Crazy Charlsie Part 13

I started this serial months ago and finally got back to it.

It starts with Charley’s birth.

It continues with Charley’s coming of age.


Charley had never been invited to Marzell’s home or called her on the phone, so he went by to let her know he was going to spend the summer at the farm.  Stepfather Melvin met him at the door.  “What do you want?  You ain’t lost nothin’ here.”

“I just wanted to let Marzell know I’m going to my farm for the summer.”

“Oh, so you’re the morphodite that little tramp’s been running around with.  She ain’t having nothing else to do with you.  Get lost!” As the hateful man turned to slam the door, he shoved Marzell roughly to the floor.

Enraged, but mindless of his recent surgery, Charley tried to shove his way in to Marzell, Melvin burst out, pummeling him with his beefy fists.  A few well-placed blows reduced Charles to a crumpled heap on the porch.  “I’ll kill you if I ever see you close to her again, you freaky dyke!”  With a final kick to the ribs, Charles landed on the bottom step.

It took Charles several humiliating minutes to work his way to his feet as the pain in his left side held him in its twisted grip.  With one eye swollen shut and front teeth loose, his battered nose dripped blood down his shirt.  Charles’s first challenge to his manhood had left him suffering the second and most cruel emasculation of his young life.

As he struggled homeward, the sordid scene played over and over in his head. His surgical wound had eviscerated, leaking blood and serum.  He barely made it to his front porch before collapsing.  Thankfully, the dog’s barking alerted his father.

Hard Time Marrying Part 9

traveling-medicine-show1No mother had ever loved her.  A woman or two passed through, but none of them stayed long.  Ever since she could remember, she’d trailed Pa at his blacksmith or on the homestead though some days he didn’t speak five words to her.  As she got older, she picked up a little cooking, but neither of them did more than they had to in the house.  She was near thirteen when Bessie and her three boys moved in homestead after marrying Pa, Bessie railed at the filth in the house and set about teaching Anya housekeeping with a ready back-hand.  She wasn’t partial to the girl, backhanding her own boys just as often.  When Bessie’s baby girl was born a few months later, she carelessly handed it off to Anya, taking it only to nurse.  For the first time in her life, Anya knew love, never leaving her new sister in Bessie’s way.

Bessie remarried quickly after Pa was kicked in the head by a horse and liked Anya even less after she caught her new man looking Anya’s way.  Within a month, she’d handed Anya off to a Snake Oil peddler passing through.  He warned her not to try to get away.  “I done paid good money for you.”  Anya endured his drunken assaults and those of men who paid him for her time.  After the most brutal beating and rape she’d yet endured, he passed out from his own “Snake Oil.”  Fueled by adrenaline and the knowledge that it was now or never, despite her useless right arm, Anya dragged herself to the wagon, took his pistol from under the wagon seat, aimed at his head and pulled the trigger.  It kicked her backwards against the wagon.  Desperately, she pulled herself up, took the shovel propped against the wagon wheel, steadied herself as best she could, and bashed in his skull.  Repositioning herself, she took another go at him, knowing if he lived, he’d kill her.

With agonizing effort, she pulled his old horse next to the wagon and slid over from the step.  Fortunately for her, the horse was old and docile or he’d have never tolerated her clumsiness.  Popping the reins, she gave him his head.  From time to time she’d nod off and awaken to find his head drooping, as he rested along with her.  Urging him on, they’d travel a bit more till he sensed she wouldn’t notice his dawdling. In that manner, they traveled on through the night and early morning.  As her fatigue and pain got the better of her, she spent less and less time pushing him.  He ambled along and grazed as he pleased with no interference from her.  She slid from his back as he made his way down a little slope to a stream.  She drank beside him and crawled into the shade of a willow to rest.  Somewhat interested, he watched his fellow traveler, then began grazing further and further along the stream.  It was a good day to be a horse on the loose.







Hard Times With Mettie Knight Swain


Five of Maw Maw’s seven children.  My father, Bill Swain is the little boy with wet pants holding the cap.  One more child was born after this picture was made.  It is likely someone just happened by with a camera and snapped this shot. Continue reading

Advice for the Easter Season: No Baby Chicks!

Rubberneck 1Rubberneck 2repost for Easter:  Illustrations by Kathleen Swain

No little kid should ever be allowed a small, defenseless duck, chick, or bunny for a pet.  One of those four hundred pound tortoises would be a far better choice.  It could protect itself and the kid couldn’t pick it up.  Porcupines or crocodiles should be fine, too.  They could probably hold their own against a four year old.  Case in point, when I was four, Continue reading

Instrument of Torture

I grew up way back in the 1950s and 1960s before the days of “Time Outs.”  I think I would have loved time out.  My parents had five wild kids.  They were partial to the time-   honored switch and belt system.  If Mother wasn’t too serious about the point she was making, she was fairly likely to pull the plastic fly swat off the nail by the stove and give us Continue reading