Monday, September 15, 2014

The News - Hurricanes and Baseball

September 15, 1965

Jocie Brooke here reporting from Hollyhill, Kentucky. Boy, am I glad I don't live where hurricanes can hit. Last week I told you they were watching out for Hurricane Betsy and I didn't think that was a very good name for a hurricane. Well, I guess it was because it blew into Florida and Louisiana and tore up stumps and flooded everything and made this storm surge that went over the levees in Louisiana. The papers said maybe as many at eighty people died. It was so bad that Dad says they'll never use the name Betsy for a hurricane again. The name will be dropped from the list. 

Scary stuff but here in Hollyhill things just go on like always. I go to school. Zella types and pretends not to like Cat, but I know she slips him bits of bacon. Wes keeps the press running and watches baseball. Aunt Love lets the beans burn. Folks at church have potluck dinners. Things that seem so ordinary, but as Miss Sally tells me ordinary can be good.  

Speaking of baseball - well, I wasn't, but Wes was. He said we might as well not worry ourselves to death over hurricanes and think about Bert Campaneris. He plays for the Kansas City A's, and Wes says the A's have been losing nearly every game. So to try to up attendance, the manager decided to play Campaneris at every position in one game. Pitcher, catcher, fielder, baseman. All nine positions. They did that last week. Wes couldn't wait to read about it in the city newspapers. And he told me all about it at least ten times. He said that's the way they play ball up on Jupiter. Switching positions all the time. Said it made him almost homesick, but since Bert was playing down here on Earth, he guessed he'd stick around to see how the World Series turns out. One thing sure, the A's won't be in the World Series. Not losing every game like that. 

We've been playing softball in gym at high school.  I'm the worst. Can't hit and can't catch. But I can run if I happen to get on with a walk or something. Did you ever play softball?

Guess I'd better share a few more pages of Bailey's Bug.

Bailey's Bug by Jocie Brooke
(Continued from last week - the beginning of the story can be found on the Bailey's Bug link above.)

Chapter 5
When the sun slipped out of sight behind the buildings in front of them, Lucinda began to talk about soft cushions and beds. She never actually said they needed to go back to the Robinsons, but she did stop every few blocks to lick her paws and stare off into the distance as though she could see something Bailey couldn’t.
Bailey’s paws were sore too. That made him glad to plop down beside Lucinda while she worked on her feet.
Bailey looked around. Nothing looked right. People were there all right. Rushing everywhere like the sidewalk was too hot to stand still for more than a second. Now and again, a person smiled toward him, but more of them yelled as if they were afraid he might give them fleas or something.
Bailey didn’t care. He was used to people yelling at him, but Lucinda expected people to be respectful. The nasty voices made her fur spike up along her back and her tail kept getting stiffer as it shot up into the air.
Then a fat man came out of the store and spotted them behind a garbage can. He not only yelled, he picked up a rock and threw it at them. The rock bounced on the sidewalk and almost hit Lucinda. She sprang up with a yowl and snarled at the man. Bailey jumped in front of her as another rock whistled past. They raced around a corner away from the man and his rocks and stopped to catch their breath between two parked cars.
“He must have thought we were strays.” Bailey hoped that would make Lucinda feel less insulted.
“We are strays.” Lucinda’s voice was shrill. “It’s not safe to be a stray in the city. Even the dumbest dog should know that.”
Bailey didn’t say anything. He didn’t feel like a stray. He knew who he belonged to. Reid. Bailey peered under the dark, silent car next to him. There were a lot of cars clustered around a building where light spilled out of big windows. Inside, people were moving around. The door swung open and the noise practically hurt Bailey’s ears. It was that loud. But more entrancing was the smell of food.
A boy came through the door. If only that were Reid. But it wasn’t. The boy got into a car not far from Bailey and the car woke up and inched out of the parking lot and out to the street. Bailey didn’t know why he felt so disappointed, but he did.
After the car lights disappeared, he looked at Lucinda. “What are we going to do now?”
“Why ask me? I’m not the one with a bug in my ear.”
Cocking his ears, Bailey stood up and moved his head to the left and then to the right. His tail stuck out like a flag behind him as he sniffed the air. The hum was still in his ears. He’d come the right way, but he couldn’t tell how much farther it was to Reid.
“We haven’t gotten there yet,” Bailey said.
“Tell me something I don’t already know.” Lucinda’s mood wasn’t improving. But she didn’t say they should go back to the Robinsons. Instead she leaped up on the car beside them to look around.
“What do you see?
“A stupid dog and a crazy cat.” She slid down the hood to the bumper and jumped softly to the ground. “My feet hurt. I’m not going another step tonight.”
“Is it safe here?”
She didn’t bother answering as she limped to a huge metal bin. Bailey jumped up on the side of bin. Lovely smells came from inside it. Food smells. But he couldn’t reach the opening, no matter how he stretched.
“Get away from there before somebody starts throwing rocks again,” Lucinda ordered.
“But there’s food in there.”
“None you can get to.” Lucinda slid out of sight behind the bin. “You’ll just have to be hungry till morning.”
Morning seemed a long time away as Bailey followed the cat into the shadowy darkness behind the bin. Lucinda had already found a piece of foam to curl up on. Bailey lay down beside her and did his best not to think of bones and doggie treats and the wonderful whirr of Mrs. Robinson’s can opener. He wondered what would be different in the morning that would get them food. But there was no use worrying about that.
He needed to think good things. He had to be closer to Reid tonight than last night. He might not be miles closer, but he was closer. He wasn’t alone. Lucinda was with him and could be she knew something she wasn’t telling him about morning and food. Lucinda liked having secrets. 
No, things weren’t all bad. Just before he went to sleep, his tail flapped back and forth.

