NIGHTMARE HOUSE: CHAPTER 15: THE DARK STORE
Mary Hazel Upton
BLOG POST FOR MARIETTE'S NIGHTMARE HOUSE PAGE
ALSO FOR MAMA'S FLOWER GARDEN PAGE
DADDY'S LETTERS FROM YESTERDAY PAGE
May 1, 2018 Tuesday
MISS HANNAH DUNN'S YELLOW ROSE
JUNE 19, 1977
PHOTOGRAPH BY HAZEL FERN HENSON
JACK SIMPSON: THE DARK STORE
It was the same April day that Curt and Mariette, with Roy and Nettie’s help, were tearing down the garage on the old LaGrange place. It was the same Saturday in April that Leonard Sanderson was watching anxiously as the young couple began restoring the old LaGrange place, awakening the shadows of the past that were gathered there. Today was also the day that Harrison Arone planted his garden, anticipating a harvest of evil to come in Carrollton Location. And it was the day that Jack Simpson, owner of Old America’s only grocery store, had his first premonition of something evil, something that would destroy everything he’d worked all of his life to build.
Jack Simpson opened his store, Simpson’s Grocery, at exactly 6 A.M. just as he’d done every day except Sunday for twenty years. For twenty years, since he’d taken over running the store from his father, he’d closed it at 6 P.M. There weren’t any customers this early, so Simpson spent the time filling the cash register, making sure the shelves were stocked, and having another cup of coffee. Soon he would grind hamburger and cut meat to fill the big, old-fashioned glass meat case at the back of the store. There was no hurry to get to that just yet, though. He didn’t sell that much meat anymore. Actually, he didn’t sell that much of anything anymore. Simpson’s Grocery, like others of its kind, was a relic of a past that was already gone. The big supermarkets had all but replaced the little neighborhood groceries. His trade was mostly made up of people who appreciated good meat, the kind you couldn’t buy in the supermarkets, and older customers who had traded with him for years. He knew that most of them continued trading at Simpson’s Grocery, in spite of the higher prices, because he was one of the few stores that still delivered and did “book trade” on credit. Simpson didn’t really expect Simpson’s Grocery to be in business after he was gone. He just hoped it lasted that long, though. It had been his life for over fifty years.
Simpson walked over to the front window and looked out. The sun was just beginning to climb up out of the east. It was going to be a pretty day, but he doubted if it would get very warm. The one main street of Old America was empty. Too early for most people to be up. Simpson shook his head and tried to shake off the feeling of gloom that had oppressed him since he’d entered the store this morning. It was a vague, unspecified feeling of disaster like the aftermath of a nightmare, but Simpson didn’t remember having dreamed last night. As he sipped his heavy white mug of coffee, he suddenly thought about Simon LaGrange. Unbidden and unwanted, the memory of the way Simon’s corpse had looked the day he, and his friends, Sanderson and Arone, had discovered it after the big blizzard, came to him.
Simpson walked to the back of the store. There was meat to be cut. He had no time for these ridiculous feelings. He was behaving like an old woman. It seemed very dark in the back of the store, though. He thought of all the blood of long ago slaughtered animals that had stained the concrete floor of the cutting area. He washed it off every day. Simpson kept his store scrupulously clean, but he fancied he could see indelible stains on the concrete anyway. One of the ghostly patterns on the floor looked like the figure of a hunched over man. Simon used to walk hunched over toward the last.
Simpson jumped as the front door opened. It was only his cashier, but he’d never been so glad to see the plain young woman who’d worked for him for the last five years.
“Hello, Anna,” he greeted her.
“Hello, Mr. Simpson. Any customers yet?”
“Not yet. Most people in Old America aren’t early risers like me. Help yourself to a cup of coffee and then you can start pricing those canned goods.
“Sure thing, Mr. Simpson. Then how about if I start decorating the store for Easter? I’ve got some great ideas for this year.”
Simpson nodded. Anna was a good worker. She was always bubbling over with enthusiasm for one of the projects she was forever dreaming up for the store. All of the customers liked her.
A few customers came and went as the day passed. Anna decorated the store.
“How do you like it, Mr. Simpson?”
“It looks great, Anna,” Mrs. Webber told her. “Jack never bothered with anything like that before you started working for him.”
Simpson tried to look stern. “Never had time for such foolishness. Running a store is a full time business.”
