Friday, January 23, 2015

W Not M . . . and On Inter-conectedness . . .


 Back to that Ledger. A closer look tells me it's W. Jones -- not M. I remain fascinated with this guy with his lost baseball (10 cents,) his 'segars' and plugs of tobacco, and his soda fountain visits (50, 25, 50, and 50 cents again) -- was he treating a lady -- or just extra thirsty? Remember, 50 cents equalled five hours work.



A comment from Esta suggested Maryville College - MC) in Tennessee as the school W. Jones was attending. It was in existence in 1910 and sounds like a very interesting place -- integrated from the beginning until forced to segregate by state law. I have emailed the library there to ask if they have a copy of the school's 1910 annual -- and if a W. Jones is in it. (He recorded spending a princely $2 -- that's 20 hours worth of work -- for an annual that year.)



Ah, the inter-connectedness of things -- Maryville (near Knoxville) is the setting of part of my work in progress -- the Quaker sweetheart of one of my main character lives there and tends a stop on the Underground Railroad.  And in rousting through yet another drawer as part of the tidying up frenzy that uncovered the ledger, I came across the address of a student at one of my Rugby workshops who lives in . . .you guessed it, Maryville.



Excerpt from WIP -- working title  THIS WAS THE WAY OF IT. Sim is visiting his sweetheart Cora at her family's farm in Maryville . . .


As Cora lit a tallow dip that she had taken from her basket, I begun to see some better. There was pallets of straw and old quilts along one wall and a rough low table with a bench on either side took up the middle of the room. A big man, the blackest of any man I had ever seen, was setting on the pallets with one leg stretched out so's his bandaged foot could rest on a folded blanket. Another man, some younger and not so black, was at the table along with an old woman wrapped up in a shawl. Across from them was what I took to be a white woman holding a white baby and two young uns beside her, one kindly coffee-and-milk colored -- what folks call a 'mule,' and the other real dark. I couldn't make no sense of what the white woman and her baby was doing there with a bunch of runaway slaves. 
                They had all of them perked up at the sight of Cora and the basket but when they saw me, they looked scared. The big man started to stand up but Cora stopped him.
                  “Stay down, George,” she says. “Sim is a friend. Let me share out the food and then I’ll tend to thy foot.”
                      “Bless you, Miss Cora,” the woman says, and the men and the young uns says, “Bless you. Bless you.”
                 Cora shared out the food in bowls and you never saw people so happy to eat beans and bacon and cornbread. She had a jug of new milk too which they passed around and the young uns licked their lips over its sweetness.
              Then she called me to hold the tallow dip close while she undid the big man’s bandages.
             When I saw the nature of his wound, it took all I had to keep my supper from coming back up. Ever one of his toes had been cut off.

7 comments:

Ms. A said...

Cora, huh? That's MY name. LOL!

June said...

Oh goody!
I'm all warm and fuzzy now from the little taste of the book!

...or is my bathrobe on fire?

Barbara Rogers said...

Oh my yes, what a weave we are part of...I always liked the image of the tapestry of life, of which we can only see the reverse side.

Jim Egerton said...

Give me more Vicki. I want more!!

Jim Egerton said...

I'm thinkin maybe Mr. Jones was as poor as a church mouse and kept his journal as a way of dreaming about the things he could not afford.

Stella Jones said...

Isn't it interesting to look back at old things! Fascinating indeed and I love your new words.

NCmountainwoman said...

Looking forward to more of the story. And I love the old sayings written so long ago and true today.