JANUARY FRAGMENTS OF REFLECTIONS FROM THE LOOKING GLASS WORLD & CHAPTER TWO OF THE HOUSE OF THE LAUGHING GARGOYLES
Mary Hazel Upton
JANUARY 2019 BLOG POST
JANUARY FRAGMENTS OF REFLECTIONS FROM THE LOOKING GLASS WORLD JANUARY 28, 1987
JANUARY BLOG POST FOR MARIETTE'S NIGHTMARE HOUSE PAGE
CHAPTER TWO: THE HOUSE OF THE LAUGHING GARGOYLES
JANUARY POST FOR MAMA'S FLOWER GARDEN PAGE
JANUARY 21, 2017
PHOTOGRAPH BY MARY HAZEL UPTON
JANUARY FRAGMENTS OF REFLECTIONS FROM THE LOOKING GLASS WORLD
JANUARY 28, 1987 WEDNESDAY
MARY HAZEL UPTON
January 28, 1987 WEDNESDAY
January is the longest month of the year in the Looking Glass World. It stretches on from a forgotten prehistoric past of July to an April future, millenniums away.
January is short days and long nights. It is scraping ice off windshields that look as if they’ve turned to solid ice every morning. January is going to work in the dark and coming home in the dark. January is crackling, subzero temperatures, day after day. It is bone chilling wind and blizzards.
January is icicles hanging from the ADM building, glittering in the light from inside the office, like the bones of Old Man Winter. January is waiting, waiting for a spring that seems as if it will never come.
January is the stray cats, huddled like meatloaves, to keep warm, meowing forlornly.
January is when the fact that most of the patients here will never leave, except on brief visits to the outside world, is driven most firmly home to me. The spring of sanity will never come for them—they will be trapped in the frozen depths of their own private Januarys of madness forever.
January is time, frozen over and stopped. But most of all, January is the abandoned buildings. They stand cold and solitary in the snow now, unchanging. Even if they are torn down, they will never change, in the sense that the past, of which they are now a part, can never change.
Note: This is a part of an entry from the three notebooks of diaries I kept for the almost three years I worked at Longcliff, also known as Logansport State Mental Hospital. I called it “The Looking Glass World” because entering it was like stepping through a looking glass to the wrong side. Like in the looking glass world, everything is reversed at Longcliff, with reality itself the opposite, mirror image of what it is in the outside world.
SNOWDROPS WITH RAINDROPS
JANUARY 5, 2019
PHOTOGRAPH BY MARY HAZEL UPTON
Logansport State Hospital (Longcliff) & State Hospital Research
Started this research on January 12, 2019 Saturday for January 2019 Blog Post. To be continued and publish more research on this subject when publish more of Longcliff Diaries.
1 Search results for Logansport State Hospital:
2 Logansport State Hospital
This article also has an old photo of the Administration Building at Logansport State Hospital dated early 1900’s. According to this article Logansport State Hospital is the oldest still operating state hospital in Indiana and was originally called Northern Indiana Hospital for the Insane. It was founded July 1, 1888.
3 Logansport State Hospital
Asylum Projects page for Logansport State Hospital
This article contains additional historical information about Logansport State Hospital.
The article already mentioned contains links to old photographs, old maps, and old newspaper clippings about Logansport State Hospital. Here is the link to that page:
This is the main page for the Asylum Projects:
There is too much to read on this website right now, but I have bookmarked it to study more later. Their mission is “to archive both historical and current information on asylums across the United States and around the world". At the time I found this website they said they had 2,105 articles. I also saw old photographs, maps, etc. on this website.
This is all the time I have to look up information on Logansport State Hospital, also known as Longcliff, right now, but when I publish more of my future diary entries from the time I worked there, I will look up more information about Longcliff and also other State Hospitals and publish the research that I find to my blog at that time. Hope you enjoyed reading what I’ve found so far.
RED BERRIES & BUSH ON WALK IN ALLEY AFTER SNOW
JANUARY 12, 2019
PHOTOGRAPH BY MARY HAZEL UPTON
OLD ODD FELLOWS HOME
NEAR GREENSBURG, INDIANA
FEBRUARY 24, 1978
PHOTOGRAPH BY HAZEL FERN HENSON
This photograph is from one of Mama's old photo books. She has at least one book of the many times she and Daddy drove up there to visit his mother who was a patient there at the time. The old Odd Fellows home is now torn down, sadly, and replaced with a new one, and Mama also has photos of it being destroyed. The Rebekahs were the branch of the Odd Fellows for women, and Bertha Henson, my grandmother, was entitled to be at the nursing home because she was a member of the Rebekahs. When I publish more chapters of Amy's book, I will publish additional photos from these books. Stone River Manor in Amy's book, The House Of The Laughing Gargoyles is fictional and I have no photos of Longcliff because cameras were forbidden, but the Odd Fellows Home photos seem sufficiently Gothic to be used for the posts of book chapters and also for future posts from my "Longcliff diaries". Later, when I get time, I will try to do and include some research on the real Odd Fellows home to publish with future photos of it and also some photos of my grandmother, both when she was a patient there and when she was young. I also have several of her old diaries I will later publish so that she will not be forgotten.
