Woodwitch and Assorted Writings
Author: George Harold Fulks/2010
Working with an eight-feet-long firring strip, I had used a
mitre- saw to cut two, twenty-four inch pieces for a project. Laying
the two pieces on a table, the remaining four feet of wood were tossed
on the ground. Checking to see that the two pieces I had cut were
exactly the same size, I walked into my home and had an hour or so
for lunch and rest.
Upon returning to the wood project, I grasped the two pieces of
wood; again checking them for length. I found that one of the strips
was at least two inches longer than the other.
Since that occurrence, I've chatted with others who have worked
on woodworking projects. Several have reported weird events associated
with their cutting and measurement.
Is there a mischievous spirit or perhaps a woodwitch on the premises?
During the first three years following my retirement, George Fulks stayed busy by working with several different homeimprovement projects.In two instances, my spouse and I arrived
at the entrance to our home at precisely the same instance. We were startled and amazed by two unexplainable occurrences there at our home entrance.
An Illinois village of approximately 150 people, Harvel had been the location of our residence since 1970. A peaceful village and centered in the
corn belt of Montgomery County, my spouse and I were both children of farmers and/or farm workers. We were happy to reside within the environment of rural America.
One day Hazel opened the entrance door to our home as we both stood ready to enter. My spouse brought to my attention that a fox squirrel had, in some manner,
found its way into the piano quarters; as we so called the room. Barking in total
panic, that animal was perched upon our youngest daughters' piano. It would not
stop its barking or exit. I must have held the entrance door open for two minnutes
before determining that the squirrel had no intention of leaving by my efforts to coax it outside.
Finally opening the entrance door fully, adjusting the door latchrod and securing it, after a time I was able to persuade the creature to exit the piano room. That incident was
cause of some disorientation. How the squirrel had gained entry through a locked
entrance and into the piano room remains a mystery.
It was not long after the fox squirrel entry that the same securely locked room was entered through some
means by a small woodpecker- a species that is native and common to the central Illinois area. Climbing a stepladder and catching that woodpecker, it flew to a tree some distance away. Neither Hazel I had any idea as to how it had woundup in the piano room. We still don't know.
1965-1967/two school terms
Residing at the Hale Hotel that was located in Smithland, Kentucky, I had found work as
a teacher at Livingston Central Highschool, Burna, Kentucky- a tiny village some seven
miles away. For an affordable monthly charge, Mrs. Flora Hale and her husband Harold provided me with room and board during the 1965-66 school term.
An excellent cook, Mrs. Hale was famous for her chesspie recipe. Kentuckians came
from miles away to enjoy her tables set with the finest of homecooked foods.
Having little time for conversation, Mrs. Floria Hale was dedicated to the art of cooking and in the supervision of her kitchen aides. Once while setting her tables for lunch, she spent some time also talking with me.She shared with me a story during one of her rare "brow-wiping" sessions. Her kitchen
was hot and without any airconditioning system. Women who had endured years of hard-
times were trained to work in that manner.
"When I was a young lady," she said, " I knew a man who made daily trips by horse and wagon to deliver goods to a grocery store about five miles from Smithland. His name was Silas McAllister. One day he was on his way to deliver a load, and as he rounded a curve in the road, there was a steep hill to his right.
Suddenly, he sighted a wagonwheel rolling in his direction from up the hill. He was
able to stop the horse and wagon that first time and avoid a direct hit from the wayward and approaching wheel. The same thing happened the next day; but that time, the horse became frightened. It ran away with the wagon, and the man was not able to control or stop his animal. Consequently, the wagon overturned within the woods to his left, and the man
was killed. There are still bushwhackers here in the county. I can see them watching you."
Reminiscing in year 2010 Mrs. Harold Hale fondly and admirably, she was very similar in habits and appearance to my own grandmother, Carie Atlantic Gertie Dell Pinegar Fulks. People of my generation never cease in their love and respect for the hardworking people of those times. Setting a good
example by her faith, enthusiasm, dedication, and her love of people in the community,
Mrs. Hale represented large groups of people who had suffered through "The Great American Depression", two two world wars, and other hardwhips. Their generations had suffered great hardships so that the standard of living might improve for those of the future. Finding those oldfashioned ladies to be extremely conservative people, most had never found life as easy and convenient as have we of the electronics age. Life had really been difficult for them.
