CHAPTER FIVE: FRED WOODBY: PREMONITION OF DISASTER
Mary Hazel Upton
BLOG POST FOR MARIETTE'S NIGHTMARE HOUSE PAGE
JANUARY 3, 2016 TUESDAY POST FOR STORY IN PROGRESS
GAIN UPTON WITH HIS BOAT IN THE POWELL RIVER
CLAIBORNE COUNTY, TENNESSEE
PHOTOGRAPH BY HAZEL FERN HENSON
This photograph of Gain was taken by Mama when she and Daddy were camping with us at our seventeen acres on the Powell River. At that time we did not have our trailer on the property, but were camping in tents. We spent about a week there, also visiting Gain's relatives, going to the Upton Cemetery to visit the graves, and to the flea market, as well as camping and fishing. Later, when I post more chapters of Mariette's book, Nightmare House, I will also post photographs of our trailer in the chapters that take place in Claiborne County, Tennessee, the inspiration for the fictional Paradise County. I also have many old photographs of Gain's relatives, now passed away, and of the cemetery, which may be of interest to those doing genealogy on the Upton family. I will post them also. If you want to download any of the photos for your own use or to share with others, just right click the image and save it to your computer as a JPG file.
Most of Mariette's story will take place in Carrollton Location and center around the old house, but parts of the story will be set in Paradise County, Tennessee also. Mariette's story will never end. Although I will eventually make hard copies of all the books, since I don't completely trust computers, and would be afraid that digital copies might get erased, I will also be continuing to post all her books, one chapter at a time on my website. After the first book, Nightmare House, is finished there will be more books, some set in Paradise County and also some set in a fictionalized Florida that I remember. I have lots of photographs Gain and I took both places and some that Mama and Daddy took.The old house will continue to be a part of each story, though, and there will be chapters in each book set in Carrollton Location when Curt and Mariette return there after visiting other places.
GAIN UPTON ON THE WILDERNESS ROAD
CLAIBORNE COUNTY, TENNESSEE
PHOTOGRAPH BY MARY HAZEL UPTON
I took this photograph of Gain on what we called "The Wilderness Road". It was a dirt road that ran from the county road past the cabin above our place and on back to the 40 acres below our 17 acres. I know that I took this photograph because June 1984 when the photo of Gain above this one was taken was the only time Mama and Daddy came down with us. The wooded hill is to the left of the photograph and the river is on the right. There is a wide river bottom before you get to the river.
THE WILDERNESS ROAD
PHOTOGRAPH BY GAIN UPTON
This is a better view of the Wilderness Road. I don't know for sure whether I took this photograph or Gain did, but he gets credit for it. It was taken the same day as the one of him on the Wilderness Road. I haven't got any exact date on this photograph except March 1986, but it is obvious from the picture that it is early March. Also we always went down to visit his relatives several times a year, going as early and as late as we possibly could, as well as in the summer, especially when he could get a three day weekend, or took a few vacation days. Probably it was around Easter then and he had time off for that, but I am not sure.
MARIETTE'S STORY, NIGHTMARE HOUSE, CONTINUES:
This is the conclusion of the account of Mariette's and Curt's Thanksgiving trip to Paradise County to buy the 17 acres on the Paradise River. After this the story will return to Auto City and Carrollton Location for awhile.
FRED WOODBY: PREMONITION OF DISASTER
Fred L. Woodby got up at six A.M. as he did every weekday morning. His wife, Annie May Woodby, was already in the kitchen cooking breakfast for him and the two boys he still had at home, Fred Jr., now a sophomore in high school, and Andrew, eleven. Sally May, his daughter, had left for teacher’s college this fall. It still seemed strange and lonely not to have her around.
Quickly Fred shaved and combed his hair. He was a big bear of a man, hearty and friendly, which was why his employees and customers all liked him. Hardly anybody had a bad word to say about Fred. Frowning, he concentrated on combing his light brown hair over the growing bald spot on top of his head. Then he shrugged. After all, he was forty years old now. What could he expect? Grinning, he headed for the kitchen, following his nose to Annie May’s sausages and biscuits and gravy.
