Truths Unseen — the 1930s Part 2

Welcome, everyone.  Thank you for all the encouragement you’ve given me about this story — and about just doing whatever I can, even if I find myself unable to finish telling the tale.  It’s better to consider this a series of character studies, than a serial.

Girl Truths Unseen 1

Steinar Engeland, Unsplash

I wrote this a week in advance because the surgery for my little BFF was Thursday, June 22nd, and I don’t know what or how much I will have on my hands when this episode is posted.  

BFF Update

Crystal came through the surgery like a champ!  I admit it’s frightening looking… the big shaved area, but particularly the length of the incision. She also has a little shaved spot on each arm.  The growth was at least as big as a golf ball, so the line of her stitches is about four inches long. Dr. Villar said he got the entire growth.  He mentioned the sense of satisfaction he had gotten from doing the procedure. That elevated my estimation of him, to know he takes pride in his work.  Doctor and assistant were both quite taken with Crystal.
Crystal peep stairs 2017
So far she hasn’t bothered the incision area. He used a stitch like a pillow would be closed with, so that the stitches are not exposed (as he and I had previously discussed).
I’m supposed to apply a warm compress, twice a day for three days… Crystal is not cooperating with that… 
It will be a week before I get the test results from the biopsy.

Writing Process

This episode picks up a few years after the first one ended.  It’s from the point of view (POV) of Clarence again, until the last bit.  Then we dip into Mattie’s thoughts.  At least for the first few decades, I plan to let the POV be from a less central character (which is what Clarence becomes).  I’m not sure how I’ll be able to manage to continue that as the story progresses.  It complicates the process. Meaning that I might switch the POV to a main character. I’m just thinking out loud.  

While the tale doesn’t seem “dark” right now, that will gradually change.  I try to give you just enough insights into the personalities to foreshadow that a bit.  Hopefully I succeed.  Okay, here is the second episode. 

Eddie and the Cruisers - On The Dark Side

Truths Unseen, the 1930s Part 2

I hope she’ll get herself a husband quick, Clarence thought as he looked at his little sister.  Before she gets herself  “in trouble,” or any other kind of trouble.

At sixteen years old, Mattie had grown into a striking young woman.  Her face was not remarkable, but she had slender yet shapely legs and a huge bosom.  Clarence didn’t like to admit it, but that bosom was downright impressive.  The girl was a head-turner for sure.

His sister had always been manipulative, and it took her no time to learn to use her looks to her advantage.  She was smart too.  Clarence always knew Mattie was brighter than him or their younger brother, Ben.  She wasn’t as smart as a school teacher, but she had a good head on her shoulders.  Clarence hoped that would be her saving grace and keep her out of mischief.

Especially where boys are concerned… Clarence thought as he slowly shook his head.  He seemed to do that a lot lately — shake his head.  It was an old man’s mannerism, not something you’d expect from a man barely in his twenties.

He felt relieved at the kind of good news he had to share with his siblings.  He was reassured because there weren’t many chances for young people to meet new folks or otherwise get together.  Clarence hadn’t even thought of his own social life.  His hopes were on getting his sister a husband.  Keeping that girl in line was a big job, but Clarence mostly wanted her to have the chance at a better life.  He knew that life better hurry up and show up before Mattie messed up herself in one way or another.

Young Man Banjo priscilla-du-preez-165373

“Pop Norris told me they’re having a reunion next weekend,” Clarence told his siblings to their hoots and hollers of glee.

In the rural southeast, family reunions were for family and just about everybody else too.  Even so, the Norris patriarch had assured shy Clarence all the Hardy family was welcome.  There was even going to be music, a couple of guitars and a banjo, and maybe even a mandolin!

Mattie fretted over what to cook.  At reunions, everyone always brought food, which was laid out on long tables, placed end to end.  Mattie told him she wanted to make fried chicken.  It hurt Clarence to say they didn’t have enough money for more than a little chicken.  He recommended cornbread with cracklins.  Mattie could make a mighty fine pone of cornbread, all crunchy and golden on the outside but moist and yellow inside.  With that praise as encouragement, she went along with his suggestion.

The music expected at the Norris family reunion was something to which Clarence looked forward to with happy anticipation until the day finally arrived.  Clarence couldn’t play an instrument or even carry a tune in the proverbial bucket, but he sure enjoyed listening.  Pop Norris had real musicians coming in, not just family members who could play a little.