THE HOUSE OF THE LAUGHING GARGOYLES
Amy woke up sometime during the night with a feeling that she had been having an unpleasant dream, but, try as she might, she couldn’t recall it. She was certain it had something to do with the gargoyles, though. There were strange creaks and groans of the old house settling and outside the wind was a steady howling. It had been snowing heavily all evening, the snow piling up deeper and deeper drifts, wrapping the old house in a silence of isolation. Jane had been barely able to control her excitement.
“The first snow,” she’d kept repeating. “We’ll build a snowman and get my sled out tomorrow. Perhaps we’ll have snow for Christmas. Perhaps the snow will last all winter. I love snow. I love winter, so white, and cold, and perfect, before anyone steps on the new snow.”
Amy had to remind her that lessons came first, that was what her mother had hired Amy for, but that after the lessons were done they would do whatever Jane desired.
Amy couldn’t understand the child’s excitement. Even as a child, Amy had hated winter. Spring was Amy’s favorite time of year, when the new flowers were bursting into bloom and the air was sweet with the promise of endless fair weather.
Amy thought of these things as she got up and put her robe on. She drew the heavy draperies open and tried to see if it was still snowing. It was impossible to see anything in the pitch darkness outside. She opened the window and stuck her head out. Snow was falling in a white curtain. Then she remembered that the gargoyle was just above her head. Rapidly she closed the window and then the drapes, refusing to look up at the roof. Shivering, she went back to bed. If she was going to entertain Jane tomorrow, she’d better get some sleep. The child had mentioned a sled, and snowmen, and she didn’t remember what all.
It was hot midsummer and Amy found herself sitting on the bank of the river watching the slow chocolate colored water flow lazily by. She was waiting for someone. She opened the locket, containing a miniature of him, that she wore around her neck. A tiny oil painting of Michael looked back at her. He was laughing and there was that look of devilish merriment in his brown eyes that Amy so loved. It was then that Amy noticed the dress she was wearing. It was the pale pink of summer roses with an embarrassingly low cut bodice and a long full crinoline stiffened skirt. Then Amy remembered that this was the latest style and perfectly proper. The year was 1842. Why had she thought for just a brief moment that she was someone else? Never mind. It didn’t matter. She was waiting for Michael Reese, her fiancé. She felt her heart skip a beat. Handsome devil-may-care Michael, who could have had his pick of all the belles of River City, Indiana and even Louistown, Kentucky, had chosen her, Amy, to be his bride. His steamboat should be coming up the river any moment now, churning the muddy Ohio to sun sparkled white foam, with him on deck, looking so young and handsome, waving to her. Their wedding would be this afternoon. Yes, there it was, a tiny speck on the horizon gradually taking the shape of a boat, the “Sweet Amy”, named for her.
Something made Amy look behind her then. Stone River Manor was a massive pile of gray stone behind her just as, of course, it had always been. Her eyes were drawn to just below the roof, though, where the frieze of gargoyles and stone faces encircled the house. She had never paid much attention to them, merely thinking Michael must have had a slightly weird ancestor to build such a monstrosity. Her thoughts were too taken up with her beloved, though, to give the matter much thought. This time, however, her eyes were drawn to what had to be the ugliest of all the gargoyles, his tongue sticking out in a leering grin, and her gaze locked with the gargoyle’s. For what seemed like the slow passing of eternity all the gargoyles went on laughing, cold, hard, silent, mirthless stone laughter, and Amy was unable to tear her eyes away from the one gargoyle’s eyes. Sadness such as she had never known gripped her, sadness that became cold bottomless fear, and turned the summer day, and her love for Michael, and all happiness into a bitter mockery. And still the gargoyles went on laughing and Amy thought if only she could know why they were laughing she would know everything there was to know. She wasn’t sure she wanted to know that much, though. The secret might be too terrible to bear, but if she had to hold the gargoyle’s gaze much longer she couldn’t help knowing. She couldn’t tear her eyes away, though. It was as if a physical force held her.
Then Michael was beside her, talking to her, and she was able to look away and the moment passed. It was summer again and she was young, and in love, and the cold hearted gargoyles had nothing to do with her.
At that moment Amy woke up. The pale cold light of a December morning was filtering through the drapes, which she hadn’t gotten quite closed, she now saw. The dream left her with an unpleasant feeling, persisting as she got dressed. The part about the gargoyles stood out the most vividly in her memory and bothered her the most, although the part about Michael embarrassed her, especially the fact that they were engaged to be married. It was just a foolish dream, though. A person would be liable to dream anything in this old mausoleum of a house. Putting the whole thing out of her mind, she went downstairs. She had a full day ahead with Jane without fretting about a dumb dream.
Breakfast was served in the huge dark paneled dining room, but the drapes had been drawn this morning, making the room a little more cheerful. The window overlooked an expanse of sugar white snow, perfect and unbroken to the river. The sun was beginning to climb higher in the sky now making the snow sparkle and glitter.
“Isn’t it beautiful?” Jane exclaimed. “Can I skip lessons today and go out and play, Mama? Please? Just this once?”
Mrs. Evans’ happier mood of last night had evaporated this morning. “I don’t think that would be wise, Jane, since this is the first time you’ve had a governess for two weeks. You can play outside just as soon as you finish your lessons. If you start studying right after breakfast you should have all afternoon to play.”