Playfully, he slapped her on the bottom. “What’s for breakfast, Ma?” he roared, as he did every morning.
“Behave yourself, Fred,” she admonished him, setting the sausages and the bowl of gravy on the table. There was a twinkle in her eye, though.
During breakfast, Fred listened to his sons’ chatter about school with half an ear. Already his mind was in his office. Fred had one of the largest real estate sales businesses in Paradise County and he was justly proud of it. He had owned it for five years and already it was doing double the business it had when Mr. Rockman had owned it. After Fred, had gotten out of the army, he’d studied for his real estate broker’s license. Then he’d gotten a job with Rock Realty. He’d worked there for ten years, learning all he could and saving his money. When Mr. Rockman had retired five years ago, Fred had been able to buy Rock Realty from him. Several times he’d considered changing the name to Woodby Realty, but each time decided to leave it the same in honor of the man who’d been almost like a second father to him. Besides, the name Rock Realty was already known all over Paradise County and beyond for its honest and fair business dealings.
When Fred got to his office on Main Street in Burley, he saw a blue late model Chevrolet pick-up truck in the parking lot. It had Indiana license plates so he figured it must belong to the man who had called about the Paradise River property. He hoped it was, and that Mr. Rodgers would be interested in it. It was a good piece of property, but a little too far back in the country for most people. Fred had bought it several years ago, as an investment, and if he could make a few dollars on it, he’d be glad to let it go.
A young man, that Fred judged to be ten years younger than himself, was stepping out of the truck now. On the passenger side a young blonde woman was also stepping out. The girl was wearing faded jeans and an equally faded blue jean jacket. The sun shone on her short blonde hair, turning it to a halo of gold around her head. Even at this distance, Fred could see that she was very young and very pretty. Suddenly, though, for no reason, he wanted to get back into his car and drive away from the young couple, as fast and as far as he could.
Instead he walked across the parking lot to meet them. “Hello. I’m Fred Woodby. Are you the Rodgers?”
The young man affirmed that they were. “Curt Rodgers, and this is my wife, Mariette. We called you Tuesday about the seventeen acres on the Paradise River you had listed in the Progress. It is still available, isn’t it?”
Fred affirmed that it was. He shook hands with both of them, although it was all he could do to make himself shake hands with the girl. There was no logical reason for him to feel this way, he knew. The girl, Curt’s wife, seemed sweet and shy. She reminded him a little, in her demeaner, although not her looks, of his own daughter, Sally May. Fred hastily put the thought of Sally May out of his mind, as if just thinking of her in Mariette’s presence could bring bad luck to his own daughter.
“Nice day, isn’t it?” Fred asked conversationally. “Looks like the sun’s going to shine today. Would you like a cup of coffee before I show you the property?”
“No thanks,” Curt declined the offer politely. “We just ate breakfast at the West Fork.”
“Well then, if you’ll just let me get my papers on the Paradise River property, we’ll go out there and you can have a look at it.”
Fred drove out of Burley on Highway 25E, turning off on the gravel road just the other side of the Paradise River bridge.
“We came this way yesterday trying to find the property,” Curt said. “We saw a couple of Rock Realty signs, but I don’t think we found it.”
Fred maneuvered the car expertly over the gravel road. “Did you turn off at Cherokee Creek?”
“No, we just went straight ahead.”
“That’s where you missed it then.”
Fred turned off the main road, if a gravel road could be classified as a main road. They crossed one bridge. They crossed a second bridge, this one made of wooden planks. The road was a mere dirt rut in the encroaching wilderness. At last he stopped when it seemed as if they went any further, the wilderness would swallow them up forever. The silence was complete back there.
Fred parked the car. “This is where we get out and walk. It’s hard to believe that Burley is less than ten miles away.”
“Actually, there are two pieces of property here, the one with the cabin on it, and the seventeen acres I had advertised.” Fred gestured toward a small empty cabin. “This first piece with the cabin is only ten acres.”