He had to admit that the little cotton tailed bunnies Anna had made out of construction paper looked cute on the windows, though. And that old tree branch she’d spray painted pale green, hung with plastic Easter eggs, and set by the cash register caught everybody’s attention. He was glad she didn’t realize it, but Anna was wasting her talents here. She ought to be an artist.
“Will there be anything else, Mrs. Webber?” Simpson asked as he wrapped the two thick sirloins he’d cut for his oldest customer.
“Better give me a pound of that hamburger and cut me a half pound of that cheese.”
There were a few more customers after Mrs. Webber left, but as the afternoon passed, business slowed down. The nagging feeling of unease that had temporarily been pushed to the back of his mind when he’d been busy returned. Anna went out for lunch and Simpson was left alone in the store. Anna lived with her mother close by the store. Usually she walked home to eat lunch with her mother, as she had today. He walked over to the big front windows and looked out. The brightness of the April day had dulled. Heavy clouds were chasing each other across the sky. The sun peeped out occasionally, but it wouldn’t be long until the clouds covered it completely.
Simpson stared down the deserted main street of Old America. Although he couldn’t see where Main Street became the highway, he knew that Main Street would become Highway 18 once it left Old America. From Simpson’s Grocery, turning left on Highway 18, which is an old two lane road, would take travelers into Auto City, nearly 20 miles away. If they turned right from the store, though, just about two miles farther along, after they left Old America, Highway 18 intersected with Highway 29.Turning right on Highway 29 would take them into Libertyville. Turning left on Highway 29 would take them into Carrollton Location. That was it. That was where the darkness was coming from, from Carrollton Location. He could almost see it drifting into Old America like a black mist, settling over everything. The darkness was coming from the old LaGrange place.
A vivid recollection of the last time he’d seen the LaGrange place flashed into Simpson’s mind. It had been several years ago. Simpson stayed away from Carrollton Location as much as he could. He even took the back roads through Old America when he wanted to go to Crossroads or Libertyville instead of going through Carrollton Location. Simpson told himself that he enjoyed taking the “scenic country drive”, but he’d never liked Carrollton Location since the day he and his friends had discovered Simon’s corpse there. The darkness in Carrollton Location had started that day.
The last time Simpson had seen the LaGrange place had been a dark November day. He was driving to Crossroads. His mind mocked him as he’d started to take “the scenic route.” He defied his fears and drove through Carrollton Location. Carrollton Location was just another little town like a thousand other little towns. What had happened there was finished almost three decades ago.
The LaGrange house looked just the way he remembered it. The roof was missing a few more shingles and the paint was peeling a little more. It was empty. Jack, on impulse, pulled into the driveway. He stared at the house. It seemed to be drawing him toward it. The house was crooked, he noticed. It had always been crooked, but it seemed more lopsided than ever now. Simpson had a sudden horrifying vision of himself getting out of the car, walking to the door, and going inside the LaGrange house. He broke out into a cold sweat at the thought and the trance was broken. He slid his wheels on the gravel getting out of the driveway.
Simpson’s dark reminisces were interrupted by Anna’s return from lunch. That evening, though, after Anna had gone home, leaving him to close the store, he felt the darkness again. It seemed to have settled in the corners of his store. For the first time ever, Simpson left the store with a feeling of escaping something, something that was hiding just out of sight in his own store.
MARCH 14, 2018
PHOTOGRAPH BY MARY HAZEL UPTON
DANDELION GIRL WHOSE TIME HAS RUN OUT
APRIL 20, 2018
PHOTOGRAPH BY MARY HAZEL UPTON
YOUNG AMERICA, INDIANA
FOR MAY 2018 BLOG POST
Started this research for May 2018 & June 2018 blog posts on April 24, 2018 Tuesday
1. Young America, Indiana
I found this article about Young America on Wikipedia. There is a little bit of information on Young America in this article along with a photo that shows the old store building (the red brick building) and the post office (the white building) beside the store building. According to Wikipedia this article was last edited on September 11, 2017 and they say the article is a “stub”. Wikipedia defines a “stub” as “an article deemed too short to provide encyclopedic coverage of a subject” and they are hoping someone may add more to this article. Copied link and also bookmarked article. Downloaded original photo and copied and pasted enlarged photo to separate document to scan as JPG later.
