Writers Group - Archived Stories
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- Wiley Cash, The Last Ballad by Joel Blackwelder (June 19, 2022)
“He found her lying in the dirt between rows of cotton, the front of her dress soaked with blood. Her open eyes stared toward the sky.” Some will say that the life of Ella Mae Wiggins was ordinary. Others say it was extraordinary. She worked in Bessemer City, North Carolina in the American Mill 102. When we’re talking about mills here, we’re talking about cotton mills in Gaston County. A place where you could make nine dollars and fifty cents a month for running a spinning frame. The year was 1929. Ella Mae was a spinner, a mother, a labor union organizer, a singer-songwriter. Her journey began in Cowpens, South Carolina and ended up in a cotton field. Death came too early for Ella Mae.
- Critters be Gone by Tommy Beatty (May 30, 2022)
If this hadn't happened to me, I don't know if I would believe it. As a hunter and outdoorsman, I've grown to respect nature and all or at least most of the critters that call nature home. When I was a child, one of my greatest thrills was the annual trip to my great uncle Jim's for the family rabbit and squirrel hunts at Thanksgiving. This was one of the few times I got to spend time with Dad since he worked six days a week. When the hunts were done Uncle Jim and my grandfather cleaned the meat and Aunt Carrie prepared the game to cook and eat. You would think these are the folks that taught me to perform the same tasks but no, it was my mother that taught me to clean and prepare quail, rabbits and squirrels. Other animals are pretty much the same but on a different scale. As an example, I clean a deer the same way I would a rabbit.
- Thomas Hall and a Glimpse of Life Withheld by Marilyn Jones (March 15, 2022)
- On the waters of Duck Creek in the backwoods of 1760s’ Mecklenburg County, North Carolina stood a small rugged one-room log cabin, home of the Hall family. Before daybreak, candlelight flicked in the darkness of their earthen ‘sleeping corner.” Martha laid on the straw tick* listening to Thomas preparing for the day’s work. He had a blazing fire on the grate and the children, still asleep at this pre-dawn hour, would be awake shortly and hungry for nourishing food to get through another heavy workday. The night chill was still on the room, so she quickly dressed to begin their morning meal. What will it be, she thought. We had johnny cakes yesterday, maybe hominy with molasses this ‘morn. Surely, we have ham to go with it.
- Aunt Cletis' Bishop's Bread by Alden Davis (February 8, 2022)
- I first met my Aunt Cletis when I was married and the mother of a three-year-old. She lived in Indiana and I lived in Florida, but we met in 1969 when I took my father, his new wife and another aunt to Indiana for a family reunion. Aunt Cletis was a warm, loving person and I regarded her as a second mother. I knew her for forty years after we first met and never heard her say anything bad about anyone. She loved cooking and canning for her large five-generation family.
- Elvie Lee Beatty Jr, "The One Armed Bandit" by Tommy Beatty (January 11, 2022)
- My father, Elvie Lee Beatty Jr was born November 24, 1923 and died July 10, 1995 the fourth of seven children. By the time of his sixth birthday, the country was cast into the Great Depression that led to WWII, times that challenged everyone to survive. It's likely that he observed his father doing everything he could to house and feed the family.
- Edgar Lee Johnson by Marilyn Jones (January 11, 2022)
- Like his father, Edgar was a stonemason. By 1907 he was also employed by the city as a police officer, holding the positions of patrolman and desk sergeant. His brother, Wallace, was a prison guard in Mint Hill, Mecklenburg County NC. Edgar was also a Mason, belonging to Excelsior Lodge #261.