Birth of the Impersonal Forces, an Analysis of Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle

Posted on December 13, 2006 

By Trudy A. Martinez

In the year 1865, a drastic, calculated, change takes place in America. The pre-destined change is doomed to affect nearly every aspect of individuality for generations to come. It is learned from the past, ready to control the future and the destiny of millions. A special secret (their symbol) the Red, White, and Blue, guarded since the birth of the country, has the purpose of joining the common man together, thus strengthening its image, allowing them to go forward to progressivismthe force with such over-whelming strength will condition the minds of the common people to accept and withstand the cry of agony, hunger, death, while tilting the scales of justice in favor of social injustice. This is the Main Impersonal Force which will cause to replace or alter the common man’s value system so as to conform to its purpose of a new religion. It will create a New Article of Faith, undermined by Radicalism, fueled by greed, and chosen as an alternative to prevent revolution of the masses. It is a double standard, one for the individuals, and one for progressivism; one for the rich and one for the poor. From the origin of the Main Impersonal Force will give birth to a Myth (The American Dream) to strengthen the Red, the White, and the Blue, and give a continuing influx of internal Hope for a better tomorrow? Using revolution as an example and allowing progress through industrialization, it will produce or introduce a family of new Hope, allowing subordination-ism, of the Impersonal Forces, dependent and reliant on the existence of the Main Impersonal Force, to guide both the rich and the poor to their destiny.

For the rich it will introduce: Capitalism, and Conservatism, earned through the mastery of Behaviorism, justified through the practice of Darwinism, gained through application of Economic Expansionism, insured through Journalism, and ultimately reaffirmed through Freudianism. For the rich it will produce: Humanism as restitution for quilt, Sexism as symbol of superiority over maternal-ism.

For the poor it will introduce: Patriotism gained through citizenship,(membership) and reinforced by the Main Impersonal Force; to replace the uniqueness of man, gained through a false freedom that restricts common man’s free will and his choice which is falsely guaranteed through the constitution; Optimism established by desire and reassured by achievements, and ultimately Consumerism (propaganda) as a reward for progressivism and Materialism as a symbol of acceptance; it will produce Populism as a voice of hope for the common man’s despair, Narcissism as an explanation to common man’s dilemma, Socialism as an alternative to struggle, Marxism as an artificial retaliation to Capitalism, Alcoholism as an escape from reality; Sexism as a means of gain through despair for submission. The Main Impersonal Force produces a force with no end, infinite. It begins with Nationalism, springs forward through progressivism, but will come to be known as Natal-ism their heritage and future (from the cradle to grave). It will lead the poor through hope and achievements to their ultimate destiny, Capitalism (the temple of the rich). It will lead the rich through expansionism into Imperialism, to convert the world through propaganda of consumerism. Our destiny is pre-ordained, that is if we try, if we struggle, if we work hard, but only, if we conform.

In Western Europe, Industrialization is a revolution, created by the rich, the chosen, the rising upper-middle class, the bourgeoisie; it is unplanned, and uncalculated. The American Industrialization, on the other hand, differs from the European counterparts, in that, the creators of this Industrialization learn from the mistakes of both the English and the French counterparts. The French Revolution is the out-come of the first attempts of this new conformity to convert the masses. The reign of terror that results in the consumption of its own creation. The resulting corruption is still fresh in minds of greedy, social elite and the entrepreneurs in the western world. To prevent the slightest threat of repetition of the French example, the American industrialization has to be calculated, predetermined, and thought-out and most of all Controlled. Before the era of Industrialization can be entered, the slaves have to be free, given hope and token justice. Education for the masses has to be forced, thus, allowing for conditioning of an American Dream through the mandatory school systems and Behaviorism. When Industrialization hits America, the common people have been prepared; they have hope for a better tomorrow; they are willing to work hard to get ahead, to build a better future, if not for themselves, for their children.

A laissez-faire Conservatism predominates. Economic Expansion of railroads makes it possible. Factories and industries spring up almost overnight; people move to the cities. Journalism capitalizes with propaganda. Immigrants swarm into America, seeking an American Dream giving the factories a steady over-abundant supply of fresh cheap-labor, paving the way for what is still to come. The cities become The Jungle where the name of the game is survival, survival of the fittest, Social Darwinism.

The Impersonal Forces are guided by the rich, the social elite, as they sit back in their easy-chairs, read The Wall Street Journal and make decisions on investment risks, i.e., which common man protecting his materialism with a corporate image appears most profitable and will gather more souls to convert.