“What are they asking for it?” Curt inquired.
“Fifteen thousand. Actually, to some people, it’s a more desirable piece of property, not just because of the cabin, but because it’s closer to the road.”
“Let’s see the seventeen acres,” Curt said.
“You’ll have to walk,” Fred warned them again, looking at Mariette questioningly. “Four-wheel drive, or even a pick-up wouldn’t have any trouble getting back here, but there’s not much place to turn around. I really don’t want to take my car back here.”
“We don’t mind walking,” Curt replied.
The wooded hill rose up steeply on their left side. On the right side was a wide overgrown expanse of river bottom. Across the river, the mountain towered above the water. Row upon row of slender gray trunked trees covered both the hills. The morning sunlight, reflected off their trunks, filled the silent woods with light.
Fred led them on back along the narrow road. The farther they got from the car the more nervous he got. He hoped his nervousness didn’t show. He stole a look at the girl, Mariette. She was following behind him, a rapt look on her face, as if she was devouring the land with her eyes. It was an expression halfway between worship and halfway between greed. Somewhere Fred had seen that expression before, but he couldn’t now recall where.
“This big sycamore marks the end of the property,” Fred explained. “There’s a wet weather spring just over the boundary. No one lives back here now. The cabin is just a fishing cabin, and the property on beyond this one belongs to a fellow up in Wisconsin. He lets one of the farmers around here use it, but all they do is grow a little corn on it.”
“I’ll give you nine thousand for it if you can write me a decent contract,” Curt stated.
The girl didn’t say anything, but her eyes were like stars.
As they drove back to Fred’s office, he and Curt discussed the terms of the contract. They finally agreed on a mutually acceptable compromise. Back at the office they signed the necessary papers. Mariette gave him a check for the down payment, and Fred promised to mail them the rest of what they would need.
After they left, Fred poured himself a cup of coffee, and congratulated himself on having made a good bargain. Then he remembered the expression on the girl, Mariette’s, face, and he began to doubt if he’d made as good a bargain as he’d thought he had. A contract was a long-term commitment. He would be having a business relationship, even though it would probably be all by mail, with the Rodgers for the next five years. Suddenly he remembered where he’d seen the expression the girl had had on her face as she’d devoured the land with her eyes. Annie May had had that same expression on her face once many years ago on their wedding day when she’d looked at him.
MARIY HAZEL UPTON
ON THE WILDERNESS ROAD
CLAIBORNE COUNTY, TENNESSE
This photograph, taken by Gain, of me on the Wilderness Road was taken the same day as the other two photographs of the Wilderness Road. In the other two photographs the camera is looking deeper into the wilderness toward the 40 acre tract owned by a man up north, who according to the realtor, seldom came down and didn't use the land for anything except to let some of the area farmers plant a little corn on it. In this photograph of me the camera is looking back toward the 10 acres with the cabin. Since we had 17 acres we still had plenty of privacy, but like Mariette eventually wants to do, I longed to be able to buy the other 2 tracts of land so that we would have complete privacy in our private paradise on the river. Of course, we couldn't begin to afford to do that--we considered ourselves lucky to have the 17 acres. However, as Mariette's story progresses, and as Simon, the ghost who haunts the old house and who loves her, worshipping her from afar, helps her make her dreams of becoming a best selling novelist come true, eventually she and Curt own all three pieces of land. At that time Curt builds a deluxe log cabin on the original piece of property for her. That is many chapters away yet, though. Before that happens, Mariette must solve the mystery of the old house they bought in Carrollton Location and find out how the old house's past will become their future. Watch for more chapters. I am still trying to post a new chapter each month.