2. This is the link to the search results from Bing for “Young America, Indiana”. Bookmarked this page also.
3. Young America Volunteer Fire Department
This page is for the Young America Volunteer Fire Department and has photos of the fire trucks and the fire station.
The page for the Young America Volunteer Fire Department is part of a larger website called Indiana Fire Trucks with information on this subject. There appears to be a lot on their website, including some pages and some coloring pictures for kids. Here is the address of their home page.
4. The Almost Ghost Town Of Young America Indiana
This article about Young America has additional information, more than the Wikipedia article, including some of the town history. This article was posted on a website called “Just A Hoosier Girl” by Rebecca Furtado dated August 7, 2014. On this page there is also a list of numerous other posts this writer has made with links to the other posts, which seem to be about other historical Indiana places, although I did not check this out—she may also have other subjects she has written about. I bookmarked her blog to check out more later. She has a couple of links that she lists as reference sources, but the first one no longer works and the second one is not clickable. I also did not pursue this any further at this time. Here is the address Rebecca’s article on Young America:
From what I could determine this post is on Blogger, which offers free websites for bloggers. I did not read much on this yet, but bookmarked the main website to go back to later. There appears to be a lot on the website, both to read and also if you want to create your own blog with them. There was a list at the bottom on the Young America article suggesting other similar articles with links to them. I only checked out enough to find out that they are not posted by the author of the Young America article. They looked worth checking out later. On the page with the Young America article there was a link for “next post” and also a search box. I had no luck searching for other blogs on specific subjects, but did not do much with that either, so perhaps there might be a way to search for blogs on specific subjects. The other link on the top of the page that said “next blog” took me to a random blog. This would be worth checking out later, but since that is no part of the Young America research I am doing now, I did not pursue this further right now. Here is the address of the page that tells how to sign up to write your own blog.
5. I started a new search after trying several searches that were dead ends. I did a search “Young America Indiana grocery store history” and bookmarked it to continue later. It appears to have a few leads to more information about the old grocery store in Young America (according to the “ghost town” article by Rebecca, which I also saved the link to, there were a number of businesses in Young America at one time, including 2 grocery stores). I am only looking for information on the one I remember and that I used in Mariette’s book. If I can find the name of the grocery store I want, I can possibly narrow the research down and find out what I want to know, the history of that particular store.
I am about out of time for writing today, though, so will close my office for now and pursue this line of research later. I am hoping to be able to find enough for both the May and June blog posts, which both are about the old grocery store, which in Mariette’s story is called Simpson’s Grocery and is in the town of Old America. So if I do not get all the research done before time to post the May blog, I will continue and try to get more for the June blog. Information on historical things, even on the Internet, is not easy to find, though! So much is lost to time.
It is 1 P.M. now, though and time to walk over to the Cricket Office to pay Cell Phone Boy’s bill and also pay Van Boy’s insurance and then eat late “dupper” (Gain’s word for meal that was too late for dinner and too early for supper) at McDonald’s. Looks like it could rain, but not raining now, so will go anyway and take the umbrella.
Here is the link for this search for later. Also bookmarked it and the other links:
April 26, 2018 Thursday
Continued research on Young America, Indiana
6. I opened the link to the search to “Young America Grocery Store History” that I saved last time I worked on this research. I found a page on a website titled “The Indiana Album”. They have a little bit more information on a page called “Businesses on Rousch Street, Young America, Indiana, ca 1910" and also a couple of photographs of some of the stores. The photos are a scan of an old black and white postcard, the front showing the businesses and the back with writing, so it was evidently mailed to some one long ago. The images are small, in black and white, and faded, so unless I can figure out how to enlarge the image of the store, I am not sure if it is the same store I remember or not. The information they give is that the store in their photo has “Wm. O. Coder” on the store’s awning, so that gives me a little bit more information to start narrowing my search down!
Some of the previous research I did says there were two grocery stores in Young America at one time, but I only remember one. It was doing business for awhile when Gain and I lived in Wheeling in the late 70’s, but sometime after that, maybe in the 80’s sometime, the store went out of business and became a pizza restaurant which didn’t last long. After that, for the time Gain and I lived in Wheeling, through the early 2000’s, the building was abandoned. I downloaded both photos to work with later. According to the website you can request permission to use the images, so if I can enlarge them and determine if the old black and white photo is indeed the store I remember, I will write to them and see if they will let me use their photo on my website. That won’t be for awhile, though, as the blog is due soon, and I won’t have time for much except sharing this basic research before then. However, Jack Simpson, the fictional owner of the store in Mariette’s book, is going to be a continuing character in the story, so this research will be ongoing for his future book chapters and if “The Indiana Album” people give me permission, I will publish the photo on the website later. Even if it is a photo of the other grocery store, I will still publish it if they will let me. So until later on that!
