Monthly Archives: September 2014

Well, I’m in good company…

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September 25, 2014 · 3:04 pm

“Striking Time” by Carl D’Agostino

Yes, Carl does make you smile…

I Know I Made You Smile

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A Discovery…

miss modenea

The “World’s Oldest Profession.”

 

A Bit of Family Genealogy and after “dusting off an old draft discovered a story in the making”

In the early 1800s, the hectic harbor in Mobile, Alabama was bustling with upriver planters who came to town for the annual cotton-marketing season. Along the waterfront a variety of establishments from boarding houses, hotels, saloons and other places know as the gentlemen’s entertaining facilities, as a group they were known as “Shakespeare’s Row”. During the South’s Antebellum Era prostitution ranked right up there with vagrancy and public intoxication. It later became a prohibition of any disorderly behavior public or privately. The fines for “keeping a disorderly house” ranged from $10 to $25; there were no consistent laws on the subject.

It was during mid-1850, when my Great-great Aunt Molly and Modena found themselves visiting a distant cousin in Mobile near the waterfront. They had inherited a hotel in downtown Birmingham and after working night and day for months decided to give themselves a vacation. Leaving the Hotel in the capable hands of their hired staff the ladies went on their retreat.

It was toward the end of their stay when they ventured onto the waterfront and Shakespeare’s Row. Neither Molly nor Modena wavered from having a good time. When they inherited their Aunt Ira’s Hotel the family encouraged them to turn their lives around and make a living running the upper-class establishment in Birmingham.

It was during that trip to Mobil that gave them the idea of returning to Birmingham and turning the their Hotel into a “Gentleman’s Club”. They did not identify themselves with the Shakespeare Row prostitutes, but they did know that since their youth their need to pander with men was well known. That is how the Gentleman’s Club came into existence.

These two young women advertised the club as a place catering to the wealthy.  In the beginning cards, cigars and liquor became the enticement. Upon paying a substantial monthly fee to join, and a separate “visiting” fee deposited at the door would give a gentleman their choice of available “Ladies of Pleasure” or “Ladies of Easy Virtue” for one hour. The city agreed to turn their heads to these nightly “Whore Parties” for a reasonable tax! A wink and a nod condoned and protected prostitution at the Hotel for almost 50 years.

Therefore, Miss Molly and Miss Modena brought the red-light district to Birmingham, Alabama. It was one of the few buildings left standing when Yankee troops pilfered their way through the south. The women that worked in the hotel were not cheap, but to test the virtuous caverns of the sisters’ girls could be costly.

 

©2014.annjohnsonmurphree

Books at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_0_20?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=ann%20johnson-murphree&sprefix=ann+johnson-murphree%2Caps%2C392

 

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A Passion for Words

The discovery of this blog gave me an enjoyable read, visit Aunt Beulah and prepare to be pleased with her writing. ajm

Aunt Beulah

images-1

Words entice me into books, thrill me when well spoken, and bedevil me when I’m writing. They amuse me, enrich me, anger me, and sometimes fail me. I spend part of every day entangled with words, and I couldn’t be happier.

According to family lore, a weakness for words wanders in my genes, making me susceptible to the eight parts of speech, well positioned. My grandmother, Caroline Hall, responsible for my cheekbones and weakness for ginger cookies, also led me to words with her zeal for books and a lap perfect for reading Mother West Wind “Why” Stories to a toddler.gramma

When she was eighty-five, she showed me a small box on a shelf above her sink that held 365 vocabulary cards. The word of the day was insouciance; she was to learn it and use it several times in conversation. She studied the card for a minute or so…

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Cotton Continues…

Cotton Cover Pic

The following is an excerpt from a short story about a young man from Atlanta. His first job after graduation from high school was with the Greater Atlantic Life Insurance Company. It was 1940 and jobs were scarce the pay poor; he would get to keep one-dollar for every policy he sold. His territory…the Appalachian Mountains. He did not know that the daughter of a potential buyer would be the wildest thing he would ever encounter in his life. It is a work of fiction based on real people and circumstances.

