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The Literary Corner: Renegade Writers Guild

Built to Last

By Marie Craig

In early times there were two newspapers in Mocksville.  The Davie Record was for Republicans, and the Mocksville Enterprise was for Democrats. All the newspapers, back to 1898, are online on the website of Davie County Public Library. Click on Martin-Wall History Room and then click on newspapers to access.

In searching for my grandmother’s obituary in the two Davie County newspapers of 1934, I found an advertisement for Hotel Atlantan, Corner Luckie and Cone Streets in Atlanta. There was a sketch of the nine- story hotel. It was described thus:

“300 rooms, 300 baths, new beds, new baths, new carpets, new decorations — A new and better hotel for less money than ever before.

“Room Rates: per day, $1.50 up; parlor suite, $5.00 up.

“Auto Storage and parking immediately adjacent to the hotel.

“Cafe Rates: Good food as you like it! Breakfast, Dinner or Supper — 25 cents to 50 cents.”

This is very difficult to understand in 2020.  Less than two dollars for a hotel room. I know about inflation, but this is crazy.

Is the building still there?  I used Google Maps on my computer and looked to see what occupies that spot now.  Street View feature shows a current image of Holiday Inn Express and Suites. It appears that the same structure is still there; it has the same number of floors; the ratio of width to depth seems the same; and the same penthouse shape is evident. The exterior has been modernized but it seems like this old building was built really well to last this long.

Using Google search for Atlantan Hotel showed me an old postcard with a photograph of the hotel.  Ebay had a postcard also.

Pretending that I wanted to book a room, I found the current Website. No rooms are available until April. One night at this location costs $427.01. It is in the heart of downtown Atlanta within walking distance of many desirable entertainments and sites.

Messages resulting from this old ad: somebody chose the correct location of a hotel back in the 30s; it was well-built; “if you build it, they will come”; and maybe this could be the location of a time-travel story or book.

Nursing Notes

By Gaye Hoots

I was employed as a nurse from 1980 when I graduated from the program at Forsyth Tech and passed state boards, until 2006 when I retired. While working, I completed a BSN and MSN degree. Most of my career was spent in psychiatric nursing, which was my preference. Both the medical and psychiatric units were frequently short-staffed, and one of the changes I had hoped to see was parameters established for the number and acuity of patients assigned to nurses.

The rule of thumb left the responsibility on the individual nurse to ask for help if she could not manage, but the other nurses were usually carrying the same patient load. If you came on duty and refused an assignment you were fired. The acute care units were usually staffed adequately but the general floor was often overwhelmed.

This is true today, and from what my daughter, who has a BSN, tells me perhaps even more so, and still no parameters. There have been improvements made with the medications being dispensed by the pharmacy and individually packaged for each patient. When I gave meds, they were stored in a med room and we dispensed from large bottles to med cups for each patient. We also had to take verbal orders from the doctor, often over the phone, and if an error was made, it fell on the nurse. Now the doctors are required enter the orders into the computer and the nurse reads the order before she dispenses it. This eliminates chances for error.

Patients often expressed appreciation and gave positive feedback, but nursing supervisors gave little praise. Most communication was focused on how to improve your performance. I once remarked to a friend that one or two errors could cost you your license and that I didn’t know of any other profession like that. Forgetting he was an air traffic controller. He said. “Well, if I let two small planes hit each other even once, my career is over.”

I enjoyed most of my experience as a nurse, especially the teaching aspects and would choose nursing again. My hope is that improvements will be made, but the industry, like all others, is money driven. Decisions are made by administrators with a business degree looking at profit, or lack of it, as the bottom line.

When you have loved ones in the hospital, it is best to have someone stay with them until you are sure they are getting the needed care. This may not be possible with our present guidelines for COVID. If your health is impaired, I would urge you to err on the side of caution and not expose yourself to the public.