Explaining to Amy, Mrs. Evans said, “Miss Hamilton left two weeks ago today without any notice or anything. Mrs. Baker went up to clean her room, and she was gone, and so were all of her things.”
Jane was looking as if she’d like to pout if she dared, but when she saw the dish Mrs. Baker was bringing in her face brightened considerably.
“Your favorite, Miss Jane. I made them especially for you,” Mrs. Baker said, unloading the heaping plate of pancakes, maple syrup, and butter from her cart.
“Will you help me build a snowman this afternoon, Michael?” Jane asked, helping herself to her third stack of pancakes.
Amy felt her heart lift, then fall at Michael’s reply. “I don’t know. I have to get some work done on my book today. I haven’t been getting much done on it lately.”
“You’ll have all morning for that while I do my lessons. Please say you’ll come out with us for just a little while,” Jane coaxed.
“Would you like some more coffee, Miss Taylor?” Michael asked, refilling her cup from the huge silver coffee pot. “Have some more pancakes too before Jane eats them all. I think she could eat a ton of them if she ever had the opportunity,” he laughed, looking slyly at Jane to see if she was going to get mad. Jane pretended to be insulted.
“Thank you,” Amy said, wishing she knew him well enough to join in his and Jane’s playful game and wishing she dared ask him to call her Amy. Mrs. Evans almost certainly wouldn’t like that, though. If he joined them in building a snowman, though, she would ask him to call her Amy, not the formal Miss Taylor. Mrs. Evans wouldn’t be around then.
“I’m writing a book on the history of Stone River Manor,” Michael told Amy. “There’s going to be a whole chapter on the gargoyles and stone faces that make the frieze around the top of the house. The book was going very well, but when I got to the chapter on the gargoyles I developed a writer’s block. It’s as if they don’t want me to write it.” The brooding sullen look came back over his face. “Sometimes I stand, and stare at them, and it’s like they’re trying to tell me something. They look as if they’re laughing. Have you noticed?”
“I think, sometimes, if I could find out what it is that the gargoyles are laughing about I’d know the secret of the universe. I’ve talked to Grandma about it, but she won’t tell me anything, and says I have to learn it for myself.”
“That’ll be enough of that, Michael. I’ve told you before I don’t like that kind of talk in front of Jane. She’s got enough unhealthy notions about those ridiculous gargoyles already and she’s gotten them from you.”
Michael laughed, but he looked angry. “Of course. I’m sorry. I forgot. I get carried away on my subject matter when I’m working on a book. Doubtless you think I’m a raving maniac, Miss Taylor.”
“Not at all,” was all Amy dared say in front of Mrs. Evans, but if she was able to see him alone she would let him know that she too had felt the supernatural power of the gargoyles. Not in front of Jane, though. Mrs. Evans was right about that. Whatever the fearful secret of the gargoyles, Amy was sure it would be unbearable for a child to know it. Amy hoped her eyes conveyed that she did not think Michael was a crazy fool, but that she didn’t want to get involved in openly choosing sides on a subject that Mrs. Evans felt so strongly about.
Michael finished his pancakes and got up to leave. He paused beside Jane’s chair. “I’ll see you this afternoon. We’ll build the biggest snowman ever.” He smiled at Jane and then shot Mrs. Evans a defiant glance.
Mrs. Evans rose from the table. “If you’re finished eating now, Miss Taylor, I’ll show you the classroom and we’ll work out a schedule.”
Turning to Jane, she went on, “You can come up to class in a half hour.”
The classroom was located on the third floor quite close to Amy’s and Jane’s rooms. Amy realized it was behind one of the closed doors she had passed when she had gotten lost the night before. The classroom was a large light room with a hardwood floor and, on one side, windows that gave a view of the gatekeeper’s house and the long avenue of trees leading to Stone River Manor. On the other side of the room Amy could see a large ice skating pond. The gatekeeper was clearing the snow from it now, evidently so Jane could skate this afternoon if she wished. There were a half dozen school desks with attached chairs, a larger teacher’s desk, and blackboard in the room. In fact, Amy marveled, never having been in an actual private classroom like this, the room looked for all the world like an ordinary miniature classroom in a regular school.
Mrs. Evans perched on the top of one of the desks and motioned for Amy to do likewise. Looking closely at the desk she was sitting on, Amy saw that it was even carved with initials like an ordinary school desk, probably the initials of generations of Stone River Manor children. In the upper right hand corner she read the initials M.R. She wondered if they had been carved by Michael and she tried to imagine him as a small boy. Abruptly her thoughts were brought back to the present by Mrs. Evans’ words.
“As I told you yesterday, you are quite free to work out your own schedule, including the hours. Our previous governesses have usually had lessons from after breakfast until one or two o’clock five days a week, but if you think Jane is keeping up with her age group you can let her have more free time. On the other hand, if she falls behind then make her keep with her books until her grades improve. As for grades, I will expect some kind of grading system. I’m not particular as to what kind, but I don’t go for this new idea of ungraded schools. I want some method so that I can check on how Jane is doing in her studies whenever I wish. The curriculum and books you are to use are the standard school texts for Indiana. If Jane wishes to pursue some special area of interest, or you wish to expand the basic curriculum, I would welcome that as long as her basic studies aren’t neglected. The only other thing I insist on is an emphasis on art as I pointed out before. I want at least two hours of Jane’s school day devoted to art lessons. She is a very artistic child and I think that talent ought to be developed to its fullest.”