Working draft…

1

Cotton

Andrew Pritchett walked two miles to reach the run-down shacks in the Tennessee foothills that edged the Georgia state line; he sold burial insurance. He knocked hard on the rough pine boards of the door, scrapped his knuckles, wiped the blood on his pants leg, stepped back and looked at the rotting porch, barrels for sitting, a can for tobacco spitting and a mangy dog swarmed by tiny black flies.

Suddenly a gigantic body filled the opening of the doorway. Moody Cahill wiped his mouth; relocated tobacco scum to the front of his patched overalls and returned his hand to the sawed off barrel of a shotgun.

“Mr. Cahill,” Andrew stuck out a trembling hand as he choked back the smell and disgust at the sight of the man he desperately wanted to sell something.

“Yep”

“Your neighbor down the hill, a Mr. Ragsdale said that you might be interested in some burial insurance.”

“Nope”

Andrew’s eye twitched, the lazy one when he was nervous, he sat the worn leather valise down on the porch; it held his entire life, insurance applications, rate book and envelopes to mail the company their money. Underneath all that was an extra pair of socks, underwear, a straight edge razor and a worn out towel; all he possessed beside his old truck.

“Folks in these parts have been buying up these burial policies pretty good, they come in handy if needed”.

Uneasy he took out a handkerchief wiping sweat off his neck. When he looked back at Mr. Moody a young girl with thread bear clothes and a sweet gum twig hanging through a gap in her teeth was leaning on the doorframe. She smiled at Andrew just before the elder man pushed her back into the rundown shack they called home.

“You married young man”.

“No sir.”

“Cotton get on back out here and introduce yourself properly to this young man, he aren’t married.”

—————————————————

2

The sweat on Andrew’s body turned cold, his white shirt shined like frozen ice; his throat closed and he could hardly breathe when Cotton stepped through the door. The man he assumed was her father stepped aside but did not lower the shotgun as Cotton took Andrew by the hand leading him into the dark shack that smelled of animal fat.

You just sit down here young feller and let Cotton pour you a glass of cold tea, we keep it in the well. When she returned she handed him a tin cup; he drank it quickly then opened his case taking out insurance papers.

“Mr. Cahill all you have to do is sign your names give me three dollars for each policy and I will fill out the forms, you’ll be all set with burial money when the time comes”.

“Well let’s have some more tea first then I will think about making my mark”.

After a few cups of “tea”…Andrew’s arms and legs went numb.  He didn’t resist when the old man led him to a cot next to a big potbelly stove. He didn’t resist when Cotton climbed onto the cot without her threadbare dress. He didn’t resist as his mind begin to go blank!

 

©annjohnsonmurphree

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Done

Check out all of Allison Grayhurst work…outstanding.

Allison Grayhurst

.

Done

.

I am done

with the breaststroke of infernal lies.

I am done with the twitching eyes,

people without boundaries – hard things

like crossing graveyards, hesitating

intimacy. I am done with money.

I am through with platforms and curls,

with the forceful devil and things that make me feel

unsure. I see the spring

and it is waiting to throw me

a rose. I see things, and I am done with

the loins of the zodiac, through with eastern gods

and western hopes. This is me, standing empty –

fields on either side. Drown me in this solitude.

Take my blood and make me

a monastery.

.

Copyright © 2010 by Allison Grayhurst

3017

amazon.com/author/allisongrayhurst

.

First published in “Far Enough East – Issue Six”

Far Enough East 1Far Enough East 6Far Enough East 2Far Enough East 3Far Enough East 4Far Enough East 5

http://www.farenougheast.com/issue-6/1-poem-allison-grayhurst/

.

You can listen to the poem by clicking below:

.

“Allison Grayhurst intertwines a potent spirituality throughout her work so…

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The Story of Cotton…

 

Cotton Cover Pic

 

The following is an excerpt from a short story about a young man from Atlanta. His first job after graduation from high school was with the Greater Atlantic Life Insurance Company. It was 1940 and jobs were scarce the pay poor; he would get to keep one-dollar for every policy he sold. His territory…the Appalachian Mountains. He did not know that the daughter of a potential buyer would be the wildest thing he would ever encounter in his life.  It is a work of fiction based on real people and circumstances.

