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The Literary Corner: Renegade Writer’s Guild

“Current Events, 1899”

By Marie Craig

Being able to read Davie County newspapers since 1899 on the Internet is a fascinating pastime. To do so, open https://www.daviecountync.gov/400/Public-Library and click on the word “Genealogy”. Then click on “Newspapers” and choose the date.

I read from the very first year of publication and found much of interest to report. The date was May 1899. The name of the newspaper was The Davie Record, a Republican newspaper. In early times there was also The Mocksville Herald, a newspaper for the Democrats which began in 1911. Political diversity was very apparent back then. I guess some things never change. The Davie Record subscription was $1 per year. E.H. Morris was editor and was also an attorney in town. “All those owing the Record will please call around and settle, as we need the money,” he reported.

National news, local gossip, Mocksville happenings, and ads were all scrambled together. Some of the ads were as personal and embarrassing as what you see on TV these days. There were articles about the continuing war, which began as the Spanish-American War and another one about Andrew Carnegie selling all his interests in steel to devote his life to philanthropy. Next to it would be an ad from Mocksville Produce Market, “corn 50 cents a bushel”.

“Two Grateful Women restored to health by Lydia B. Pinkham’s Vegetable Compound.” Another ad was for Plantation Chill Cure. I found information from the Internet: “In an era when no one knew what caused malaria, Van Vleet also featured “Plantation Chill Cure,” guaranteed to cure chills, fevers and all other “malarial troubles.”  It too was generously laced with alcohol as was Pinkham’s cure.  Sloan’s Liniment was advertised and is still available.

The southern part of our county was also mentioned in these two short articles. “Hands wanted at the Shoals cotton mill.” “Wanted – 100 men for railroad work at Cooleemee Cotton Mills near Mocksville in Davie County. Apply at works. The mill is located on South Yadkin River between Mocksville and Salisbury. 80 cents per day paid.  J.T. Pruden.”

As I sit here at my computer reading newspapers from 120 years ago and being able to easily edit and correct mistakes as I write, I think about the persons setting type back then. One metal letter at a time was pulled from its resting place and put into the line.  What a long, tedious job that would have been.

“New Tricks”

By Gaye Hoots

I have used a computer for many years to research genealogy, articles I was interested in writing, and trivia. Our Renegade Writer’s Guild has published three books to benefit charities. Recently we became aware of the workload one of our members was carrying to prepare and prep our books for publishing. We tried to redistribute the workload, and I became aware of how limited my computer skills are.

One of our group members has scheduled several work sessions with me and has patiently attempted to teach me the symbols on WordPress and how to use the site. I have learned how to center my title and justify my text. He taught me to use Grammarly, a tool for checking spelling, punctuation, and sentence structure. I am now able to format my articles and forward them to Linda, who edits them and submits them to the Enterprise.

Having accomplished this, I felt ready to move on to preparing my articles to be posted to our guild’s WordPress site. My ego deflated when Kevin informed me that we must reformat the article for WordPress. Nancy did a class for our group on how to use WordPress. One of the first things she said was, “Look in the upper right-hand corner and press the write button.”

I heard, “Look in the upper right-hand corner and press the right button.” There were three options in the right-hand corner. I did not see the text on the write button. Nancy found it for me and moved on with her presentation. I am not sure I was able to follow anything past that point.

Kevin worked with me for over two hours as I followed his instructions step by step, and I added to the written instructions Nancy had given us all the prompts I thought I needed. I was exhausted, and I am sure Kevin was too. I did not go back to WordPress until I wrote and sent my next story to Linda to be published.

     When I went to WordPress again, I got as far as the write button, pressed it and called Kevin for another two-hour session. Some of what he showed me rang a bell, but I was still clueless without his prompts. I am ready to admit that this old dog is having a very hard time trying to learn new tricks.

“The Last Laugh”

By Julie Terry Cartner

Decisions made in our teenaged lives are often not based on what is truly important, but only on what we perceive to be important at that moment in our lives. Such was the case when my teenaged self was choosing a college. Fortunately for me, my decision to attend Catawba College, though based on stupidity, turned out to be an excellent choice.

To be fair, some of my criteria for the perfect college were intelligent considerations, only one was based on the ridiculous. I wanted a small, liberal arts college. As an education major, I wanted a college that had a strong education program, and I wanted a college with a good sports program. I was offered and accepted two scholarships, one academic and one athletic, all sound decisions. One factor, however, was based on immaturity.

I grew up in a loving and respected family in a very small town in eastern Long Island, New York. When I say small, I mean, extremely small. The population of the town was around five hundred. There were six kids in my elementary class, and I graduated from high school with a total of seventy-three students. Small town, USA. As a result, many of us were related, and most everybody knew everybody. Belonging to a family that helped settle and found the town, my father knew everyone. I never felt like I could do anything without hearing, “That’s Bill Terry’s daughter.” Now don’t get me wrong, I loved my dad and was proud to be his daughter. However, I also was of the age and ego to want to be known for myself. So, when asked where I wanted to go to college, my patented response was, “I want to go to a college where nobody knows Bill Terry, where nobody is going to say, ‘Hey, you’re Bill Terry’s daughter!’ “

Decision made, I was accepted into Catawba’s fall enrollment, and in late August, Dad and I hit the road. Orientation was overwhelming and exciting, and everything the first day on a college campus was supposed to be. I went to my meetings and Dad went to the parents’ meetings. We met up for dinner that night, then he headed for his motel as I prepared to spend my first night in my new home, Zartman Hall.

About 9:00 that night, finally finished unpacking and settling in, and proud of myself for being brave enough to go to a college where I knew nobody, I heard a knock on my door.  Wondering who would be knocking, as I basically knew nobody, I opened the door. Imagine my surprise when a pretty, blonde upperclassman took one look at me and exclaimed, “Hey, are you Bill Terry’s daughter?” I imagine my dad, in his hotel room miles away, heard me scream! She introduced herself, Debbie, and told me the rest of the story.

Dad had met Debbie’s father at a parent meeting, and then he met Debbie.  As soon as he realized she lived in Zartman, he told her my weakest criterion for choosing a college and said, “I’ll pay you to go to my daughter’s room tonight and ask her if she’s my daughter.”  Laughing at his practical joke, Debbie was happy to be part of the scheme. Not only did Dad win the best prank that night, but he also managed to look out for his baby girl, as Debbie became a great friend and mentor.

RWG Literary Corner

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