GAIN UPTON AND MARY HAZEL UPTON
IN BOAT ON THE POWELL RIVER
PHOTOGRAPH BY HAZEL FERN HENSON
This photograph was also taken by Mama on the camping trip that she and Daddy took with us to the Powell River property. Even though we didn't yet have the trailer then, Gain did have a boat. He did a little fishing on that camping trip, but since Daddy didn't fish, he only took the boat out a time or two to run a trot line. This is a line stretched across a river or creek with a number of hooks on it. The line has to be sunk, both to get to the fish, and also so that it doesn't interfere with other people using boats. It is tied to a tree limb on one or both sides and marked with empty milk jugs. Then all Gain had to do was take the boat out at least once a day, usually in the evening or morning, to see if he got any fish. I think he used to mostly catch catfish this way. I don't remember him getting any this time because if he had he would have cleaned them for me to fry for us for one of our camp suppers. He loved to fish, though, whether he got any fish or not!
MARY HAZEL'S DIARY
JANUARY 3, 2016 TUESDAY
That finishes this post except for my diary entry to go with it. It's after three o'clock now, a dark rainy day today, and will be dark soon, so I think I will quit for awhile. I will give the cats their supper and take a break before finishing this diary entry. I have been working on the blog for about 3 hours now so I really need a break from the computer! This week is recycling week too on Thursday, and since it is supposed to get colder after today, I think I will get that put out this afternoon before it gets too late. The last few days it has been in the 50's with light rain off and on, but that won't last long in January! I will finish out the diary and proof everything later on this evening. I have a few flower photographs to post with the diary and will post the first one here before quitting for now. Hope you enjoy them.
JULY 26, 2016 AT KROGER'S
PHOTOGRAPH BY MARY HAZEL UPTON
These are some of Cherie's beautiful flowers that she lets me take photographs of when I go to Kroger's here in Clarksville, Indiana. She is in charge of their flower shop and she truly loves the flowers. I don't know what these flowers are, just some kind of daisies, I guess. She would know what they are. The flower shop has mostly cut flowers, but some plants. They are changed according to the season. Whenever I have a few spare minutes when I am shopping at Kroger's I take photographs of some of the flowers. They fade so quickly and I feel as if I am somehow preserving them before their brief lifespan is gone. If Cherie is there I always visit with her too. I use the photographs for wallpaper and screensavers and will post more of them on my website from time to time.
It is 20 minutes until 8 tonight as I get back to finish this blog post. I am getting tired, but want to finish this now so that tomorrow I can start the final proofreading for Amy's book, The House Of The Laughing Gargoyles, and then order a hard copy for my files and one last proofreading before I let Bookemon publish it. I am hoping to get it ready to publish this month. When it is published I will post news about this book on the website here.
After I quit work on the blog this afternoon I gave the cats their supper. It was still warm and only a light mist of rain, so I was able to get some stepping stones laid down to make a path to the deck. For some reason all the grass died in that spot in the yard. The ground is really poor in my yard even though I leave the leaves to mulch down, hoping it will help. And most years it is so dry, so there is not really much grass left in the yard. I can't prove that, but I think environmental pollution and global warming aren't helping either. We had plenty of grass here when I was a little girl. Be that as it may, I had plenty of stepping stones gathered from other places in the yard where Mama had been using them for some long forgotten purpose. I gathered them all up this fall to reuse, but it got cold before I could lay them down. So now I have a path to the deck, where the cats are fed and like to hang out, so I don't have to walk through the mud when it rains. The kittens were all very curious watching me work!
After I got that done I took some old catalogs out to recycle. I had more, but they will have to wait until next time. I was out of energy to carry anymore up from the basement by then.
By the time I ate supper, had a little bit of Storybook Hour for the Creatures (my stuffed animals and dolls), and rested a bit on the couch, it was time to call Hammerhead at 7, as I do every night to make sure he is all right. I usually have two Storybook Hours each day, one reading my hard copy book in the afternoon before it gets too dark for me to see well and one Cell Phone Boy Storybook hour before bed time. Since the cell phone is back lighted I can see it easier, so read it at night. I am reading Stalking The Wild Asparagus by Euell Gibbons for my hard copy book now.