Here is the link to the page with the old post card on it:
And here is the main website of “The Indiana Album”. I bookmarked it as well as the Young America page, as it looks as if they have lots on the website. They also have links to their Facebook page and from there to another page. I will go back and check more later, but they say they are a nonprofit organization that preserves old Indiana photographs and makes them available for people on their website. I don’t have time now, but as I get more of Mama’s old photos scanned, I will see if they might want copies. That is a project for later, though. Time to get on with the Young America research!
I will publish the rest of the research I did on Young America in the June 2018 blog. I still have not found any specific information on the Young America store, but did come up with a few more leads to check out later. Historical information is very hard to find, I am learning. So much is lost to time, even the fairly recent past. I hope you enjoy what I did find out, though. There will be a little more next month, and if later I can find out more I will publish it with future chapters of Jack Simpson’s story in Mariette’s book. The May and June blog posts are all of his chapters for awhile, though, so I will have time to try to find out more before there are more of his chapters to publish.
APRIL 18, 2018
PHOTOGRAPH BY MARY HAZEL UPTON
I took this photograph when I walked over to a large grassy area across from Hallmark Heights here in Clarksville to see if the confederate violets that Mama and I used to walk over and pick huge bouquets of for the older neighbors and for my grandmothers were still there. They are calling the very old subdivision across from this area Lincoln Heights now, I think, but when I was a little girl it was Hallmark Heights. All of the houses there are large and fancy. That was when Conner's, a very old store that had a little bit of everything, was there, just a bit further down the road, and I remember we used to walk there too, Mama, me, and my brother, Charles. Conner's has been gone for many years now, the building used for a succession of changing businesses now. But the confederate violets were still growing, thick and beautiful. The people who live on this small side road, and claim, although I don't think they actually own, this large grassy strip of land, keep it mowed. However, part of it wasn't mowed and there were lots of violets, and what was mowed, the violets were still blooming, coming back. The wild things endure in spite of attempts to destroy them. I didn't pick any of the violets, just looked at them. Mama and I would pick them for the older ladies in the neighborhood and the grandmothers, to cheer them up, but I don't pick flowers anymore. I only take photographs now, and allow the flower girls to enjoy their brief lives while they can.
Later, I did some research on the confederate violets to publish to this month's blog. I have not heard from the people in the research article I am publishing here yet, but I still plan to order some of the confederate violets from them if they still have any. Mama used to have them in her yard, as well as the ordinary purple ones, the white ones, and the yellow ones. I have plenty of the purple ones, and a few white ones, but the confederate violets and the even rarer yellow ones are gone, probably destroyed when she could no longer take care of them, and had to hire grass cutters who cut them down repeatedly with their mowers. I no longer cut them down and they will soon be a ground cover for the whole yard.
RESEARCH ON CONFEDERATE VIOLETS
For May 2018 Blog
Started this research on April 30, 2018 Monday
1 Started this search for “confederate violet”. Saved here and also bookmarked.
2 Confederate Violet
This short article published on the Illinois Wildflowers website has information and photos of the confederate violets. However, the photos they have show just the light blue violets, not the kind I have seen that have two colors. However, the article says that the confederate violets will hybridize with both regular purple violets and white violets, so I would think that there would be a lot of different variations in color of the confederate violets. Here is the address for the page with the confederate violet information:
This website is made by Dr. John Hilty. I have found links to some of his other flower pages previously. I still have not gotten back yet to read the whole website, but it deals with Illinois wildflowers of all kinds and is a very beautiful and informative site. Here is the home page:
3 Confederate Violet Photos
This is a page on a website that I have visited before also called “All-Creatures”. This link shows numerous photos of the confederate violets on this page along with a little bit of information.. Each photo has a link that can be used to see an enlargement of that photo and the photos can also be downloaded. The photos on this website are all of the two tone ones like I have seen, so I guess there are many shades of color for them. Here is the “Table Of Contents” page for the confederate violets.