From several of the poor and unemployed encountered during the 1960's, Mrs. Hale's story is interpreted as inferring:"I do not even have the money to buy a loaf of bread or to get my kid a new pair of shoes. I couldn't even get anywhere even if I had the money. Why is it so hard for me and so easy for you"?
Life in Livingston County:1964-67
Exiting Livingston County in the year 1967, this writer accepted a teaching position in Central Illinois. A political conflict between two administrators and
the sight of someone's teeth on the floor in the highschool hallway sent a shiver of fear down my spine. "It's time to get out of here," I thought. "Somebody may kill me if I stay here".
That section of rural America had many assets. Excellent fishing and hunting were
available for one to enjoy. Deer, squirrel, and quail were abundant. Western Kentahten had remained a happy hunting ground. I loved to walk the forests and fields among those quiet and peaceful surroundings. Landowners were generous in granting permission to hunt and fish. Yet; there came a time to exit, and opportunity presented itself. Sometimes I wish I'd remained there.
Other teachers when I worked at Livingston Central Highschool were: (1)Kenneth
T."Buck" Hardin- principal; (2)Kenneth Crotser- history and assistant principal; (3)Euleen Baxter- typing and business; (4)Raymond Blaylock- industrial arts; (5)James Nettles- instrumental music; (6)Pauline Stringer- choral music; (7)Harold Holt- mathematics; (8)George Whitecotton-??????????; (9)Helen James- English; (10)Don Ringstaff- coaching sports teams and physical education; (10)Maxie Hanson-history; (11)Gladys Rogers-mathematics; (12)Mrs. Horace B. Alderdice- home economics; (13)
James Jasper Groves- custodian; (14)Jim Middleton- agriculture; (15)Dan Larue-guidance counselor; (15)Jerry Wilson-business education; (16)Kathy Shroud- girls's physical education;(17) William McGee-??? (18) James Jones-business math???;(19)William "Bill" Small- general science and biology.
My salary as a teacher there at Livingston Central was $420 monthly, and that was enough to live comfortably and have an automobile during the years 1965-67. Most Livingston County residents did not earn that much income in the 1960's. Those were hardtimes for many of the students with whom I had worked.
I especially recall the many beautiful young ladies there at the highschool and in the community. I loved several of those girls, but they were not abused by
this teacher. I am certain that most other men and boys in the area shared with me
those feelings. The women and girls are always fantastic. Temptations forever present themselves.
Research into the Burna, Kentucky and surrounding areas reveals that at least six acquaintenances from the mid-1960's have deceased. Kenneth Crotser, Myrtle
"Tillie" Groves, James Jasper Groves, Watson Vick, and the husband-wife team of George and Velda Robinson are forever embedded in my memory. Will any of us meet again after I'm deceased? I don't know, but efforts shall be made to include some
commentary on the subject of those friends and supporters during those times.(1965-66 and 1966-67) That will be a challenge.(I still remember Susan and a golden ring set with a genuine ruby.)
IMPRESSIONS OF LIVINGSTON COUNTY, KENTAHTEN
Two years living and working in Livingston County, Kentahten is a story I would like to share with other members of the Fulks family and their descendants. It's a one-of-a-kind journey, and from this you may
learn some do's and don't in your personal lives.
I was honorably discharged from the United States Army on 24 December 1964 and assigned to a reserve unit in Fort Hayes, Ohio. Returning to Grand Rivers where my mother annd father lived had been an error on
my part. My parents were disappointed that I had loafed and made little effort to find employment. Discharge from military service requires a readjustment to civilian life for some former servicemen. That was certainly true for me. A few kicks in the posterior from my dad were required to get me headed in the right direction.
