A friend told me she thought I could create equally vivid images with both my pen and my camera. The header photo is an example of my photographic efforts. Below is an example of my writing abilities – how a town was founded. This has been extracted from a piece I’m working on. I’d appreciate feedback and comments on this. Thanks.
After taking a sip of my drink, I said to him “Yesterday you said you’ve been coming into the pharmacy for fifty years. Could you give me a bit of the history of Fletcher’s Corners? Looking around I get the impression that Fletcher’s Corners wasn’t always just a small town and I wouldn’t mind knowing more.”
He stared at me across the table and threw back his beer. I signalled Bert to bring him another and after thanking me, he began. “Well young lady, first off, how long have you been in town?” I told him and he nodded. “You friendly with many of the townsfolk? I allowed that Owen Fletcher and I occasionally went sailing together, admitting that was more because while I enjoyed sailing I didn’t own a boat, but “I wouldn’t call us buddy-buddy.”
Again he nodded. “Good.” He paused and finished off his beer. Once more I signalled Bert. “First off, what’s your name young lady? I like to know the name of the person I’m talking with.”
I told him and he stuck his hand across the table and said “Pleased to meet you Patricia Keys. I’m Walter Talbot, but folks just call me ‘Old Wally’. You planning on changing the name of the store?”
That had originally been one of my first priorities, but other things had rearranged my list so that item was now well down and falling fast. “No, I think I’ll leave it as ‘Robert’s Drugs’. Everybody in town knows it as that and I’m not vain enough that I have to have my name on the store.”
Wally grunted. “Good. Bobby changed it when he took over and it took most of twenty years before folks here started calling it ‘Bobby’s’ instead of ‘Jackson’s’. Don’t worry Pat, people here will know your name whether you advertise it or not.
“Now, Fletcher’s Corners. The town was started a couple of hundred years ago by Owen Fletcher. The present Owen Fletcher is his great-grandson. Owen was a doctor of some sort – nobody ever saw a diploma, but back then this was mostly wilderness and if somebody said they were a doc, and their treatment didn’t kill you, their claim was accepted. Anyway, Owen Fletcher married into money. He bought a couple of sections of land here, then built a big house on the best land. That house is now the office building at the hospital.
” Anyway, it seems that some of Owen’s in-laws were ‘tetched’ and Owen offered to put them up. After all, his big house was almost empty, what with just him, Lavinia, his wife and their infant son and the company would be welcome. The families offered to subsidize their relatives’ keep, so Owen wasn’t doing it just out of the goodness of his heart. One thing led to another and before he knew it, friends of the family were asking for the same thing. Of course since they had offered to pay him for the upkeep, he couldn’t say ‘no’. Well, eventually his house began to get awful crowded. Something happened one day, he never said what for sure and my granddaddy didn’t ask, and the next thing the town knew, Owen’s got contractors out there on the point putting up this huge dormitory.”
He paused for breath and another sip of beer and I glanced at my watch. “Wally, I’ve got to get back to the shop. After you’re finished here, could you come by and tell me more.”
Glancing around the room, which was now filling up with the lunch crowd, he said “Sure. It’ll be a lot more private than this anyhow.”
Half an hour later Wally entered the store and looked furtively around. “You alone?” he asked.
“Yes. There’s no-one here except you and me and all these pills.”
“Good. Now, where was I? Oh yeah.
“As I said, Owen had this huge dormitory built to house all these relatives and friends of relatives.” Nodding at the street through the window, he continued. “That was the Post Road back when this place was founded. First Avenue used to be the side road leading from the Post Road down to the landing. The people Owen hired to work in the hospital built homes around the junction for the social aspects. Life was a little easier if there were always people around other than the people you worked with. Same thing’s still true. As the hospital grew, more and more people moved in and soon we had people opening shops of all kinds. At its peak, Fletcher’s Corners probably had close to twelve hundred people living here. We had the usual greengrocers, milliners, a draper, a livery stable, two banks and a post office not to mention about ten or twelve taverns.
“The town pretty well kept its size until the railways and trucks started taking all the freight from the boats, then it shrunk. The bypass pretty well spelled the end for a lot of the businesses, since they had relied a lot on the through traffic. Over the last ten or fifteen years though, its started growing again as people move out of the cities in search of a bit of peace and quiet.”
Just then the door opened and a couple entered and greeted me. As I filled their prescription, they chatted pleasantly with me, totally ignoring Wally, sitting right beside them. After they left, still not having acknowledged Wally’s existence, I asked him about it.
“Well, now’s about a good a time as any to get into the pecking order of Fletcher’s Corners. Back then there were three main families: The Fletchers naturally, since it was Owen’s business that was the main reason for the town; the Harrises – old man Harris owned the biggest tavern in town as well as running the post office; and the Talbots.” I looked up in surprise. Wally grinned and said “Yup. My grandfather ran the bank – the one that went out of business. As I said, we had two banks here in town, the Talbot Bank, and one other one that became the current branch. Fletcher kept the hospital accounts with the Talbot Bank until the major bank took over the other one, then changed. The loss of those lucrative accounts resulted in grandpappy closing down. Until then the Fletchers and the Talbots had been pretty close and just about ran Fletcher’s Corners as their private kingdom. So, after the bank shut down, the Talbot’s opened an apothecary shop – this one. I said that my grandfather ran one of the banks here and had a fair bit of power in the area. As a matter of fact, before this place was called Fletcher’s Corners, people used to call it Talbot’s Corners. But as more and more of the residents began to be Fletcher employees, it started being called Fletcher’s instead of Talbot’s. I don’t mind really; having your family name on a village isn’t all that great. People think that just because your name is the same as the village, you can fix up any little problem they may have. But, I’m wandering here. At one point, from what I’ve been told, both Owen Fletcher and my grandpappy decided that Malcolm Harris shouldn’t have the post office franchise as well as the tavern, so between them they convinced the government to give it to someone else. As it turned out, Mal was making more from the post office than his tavern, so by taking it away, grandpappy and Fletcher had severely reduced his income. Things got worse for the Harrises since Malcolm was a gambler who had more money than card sense and eventually he lost the tavern too. Malcolm claimed that Owen Fletcher and Alexander Talbot had plotted against him just to gain control of the tavern. It wasn’t true, or so my grandmother always told me, but the Harris family has had no time since for either the Talbots or the Fletchers. Jack Richards there is a descendant of Malcolm Harris. That’s why neither of them would even admit you had someone here with you.” Wally glanced at the clock on the wall. “I’ve been boring you long enough young lady. If you’ve a mind, stop by Bert’s once you close this place and I’ll let you buy me another beer while I tell you more about this hellish place.” And with that, he left.
Sound reasonable? Let me know. Thanks,