thought it would add an authentic touch to the party.”