Monday, October 28, 2013

You Can't Trust Somebody Who Kicks Your Cat

October 28, 1964

Jocie Brooke here reporting from Main Street, Hollyhill.

As you can see in the photo here, not much going on Main Street on a Tuesday afternoon. There are days when I go out and stomp on the sidewalk just to see if I can wake up anybody in the town. But nobody ever rushes out of the stores to see what's going on. The street just sits there empty as ever. Empty might be good if Dad would let me bring my rollerskates to town, but he won't. Now, doesn't that look like the best place to skate you've ever seen, but Dad thinks I might run somebody over. I know how to stop. Now. That time I barreled into Mrs. Jeffries in front of newspaper office, well, she should have seen me coming. She could step to the side easier than I could. I was only beginning to learn to skate then. Besides, my scrapes were lots worse than hers. She hardly bled at all, and Dad made me break into my piggy bank to give her money to buy a new pair of hose. 

Did you ever rollerskate on the sidewalk? I bet you ran over somebody now and again too, didn't you? I sure do wish they'd let us take rollerskates to school. Then it would be easier to make it between classes. Can you imagine everybody on rollerskates? Even the teachers. Mrs. Watson would have to give up those spike heels. She'd probably wobble less on the skates. 

But back to running over things, that Mr. Whitlow is back to coming to sweet talk Zella. Good thing he never stays long or Zella would never get the ads typed up for the paper to come out. She hardly knows her name when he's around. But there's something about him. Something weird - something even more than him acting like he's struck on Zella. And that's weird enough.

He kicked Cat. He did. I saw him. Cat was being halfway friendly. Either that or Cat thought Mr. Whitlow might have a cat treat in his pants cuff. I'd go for the cat treat. Could be Mr. Whitlow had a tuna fish sandwich for lunch and dropped a bit of it in his cuff. Cats have good noses. And they do not like to be kicked! What kind of man kicks a cat just because said Cat is sniffing his pant cuffs and shoes? It's not like he couldn't move around Cat. Cat's very small. Poor thing's been up on the top of the fence ever since. Wes says he'll come down when he gets hungry. Unless he catches a bird. See what that Mr. Whitlow set in motion. I'm thinking he's ready to set something else in motion, but I have no idea what. But it can't be good. Just ask Cat.

So I'm back on the detective trail again. Maybe something will show up on Halloween night. That's when the goblins and ghosts come out, isn't it? Mr. Whitlow is some kind of strange for sure. 

Do you think Zella saw him kick Cat? She gets sort of blinded when that man is around. What would you do if you saw someone kicking your cat?


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Monday, October 21, 2013

Nature's Jungle Gym

October 21, 1964

Jocie Brooke here reporting from Holly County, Kentucky. Don't you just love it when the leaves start turning? It makes me just want to start walking through the ones that have already fallen so I can hear that rustling sound. Hard to sneak up on anybody that way. We had this nature person who came and talked to our 4-H Club once. He took us on a hike and stopped in the middle of a field where a lot of leaves were on the ground. He had us all stand in a circle around one person he picked to stand in the middle with a blindfold on. He asked if we thought we could sneak up on the person. He picked me to give it a try.  I've always heard about the Indians being able to walk through the woods without making a sound, but I don't know how they did it. I tried to move the way I thought they would, but I hadn't taken two steps in those noisy leaves before the person in the middle was turned and facing right toward me. There was no way I could walk through those leaves without making a noise. The guide laughed and said I could have tried a different approach and just run as fast as I could so that maybe I could have gotten to the person in the middle before they had time to turn toward me. But I was trying to slip my feet through the leaves quietly. Impossible!

It's more fun to just crunch on through them. And look what I found on Miss Sally's farm. A jungle gym! Well, not one of those bought kinds, but this one is even better. It's nature made with grapevines to swing on and climb around on and do some bouncing on too. They tell you that grapevines don't break. They might not break, but sometimes they turn loose of the tree they're growing around if you pull on them hard enough. 

I love walking in the woods in October. How about you? Is that something you like? What do you like about October?  