Buying and selling stock in his belief is his trade now, not slaves, but converters. Giving the magic ingredient, hope, to the middle-class is the glory towards converting the common man. The ruthlessness employed in the struggle upward by the rising upper-middle class insures a quick return on their investments.

With Carnegie’s contribution of The Gospel of Wealth and Spencer’s contribution of the social economic application of Charles Darwin’s theory of Evolution, Social Darwinism, what more can the chosen ask. The off-spring of Calvinism, a step child of the Catholic Church, the chosen ones, the rich, the social elite, need only to keep control. With an influx of the magic ingredient (Hope), the Impersonal Forces, will divert, will divide, will conquer, and will convert the struggling common man;

he will deny his own values to survive the Hell of his existence.

Proficiency in psychology is the key to their manipulation (a natural inherent quality in woman, maternal-ism); the hidden secrets in history are the clue to their existence and their goals of Paternalism.

The founders of Capitalism (not to be confused with the founders of America) effectively change the values of man from Oneness using capitalistic theology as basic knowledge and replace it with Sameness, A concept of Partnership, in marriage, in work, in all endeavors giving man, Materialism, Narcissism, Alcoholism, Sexism, Darwinism, justifying the Paternalism“ of the Gospel of Wealth, the form of slavery that is so nice to society and murderous to the common man in The Jungle in the process.

The Psychological knowledge of Behaviorism helps the founders of Capitalism to re-shape Nationalism as a tool through the worship of progressivism, a false religion. The Jewish German, Sigmund (Sex) Freud, bases his concept of psychology on Capitalism, called Freudianism; it so conveniently compliments Capitalism that it will become a temporary substitute for the Love of Man.

The fruit of the labor and the blood, the sweat, and the tears, and the suffering of the common man allow the capitalistic society to flourish and go forward toward progressivism, in search for their need for a continual influx of Hope.

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Unworthy of Honor?

Posted on November 10, 2006

By Trudy A. Martinez

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Staring up from the page are the words:  Veteran’s Day–Regular Classes Scheduled.  “Wrong schedule,” I think.  “I need the Winter Schedule.”  Knowing there is a holiday scheduled and not remembering what holiday it is,  I search for the answer.  “Oh, here it is,” I tell myself as my eyes read the bold print: Martin Luther King Day — Campus Closed.

“Why,” I ask, “do we observe Martin Luther King Day when we do not observe Veteran’s Day?”  True, King fights with words for freedom of oppression for one segment of the population.  But it is also true millions of service men, both black and white, fight with their lives to insure freedom for us all.  Why then doesn’t the campus observe their Day as well?  Is the lack of acknowledgement because service men use violence while the educated use words as a method of persuasion?

If the method of persuasion determines worthiness, the message conveys the Universities do not consider those who fight to ensure freedom with their lives on the same level as an educated man; and therefore, the fighting men are not worthy of honor.  The past reiterates this thinking; Universities were havens for the affluent to avoid the draft; the less affluent were excluded from this avenue of escape.  And soldiers returning from war were treated as outcasts.

Even though the efforts of the press physically acknowledge service men recently returning from military excursions, the message sent remains the same:  You are not worthy of our honor!

I for one say, “You’re wrong!”

This analytical  journal entry was written back in 1994.  Nevertheless, things are the same.  All do not honor those who lay their lives on the line to maintain and preserve our freedom.  Why not?  Do you have the answer?

Tales of Mom 13

 

Babies Bring Families Together

 

After the birth of his son, George Richard, Terry grows up some. He takes notice of his responsibility. He rents a larger apartment at street level. He surprises Nellie with the news; she is overjoyed. No more stairs to climb up and down with the baby. What a relief. Family members visit them to see the new addition to the family.

 

Peg visits nearly daily either before or after work, helping out when and where she can. Peg is so proud of her nephew, George Richard. (Nellie names him after her Pa, George) “Such a formal name for such a little guy,” Peg tells him. “I think I am going to call you Dickie, she continues. “Your granddad’s name is David; everyone calls him Dick. He’ll be here tomorrow. It will thrill him to know at least his nickname is being carried on. “ (There is an obvious unspoken resentment rising up here because the first born is named after Nellie’s Pa instead of Terry’s Dad) She holds Dickie (George) up so he can see her and says, “I am your Auntie! My name is Aunt Peg,” she hesitates momentarily, “Well,” she continues, “You can call me Aunt or Auntie Peggy, little man. But I am going to call you Dickie.”

Nellie remains quiet. Nellie believes,  “There is no sense in stirring up a hornet’s nest.”