Mrs. Evans got up, took some sketches and paintings out of the desk she had been sitting on, and handed them to Amy. There was a pen and ink sketch of Stone River Manor in the winter. There was a stark purity about that sketch that showed a feeling for art, not mere copying, although the sketch was accurate and rendered in the minutest detail down to the branches on the trees, the pattern on the iron gate, and especially the expressions on the gargoyles’ faces. There were a half dozen more pen and ink sketches of individual gargoyles, all done in incredible detail. In one of the sketches a beard of icicles dripped from a gargoyle’s chin. In another a single long icicle dripped from the gargoyle’s extended tongue. Amy recognized it as the gargoyle outside her bedroom window. In the other four sketches there was no indication that it was winter except that the power of the artist had suggested winter. As in the sketch of Stone River Manor, Jane had done much more than merely copy the gargoyles, although she had done that exactly. She had caught the very essence of the gargoyles and transferred their winter hearted quality to paper.
“These are very good,” Amy told Mrs. Evans. “They’re much more than just good. Jane doesn’t just copy what she sees, although she is very good at that; she is able to transfer a feeling about it, its essence, to paper. That is where true artistic talent, as opposed to mere craftsmanship, comes in. There’s no telling how far she might go given the proper education.”
Mrs. Evans nodded. “That’s what I thought too, but I’m glad to hear a professional confirm my opinion. I’m no artist and I know nothing about art myself, so I wasn’t sure if I was only being a proud mother when I looked at her work.”
Amy assured her that she wasn’t. She looked at the rest of the sketches, a delicate lifelike water color of the cat, Snowball, an oil portrait of her mother that showed Mrs. Evans from a totally different viewpoint than Amy had seen, a viewpoint of a child’s love for her mother, and a still life bouquet of purple irises. All of the remaining sketches showed promise of talent which could be very great if properly developed, but none of them had the power of the sketches of the gargoyles, or the one of Stone River Manor.
“The only thing I don’t like,” Mrs. Evans was saying, “is her obsession with those gargoyles and stone faces. I wish she wouldn’t make so many sketches of them and would concentrate on pretty pictures like this.” She held up the watercolor of Snowball. “I can’t, of course, forbid her to draw them if I want her to develop as an artist. An artist must have freedom of expression above all else. However, I definitely don’t encourage it. And I’ve forbidden Michael to tell her anymore of his silly notions about the gargoyles. That’s where she gets all this foolishness, from him, so I can only hope it’s a passing phase. I expect you not to encourage her in these ideas too. Not that I expect you to share Michael’s wild imagination.” She gave Amy a hard look. “You don’t, do you?”
Amy hesitated. “The gargoyles are rather unsettling. It gave me a shock when I first saw them.”
“Nonsense. They’re a lot of ridiculous carved stone faces and I don’t know whatever possessed our ancestor to put something like that on the house. Probably imitating the Europeans. He’d traveled extensively in Europe and was particularly impressed with their architecture. Regardless, you’ve got to promise me not to encourage Jane in her interest in the gargoyles. It’s unhealthy.”
“I promise. And I do agree with you, Mrs. Evans. Jane shouldn’t be encouraged to think about the gargoyles.There’s something frightening about them, something a child shouldn’t be exposed to, and I’ll do my best to get her interests channeled in less morbid directions.”
“Good. That’s settled. However, I see Michael’s foolishness has already rubbed off on you. You want to be careful of that young man. He’s unstable. I suppose I shouldn’t talk that way about my brother, but I tell you this for your own good. He’s a real charmer, he is, but he’s unstable and you’ll be sorry if you listen to his fantasies. The gargoyles are inanimate pieces of stone and that’s all.”
The turn of the conversation embarrassed Amy and she wondered what Mrs. Evans’ real motive was for warning her away from Michael. Probably she didn’t want her brother romantically involved with the governess. Hastily changing the subject, she ventured to say, “You do realize that the gargoyle sketches are Jane’s best work, don’t you? She’s put more of herself into them than into the other pictures.”
Mrs. Evans grudgingly admitted the truth of the statement, but added, “If you can get her mind off the gargoyles and channeled in other directions, perhaps she can bring her talent to bear on more healthy subjects and develop her skills more fully. If you can do that, it’ll be more than I’ve been able to manage, though.”
“I’ll do my best.”
“That’s about all we need say on Jane’s education. Except for the things I’ve mentioned, you’ve got a pretty free hand with her. If you have any problems or questions at any time, feel free to come to me at any time. Is there anything you want to ask or discuss now?”
Amy shook her head.
“Then we’ll go on to the subject of your free time. Wednesday and Sunday will be your days off. You will be free to go wherever you wish on your time off as long as you’re back on the job the next morning, so if you have friends or relatives to visit, you can do so. Sunday mornings you can attend church with the family if you wish. In any case, I’ll care for Jane myself, or have one of the other servants do it, so you won’t be bothered during your free time. Not that she’s really any trouble. She’s at the age where she doesn’t need total supervision, although when she’s in your care I’ll expect you to know where she is at all times. She’s an obedient child and you shouldn’t have any trouble with her. The only things she isn’t to do without supervision is ice skate, go near the river, or leave the yard. Remember, you’re the boss. She’ll wear you out wanting you to help her build snowmen, and let her ice skate, and the like, but how much of that you do is up to you. Do you understand?”