Tables and people were spread out all across the green lawn of the Norris property.  It never ceased to amaze Clarence how one place could be rolling green, and the next (for instance his home) so barren that even weeds didn’t like to grow there.  He wanted to take off his shoes and wriggle his toes in the carpet of verdant grass, but he told himself to mind his manners.  When he saw that his little brother Ben had done precisely that, Clarence couldn’t bring himself to scold the boy.

One by one, the musicians started to arrive.  Cliff, the banjo player, had his wife and baby in tow.  She brought a banana pudding, made with egg custard, vanilla wafers, and topped with browned meringue.  Clarence’s mouth watered.  He hoped he wouldn’t miss out on a serving of that pudding.  The other musicians were single men so they weren’t expected to bring anything.  It was really just a matter of pride for Cliff’s wife to bring a dish.  Besides their music was all anyone expected them to bring.

Indian 4 motorcycle ad

Everyone turned at the rumble of an Indian motorcycle as Frank Cutter roared upon the scene, guitar slung across his back.  The motorcycle was the only thing loud about Frank though.  Clarence had not met another man who was as quiet as himself, but Frank Cutter could make a fence post seem talkative.

It raised a few eyebrows for Frank Cutter to be at the Norris reunion.  Frank was half Cherokee and some folks didn’t especially like that, but they were few.  Most people in Runner County knew full well that they had at least some Cherokee blood in their veins. 

The main thing that drew attention to Frank was that Indian motor cycle, the irony of which wasn’t lost on anyone, and his stature.  He made for an imposing figure of a man.  Being nearly six feet tall, Clarence rarely saw anyone taller than himself.  Frank, however, was lean and leggy, and stood a little over six feet.  Both men were tall and taciturn, and had become friendly the first time they met.

As concerned as Clarence had been about marrying off Mattie, he never had tried to set up an introduction for her and Frank.  That kind of thing made Clarence nervous.  However, a little smile played upon his lips as he realized they were likely to get acquainted that day.

The Cutters weren’t wealthy at all, but it didn’t take much to be better off than the Hardy family.  Frank made a decent living driving a delivery truck.  He might look like a wild sort with that motorcycle, but the fact of the matter was that it didn’t cost as much as a car or a truck.

From the corner of his eye, Clarence saw that Frank had already caught Mattie’s attention.

***

Shabby purse with coin

Dreamstime

Mattie Hardy discretely watched the tall half Cherokee guitar player.  She had never met him, but she knew he was friends with her brother.  Her sights had always been set higher than any of the Cutter boys.  She resented it bitterly, but boys from better families — and especially their mothers, didn’t want to have anything to do with her.  Leastwise, not anything anywhere the lights were turned on.  

She had begun to think maybe she needed to be practical.  Mattie was sick and tired of living in that shack on the dirt covered ridge.  Frank Cutter had a good, steady job.  He seemed to be as quiet as her brother, Clarence.  She had a strong suspicion that she could wrap him around her finger just as easily as she did her brother too. 

Sure he was big and his face was fit for a theater villain.  It was not a pretty face at all, but other than that, he was a fine figure of a man.  Mattie didn’t think Frank would hurt a fly, despite his looks.

Mattie made sure Frank got a generously buttered piece of her cornbread, but she barely gave him time to say thank you before she flitted away.  She bided her time until dinner had been mostly eaten and the musicians stopped to rest their sore fingers.

She had tucked away a dish of the strawberry shortcake that preacher’s wife had made.  Mattie despised the fact that the woman got praise for her cooking on top of everything else for which people looked up to her.  However, Mattie knew that shortcake was the best dessert on the table, so she saved a serving for Frank.

“Play a Dixie Dewdrop song!” somebody hollered to the musicians.

By Dixie Dewdrop they meant Uncle Dave Macon, a well-known bluegrass artist.  Frank grinned at Cliff, the banjo player.

“My fingers could use a rest,” Frank said, holding up fingertips dented from guitar strings.  “Take your pick of songs.”

Cliff knew Frank could play any song he’d ever heard.  So all he did was give the banjo a warning strum to let the other musicians know the key in which he’d play.  Then to the crowd’s delight, Cliff launched into Cumberland Mountain Deer Race.  The guitar and mandolin egged the banjo player to keep going. 

Mattie was annoyed to have to wait until they finished that and two more songs.  However, before Frank Cutter knew what was happening, Mattie was feeding him strawberry shortcake. 

A gleam came to her eyes as she saw her figure reflected in a window and thought about the curved shape of a guitar.  She decided to ask him to teach her to play the guitar, at least long enough for him to see how her body fit snugly into the curve of the instrument.

Frank Cutter didn’t stand a chance, once Mattie made up her mind.

