Gladys McCullough Alexander:
Looking Back at the Long Ago


Home

Memories on Parade

Meet the Family

A Town is Born

The Growing McCullough Family

A Church Becomes a Reality

A Closing Word

The Man Called Guelcksie

A is for Arthur

The Coffin House

Poet and Philosopher -- Aged Seven

The Two Room School House

Open the Windows and Open the Doors

Sixteen Girls in White

Four Girls and Five Boys

The Poet in Hot Water

Windows Open for Edith

The Great Decision

Bo Peep

Epilogue

Notes

THE POET IN HOT WATER

On one of their fishing trips to Black River, I was invited to go along for the first time. I was highly excited as I watched them pack the wagon with bedding for sleeping on the ground, bottles of water, fishing tackle, canned food from the store, etc. We had new bathing suits (ordered from catalogues). Mine was dark blue trimmed with white braid, and had a big collar, puffed sleeves, a pleated skirt to be worn over bloomers. When wet it must have weighed more than I did. I loved it.

As we drove the long miles over familiar roads, we sang happy songs, but all singing stopped when we came to a place where a new fence had been erected across the road and a heavy gate with chain and padlock made it plain that we were not to drive through.

Lynn and Hugh talked about what to do. A detour would be long. It was getting late and the team was tired. they found the answer. Hugh alighted, took his gun from the wagon, and shot the lock off.

At last we arrived, set up a fly tent, and unloaded near the river. We stayed four days and all of it was wonderful to me except nighttime.

I heard strange noises in the woods. The fly tent was only a shelter, and did not touch the ground. I wondered if wild animals might come in while we were sleeping.

Sometimes I heard something spash in the river, or an owl in the trees.

But morning came and nothing had happened. I loved the daytime.

Safely back at home, I tried to express my appreciation by writing about the lock-shooting incident. I showed the poem to Lizzie, who read it aloud to the assembled family following the noon dinner one day. She stood to read it, and I beamed at such recognition.

When she read about the lock both brothers pounced on me at the same time. Their words fairly stumbled over each other. "You little simpleton. Give me that thing. Don't you have any sense! Burn that paper this minute. We could be fined and put in jail for shooting a lock! Has anyone seen that stuff?"

I left the room with my arm covering my face, went upstairs, and lay face down on my bed, crying into my pillow. If my dear brothers were fined and sent to jail our happy family could never be happy again.

And my beautiful poem was lost forever to posterity and the world of literature.


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Copyright 2011 Ellen Wilds, all rights reserved. Redistribution and/or reuse terms of license. Disclaimer for this document: "Gladys McCullough Alexander: Looking Back At The Long Ago is published here with the permission of Ellen S. Wilds and transcribed by her, December 1999. The materials published here are presented "as is", without warranty of any kind to the extent permitted by applicable law, and without any promise of validity and/or accuracy."