Here is the main website for All-Creatures. I have not gotten a chance to read all of this website yet, but from what I have seen, it is a very nice website and their main focus seems to be living by the Bible, and also not harming animals, other people, or any of God’s creations. I will go back and read more later. Here is the address if you want to check out the website. There is a lot on it, including many beautiful photos of flowers, which is what first caught my attention.
4 Started a new search “confederate violets for sale”
This seller was near the top of the list on this search. They have the confederate violets, the two tone kind like I want, for sale. This page has a photo of the confederate violets, information about them, and online ordering information. They have the plants priced at 3 for $6.00 plus postage, which seems reasonable, as these kind of violets are very rare. Also, they are perennials and once you got a start of them, they would spread. They say they are thinning out some of the extra ones they have and have plenty at the time of this writing.
This is the main page for their store on ebluejay that they call Wild Berry Farms. They have other plants, confederate violet seeds ($6.50 for a package of 20), although they say the seeds are “on hold” now, plus other things. I have written to them before ordering to make sure they still have the plants.
This is the home page for ebluejay. It appears to be a website allowing individuals and small dealers to sell online. On the violet page above, I found this page when I clicked on “home”. It appears that it is a kind of online “flea market” with a little bit of everything and worth checking out further. I had to register with the main website in order to send my question to the violet sellers, however it is free to register and you only need an e-mail, user name, and password.
6 Capital Naturalist: Common Blue (Confederate) Violets
Finally, here is an informative and pretty YouTube video showing both the regular purple violets and the confederate violets. It is 4 minutes and 9 seconds long.
My NativeGarden: Current Blooms-May 10, 2017
This is a one minute and 15 second video posted on YouTube by JBtheExplorer and shows various wildflowers in bloom, including the confederate violets. It is a very beautiful video.
I found both of these videos with a search for “confederate violet” on the video page of Bing. These were the only two videos I saw, the other ones had no relevance to this search and so probably not many people are posting videos of the confederate violets either, probably because they are rare and endangered wildflowers that many people may not even know about.
This concludes the confederate violet research for now. I will post what I have on the May 2018 blog and later, when I get time, do more and publish it later. I had hoped to find more sources to buy plants or seeds of the confederate violets, but they are very hard to find, and so am just listing this one now, as the time to get the research done for the May blog is running out. I am hoping to order some of the violets from the one dealer I found, but have not done business with them, so have no idea if they are reliable. I will publish more on this when I find out more. I do intend to order some of the violets from them if they say they still have them. This information will be enough for you to continue researching the confederate violets yourself, though, if you are interested.
HAZEL FERN HENSON
MAMA'S AND DADDY'S LONG AGO PICNIC
PHOTOGRAPH BY CLAUDE B. HENSON
I found this very old photograph in one of Mama's old photo albums. There were a few photos on the page of a long ago picnic she and Daddy had obviously enjoyed. They often went on "spur of the moment" picnics to pretty places they knew, especially after Daddy retired. Usually Daddy took his Coleman camp stove and cooked their dinner. They also often went to places a bit further and camped overnight in their van, "Blueie". There was no date or place on any of the photos in that set, but they obviously had a good time that day.
MAY FRAGMENTS OF MAMA’S LETTERS FROM YESTERDAY
MAY 2, 1992 LETTER
HAZEL FERN HENSON
May 2, 1992
Dear Mary & Gain,
Hope the enclosed information reaches you in time. Lots of road work around Indianapolis so you all might want to pick another route when you all come down.
Was nice to talk to you the other night.
Honey, I’ll have to finish this next time we stop. Am trying to write as we travel on I 65. We have been to the Nashville, In. Doll Show. It is too hard to write while in motion.
Here at Rest Area near Henryville. Very cloudy—looks like rain any minute.
Did not buy any dolls at show. Too high price for me. Stop at Columbus Outlet Mall before going to show. C.B. got some computer stuff & I went to Ribbon shop. Got lots of lace & a bit of ribbon. For $2 you can get all you can stuff into a sandwich bag. Mostly lace.
We went to a few shops in Nashville but did not buy anything. Stop at a few flea mkt. at & near Gnawbone, In. Brought several Barbie dolls.
C.B. is back from rest room so I’ll close for now.
See you soon
Love Mother H.F.H.