First finding a job at Harned's Barbecue in Paducah, the pay was only $26 weekly. That work was not a challenge and required that I take food orders from people in automobiles. Those patrons were often hot and tired and difficult to please. Quitting that job after a month or two, I was able to find employment that
was more rewarding as a welder at Paducah Marine Ways.
Frequent customers at Harned's Barbecue were William Barnes and Judy Hunter who were later to become
my brother and sister-in-law. William was the only brother I ever had. Those two later fed me, bought Christmas gifts for me, and allowed my family and me to stay on their farm when visiting Kentahten. Judy was a good cook, and our visits there often coincided with those of Ike and Gladys Jarrad from Princeton. Judy, William, their son Jeffrey and daughter Terri were very cordial and hospitable during visits to Kentahten until my marriage with Hazel ended in 1989. I've not returned to Kentahten since 1996 when I was on a solo primitive camping and fishing expedition. I'm not well-known or remembered well there in Kentahten. Many of my 1960's acquaintenances are either deceased or have moved from Western Kentahten.
One of the most admirable qualities of Livingston County residents I met is that
use of profanities during conversation was extremely rare. Becoming accustomed to that habit in others, I came to expect it. Noting that others were avoiding foul language during writing and oral communications, I also developed that habit. I was disturbed when I heard
others cursing or using gutter-type language during rare instances. If common vulgarities were used, they were used at home or in private. I did hear "queer" on occasion. That's been a lifelong experience. Others are evidently in search for people who prefer the same sex. I've never been able to determine the reasons or causes of that phenomenon.
I've turned-away from those labelers. There's something inherently wrong with those people.
The teaching job I assumed in Raymond, Illinois was made up of a student body and adult force demonstrating the same clean use of language as had those in Kentahten. Yet; some misguided individual would still cast from out of their mouths
the word "queer" on occasion. For that illness, there must somewhere and somehow be
a diagnosis and a cure. That word is a synonym of odd.
Living my first school term at Hale Hotel, I entered graduate school following the 1965-66 school term and began focusing attention on reading improvement. Moving from Smithland and into the country was one of my goals. During that same summer, I purchased a mobile home, rented five acres outback in a remote area near Mahan Hollow from Tommy Overfield, a local landowner and spar-miner. Such a setting was entirely appropriate for someone of hill-people background, and so far as I know, no-one in that area complained profoundly.Highschool custodian, Jimmy Groves, provided assistance in every manner. Soon I had privacy and a home in a rural Kentahten setting. That was just right for me. (I'd been eyed somewhat suspiciously by some while living in Smithland. It was a good old conservative town; but not quite appropriate for George Fulks) Jimmy Groves was experienced in water systems, electricity, masonry, and heating. He was knowledgeable in most practical areas, and I would had experienced great difficulty in the set-up and maintenance of the mobile home and the land where it was placed. Jimmy even took care of mowing for me without charge. Jimmy Groves had a good heart and was one of the most unselfish people I've ever met. Becoming friends with Jimmy, his wife Myrtle and son, Andy were the key to my survival in the country near Hampton, Kentahten and in that school district.
One of the Alabama people is making an effort to infect my system. Please close
my site to all of Alabama. I've recently paid $95 to have another nuisance removed. A preacher perhaps?
Some of my close neighbors there between Hampton, Kentahten and Mahan Hollow with whom I became acquainted were George and Velda Robinson, Watson Vick and family, and the Jerry Davenport Family. Some residents commenced to refer to George Fulks as "wild man," and that did not annoy me at all. That's how I wanted life to be- a man living close to nature.
One of our favorite passtimes was fishing on the Cumberland River, on the lakes and near the spillways around Barkley and Kentucky Lakes. Having a motorized boat provided many quality hours for my friends and me. Some of the largest fish I caught
were harvested at night under the moon and stars. My best girlfriend, Inis Irmus, had large and long breasts resulting in the catching of several large channel catfish, bass, and other gamely species. Inis would hang one "boob" beside my boat, the fish would come to the water surface and grab hold of a nipple. I'd reach down with a lasso rigged to a hickory stick and catch fish without a hook and hardly ever miss. One buffalo fish weighed twenty-nine pounds. (Only fifteen people read rummageandella.com daily according to stats. I can write an account such this with confidence that few will hit my site. Should anyone object to this being included, write me an e-mail showing your use of vocabulary.)