***

End Episode 2

What will we learn about Frank in the years to come?  Will Mattie continue on the scheming personality path she has chosen?  What effect will she have on Frank — or on her brothers for that matter?  Sometimes a subtle influence lays an unexpected, inescapable groundwork for the future of other people who are yet to come.

Mega hugs from the dark side,

Teagan

 

Copyright © 2017 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

No part of this work may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

All images are either the property of the author or from Pinterest unless stated otherwise. 

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111 thoughts on “Truths Unseen — the 1930s Part 2

  1. That’s wonderful news about Crystal, I’m so happy it all went well, Teagan, you must be so relieved. Knowing cats she will punish you for awhile (they don’t always realize the things we do are for their own good, kind of like, sigh, teens), but she’ll come around. I hope she continues to heal quickly and continues eating well. Big hugs to you and Crystal xoxo
    This is funny, I just heard “On The Dark Side ” the other day, I’d kind of forgotten that song and movie. This was a delicious (I’m now thinking of cornbread and strawberry shortcake) installment, dear friend, I really could picture being there, I felt like I was hearing the music and feeling the mood. Love the POV change, it’s a fav element when I read, but not everyone does it well, I liked getting a peek inside other character’s minds. Sorry I’m so late, it’s been a weird week, but this cheered me up – the story crumb and the news about your BFF, I’m so glad everything turned out well. More hugs xoxo

    Like

  2. Brilliant. Loved it, Teagan. I actually liked how you switched POV in this chapter. I think you did it perfectly. Frank sounds a fine figure of a man, but I somehow don’t think he stands much of a chance against Mattie.
    Waiting with baited breath (as we say here in Wales) for the next instalment.

    I’m so pleased to read how Crystal is doing. Hugs to you both.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Rob. That really does mean a lot to me. Mattie is string all right. I would say wait until you meet her daughter, Sapphire… But it’s becoming obvious to me that I’m not able to write Sapphire’s generation, let alone Didi who came next. But I gave it a try. I still have a l little more of the 1930s that I can shade.
      I hope everyone will check out your terrific Pride Day post. Hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Teagan, congratulations upon this story, so pleased you started to write it.. you have me hooked into the story line.. And love the sound of that banana pudding.. 🙂 and I am sure Mattie will soon be wrapping Frank around her fingers, or will she? lol.. So hope little Crystal is doing ok too. Sending lots of love and healing vibes out your way Teagan.. And so pleased I Came back and read from the beginning.. makes such a difference when we read the whole thing from the start..
    Loving it..
    Sending huge hugs xxx Big smiles.. and lots of Kisses.. 😍😁💕💖

    Liked by 1 person

  4. So pleased Crystal came through her surgery ok Teagan.. We do so worry over our four legged friend who give and bring us so much unconditional love.. 🙂
    I must go back to read part one as I missed it.. then come back to here.. It will be later this evening when I return as I have to go pick up our granddaughter from school in a mo.. So like Arnie .. I’ll Be Back.. 🙂 Hugs xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m very glad that Crystal has come through her surgery well. Cats do have a habit of making you work for forgiveness (!) but I’m sure she’ll soon come around. I enjoyed part two of the story – I’m always astounded at how you get those little details of character and place – and food – that really set the scene and keep me intrigued to find out what happens next 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much Andrea. She’s doing remarkably well now. Truly amazing. “Solandre!”
      And thank you for this wonderful feedback. You are too kind! I always think I’m not doing that well with characters — and with this story I was doubtful that I even set the scene. So I really appreciate your comment. Hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This brought back memories of the family reunions we’d have at my grandmother’s house years ago, but without the musicians. I’m interested to know more about Frank – maybe he’s a little too good to be true?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Teri — thanks for visiting. Or I guess Mattie deciding to “be practical” and settle for a man of lesser means makes her expectations of him too good to be true… The larger question would be what is Frank after knowing Mattie?
      Have a great new week. Hugs.

      Like

  7. I’m not seeing much dark side yet, so I am quite intrigued where this is going! I have suspicions about that Frank fellow. 😉 I am SO happy to hear that Crystal pulled through with flying colors, yay! And it’s always a joy to read a new post of yours, no matter what the materiel. You are a very gifted writer, Teagan!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Kathryn! She had a rough Saturday though…Not from the surgery, but from the drama of the hear compress that I had to hold her down for on Friday, followed by a loud music outdoor party Saturday … Poor thing hasn’t left her hiding place in the basement for two days…
      I’m happy you enjoyed this post. Hope all is well in Oregon. Hugs

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Van, it’s good to see you. I’m glad I strummed the right chord. 😀
      Thank you. My little BFF is recovering nicely, so well that it even gives me hope about the biopsy…
      Have a wonder-filled weekend. Hugs.