AUGUST 13, 2016
PHOTOGRAPH BY MARY HAZEL UPTON
I took these flowers at the Clarksville Kroger's also in Cherie's Flower Shop. I took the photo with Cell Phone Boy. I used to take the big camera over special to take photographs with, usually when Hammerhead wants to buy something there, but it is not my shopping day. I try to only shop once a week. While he shops I visit with Cherie and look at her flowers, or sometimes, if I have time for both, also look at the new magazines. Now that I know how to take photographs with Cell Phone Boy if Hammerhead decides at the last minute that he wants to shop and I haven't brought the camera, I can still take my flower photographs.
AUGUST 13, 2016
PHOTOGRAPH BY MARY HAZEL UPTON
These are the same flowers as in the photo above. I just got a little closer for this photo. I am not sure what these flowers are, some kind of daisy-like flowers. I don't know if they are naturally this color or not. Cherie told me once that some of the flowers are dyed the special colors. These may be because blue is a fairly rare flower color. Kroger's has a very nice store here in Clarksville. A couple years ago they bought the empty store building next to them and remodeled, enlarging their store, and adding a very nice deli and restaurant with plenty of tables.
Here is the website for Kroger's, which has a place to look up local Kroger stores, digital coupons which can be downloaded to your Kroger store card (free to get a Kroger store card and to sign up on the website), plus lots of free recipes. Check it out:
Will close this post out for this month now. As soon as I proofread everything, I am quitting for tonight! My "pay" for working overtime tonight is going to be to play a game of Plants Vs. Zombies and then have a little Cell Phone Storybook Hour for the Creatures! I am reading Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter now, and it is a very good book. There are several more in that series, also on the cell phone app, so I will eventually read them all.
Look for the next chapter of Mariette's book to be posted in February. I am going to try this month to get several chapters typed up, and select the photographs to use with them, and ready to post so that I can have plenty of material ahead. The next chapter of Nightmare House is titled The $10,000,000 Sweepstakes. In this chapter Curt and Mariette's trip down to Paradise County is over and they are back in Auto City with the north central Indiana winter setting in in earnest. Mariette is entering the Magazine Clearinghouse Sweepstakes, still not sure how they are ever going to get rich and be free to live the way they want to. Winning the Magazine Clearinghouse $10,000,000 prize is all she can think of to improve their situation.
Magazine Clearinghouse is a fictionalized Publisher's Clearinghouse. Gain and I used to enter every time we could, spending the money in our minds. You can enter online now. They even pay you entries to play games on their website now, and the prizes are even bigger--money for life! I will include the link to the real Publishers Clearinghouse with that chapter in case you want to try your luck, or just order from them. They are a good reliable company and I have always been satisfied with the things I've bought from them. I've never won any of the prizes, but I still enter once in awhile online, especially since the games they have are fun to play even in you don't win anything.
At this point in the story, Mariette has no idea how soon she will know for sure exactly how they can get rich. But even when she knows how that can happen, by writing a best selling novel, not just hoping to win a sweepstakes, her goal still seems as impossible as ever. At this point, she still doesn't know that Simon is planning to help her. She and Curt are still living in Auto City and spring still seems very far away. The action will start to quickly pick up from here on, though, especially as the nightmares become more terrifying and other people begin to share them also. And especially when Mariette realizes that their new home is haunted and that it is up to her to unravel the secrets of the old house's past if she wants to make its past hers and Curt's future.
MAMA'S MOCK ORANGE BLOSSOM BUSH ENCASED IN ICE
PHOTOGRAPH BY HAZEL FERN HENSON
There was no date on this very old photograph from one of Mama's flower books.
9:31 P.M. and the January blog post is finally done and looks good! Especially the photographs! I can't believe how well the old photographs look scanned and put on the computer, and the digital flower photos are really great! Mariette and I both hope you enjoy this chapter of her book. The link for Kroger's works fine--I just checked it out. And I updated the table of contents page on Mariette's Nightmare House page. If you have missed any of the first chapters, by the way, the two prologues and also the first chapter, along with more photos are on that page. The rest of the chapters are all blog posts.
Time to play a quick game with the zombies before closing the computer down (Plants Vs. Zombies) and then reading about Gena Showalter's zombies!