“Well, then I guess we’ve gotten everything settled. Here comes Jane now so I’ll be on my way, and if you have any questions or problems, come to me immediately. If I’m not here then Mrs. Baker is in charge and you can consult her.”
After Mrs. Evans had left, Amy realized that she had forgotten to find out where Jane was in her studies. Perhaps the former governess had left records, though. If not, then she would have to consult Mrs. Evans, but if she could avoid it she would. The less she saw of that lady the better she would like it.
“Since this is my first day as your new teacher,” Amy told Jane, “I need time to get my lesson schedule worked out. While I do that you can sketch, or do whatever you like here in the classroom.”
“Yes, Miss Taylor.” Jane lost no time in taking her sketch pad out of her desk. Snowball, whom Jane had brought into the classroom with her, curled up on the desk beside her and went to sleep.
“I hope after we get to know each other better we can be friends as well as teacher and student, so if you want to, you can call me Amy.” Perhaps Mrs. Evans wouldn’t approve of that, but she hadn’t forbidden it either. If she was going to avoid all this formality it was better to start immediately. Being called Miss Taylor made her feel like an old maid eighteenth century family governess instead of herself, Amy Taylor. The fact that allowing Jane to call her Amy might also smooth the way for the dropping of formalities with Michael was something she refused to think about.
“That would be nice, Amy. None of the other governesses ever let me call them by their first names.” She bent over her sketch pad and was soon absorbed in her work.
Amy felt a small twinge of apprehension at Jane’s words but, after all, she wasn’t really defying any of Mrs. Evans’ express orders. If Mrs. Evans disapproved the most that could happen was that Amy would have to go back to being Miss Taylor again.
The former governess had left records and Amy learned that Jane was in the middle of her third year of school exactly where she ought to be for her age group. Evidently the former governess had done no more than she had to, teaching the basic curriculum, no more and no less. Amy made her basic lesson plan from that, but she determined that as soon as she learned more about Jane she would add much more to the basic curriculum. History, and math, and such things had to be taught, but Amy firmly believed that they could be more interesting than most teachers took the trouble to make them. She made a note for them to design paper dolls wearing various historical costumes. That would combine history and art in a fun way. She would also try to interest Jane in some less conventional nonacademic subjects such as gardening. They could start now with some potted plants. That might even take Jane’s mind off the gargoyles.
The morning passed quickly and as the sun climbed higher in the incredibly blue sky, changing the snow to an expanse of diamonds, Amy grew as impatient as Jane to get outside. Amy’s thoughts kept going to Michael. If only he would be there this afternoon!
Finally Amy said, “School’s out for today. Let’s see if Mrs. Baker will give us a snack and then let’s go outside.”
Jane didn’t have to be asked twice. She was already halfway down the hall by the time Amy got her lesson plans put away and caught up with her.
The winter sky arched high overhead in a hard incredibly blue shell. All around them the snow glittered in unbroken perfection.The air was sharp, and cold, and clear, making everything stand out with almost super normal clarity. Even Amy, who hated winter, caught her breath at the beauty of the scene. She looked anxiously around for Michael, but there was no sign of him. Amy’s heart fell. Perhaps he wasn’t coming. She was surprised at the keenness of her disappointment. No other young man had made an impression on her like Michael had and she had only met him yesterday. She wondered if she was falling in love. That was ridiculous, though, and dangerous since Michael undoubtedly would not return her feelings.
Jane, dressed in a red coat, and matching red toboggan, and mittens, was tugging eagerly at her hand. “Let’s get my sled out and you can pull me all around the yard.”
“I thought you wanted to build a snowman.” If Michael did come out and didn’t see them, he might go back into the house.
“We have to wait for Michael. He’s going to help us.”
Amy still hesitated. “Perhaps he got busy on his book and forgot. Perhaps he won’t come out today.”
“He’ll be here,” Jane said confidently. “We don’t want to start building the snowman without him, though, so let’s get the sled out now.”
Reluctantly Amy agreed.
The sled was stored in a small storage building, containing tools and a riding lawn mower, behind the gatekeeper’s house. From the storage building, Amy could get a better look at the gatekeeper’s house than she had been able to when she arrived at Stone River Manor yesterday morning. It was a small brick cottage with the front entrance facing on the driveway so the gatekeeper could see anyone arriving at Stone River Manor. The back was half hidden by the tall trees that lined the drive. The bricks were faded almost pink and looked very old. Amy wondered how long it had been standing there. Probably as long as the old mansion itself and that was probably for generations.
“Help me pull the sled out, Amy,” Jane called. “It’s stuck behind these garden tools.”
After they finally got the sled out and were leaving, Amy glanced at the window of the gatehouse that faced the storage building. A white curtain hastily dropped, but not before Amy caught a glimpse of the gatekeeper’s wizened unsmiling face watching them.