(to be continued next week)

Monday, September 8, 2014

Storms and School and Stories

September 8, 1965

Jocie Brooke here reporting from Hollyhill, Kentucky. We get all kinds of things at the newspaper office and when Zella showed me this, I thought of Bailey and Lucinda right away. I know Lucinda is a black cat and not a white cat and Bailey is a bigger dog than this with bushy fur, but Lucinda does feel like she has to protect Bailey even if she'd rather lie in the sunshine and ignore him. More of their story is below. 

It's slow writing now that I'm back to school. Those teachers love giving homework. Doesn't matter if you already know how to do something. You've still got to do another ten pages to prove it. Okay, maybe that's an exaggeration. Maybe it's only five pages. 

Then, I've got to help Aunt Love to make sure she doesn't burn the house down when she starts cooking and then goes in the other room and forgets she's cooking. Tabitha could do that, but she's about as bad. She chases after Stephen and forgets all about supper. She does have to keep the baby out of things. None of us want him to tumble down the steps or anything. On top of all that, I have to help Dad at the paper and try to keep Wes halfway straight. Wes laughs at that. He says he's the one trying to keep me straight. But whichever, that doesn't leave much time for writing stories about dogs and cats. Not when there are other stories to write. Like about the 4-H meeting or the thunderstorm knocking out the electricity at the Courthouse.

Of course, we don't have it so bad with the weather. Down south there's a hurricane headed toward Florida. The second hurricane of the year. They've named it Betsy. There are all kinds of warnings out that it might hit Florida tonight. Betsy doesn't sound like a serious enough name for that kind of storm. 

What would you name a storm? Maybe Beulah. A Beulah would be one to watch for. The weathermen say Betsy is one people better be watching out for too. So I guess the name doesn't matter that much. It's how strong the winds are that matter. Dad said we should pray for the people down there and so I did. Guess we'll hear on the news in the morning what happened. 

Have you ever been in a hurricane? I can't imagine a storm like that.

Well, here's the next episode of Bailey's Bug.
BAILEY'S BUG by Jocie Brooke 
(continued from last week)

        Lucinda sighed heavily as if she’d just heard the weather forecast with no sunshine expected for a month. “Lean down and let me take a look.”
            She examined the nasty leash with her paw and nosed his collar. With a mutter of disgust, she chewed on the slimmest part of the leash. But with a shudder, she backed off.  “Tastes like dog.” She retched like she was going to dislodge a hairball, but Lucinda wasn’t one to admit defeat. “You chew it,” she ordered.
            Bailey gingerly took the leash in his mouth expecting it to attack any second. It didn’t and he bit down on it. When it didn’t bite back, he bit harder and jerked it around. The thing grabbed his neck and banged his head against a branch. Bailey barely kept from yelping. Then they both put their paws on the leash and Lucinda told Bailey to jerk back, but the leash just slithered free and laughed at them.
            “We’ll just have to let it go along.” Lucinda licked her paws and smoothed down the hairs on her ears.
            “But it’ll grab my feet and get me all in a tangle.”
            “Won’t be anything new about that. You stay in a tangle.” Lucinda turned away to peer out of the bush. “The coast is clear. The Robinsons have gone in the house to wait for us to show up on the doorstep which is what we should do if we had any sense.”
            She kept muttering as she crept out from under the bush. As he scooted out behind her, Bailey didn’t try to hear what she said. It was better if he didn’t know. He could find Reid without her help. Of course, he could, but he had no idea what was between here and wherever Reid was. Lucinda would know what to do if something weird happened. Cats knew about things like that because they were smart. And Lucinda was the smartest of all.
            Bailey bounced along, hardly even noticing the leash clattering along with him. Even it seemed to know it had to behave with Lucinda with them. He stopped to check for monster cars, then jogged across the street and into an open lot. Lucinda kept up with him without saying anything but now and again she made a growly sound that was definitely not a purr.
            After they walked a long time, he asked, “Have we gone miles yet?”
            “Dogs!” Lucinda hissed. “Always asking stupid questions.”
            “But have we?” It would be nice if they could find Reid before the stars came out.
            “I didn’t come with you to answer your stupid questions.”
            Lucinda was staring straight ahead, her head high, her tail stiff and straight as she walked. For just one worrisome minute, Bailey wasn’t sure she knew how far miles were. He took a wrong step and forgot about the leash. It tripped him and he almost stumbled right on top of Lucinda.
She slanted her eyes at him.  “You’ll never make it miles if you keep letting that leash trip you.”
Bailey kicked the leash to the side and felt better. Of course, Lucinda knew how far miles were. She was just a cat of few words. She’d tell him once they got closer to Reid.
Then, as they walked past the park, he decided she wouldn’t have to tell him. He’d know himself because that would be how far they’d walked. Miles. To another state. To where Reid was waiting for him.