Note by typist, Mary Hazel Upton: This is another one of Mama’s old letters that I saved and am typing them all up as I get time and publishing them for her. I typed it exactly as she wrote it except for very minor punctuation corrections. I left “brought” for bought as she originally wrote it, because this is usually how she wrote it. I am also scanning the original letters into the computer to preserve, but am also typing them so they can be published here on Writers-Network and on my blog.
C.B., mentioned in the letter, is my Daddy, Claude. Evidently, from what she says in this letter, Gain and I were planning to come down soon to visit them.
After typing this letter I checked mine and Gain’s old diary for May 1992. We did indeed come down to visit Mama and Daddy from May 7, 1992 Thursday until May 9, 1992 Saturday and the complete account of this visit is in the diary. Later I will also type that up and publish it. I have many many old diaries that Gain and I kept also and want to eventually type up and publish them all. In this diary account of the visit to Mama and Daddy I even have the “expense record” that we always kept of what we spent on gas, meals, etc. on the way down and back home whenever we visited. Mama and Daddy lived about 180 miles south of us in Clarksville, Indiana so we could visit them for a weekend or a few days whenever Gain had time off work, and they could come up to see us often too. Gain’s relatives lived in Virginia and Tennessee, which was about 400 miles south, so we usually waited until he had a long holiday weekend to visit them. All of this is recorded in our diaries too, and I will eventually share it all for anyone who might like to read it.
CLAUDE B. HENSON
MAMA AND DADDY'S LONG AGO PICNIC
PHOTOGRAPH BY HAZEL FERN HENSON
This photograph was in the book with the picnic photo of Mama, so I think this must have been the same picnic. There was no date or place on this photo either, but Daddy is cooking dinner in the shelter house, wherever it is, for them.
FRAGMENTS OF YESTERDAY’S LETTERS FROM DADDY
MAY 1, 1993
CLAUDE B. HENSON
Claude B. Henson
1025 North Taggart Avenue
Clarksville, IN 47129
May 1, 1993
Dear Mary & Gain,
I will write a short note to let you know we are O.K.There isn’t much going on here.We could have went to the race tract today. But I think we might get run over by the mobs of people, trying to get in the gates.
Wednesdays we went on the water taxi. I have enclosed a copy of the notice that was in the last Thursday paper. Boy it was pretty neat. We stayed outside on the front of the boat. If they keep it we will all take a few trips across the Ohio River.
We walked through to parking garage. to Fifth street then we crossed fifth street into the King Fishes lot. I got us a fishbox for two and a couple of cokes, and we set at a table on the flood wall and ate our lunch. then we walked back to the wharf and a few minutes the boat returned and we went back to Jeffersonville. They said in the article that they may make this a permanent thing If they do one could catch the boat then ride the trolley to the Galeriea, and shop or dine in the shops there.
The weather is getting better. Today it will warm up but rain this afternoon. I cut the grass yesterday. This is the second time this year. But you know me I let it get high before I cut it.
I will close for now.
Claude B. Henson
Note by typist, Mary Hazel Upton: Hazel and Claude are my parents. Gain is my husband. The Galleria is a mall in Louisville, Kentucky. The “race tract” is where the Kentucky Derby is held each year. The King Fish is a local restaurant, famous for its delicious fish and seafood. After Mama died and left everything in her house to me, I found that she had carefully preserved all of my old letters to her and Daddy and also old letters that my brother Charles and his wife, Anna Marie, wrote to her, as well as letters, cards, and diaries from other relatives. Most of them are very old. They are in her Sewing Room, what I now call the “Time Machine Room”. I also have a few of hers and Daddy’s letters to me that I saved in books. Mama wrote all of her letters by hand, as she did not use the computer. Daddy always typed his up on his computer and also saved copies for himself. I typed this letter up just as he originally wrote it. I scanned the copy of the clipping from THE EVENING NEWS, the Jeffersonville, Indiana newspaper, that he sent with this letter, as a .PDF file. THE EVENING NEWS was later combined with the NEW ALBANY TRIBUNE and is now THE NEWS AND TRIBUNE. I am typing all of this material up, as I have time, to preserve our family history. Genealogy is useful, and some of my relatives are into that, but most genealogy is just a few dates gleaned from old grave markers or records. That is all that is left of most people’s lives because nobody saved anything of theirs after they died. I am trying to preserve more than that by typing, and eventually publishing on the Internet, the old letters and diaries.