Jane got on the sled and Amy began pulling it through the long avenue of trees leading to the mansion. The snow had been cleared a car’s width wide along the driveway, but there was still plenty of snow on either side for the sled to run on.
“Let’s look at the ice skating pond, Amy. You haven’t seen it yet, have you?”
“I saw it from the classroom window, but that’s all. I’d like to see the river closer too and that summer house.”
“I’ll show you everything here at Stone River Manor. We’ve got over seven acres here, you know.”
Once the sled got going the momentum made it easy to pull. Amy began running and Jane laughed delightedly. In spite of herself, Amy was beginning to enjoy the snow. If only Michael would come!
The gazebo was transformed into a wedding cake, only its top sticking out, and snow outlining its delicate lattice work.
“I guess we won’t go inside today,” Amy laughed.
The ice skating pond covered at least an acre and was swept clear of snow.
“Do you skate?” Jane asked.
“I’ll have to teach you then. It’s wonderful, almost like flying. Maybe tomorrow afternoon we can skate.”
“That would be wonderful.” Perhaps Michael would join them then. Amy visualized herself gliding across the ice in Michael’s arms.
They went on down for a closer look at the river being careful not to get too close to where the bank dropped off at an angle. Covered by snow it would be easy to step off and slide right down into the water. The river was calm today with only a slight ripple on its wide surface and it reflected the blue of the sky. In the clear air the skyscrapers of Louistown across the river looked almost close enough to touch although the river had to be at least a mile wide at this point.
They turned to go and Amy saw Michael walking with long strides across the yard toward them. Amy forced herself to walk slowly, pulling Jane’s sled, to meet him and hoped her face didn’t betray her emotions.
“Are you and Miss Taylor about ready to let me help you build that snowman?” he asked Jane, sweeping her off the sled and holding her, giggling, high in the air.
“Amy and I have been ready for a half hour now. We were waiting for you.”
“Amy?” He looked at Amy in surprise. “Does your teacher let you call her by her first name? None of the others ever did.”
“It’s all right,” Amy quickly explained. “I don’t like to be called Miss Taylor. It makes me feel old. I wish you’d call me Amy too.”
Michael laughed. “Then you’d better call me Michael.”
“All right, Michael.” The name felt sweet on her tongue and she said it slowly, lingering over each syllable.
The afternoon passed swiftly. Jane rolled balls of snow until they became too huge for her to push. Then Amy and Michael had to help her and the three of them pushed them together. Laughing and jostling each other, they worked on, making the snowman larger and larger. When Michael accidentally brushed against her, or touched her hand, Amy felt as if her whole body was on fire. One time his toboggan fell off and he stood there laughing and shaking the diamond crystals of snow off it, his black hair falling in his eyes. Amy knew then that she loved him.
Finally the snowman was finished, towering higher than Michael’s head, and complete with a red neck scarf.
“That’s a fine looking snowman. We’ll have to take a picture of him.”
Amy turned around. The man speaking wasn’t quite as tall as Michael, but he was more solidly and muscularly built and appeared to be about thirty. His eyes were a deep blue that seemed to reflect a total honesty of character, the kind of person who would never compromise on what he believed to be right. Righteous was the word that strangely came to Amy’s mind, but it seemed to fit the man. Righteous, meaning not merely good in the sense that many people are good and decent people, but uncompromisingly choosing right over wrong. He was wearing a brown toboggan so Amy could not tell what color his hair might be.
Jane was upon the newcomer in an instant smothering him in hugs. “You should have been here, Lawrence. We’ve had so much fun this afternoon. Michael has been helping Amy and me build a snowman. Amy is my new governess.”
“Lawrence Reese, Michael’s and Marjorie’s brother,” he said, holding his hand out to Amy. “I’m pleased to meet you.” There was none of the mockery in his eyes that had been in Michael’s when he’d introduced himself to her.
“I’m Amy Taylor,” she said, deciding that Michael’s brother seemed like a very nice person.
A change had come over Michael at Lawrence’s arrival, however. Looking back at him now, Amy saw the old sullen look back on his face again.
“Line up beside the snowman and I’ll take your picture,” Lawrence told them.
To Amy’s relief, Michael was smiling for the picture and she wondered if the sullen look she’d thought she’d seen earlier hadn’t just been her imagination. She wondered if she dared ask Lawrence for a copy of the finished photograph.
“If these are good I’ll make copies for all of us,” Lawrence said, looking at Amy.
“Why don’t you take my place?” Amy asked on impulse, warmed by Lawrence’s considerateness, even though he couldn’t possibly know how badly she wanted a photograph of Michael. “I’ll take another picture with you in it.”
Lawrence showed her how to adjust the setting on the camera and Amy snapped the picture, wishing Michael’s smile didn’t look so forced this time.
“How’s your book coming, Michael?” Lawrence asked after the photography session was finished.
Michael’s face looked like a thunderbolt at that seemingly innocent question.
“Fine. Just fine,” he muttered. “In fact I ought to be working on it now.”
Without so much as a good-by to anyone he turned on his heel, and walked back to the house, covering the distance in long strides, and not looking back.
