Sunday, October 08, 2006

Journal of a Living Lady #283

Nancy White Kelly

Buddy left me today. Not forever. Just for three days. He and a friend discovered that they both have brothers in Olive Branch, Mississippi. They have discussed taking this trip together for over a year. Finally their trivial chat turned into a real event.

In the 60’s, Buddy and I lived briefly in a nearby community called Southaven. Newly married, we were anxious to settle in. We signed a contract on a new subdivision house. We were invited to occupy the house while the routine, but time-consuming, VA paper work was finished.

To our surprise and the builder’s dismay, the mortgage company decided we didn’t make enough money to qualify. This was in spite of the fact that we had excellent credit, Buddy had a good job with the airlines, and I was a first grade teacher. I forget what the exact price of the house was, but remember that it was fairly average for that decade.

As time would tell, that was our first and only brand new house. Forced to vacate immediately, we found a neat bungalow just over the line in Memphis. Three years later, Buddy was transferred by Eastern Airlines to the Atlanta area. Again rushed, we reluctantly sold our house for a grand profit of a few hundred dollars.

Time was of the essence. We had two weeks to settle in Atlanta. Since Buddy needed to work, it was necessary for me to go ahead and scout Atlanta for something to rent. No problem. I confidently flew to Atlanta, rented a car, and read the classifieds in the Atlanta paper. I looked at half a dozen houses that were within our price range. By then it was getting late.

Nightfall found me on a street called Stewart Avenue. The male clerk at the economy motel stared at my eyes for a few moments.

“Are you a local girl?” he asked.

“No, I replied. “I am from Memphis.”

“Yeah,” he replied smugly.

“Cash up front,” he said as he threw the room key on the counter.

Little did I know that I was in the red light district. Buddy explained by phone what “local” girl meant and I blush even today when I think about that experience.

The next day I found a house for us to rent in Candler Park. It was very old, had a cold damp cellar, and heavy creaky doors. It would have been the perfect abode for ghosts if there were such. But it would do. I was in a hurry to get home. That was nearly forty years ago.

Here I am alone again in a large house. Our house. The night is dark and there is no beaming moon light. Twice I have checked the door locks and chains. Even the bedroom door is bolted shut. The nightlight is on and Buddy’s 38 Special hangs above the bed. Am I supposed to sleep now?

Three days is going to be a long time.


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