There are varying views on COVID, and as I am writing this in a coffeeshop to have internet access, I have heard several views expressed. One young healthy-looking man stated he was not going to live his life in fear, and he believed the death figures were skewed. He stated that Medicare and Medicaid paid an extra 20% for patients diagnosed with COVID. I have no idea if there is any truth to this. Others said they are tired of it all and willing to take their chances, believing it was no worse than the flu. Some were masked and exited as soon as their orders were filled seeking to keep their distance.

I am 75 years old and healthy, but I wear my mask for myself and for others. I do go to restaurants where the tables are distanced and the staff is masked. All our systems are flawed, and we have to assume responsibility for ourselves.

Only a Bruise

By Julie Terry Cartner

It was only a bruise. Except, maybe it wasn’t. When Detective Brent first noticed the lady, nothing seemed amiss. Then two things happened, almost simultaneously. She reached up on the top shelf for a requested item, and the sleeve of her T shirt slid up towards her shoulder, revealing a small oval shaped bruise. He probably still wouldn’t have noticed, but immediately, shamefacedly, she looked around to see who was watching and quickly pulled the sleeve back in place, hiding the bruise.

He wondered, if he pulled the sleeve back up, would there be four matching fingerprint bruises on the opposite side of her arm? Would peering under the scarf around her neck reveal more bruising? Detective Brent took the oath, to serve and protect, seriously. Conscience warred with common sense. She’s not asking for help – the opposite, in fact. If ever a woman were trying not to garner any attention, she was the one.

Ducking her head down, Lydia continued to do her job – arranging shelves of merchandise, dusting, helping customers, and generally trying to be an agreeable face in the store. She loved her job; the gentle interaction with people, the anonymity of helping when needed and fading into the background whenever possible. She noticed the policeman; who wouldn’t? He looked kind, capable and strong.For a second she considered asking for help, but her husband’s threats echoed through her brain, 24/7.

“If you tell anyone what goes on in our house, our home, you know what will happen, but let me remind you. That little boy, my son – you’ll never see him again. I’ll take him and disappear. You’ll have your freedom – but not your son. Choose wisely. You’re nothing to me.”

She had no doubt he’d do as he said. After all, he’d followed through with every other promise he’d made. Hadn’t he cut her off from her family? Hadn’t he systematically gotten rid of all her friends? Hadn’t he pushed her down the stairs last fall, terminating her pregnancy when the doctor had announced the baby was girl? “Don’t want no more females in my house. One is more trouble than she’s worth.” Then he’d told her he expected her to be “knocked up” with a boy within the next three months.

When that hadn’t happened, he’d gone into a rage, forgetting himself and his self-imposed rules, striking her repeatedly in the face. She hadn’t been able to leave the house for three weeks, had to tell her boss she had a bad case of the flu. Without her paycheck for three weeks, the family had struggled to pay the bills and put food on the table. It broke her heart when Hank, their little boy, would cry, “I’m hungry, Mommy.” And her husband, instead of seeing how his actions had caused their struggle, blamed her. “If you’d do what you’re told, Hank wouldn’t be hungry. It’s your fault.”

“It’s your fault. It’s your fault. It’s your fault.” The words reverberated through her brain. If she didn’t obey her husband, Hank would be hungry, and if she told, he’d take him and leave. And, if he didn’t have her to beat on, would he turn on Hank? The possibility was unthinkable. She had to keep quiet. She had to protect her son.

Even with thoughts swirling through her brain like a cyclone, she didn’t miss the concerned looks she was getting from the detective. She couldn’t say anything.

“Hello, I’m Detective Brent. Is everything all right?”

Looking up into concerned brown eyes, she simply replied, “Thanks, I’m fine,” as she continued arranging the display.

“On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by and intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men.” National Statistics Domestic Violence Fact Sheet

“An average of about 716,000 instances of nonfatal domestic violence were reported to police each year, and about 582,000 instances went unreported.” Crime and Justice News May 3, 2017