(to be continued)
(Remember the beginning of the story is under Bailey's Bug up there on the top of my report.)


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Back to School with No Curls

September 2, 1965

Jocie Brooke here reporting from Hollyhill, Kentucky. Don't have much time. School has started. Sigh! Oh, I don't suppose it's all bad. I get to see my friends and Leigh helped me buy some new clothes. I wore one of the new skirts today. It's a-line and a neat color of green and it doesn't look half bad. 

Now if I could get my hair to do something besides lay flat on my head. Straight hair is the pits. All the other girls have these cute little curling rolls around the bottom of their hair. Mine is straight. I roll it and it just looks like I forgot to brush it. I spray it and it looks like rope strands or something. Wes tells me to let it be straight and be glad about it. He says straight hair is all the rage on Jupiter. I told him I don't go to school on Jupiter. But I think I'd probably be more popular there. 

I don't let Dad hear me say something like that. He says popularity is over-rated. That the only one I should worry about being popular with is the Lord. And that I'd better remember that and not do things I shouldn't just because other kids are doing them. I'm not about to do that. You know, stuff like sneaking around smoking or skipping school.  I just want my hair to have those cute flipped up curls or I'll take curls under. But guess I'll have to settle for straight and apply for Jupiter schools.   

Did you ever worry about how your hair looked when you went to school? Or about wearing the right clothes? Did you sometimes feel like you were the only girl in school who looked gorky?

Oh, I did write a couple more pages about Bailey and Lucinda. I didn't have time to write much. I was too busy trying to make my hair curl. But here they are.

Bailey's Bug by Jocie Brooke 
   (The story continues. Remember, the rest of what I've already written is up there under "pages" on the tabs. Hope you understood that. I sure didn't.) 

    Lucinda didn’t say anything for so long that Bailey decided she’d gone to sleep on the branch above him. Cats could sleep anywhere.
    He was thinking about shaking the bush to wake her when she made a funny hiss. Not mad. Kind of tired sounding. “If you’re determined to go even though it is dumb and you don’t have any chance of ever finding Reid and there won’t be any food and you’ll end up wandering around forever and starving or reduced to eating carcasses on the road.” Lucinda shivered and set the bush to shaking.
    “I’m going.” Bailey tried to block out the part about no food. Carcasses on the road might not be too awful. Might not.
    Again there was a long, worrisome silence. Lucinda had to be thinking about her window seat and sunshine. Then all at once she leaped out of the bush and landed on all four feet right in front of his nose. He couldn’t keep from jumping a little.
   “As much as I hate the thought of going with you, I can’t let you go off half cocked with nothing more than a bug in your ear for help. Heaven help me but I’m going to have to go too.”
    Bailey hopped up and down, setting the bush to shuddering. He had his tongue out to give her a happy dog lick, but she swiped at his nose with her paw. She didn’t pull in her claws.
    “Don’t you dare. I don’t do dog slobber. Never forget that!” She made the funny little hissing sigh again. “I’m only going with you so that when you get lost, I can lead you back to the Robinsons.”
    “I won’t get lost. Dogs don’t, you know.”
    Lucinda acted as if she didn’t hear him. “I’ll purr and rub Mrs. Robinson’s legs, and you can do that stupid dance of yours with your tongue hanging out that people seem to like. Heaven only knows why.”
    “We won’t get lost.” Bailey panted happily, but he was careful not to let his tongue drip on Lucinda. “Thank you for coming with me.”
    “Dogs!”  Lucinda had a growl in her voice. “Never met one who wasn’t more trouble than he was worth. Well, come on. Let’s get this foolishness over with.”
    Bailey started out from under the bush and jumped when the leash rattled. He gave the nasty thing a leery look. “What about the leash? I don’t want it to go with us.”