      Like

  8. You have such great flow in your storytelling, Teagan. I’m now wondering if Mattie is going to get tough Frank wrapped around her little finger and whether she will become more “practical” as she put it. This line was awesome: “Frank Cutter could make a fence post seem talkative.” Great writing and I’ll stay tuned for the next segment xx

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Teagan, so happy to read Crystal is doing well after surgery. Prayers for a good biopsy report. Good thoughts for the recovery process. Well, there’s a big what’s going to happen next in this installment. Great descriptive setting. It brings you right there, and part of the family reunion. Know dark times are coming, however that’s what makes a story compelling, and emotionally close. Keep writing as much as you can. Huge hugs! 💛 Christine

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s lovely to see you Christine. Thank you for all the good wishes. The incision area, where the growth was removed, is quite large (thankfully it was all “outside” — they didn’t have to go inside), at least four inches long. It looks to be healing nicely.
      I appreciate your encouragement about this story. Especially about the setting/imagery — I was afraid it was weak on that. Happy weekend hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Tim — on both counts. I know you love your kitties as much as I love Crystal. The big incision area (thankfully it was all outside) is healing nicely. The vet had me worried about the dangerous potential fluid issue — the reason for the heat compresses. But it is looking good. Crystal is watching her favorite YouTube video of deer (being fed) in the snow. Why she is so fascinated by those deer is beyond me… She must imagine herself a huge mountain lion, big enough to bring down a deer…
      Caturday hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’m happy to hear that, Cathy. (I knew the “Dark Side” was out of place with the era, but I couldn’t resist! 😀 )
      Now if Crystal will just let me get near her with that warm compress again…
      The conclusion to the story at your blog is fantastic! Hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Beautifully observed and very intriguing characters in an apparently tame setting. Fabulous. And I’m so pleased to hear Crystal did well (even if you’ll get punished now). I hope the news from the biopsy are good.
    Do take lots of care and I’m very happy to hear this vet is fabulous.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, Olga, I can’t tell you how happy I am about how Dr. Villar is working with Crystal. (By the way, he’s originally from Spain too. I didn’t get to ask what part. But has been here more than 20 years.)
      Thank you, thank you for your encouragement. I know you cautioned me to not take on something I’m not ready for… and you are so right. I’ll ask you to please see my comment to Suzanne below, rather than repeat it.
      Congrats again on your new teaching endeavor, Professor! I’m proud of you. Hugs.

      Like

  11. First of all I am thrilled about Crystal, what a relief and praying for continued and full recovery for that sweet kitty. Teagan I love this story, it is a fascinating character study, I am chomping at the bit for the next episode and can’t wait to see how the “dark side” is worked in. You have this ability to create characters that come to life, I can see them as I read, I can hear them speak, it is not just words, you truly have a gift❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • Suzanne, it’s so good to see you. I’ve been missing your delicious posts, but I’m just glad to know that you’re okay.
      Thank you from my heart for your encouraging feedback. I was working on the third installment this week… I’m not sure I am able to continue into the darker parts. I would really like to tell this story — it keeps coming back. You wouldn’t believe all the different ways I’ve tried to “clothe” it over the years… but I never can stay in that dark place long enough. So I will put it aside for a day and then try to finish #3. After that, we’ll see. Thank you again, so very much. Huge hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks Teagan, I will start posting again when I get a new computer. Hoping next week. It’s just too hard on. Phone or iPad.
        You go wherever you are led and honestly if the “dark side” isn’t it stay where you are because this story is damn good!!!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Ugh… I hate computer problems. And getting a new one can be as stressful as dealing with an old one… I’ve had so much on my mind that I forgot about your computer. Or I’m just getting old, not sure which at this point! 😀 Wishing you the best in getting it all worked out. More hugs!

          Liked by 1 person

  12. Oh my, where to start? First, that’s great news about Crystal. I’m so glad she’s back with you and I hope her recovery and the biopsy go well.

    I love cornbread and the one you describe sounds delicious. I also understand how a woman can get what she wants from a quiet man.

