Rudy Carries On

imageJody’s rooster acted just like him, except maybe for the drinking.  He was in a chronic bad mood, always looking for a fight. We could hear him coming. “ Aruuh, aruuuh, aruuuh.”  He sounded like the screeching of metal rubbing against itself.  He entertained himself by stalking around and finding someone or something to attack.  We all despised Rudy, and ran when we heard, “Aruuh, aruuh, aruuh.”   I was visiting the neighbor kids, Lainy and her mean big sister Nita, when Rudy hopped the Austin’s fence into their yard.  If Nita ever played with us, we could usually count on a mean trick, like stomping our mudpies or kicking down the walls of our playhouses.  As we sat in the grass making clover chain necklaces, Nita jumped up and ran in the house.  She latched the screen door behind her, not saying a word.  Lainy and I just kept on making our necklaces when we heard, “Aruuh, aruuh, aruuh,” right behind us.

Rudy had sneaked up on us.  We tried to escape, but he jumped high on Lainy’s back, hanging onto her hair, clawing and scratching her with his big spurs.  I made it to the front porch, but Rudy hung on to Lainy, flogging and clawing.  Every time she tried to make it to the porch, Rudy clawed her again, and off she went, his beating fueling her terror.  Poor little Lainy ran round and round the house, that sneaky Nita running from window to window, door to door, laughing and enjoying the whole thing.  When Lainy’s mother realized what was going on, she raced to Lainy’s rescue. Rudy kept spurring Lainy somewhere out in the yard . Finally, Lainy’s mother caught up to her and pulled Rudy off her.  Furious as a mama bear, she whirled Rudy around smartly to snap his evil neck, slung him a few times around her head to do be sure she’d done the job right, then turned him loose to do his final chase around the yard.  Even though his head hung to one side and flopped madly as he ran in circles, it wasn’t comforting to see the depraved monster coming at us again.

Jody Austin had started over to save his property when he realized Rudy had gotten in over his head, but reconsidered when he saw Rudy’s sad fate at that enraged mama’s hands.  Nita didn’t fare too well when her Mama made time to deal with her, either.

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Creepy Vintage Picture

Creepy

I just love vintage pictures.  What in the world do you suppose was going on here?  I am going to hang on to this on.  I know I will need it for a story sometime.  It deserves screams for one!

People Ought Not to Have to Live That Way

imageAfter his father died , Daddy told of his family moving in a battered old shack sitting in a open field occupied by a bull and herd of cows.  It was really not much better than a barn, just unpainted planks with unfinished walls inside, tin roof visible above the open rafters. The  cows offered little threat, but the Jersey bull raged when the cows were in heat.  Mettie and the kids had to always had to keep a look out for him when they stepped outdoors to do laundry or fetch water from the well.  Mettie kept the little girls close by in case they had to make a run for the house.  She and the older boys made sure he was nowhere around before starting across the open field to the road. Continue reading

Kathleen and the Phantom Killer

parents wedding pic(How my parents met in June 1945.  My mother had just graduated and was working as a waitress while she waited to start college that fall, when she met my father.  From her memoirs I am currently writing.)

After I graduated, I looked forward to being a lawyer or a teacher for a few years before settling down with a doting husband, maybe a doctor or judge, in a nice little house in town Continue reading

Death of a Mean Girl (from Kathleen’s Memoirs of the 1930s)

Vernell Mullins and Jessie Hollins cornered me as I headed out of the schoolhouse after school one terrible day, cutting me off from the troop exiting the building.  Backing me against me against the wall, they bent over and got right in my face. “We’re gonna pull your pants down and look at your tile.” (They pronounced it tile, but I know now they had to have meant tail) I was terrorized.  They must have been at least sixteen.  To have been singled out by them for such a horrific and shameful threat changed my life.  It had never occurred to me before that I had any such thing to fear from them or anyone else. We were so modest at our house that we didn’t even refer to our private parts or answer from the outhouse.  Thankfully, they had accosted me in a public place.  I could hear their vicious laughter as I fled.  My shame overwhelmed me.  I obsessed over it but would have never told Mama, feeling I had somehow deserved it.  I was quiet the rest of the day at home, dreading another such attack tomorrow.

The next day and every day thereafter, I gave them a wide berth, taking care never to get caught alone anywhere.  I felt like prey, about to be run down any time.  Coming in from school one afternoon, I got a biscuit and glass of milk as always, along with Mama’s usual admonition to change out of my school clothes and hang up my dress before I went out to play.  Mama was having coffee with Miz Reagan when I came back through.  “Oh did you hear the terrible news?” asked Miz Reagan.  “Vernell Mullins died today.  Her kidneys just shut down and she died!  They thought she just had the flu……a young person like her.  Isn’t that just the saddest thing?”

I was ecstatic!  After the fear I’d been living with the past couple of weeks, news of Vernell’s death was a blessed relief.  Then and there, I started praying for Jessie’s death, watching her hopefully for signs of developing illness over the next few days.  Even eighty years later, knowing Vernell’s death was not a judgment from God, in one little six-year-old corner of my heart, I can still remember the macabre joy with which I received the news.

Screaming Green Slime

You’d expect daily pandemonium in a household of seven but wait!  Like those infomercials on TV, we got two for the price of one!  And at no extra charge, Daddy and I both walked and talked in our sleep.  Most people have experience with people talking in their sleep, but sleep-walking less common.  The sleep-walker doesn’t look like the ones Continue reading