(To be continued)

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Whine of the Dentist Drill

August 25, 1965

Jocie Brooke reporting from Hollyhill, Kentucky, after a grueling day. Can you guess where I was from the picture? Right! The dentist. Do you like going to the dentist? Not me. Sitting in that chair gives me the shivers. I want to put my hand over my mouth and say no thanks. But Dad said I had to go and I was old enough to go by myself.

Of course, I've done lots of thing by myself since my mother split in the middle of the night when I was five. Not that she did anything for me before that. That was always Dad or my sister, Tabitha. I probably missed her more than I missed my mother when she split in the middle of the night with Mom. 

Anyway, back to the dentist. That's where I was, but not where I wanted to be. I HATE going to the dentist. I HATE it when Dr. Herschell sticks that drill in my mouth and it makes that awful whiney sound. I HATE it when he says the drill will be so quick I won't feel a thing. I HATE having a cavity in one of my teeth. No fun. Zella says I wouldn't have a cavity if I didn't want to buy a dime's worth of candy every time I pass the ten cent store. She doesn't know what she's talking about! I don't have a dime every time I go by the ten cent store. 

But today I had to go to the dentist. By myself. I had to march in there and say here I am ready to hold my mouth open and get a filling if that's what I need. Dad usually goes with me for moral support or to keep me from running the other way, but he had to cover the city council meeting. I told him I'd go to the meeting and he could take my place at the dentist. Sigh. Guess it is kind of hard for somebody else to take your teeth to the dentist for you unless you have the fake kind of teeth.

Enough about teeth. Let's see what Bailey is up.  That sounds like lots more fun.

Bailey's Bug - Chapter 4
by Jocie Brooke

    "I must have had a mental lapse." A low growl nothing at all like a purr rumbled through Lucinda. "But I'm here. So yank that crazy leash under the bush before somebody spots it."
    "You're going with me?" Bailey couldn't believe it.
    "Since I'm out here hiding under a bush with you, that's obvious, don't you think?" Lucinda climbed up in the bush without rustling a leaf. "Now be quiet, for heaven's sake. And take care of that leash."
    To Bailey's relief, the leash didn't put up a fight when he jerked it under the bush. Then he hunkered down and tried to be small and not move a muscle, but he was so happy that Lucinda was going with him that his tail began to flop back and forth.
    The bush shook and Lucinda hissed. "Stop wagging."
    Cats didn't understand about dog's tails. Lucinda had complete control of her tail, but Bailey's tail did what it wanted. When it wanted to wag, it wagged. He could tell it to stop all he wanted, but it would keep slapping back and forth. Finally he put a paw on the end of his tail and mashed down hard.
     He was still holding it down when Lucinda climbed down. "The car's past. They didn't see us. Time to decide what next."
     "That's easy." Bailey was in such good humor he didn't even think about supper. "We find Reid."
     Lucinda's sigh shook the bush. "You can't even get out of the neighborhood. How do you expect to find Reid in another state?"
    "How far is it to that other state? Will we be there by supper?"
    Lucinda looked heavenward. "Whatever did I do to deserve this? I could be asleep in the sunshine right now."
    "I'm sorry about your nap."
    She looked down at him. "What's done is done. Unless we go back inside and figure out a way to get back in the Robinsons' good graces." 
    "I'm not going inside. I'm finding Reid."
    "How? That bug in your ear." Lucinda spoke through clenched teeth.
    "It's not a real bug." He was going to say more but Lucinda's snort stopped him short.
     "Whatever it is, it led you in a circle right back to the Robinsons' house. And we both know Reid is not there."
     Bailey peeked out of the bush. Lucinda was right. He had gone in a circle. He tried hard to think of something to say that would make Lucinda stop making those weird growly noises that meant she wanted to swat something. That something might just be his nose.
    He couldn't think of anything but the truth. "I forgot to listen to the hum. Mr. Robinson was yelling and there were cars and a dog barked right in my ear." Bailey swiped his ear with a paw. "And the leash grabbed my neck."He scratched his neck.
    "Are you listening now?"
     Bailey put down his paw and closed his eyes. The hum was steady inside him again. He scooted around under to bush to look every direction until the hum felt warmer in his ears. He was just about to say that way when  Lucinda let out a yowl.
    "This is ridiculous. Forget that bug in your ear and let's go wait on the doorstep for the Robinsons to come back." Lucinda softened her voice to a near purr. "Mrs. Robinson will probably give you a double dip of food."
    The thought of food made Bailey's mouth water. He shook it away. He wouldn't think about food. He had to think about his boy. 
    "Reid's that way." Bailey pointed with his nose away from the Robinsons' house.
(to be continued next week) 
(Earlier story can be found on the page link in the menu at the top of this post under my picture. This in the future stuff is weird.)