It wasn't long before copperheads began crawling into the mobile home's wall partitions, foxes and other creatures crept across the field on which my mobile home was placed. Raccoons and oppossums shared food with the cat. As I tried to feed the cat inside, oppossums and raccoons would also enter. Hundreds of fireflies
would stare at me at the entrance and stare as I sat grading hundreds of student assignments. An uncanny thing entered one night and frightened me out of my witts. At times the night displayed strange pulsating lights- rising and falling and pulsating. I still don't know what those lights were.
Unless I write about George and Velda Robinson, for the record they may become forgotten markers on tombstones. My closest neighbors, those two were kind, loving, and generous folks. With them I shared many meals, hard work, and good times. George, Velda's husband was blind, one legged, and seriously diabetic. We played cards together, and Velda had a neice named Loretta Williams.(Loretta's father was a Baptist preacher and performed my wedding rites.) I'd mow Velda's grass for her and help George work on his farm tractor. He could work on things althosgh blind. The three of us would visit the peach orchards, pick the fruits by the bushels. Velda would bag those peaches and place them in her deep-freezer. We'd have fresh peaches year round. Jimmy Groves, the highschool custodian, and I would get them to their doctor's appointments in Evansville, Indiana and take them shopping. I'd get Velda and George's mail for them at the post office in Burna, Kentahten.
George and Velda had moved to Western Kentahten from Connecticut during the 1950. Purchasing a fifty acre mini-farm, George had ccnstructed a modern block house on their land.
In recounting my teaching in Livingston County, Kentucky, the Watson Vick family are important for me to note. The father, Watson, was an occasional visitor to my mobile home, and that family lived less than one-quarter mile to my rear. Livingston County had a riding or saddle club where people interested in horses brought their animals for
show. Watson Vick was a a leader in horse breeding- instrumental in making that saddle club a success.
He and his wife had several children but all had attained maturity and independence except their youngest- Shelia and Norman. As a highschool junior, Norman was enrolled in my English and American literature class. He was mature and co-operative in and out of class and a good worker. I'd sometimes see Shelia and a friend horseback riding. Often I wonder whatever became of them.
A family of definite Irish descent, the Davenports were living not far away. They bore Jerry and Terri who were separated by no more than two years in age and
were Livingston Central Highschool students- both active in the instrumental music
program as well as academics. Not becoming closely acquainted with them, the Davenports, that family provided moral support for me. Those people were mild-mannered, hard working- strong physically and spiritually. They possessed a spirit, as do most Irish descendants, that could not be broken. Certain people will attempt to subjugate others. Trying that on me and the Davenports, I've survived to age seventy and may live longer despite continued efforts. That the Davenports yet thrive and survive is almost a sure thing. Survival and its continuation most surely are the vitals of a game called life.
A couple of tin-roofed house families were residing among George Fulks, George and Velda Robinson, the Watson Vicks, and the Jerry Davenports. Those were the kind of folks from whom I
had descended- my favorite kind of people. Those were John Steinbeck's creatures. They live and die in that style and manner- eventually winding-up in the exact same places as we who had money and means. Most of us wind-up in the cemetary- the great equalizer; where there's no pretense, no money, no social classes, and no need for anything at all. For George Fulks, I'll be creamated and placed in a milkjug. ("There's what remains of my dad," my children will say.) My milkjug washed away during a recent flashflood.
You'll never be a man, George. You'll always be just a little boy.
Posted below is a most recent snapshot of the author of rummageandella.com./photo is entitled the arthur. Apologies go to any particular people who might stumble upon my efforts. In need of a refresher course for English composition and grammar, I continue in this manner on account of health problems.
Son-in-law, youngest daughter, and grandson/ Matthew Beckham, Tracy Denise Fulks Beckham, and Mason Beckham/photo made at my residence in Hillsboro, Illinois during spring of 2010.