A cloud went over the sun then and Amy noticed for the first time that a gradual overcast was covering the sky. A wind had sprung up and she suddenly felt chilled to the bone. The happiness she had felt earlier was all gone now. Why had Lawrence had to come home and spoil everything, she thought resentfully, knowing in her heart that she was being unfair, that the fault had really been Michael’s. He’d acted like a spoiled child, but she would admit no fault in the man she loved, not even from herself. She’d forgotten about the gargoyles all afternoon, but looking around the bleak scene her eyes caught theirs. Once caught by their gaze she found it, as before, impossible to look away. She was suddenly outside of time and nothing existed but her own panic, and the gargoyles, and their bitter derisive laughter. For eternities she was forced to watch as the gargoyles went on laughing, cold, hard, silent, mirthless stone laughter.
Suddenly she was brought back to reality by Lawrence’s hand on her arm. “Are you all right?”
Still dazed, but the contact with the gargoyles broken, she turned to look at him. “Yes. I guess I’m just getting a bit chilled. We’ve been out for a long time.”
Lawrence was still looking at her anxiously. “Are you sure? Just for a moment you looked funny. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone look so terrified, but at the same time your eyes looked kind of blank as if you were a million miles away.”
Amy laughed nervously. “I’m fine, just very cold.” If she didn’t start controlling these fantasies people would think she was crazy. She still couldn’t completely shake the feeling that there really was some supernatural power about the gargoyles and that she must learn what it was if she wished to survive. This man would never understand that, though. He was too strong and too practical to have ever felt the gargoyles’ bleak power over his mind. Michael alone would understand. He too searched for the answer to the mystery of their terrible laughter. Perhaps together they could discover it. Soon she would suggest it to him, but not yet. She didn’t want to know what she now felt she had to learn. She must have just a little longer before she knew the reason the gargoyles laughed, but she dared not wait too long. If she did they might very well destroy her mind before she could learn what she had to know.
“You certainly are chilled. You’re shaking like a leaf.” Lawrence looked at his watch .“Mrs. Baker should have tea ready now. You can sit by the fire and drink a cup of hot tea. That should warm you.” He took her arm and gently led her back to the house with Jane walking on her other side. The pressure of his arm was firm, but gentle, and Amy felt that here was a man who could always be counted on.
HAZEL FERN HENSON
NEAR OLD DAM 43
NEW BOSTON, INDIANA
JANUARY 25, 1981
PHOTOGRAPH BY CLAUDE B. HENSON
Started this research January 20, 2019 Sunday for January 2019 Blog. Everything on this document also bookmarked. Research to be continued and used each month on blog along with chapter of Amy’s book to be published each month.
This is the original search on Bing to find out more about gargoyles.
This article is from Wikipedia. It has quite a bit of basic information about gargoyles. There are also photos of gargoyles which can be downloaded. I did not have time today to check out all the many links in this article for additional research and photos of the gargoyles that this author has included in his article, but there are a lot of additional links to more information and photos. Most of the photos appear to be Creative Commons, which means that you can republish them if you give the original photographer credit.
- A. This is the link to the whole article:
- B. This is the link to one of the gargoyle photos that I especially liked. I was able to download it but did not include it on my website as I did not have time this month to figure out how to give the photographer credit. I will use the download for my personal use only, but if you want the photo here is the link. It can be reused under Creative Commons, which is explained on the Wikimedia website when you want to download the photo. The photo was published on Wikimedia Commons and can be downloaded in various sizes. I saved the large size to use as wallpaper.
- New Bing Search term just using word gargoyle. I don’t have time right now to do much with this search but saving it for later. There was a TV show titled Gargoyles at one time. I remember occasionally watching it. It was a cartoon show for kids and was a good show. I will look up more information about this show to include in future gargoyle research. I seem to remember, but am not sure, that some of the shows are now available to watch for free on YouTube. If I find any later, I will also include the links to those videos in future posts. However, apparently, this show has taken up most of the first-place search results for the term gargoyles. In my original search under the term gargoyles, links to information and websites for that show came up mostly rather than research information about gargoyles, which was what I was looking for. So, I changed the search term to just gargoyle. Here are the results for that search. This appears to have a bit more relevant information and when I resume this research, I will use this search to add more links to this gargoyle research document:
- 4. Finally, here is the link to a short (2 minutes 59 seconds) slideshow video with music on YouTube that I had previously saved to my watch list. It is a series of black and white photos of gargoyles. I especially like black and white photos, so really liked this video. There are many other videos of gargoyles on YouTube. I think I found most of them with the search term of either gargoyles or gargoyle and saved some of them to my watch list and will include more links to more gargoyle videos in later research.
- This video was titled Remains of the Day (gargoyles) and was posted by jchiff on July 22, 2009.
- Here is his main YouTube page with a few more videos. After checking out his page more, I only see three videos and a few that have now been deleted. I saw no recent posts, so probably he is not posting to YouTube anymore, but the two videos of the gargoyles and another one of old cemeteries are still up and worth watching. Here is his main website with the listings of all his videos on it.
- He has one other very good video on his page that I am including the link to. This is also a series of black and white photos made into a slideshow with music. These are photos of very old gravestones and statues of angels, etc. in old cemeteries. This short (3 minutes and 25 seconds) video was posted on March 19, 2010. This video is titled Remains of the Day (tombs & gravestones).