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Beatlemania in Hollyhill

October 14, 1964

Jocie Brooke here reporting from Hollyhill, Kentucky. Do you know about the Beatles? You have to have heard their song "I Want to Hold Your Hand." I mean, everybody has heard that song. Everybody!! Aunt Love holds her ears if she hears it on my little radio and Leigh, Dad's girlfriend, says they can't hold a candle to Elvis. But I sort of like them. Even if they are from England and have floppy long hair. You have to admit the song is sort of catchy. 

Our 4-H Club got into some trouble because of that song. You see, we have this talent show every year and all the clubs can enter a small group act and a big club act. It's a big thing for the elementary schools. The principals and teachers arrange the acts and they make the kids practice every day. It's sort of a school pride thing and competition. But when you get to high school, the 4-H Club doesn't have all that support and we're pretty much on our own. But we did come up with a club act and sang some show tunes. Not great, but we did it. 

That wasn't why we got into trouble. It was the other act. Four of the boys in our club decided to pretend to be the Beatles and lip sync "I Want to Hold Your Hand." They got wigs somewhere. Don't ask me where! I have no idea. Then they got some drums for the guy who was Ringo and guitars for the others. It was all in fun and like no act you've ever seen at a Holly County 4-H Talent Show. The girls in the club decided to do our part to make it like a real Beatles' performance. So we did a little screaming. You know like the fans do for the Beatles. As far as I know, none of us actually fainted. We were just having fun, but Miss Lester, the principal at one of the elementary schools, was not happy. Of course, Miss Lester is never happy. If she's ever smiled, there were no witnesses. Some grown-ups don't want kids to have any fun. 

Dad gave me a talking to, but I don't think he was real mad or anything. He didn't make me stop listening to my radio even though he's not crazy about the Beatles. He says he doesn't think kids should be acting like four guys from England are some kind of heroes when all they're doing is singing some silly songs. He says the best hero to have is Jesus and I have to agree with that. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Meet Cassidy from Orchard of Hope

October 8, 1964

Jocie Brooke here reporting from Hollyhill, Kentucky. I'm sorry to be late reporting, but I had a whole page of sentences to diagram. Plus two pages of Algebra and I had to draw a picture of a flower showing all the parts, stamens or pistils or something like that. Mrs. Boggs, she teaches science, is a flower nut. I like flowers as good as the next person but I don't care what their stems are called. Anyway, it took me forever last night, but I got it finished and turned in. 

So tonight, how about I introduce you to Cassidy Hearndon? Never heard of her? Well, I hadn't either until her family moved to a farm out in Holly County. You might not think that too strange until I tell you they're a black family. I guess more than the school is getting integrated this year. The county is too. Dad says the Hearndons' are the first black family to buy land out in the country around the church. In this little scene from that book about Hollyhill, Orchard of Hope, Cassidy isn't sure she wants to come to our church.

    The first Sunday in September when Cassidy Hearndon's mama got her up and said they were going to the white people's church, Cassidy thought about sticking her finger down her throat and making herself throw up. She'd done it back in Chicago a time or two so she wouldn't have to go to school. It had worked them. It might work now, but then her mother would make her stay inside and it was way too hot to be stuck in the house all day shut up in the back bedroom to make sure she didn't share her sickness with none of the rest of the family. Not that the scaredy-cat sickness was catching or anything. 
    Cassidy picked up the dress her mother had laid out for her to wear. It was the green and white one with tulips on it, her very favorite, but she didn't want to put it on. Not till she had to. It was cooler just standing there in her slip and underpants.
      "What in the world is wrong with you, Cassidy Marie?" her mama asked. "Stop moping around and get dressed."
    "It's too hot to get all dressed up and go to church," Cassidy complained.
    "The good Lord didn't say it was too hot when he paid the price for our sins, young missy."
    "Then why can't we go up to the church in town? They like us up there."
    "Now listen to you. We aren't going to church to make people like us," her mama said. "We're going to church to worship, and the good Lord has put a church right down at the end of our road for us to do that. We don't have to spend a half hour and gasoline we can't afford driving to town."
    "But they look at me funny." Cassidy traced one of the tulips on the dress with her finger. She loved tulips. They'd had tulips in their yard in Chicago. Red and yellow and purple tulips.

Cassidy did come to church and after a while she liked it there. She always liked Miss Sally, but then everybody likes Miss Sally. Every church needs a Miss Sally - somebody who loves you just the way you are and makes you glad you came to church. 

     Does your church have a Miss Sally?