The Literary Corner: Renegade Writer’s Guild

Published 11:24 pm Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Apprehension

By Marie Craig

My friend described their son’s first week of kindergarten last week, and it brought tears to my eyes. He cried all five days when he left her and entered the classroom. He wanted to stay with her, and he was very shy and uncertain about going into a room of strangers and a new way of life. I can’t remember that my two sons were this upset, and I don’t think I was when I entered first grade. I think all three of us are too stubborn for that.

I’m not sure we ever get over those butterflies when we are called upon to do something totally different and diverse. Most people settle into a routine and spend their lives on automatic pilot. For example, think about the people in your church.  Almost all of them sit in the same spot every Sunday for their entire lives. In another town where we lived, there was a man in our church who always sat at the same position. Early-arriving visitors sat in his place one Sunday. The man walked in, saw that somebody was in his seat, and turned around and went home.

Imagine, if you will, going to a party where you knew no one. You hesitate at the door and then reluctantly enter thinking you probably forgot to put shoes on or have spinach on your teeth or have a Kick Me sign on your back. Blood pressure tests would probably be interesting to read when people are thrust into a situation of not knowing other people or the protocol.

We are a little amused at children’s hesitations to try new things such as school, but maybe the reason we find it humorous is because, deep down, we are just the same.

The Dr. Lippard House

By Gaye Hoots

Several homes on the Advance end of Underpass Road are around 100 years old. The house I lived in and updated that had belonged to the Hartman family for most of my life is one of them, and it dates from 1888. The house directly across from it was the Will Hendrix house, where his granddaughter Janie lives, and it has been there all my life. Two houses below it is a two-story white house with a front balcony.

I remember this house well because Ed and Kathy Reichel lived there many years, and they babysat my granddaughter, Tiffany, before she started school. It has beautiful features including bow windows in both front rooms. The house has stood empty for a while, and the grounds became overgrown as the house deteriorated.

This home was built by Dr. Lippard, who purchased his first land in the area in 1887; some of the land he bought from the Orrell family. He married Emma Howard/Call from the Bixby/Smith Grove area and began building the home for his wife, who was expecting their first child, and to use as his medical office. He died at the age of 37 before their child was born.

Emma lived in the home with her daughter, Vance Hartley’s mother, Georgia, and later married Ance Cornatzer, a widower with several older children. One of Ance’s sons lost his wife when their daughter, Pansy Cornatzer, was only six weeks old. Emma and Ance kept the child with them and raised her. When Pansy was 6, Ance died, and Emma, her step-grandmother kept Pansy with her.

The Vance Hartley family recently purchased the house with plans to bring it back to life. They have cleared much of the brush and overgrown trees and shrubbery, hauled off the trash, uncovered fireplaces, and plan to live in the home while working to restore its beautiful features.

Other homes in this area are owned by Shirley Markland and her husband and are a work in progress. I am happy that these beautiful old homes are being saved. Jack and Jane Carter have purchased the Aunt Maime Markland/Myers home near them with plans to repair it, so this end of Advance is being improved by the day.

Some of these houses, like the Hartman house, have original heart pine flooring, high ceilings, fireplaces, original doors, and other features. It is exciting to follow the progress of the homes and the surrounding grounds. The former Sidden home beside Shirley Markland’s shop is beautifully landscaped, and the shop contains many beautiful items suitable for older homes. The Full Measure store and the reopening of the Restaurant, Goose’s Grill, is bringing life back to this end of town.

Zinnias

By Julie Terry Cartner

“I don’t want to move,” 9-year-old Harper cried. “All of my friends are here, and my school, and my garden…” She tapered off as tears fell. As only the child of a military family can know, nothing is permanent. Her mom, active in the military, had to go where she was stationed. Her dad, self-employed, could work from anywhere as long as he had internet access. And Harper, an only child, had to follow with as much grace as she could muster.

It hadn’t been as hard when she was younger, but, now in fourth grade, in a school that she’d been in since first grade, Harper had established friendships, roots that she didn’t want to tear up. “Please, Mom,” she started, then, looking at her mom’s tear-drenched eyes, she took a deep breath, and said, “I’ll start packing.” But, heading towards her bedroom, she detoured, and ran out to her garden.

Harper had loved gardening since the day her grandmother had put a trowel in her hand. On yearly visits to Harper’s grandparents’ farm, Nana would have Harper’s hands in the soil as soon as they’d arrive. She taught Harper about herbs and flowers and how to love and care for the land. On their last visit, Nana had pressed packets of seeds into Harper’s hands. “You’re old enough. Go home and plant a garden.” And she had.

Now Harper looked at her garden. She loved all the plants, but the zinnias were her favorites.  They filled the garden with almost every color imaginable and enticed the butterflies and finches to enjoy the nectar and seeds. How could she leave them? Then, filled with determination, she removed the dead blossoms from the plants. I’ll harvest the seeds, she thought. I can’t take the garden with me, but I can take the seeds and start over.

Returning to the house, she asked her mom, “When do we leave?” Saturday morning was the answer. Harper and her classmates were to give research reports on Friday. Now Harper knew what to do. Friday morning, she got up early and went into her garden. Carefully cutting dozens of zinnias, she put them into a vase, mixing the flowers in a riot of colors.

When it was her turn to present her report, Harper carried the vase to the front of the room. She told about the history of zinnias. They were first recorded in the 1520s in Mexico and were considered little more than ugly weeds. The Spaniards called them mal de ojos or sickness of the eye. Then by the early 1700’s cultivation of the flower had made it more attractive, and it was re-named zinnia after the botanist, Johann Zinn. More cultivation led to prettier blossoms and the popularity of zinnias spread across Europe and America.

Navajo and Pueblo tribes used the flowers for stomach and throat medicines, dyes, and paints. Zinnias were considered the symbol of wisdom, and parents fed the flowers to their children hoping to make them intelligent and well spoken. Navajo lore tells of a young boy being sent to find zinnias to protect the crops.

Harper concluded with these words: “We’re moving tomorrow; Mom has new orders, so this is my good-bye.” Pointing to the various flowers, she told her friends about the symbols of the zinnias. “These,” indicating the magenta blossoms, “stand for lasting affection, and these, the yellow, mean remembrance, like I’ll love and remember you after I’m gone. Whites mean goodness and reds are about staying constant, so together they mean constant goodness, like my time here has been. But most importantly, the flowers, with all the colors mixed together, represent remembering absent friends. So, I’m going to leave these flowers here, and hope you’ll remember me, as I’ll remember you. I guess we meet a lot of people in our lives, and they’re all different, just like all the zinnia colors. I’m sad that I’m leaving, but I’m taking my seeds with me to grow a new garden. When the zinnias bloom, I’ll think of you as I hope you will think of me.” [Ward, Rufus. “Ask Rufus: Gardens of Youth and Old Age.” The Dispatch 28 June 2014.]