 Cotton

Andrew Pritchett walked two miles to reach the run-down shacks in the Tennessee foothills that edged the Georgia state line; he sold burial insurance. He knocked hard on the rough pine boards of the door, scrapped his knuckles, wiped the blood on his pants leg, stepped back and looked at the rotting porch, barrels for sitting, a can for tobacco spitting and a mangy dog swarmed by tiny black flies.  Suddenly a gigantic body filled the opening of the doorway. Moody Cahill wiped his mouth; relocated tobacco scum to the front of his patched overalls and returned his hand to the barrel of a shotgun.

Mr. Cahill,” Andrew stuck out a trembling hand as he choked back the smell and disgust at the sight of the man he desperately wanted to sell something.

Yep

Your neighbor down the hill, a Mr. Ragsdale said that you might be interested in some burial insurance.”

“Nope”

Andrew’s eye twitched, the lazy one when he was nervous, he sat the worn leather valise down on the porch; it held his entire life, insurance applications, rate book and envelopes to mail the company their money. Underneath all that was an extra pair of socks, underwear, a straight edge razor and a worn out towel; all he possessed beside his old truck.

Folks in these parts have been buying up these burial policies pretty good, they come in handy if needed”.

Uneasy he took out a handkerchief wiping sweat off his neck. When he looked back at Mr. Moody a young girl with thread bear clothes and a sweet gum twig hanging through a gap in her teeth was leaning on the doorframe. She smiled at Andrew just before the elder man pushed her back into the rundown shack they called home.

“You married young man”.

No sir.”

“Cotton get on back out here and introduce yourself properly to this young man, he aren’t married.”

 

Working draft: To be continued…

 

©2014annjohnsonmurphree

 

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Filed under Appalachian Mountains, Mountain Folks, Tennessee Foothills

Innocence

Poesy Plus Polemics is the place to visit, inspires me daily. ajm

Poesy plus Polemics

Old Postcard of Wildwood NJ Boardwalk Image from flickr.com Old Postcard of Wildwood NJ Boardwalk
Image from flickr.com

boardwalk summers
the beach a mere
adjuvant pleasure
a functional venue
for working one’s
time-killing tan until
sundown kicked off
teen hormonal parades
boys and girls strolled
in clustered coy pretense
while eyeing each other
in search of the smile
the look that conveyed
subtle signs of some
interest when finding it
digging for unpracticed
confidence steeling
themselves to approach
for a mutual test of
allure and a possible
pairing to sit side-by-side
on the cool evening
sands watching fireworks
paint colored promises
onto the night across
youthful projections
excited by ancient
traditions of courtship

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Amazon.com Free eBooks and Coffee Table Poetry on Sale…

Check out these…

 

New release at Amazon.com

http://www.amazon.com/Reflections-Poetry-Ann-Johnson-Murphree/dp/1500168645/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1403391920&sr=1-1&keywords=ann+johnson-murphree#reader_1500168645

Reflections of Poetry

Reflections of Poetry is now available in both Kindle and paperback. The paperback version has a new cover but the content has not changed. Over the past months “Followers” have inquired into my having a paperback version as they did not have a Kindle. So, here it is, the size and cover makes it a wonderful “coffee table” item. Again thank you for your past, present and future support. All of the Kindle eBooks are in the process of converting to paperback.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_1_11?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=ann%20johnson-murphree&sprefix=ann+johnson%2Caps%2C304

 

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Free at Amazon.com…

Kindle – A Sachet of Poetry is currently offered “free” at Amazon.com

 

These poems characterize the thoughts of innocence sold into a false world of adoration. Living in silence, God did not keep this innocence from hell, and death would be a long way off and life was between the now and then.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Sachet-Poetry-Adoration-Asylums-Aspiration-ebook/dp/B00JEN7RW8/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1410586677&sr=8-2&keywords=ann+johnson-Murphree

 

 

 

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