Additional note: I am not publishing the clipping because it is probably still copyright by the newspaper and even if I got permission from them, I am not sure how to publish a PDF file. It was just a short news article, but probably the newspaper didn't even keep a copy of it, so it too is probably lost to time, except for the copy I have.
LAST PHOTO OF HAMMERHEAD WATERING HIS MORNING GLORIES
JULY 25, 2017
PHOTOGRAPH BY MARY HAZEL UPTON
This is a screen shot of the last video I made of Hammerhead and the last time I got any photographs of him. He had a morning glory in a large white bucket beside his front door. He kept it watered and it was full of beautiful flowers. I took this video then, not knowing that it was the last one I'd be able to get of him. He passed away, at 90 years old, on August 3, 2017 Thursday morning. He was my beloved "adopted Daddy", a second Daddy to me, and is still greatly missed. Later, when I get time, I plan to post his videos that I took of him on YouTube and will post the links here. In this video the trees were very green with their summer leaves, as were all the other plants. The cicadas were loud and I also was able to preserve them as background sound for the video. Cicadas have always been the sound of summer to me. Listening to them, and looking at the heavy green leaves everywhere on the all the trees and plants, it is easy to believe, just for a little while, that summer will never end.
MARY HAZEL'S DIARY
MAY 1, 2018 TUESDAY
It is not quite a quarter till 2 this afternoon as I finish up the diary entry for this blog post for May. I am working a lot faster than I used to. This month I am posting everything that I want to post for this month and then will go back and proof everything, once in manuscript form and once in published form. I will take a break and go back and do that later, but am sure I will be able to finish today. I had been proofing as I posted, which is a much slower way of working, so will see how this works out.
I finally turned the furnace off this morning and hope to be able to keep it off until next autumn now. I had it off for a little while and even had a few windows open several times last month, but then had to close the house back up and turn the heat back on. I still do not have the windows open today. It is bright sun and clear sky today, but a little breeze, and not really as warm as it looks like outside.
We have been having strange weather so far this spring. Much cooler than last year, and the cool days going on and on. In March and also until late April there was lots of rain and day after day of cool, cloudy, overcast days with heavy gray skies all day. About a week or so ago the weather finally cleared up, but it is still much cooler than this time last year.
More and more flowers are blooming, though, although later than they did last year. I had a photo I took a week or so ago of the shooting stars in Mama's yard. I was going to publish that photo this month. Mama planted the shooting star flowers long ago and they are spreading, more and more of them each year, without me having to do anything to them except to allow them to grow. I want to do some research on these rare and endangered wildflowers to publish along with the photo, though. Since I haven't had time to do that, and the blog was due, I filed the photo to publish for next May when I can get time to do the research to go with the photo. I also have photos I took a year or so ago of her Cherokee roses. They were going to be for next month's post, but I have plenty of photos without them, and haven't done the research I want to do yet on them, so filed them for June 2019. The Cherokee roses are also wildflowers and become huge bushes. The flowers are single petal roses, just one layer of petals, not like tame roses, and are pure white, very beautiful. What little I have looked up on them, they are fairly indestructible, so I want to keep Mama's bush which is getting huge now.
I am trying to concentrate on "indestructible" for my flowers because I do not have Mama's green thumb! So any plants that can take care of themselves and thrive with little care, I allow to grow! I started seeds of peppers, tomatoes, parsley, pink plants (Coleus), cone flowers, hard white daisies (Shasta daisies I think is the proper name, but am not sure--I just called the ones Mama grew "hard white daisies" because they look like white porcelain with the summer sun on them), and passion flowers (the tame version of wild May pops). I started the seeds the middle of March, but there was day after day of completely overcast skies and chilly weather. The poor little things never got a good start. In late April it was warm enough to start setting them outside a little each day, but they were so weak I think the sun and wind about finished destroying them. A few of them are still alive, and I set them in the sun in the house as much as I can now. I don't think they're going to do anything, but as long as they are alive, I will continue to take care of them and maybe eventually can plant some of them in pots on the porch or deck later.
I will have to buy tomato plants this year, I guess, as the ones I started will be lucky to survive, let alone make any tomatoes.