- That is, it for the gargoyle research for the January blog. Have worked on it all afternoon on this cold snowy January day. A little bit of snow last night when heavy all-day rain finally turned to snow about 9 o’clock last night. Lucky that most of the day was too warm for the rain to turn to snow until late! Bitter cold this morning and has not warmed up enough today to melt much of the snow. Started to melt a bit, though, but got some photos and videos of the snow while it was still pretty this morning.
- Only need a few photos from Mama’s old photo albums and the January blog will be ready to post. May look for them this evening, or if not, then tomorrow. Will do more research on gargoyles for Amy’s book chapter later to publish next month. Learned a lot more about gargoyles and enjoyed doing this research this afternoon, and hope someone else enjoys reading it also.
- Will get the January blog posted in a day or so and then start gathering photos and material for the February blog.
CLAUDE B. HENSON
STATE ROAD 111 NEAR EVANS LANDING, INDIANA
JANUARY 25, 1981
PHOTOGRAPH BY HAZEL FERN HENSON
MARY HAZEL UPTON & GAIN UPTON
BIG CLIFTY FALLS AT CLIFTY FALLS STATE PARK
NOVEMBER 24, 1978
PHOTOGRAPH BY HAZEL FERN HENSON
KROGER FLOWER SHOP IN CLARKSVILLE, INDIANA
JANUARY 12, 2017
PHOTOGRAPH BY MARY HAZEL UPTON
Cherie was in charge of the Clarksville Kroger flower shop. I always visited with her and she let me take photos of her beautiful flowers. She has since been transferred to the New Albany Krogers.
MARY HAZEL'S DIARY
JANUARY 31, 2019 THURSDAY
Going on three o'clock now. The blog is posted now, but still needs to be proofed. After it is proofed I will post again that it is finished. I am not sure how much space is left for a diary entry, so there may not be much of a diary again this month. I really don't want to take any of the photographs out. I will work a bit longer and then take a break before getting the rest of the proofreading done today. I am running late on getting the January post done, and have not decided what I may post next month other than chapter 3 of Amy's book. I have not looked for any photos for the February post yet either. Hopefully, I can start getting material ahead for future posts, as I'd originally planned to do, and get the February blog posted sometime next month, and then begin posting at the first of each month. A lot of unexpected interruptions and work at home came up this month, though, too numerous to mention here in the probably very limited space left for the diary!
There is a little snow on the ground now and it is bitter cold now, but earlier this month these dandelions were blooming! The snowdrops also bloomed the beginning of this month, as they are supposed to, and have lasted all month. They are covered with snow now and fading but have bloomed most of the month. So pretty! I would like to plant more of them this autumn.
Just after 7:30 P.M. now as I finish the final part of the diary and all but the final proof of the blog. I will proof the blog once more tomorrow to make sure there are no mistakes and post a brief note to the diary that it is finished.
The entry from the Longcliff Diary, by the way, was originally published on Writers-Network on January 2, 2017, but Writers-Network is out of print now. I still don't know why.
Coming up next month, Chapter 3 of Amy's book. I will try to find a few more photos from Mama's books to illustrate that chapter. If I have time I will also do a bit more research about gargoyles and include it. I am not sure what else I may publish for February, but will look for some good flower photos and one more short piece to publish along with the book chapter. I will also look for and publish more old photos of Mama, Daddy, and Gain from Mama's photo books as I do every month and also another photo of Hammerhead from the ones I took so that they may all be remembered.
In this next chapter Amy meets Jane's great-grandmother, a reclusive old woman who stays in her room most of the time because of her age and being confined to a wheelchair. She and Jane visit the old woman, as Jane does every chance she gets, but the grandmother makes Amy uncomfortable for some reason. In this chapter also Amy has more disturbing nightmares centering on the gargoyles.
I will try to get the February blog posted sometime this month. Hope you enjoyed this month's blog. Thank you for reading my writing and Amy also thanks you! Until next time.
JANUARY DANDELION ON SUNNY SIDE OF HOUSE
JANUARY 3, 2019
PHOTOGRAPH BY MARY HAZEL UPTON
JANUARY DANDELION ALREADY FADED BESIDE THE NEW ONE NOW BLOOMING
JANUARY 3, 2019
PHOTOGRAPH BY MARY HAZEL UPTON
I had quit "patrolling for flowers" back in the late autumn, as I did everyday when they were blooming. I would walk around with my camera to see what new flowers might be blooming and take photos. I was out this warm day in January to check Hammerhead's May Pops behind the house. May Pops are his "memorial flower" because he found the original ones on Bell Avenue and I was able to tell him, just before he passed away, that we now had May Pops in my yard too. He did not get to see them. The May Pops were full of fruit--I let it all stay to make more seed, but while I was out there checking the May Pops, I saw these dandelions, one of which had already bloomed and faded.
HAMMERHEAD ON HIS BIRTHDAY GOING INTO HIS HOUSE
FEBRUARY 8, 2015
PHOTOGRAPH BY MARY HAZEL UPTON
I had taken Hammerhead out somewhere the day I took this photo. Probably I have an account of it in one of my diaries when I can look through them for it. I never drove away until I was sure he was safely in his house and snapped this photo from the alley while sitting in Van Boy. He usually insisted I did not need to walk him to the house unless he had a lot of packages he needed help carrying.