    I live your descriptions. They are simple yet vivid and easy to understand. Your characters come alive and I feel like I can smell the food. Have a great weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan, I appreciate this feedback. I was concerned that I wasn’t setting the scene (imagery) well enough with these posts. LOL, the cornbread however inspired me! I made myself hungry with this one! 😀
      Thank you for the good wishes. Crystal is hiding from me again… but she needs that heat compress. I see me crawling under the bed yet again to apply it. I may have a permanent “crick” in my neck.
      Your Thursday Doors post is spectacular again. Hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Another great episode, Teagan. Mattie’s brothers might not be so fond of Frank once sis keeps the charm flowing. Having two brothers, I know how they work. 🙂 Glad to hear about Crystal. Cute picture of her on the stairway. Enjoy your weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Aw… Bless! I’ve not been blogging much lately, Teagan and thought I’d do a bit of catching up tonight. So glad to hear Crystal (love that name) is doing so well. It’s hurts us as much as them when their ill doesn’t it? My heart broke for Rico when he had to wear a (head cone?) for two weeks while being treated for an infection… nothing so drastic as your little BFF I’m sure. I was the scurge of all catdom at the time. Anyway, I hope things return to normal soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the good thoughts, Barbara. 🐱 It’s great to see you.
      Oh, sometimes I could die for that kind of cornbread. I don’t make it, because I’m allergic to eggs. I was middle aged before I realized that many people use half wheat flour with the corn meal. All we ever used was cornmeal, buttermilk and egg… in a super heated iron skillet with oil. I’ll never forget the feel of the oven heat in my face as a kid, and the sizzle of the corn mixture as it went in to that 450 degree oil… LOL, oddly that’s a nice memory.
      Some people added a pinch of sugar, but the adults in my family wouldn’t hear of that, calling it “yankee cornbread.” LOL.
      Weekend hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Teagan, I was thinking about how you can’t eat eggs, and also the cornbread. I wanted to send you this recipe. It is what my granny always made, and I use it too. It turns out good. Yes, the cast iron skillet needs to be heated a lot so it will form the crust. … It has no eggs. … 1 cup cornmeal (white works best), 2 heaping tablespoons flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add buttermilk to right consistency. Bake 450 degrees until done. (probably 15-20 min. you know how to tell) 🙂 enjoy!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Hey Barbara and thank you! My “adopted” grandpa (not my family, but I called him Grandpa) made cornbread without eggs. Just corn meal and (I guess buttermilk). It held together okay without the eggs, but it was dry. I expect the flour in your recipe lets it retain the moisture better. Wonderful. Thanks for thinking of me.

          Liked by 1 person

  15. Wonderful news about Crystal, Teagan – Looks like she’ll soon be back to her normal self – keep a watch for her licking her wound overmuch though (I once had a cat who almost chewed through his stitches before I caught on to him and had to apply the old lampshade headgear to stop him – I was NOT his favourite slave for weeks, even after the wound had healed and the lampshade was removed 😄😄😄)

    Liked by 1 person

    • You awesome Ape. Thanks for reblogging, Chris.
      Yes, I had a similar experience with a cat when I was young — before they were using the “cone of shame.” That was a big worry for me, because I know Crystal would break her neck trying to get free from the cone — quite literally. This vet is great. He uses a stitch similar to what pillows are sewed shut with, so the “threads” of the stitches are hidden/tucked under the skin, and they are the kind that dissolves so they don’t have to be removed. I was still concerned about excessive licking, but so far so good with that. The biggest concern is fluid build up. So she’ll just have to be mad at me about the heat compress… As long as I can still corner her to apply them twice a day.
      Thanks for all your good thoughts. Great big hug.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. So glad Crystal is doing well, Teagan. I love the photo of her peeking around the wall. I’m hoping for good news from the biopsy. I’m enjoying the story. Good tension and I’m intrigued to see what happens next. Have a great weekend. Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Welcome news about Crystal, Teagan – I’m happy for both of you! Yes, the foreshadowing is done well here – and it sounds like Frank doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in Hades. Looking forward to the next episode. Have a great weekend! Hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. You’ve certainly successfully foreshadowed the darkness with your first para about Mattie. I dread to think what the future will bring. I feel for Clarence and find it sweet that he wants to protect his sister from herself. Wish I’d had such a caring brother! I’m so glad Crystal has come through the biopsy well. Good luck with the results. Hugs. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Sarah, thank you for everything you said.
      As for my little feline rascal, she’s going for all the drama in “betrayal”… so not coming near me. Oddly the vet thought she was so sweet that he was shocked to hear that. LOL. But that’s just how she is. Forgiveness just for putting the transdermal IBD meds on her skin is hard earned. Surgery? I’m going to have to work hard for it. 😉
      Hugs right back.

      Liked by 2 people

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