Finally, a word about what is coming up for next month. The chapter of Mariette's book, The Dark Store, in this month's post was originally one chapter with the nightmare scene at the end of the chapter I'm publishing this month. I broke it into two chapters and will publish the nightmare chapter next month, along with more research I did on Young America. In Mariette's book, Young America is called Old America. The store in her book looks exactly like the store I remember. Gain and I used to buy sirloin steaks there, having them cut to order by the store owner. They were much better than any steaks available in the supermarkets, and we never bought steaks anywhere else until the store closed.
I also plan to continue publishing more of Mama's and Daddy's writing from now on. I have a lot of Mama's old diaries and letters, and also Daddy's old letters, and will try to get at least one of these items published each month along with Mariette's story chapter. I will be publishing them and also years of mine and Gain' s old diaries, and my grandmother's old diaries as I can get this material typed up. Hopefully, somebody else may enjoy reading these accounts of the "old days" and I want to preserve this material for Mama, Daddy, Gain, and my grandmother, Bertha Henson, if I can.
After the "Dark Store Nightmare Chapter" the story will move back to Mariette and Curt. The chapter after that, still to be typed, but hopefully by July 2018 when I want to publish it, will be the account of Curt and Mariette moving to Carrollton Location. From then on the story pace will pick up, as Mariette and her mother, Nettie, get serious about solving the mystery of the old house and the long ago ghost, Simon, who still haunts the old house. So check back each month for new material. I hope you find something you enjoy reading.
It is not 2:30 P.M. now with everything posted except Gain's photo, so I will post that now, and then I should have time to proof the manuscript before taking a break to give the cats supper, have Storybook Hour, and my own supper. There should be plenty of time after supper to do the final proofing of this post. I will post again then to let everybody know the blog is considered finished for this month. Until then, if you find mistakes, I have found no way to keep the blog private until it is proofed.
GAIN RESTING ON COUCH AT MAMA & DADDY'S HOUSE AFTER OUR TRIP TO VIRGINIA TO VISIT HIS RELATIVES
JULY 28, 1977
PHOTOGRAPH BY HAZEL FERN HENSON
I am not sure, but this photo was probably taken the one time Gain and I drove down to Virginia and visited his relatives for a few days, and then circled back to spend a few days in Clarksville, Indiana with Mama and Daddy. So I imagine he was very tired by the time we got to Mama and Daddy's house. I know that was the last time we tried to combine visiting both families in one trip. I remember, especially, driving from Louisville into New Albany on the Sherman Minton bridge. There was lots of traffic, multiple lanes, and one chance to get on the exit to New Albany. I was in charge of looking for the sign and almost missed it. I didn't feel safe again until we were on Spring Street in New Albany, where I was sure of where we were, but felt even safer once we left New Albany and entered Clarksville by way of the old road past where Conner's used to be! There are, and were then, two roads from Spring Street in New Albany to Clarksville. One goes on the expressway, but if you want to, you can just get on the expressway, and immediately get off at what Daddy used to call "Conner's Folly" and be safely back on the old two lane road. That is what I told Gain to do once we could! I am not sure why Daddy called this exit "Conner's Folly", although he claimed that Mr. Conner had made them build this exit when they put in the new highway bypassing his business. I doubt if that was true, and if it was, I still don't know why doing that would be "folly" on Mr. Conner's part. Looks to me like it would be smart of him! But that is what Daddy always called that exit, which I now always use. You can go into New Albany on the old road, but not out again without taking this exit. Otherwise, you have to stay on the expressway, which I am not about to do!
Anyway, that's it for this month. Hope you enjoy the photos. Download anything you want. Until next month.
3:34 P.M. and the blog manuscript proof is complete. Quit for now for a break, and this evening will finish proofing the published manuscript and check the links then.
8:15 P.M. now and the May blog post is officially done for this month on the first day of May! I worked about an hour and a half more after supper this evening and proofed the finished blog once more and checked all the links. They all work. One other thing I forgot to mention before, I do not think that I have any photos of Young America. I do not remember Gain and I taking any, but back then, before digital cameras, film and developing was rare and expensive. You did not take photos unless you had a reason to, somebody's birthday, a vacation, etc. Mama and Daddy took more photos than we did, but I don't remember us ever taking them to Young America for any reason, so I doubt if Mama has any. However, I haven't begun to look through all her photos yet, and there may be some somewhere. When I get time, I will look for them, and if I find any, eventually, when Jack Simpson has more chapters of his story, probably not next month's post, but eventually when I get to it, I will definitely publish them.
So until next month. Thanks for reading my blog. I appreciate it.