 

“Nellie,” Peg says changing the subject abruptly, “Don and I are thinking of going our separate ways. He wants to settle down. I don’t. He wants kids. I can’t. He says we can adopt, but I don’t want to.” She says. “Don’s got his bags packed. He will be heading back to Texas and if his old girl friend is still single.” She continues, “He is going to hook up with her when our divorce is final. That is okay by me. We will still remain friends forever.”

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(Don is packed and ready to return to Texas)

 

“Nellie, I figure you can have the kids for both of us. I get them on holidays and vacations. You get them the rest of the time. How does that sound?”

 

Nellie remains quiet.

 

“Someone’s at the door, Nellie. I bet it is my dad; he is always early. Don’t bother to get up. I’ll answer it for you,” Peg says.

 

Peg goes to the door. Sure enough, it is her Dad.

 

“I hear I am a Grandfather,” he says as soon as the door opens. “It is about time. I was beginning to wonder if I’d be getting any of those. Good work, Nellie. Where is my grandson?”

 

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(Nellie Mae, Peg, George Richard (Dickie), David (Dick) and Betty)

 

 

Nellie wonders, “What kind of family have I married into?”

Thinking to herself, “Ma and Pa only be married to each other. When they marry, it is till death do them part.” She wonders why it is not the same for everyone else. “When I marry, I say vows. I mean what I say. I expect my husband mean what he say – in sickness, in health, till death do us part.”

Peg now be losing her second husband, willingly. Her Dad and her Ma both go their separate ways. Betty is her Dad’s girlfriend. Peg’s Ma is going to marry again. What am I to think of this? Perhaps, it is not my place to wonder. I can hear my children someday asking: ‘Why do I have so many grandmas and grandpas?’”

“I don’t want to have to answer that question.” She says.

 

“I am home.” Ted announces when he comes in the door. “I’ve got good news,” he says as he tosses his hat over the hat rack; it spins on the hook, but stays.  “Nellie, I got a new job.”

 

“You do?” She asks.

 

“I do.” He answers. “You’ll be proud to know I’ll be driving the line.”

 

“The Line?” She asks.

 

“The streetcar line,” he adds. “It pays better than I am getting laying bricks. And it is much easier on my back.” He stands back a ways so Nellie can get a full view and then asks, “How you like my uniform?”

 

“You’re looking good,” Peg answers.

 

“Not bad at all,” Betty adds.

 

“Be proud, son,” his Dad says.

 

“The uniform looks good on ya. Ya gots ya own change handler too. I likes ya cap ya throws over there,” Nellie says. “You’re a handsome man, Terry,” She adds. “Just don’t let dat comment go to ya head.”

 

This job has promise. It is steady; that is very important, especially if you have children. There are too many layoffs in other jobs. You don’t see so many layoffs in public transportation. People rely on public transportation when they cannot afford to keep up a car and its expenses.

 

Other things are weighing heavy on Nellie’s mind right now. She thinks she is again pregnant. George (Dickie) is going on seven months; having another baby so soon after his birth is not the best thing for Nellie; her body has yet to heal from the first.  As a family, they are just getting their feet on the ground. Terry’s new job will help a lot with the upcoming extra expenses, if her suspicions turn out to be correct. She can’t share her thoughts until she is for sure.

 

Nellie cooks dinner for everyone; they share a meal. And then the company excuse themselves. Granddad and Betty stay at Peg and Don’s for the night; they will be back on the road in the morning. They are heading in the same direction as Don; they decide to caravan their trip to help each other out if need be. They leave to go to Peg and Don’s first . Peg says, “I will follow shortly. First, I have some news I must share with Nellie and Terry.”

 

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Peg says, ”I’ll be breaking up housekeeping for a while. I’ll be bringing over some things I can’t carry with me”. She says, “I’ll be getting down to one or two suitcases. I took a job with Greyhound.” She explains, “I pass the driving test. I’ll be driving their big Greyhound bus across the U.S.A. I am so excited.” 

 

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“When I am on this side of the country, I will be dropping in to visit,” she says. “I’ll bring over what furniture we have. You can use some,” she adds. “I’ll send some pictures of me in my uniform when I am on the road.” She reaches over and gives Nellie a hug and kisses Dickie on the cheek, “See you brother,’’ she says to Terry. “Goodbye.”

 

Peg spends a day moving over her excess for Nellie to use. She makes it down to the two suitcases. She will be taking those with her on the bus. She leaves her car at their house. Peg hands Nellie the keys telling her, “You can use my car at your discretion, but I get it back when I come to visit.”

 

“Okay.” Nellie answers.

 

A few weeks pass. The mailman drops a letter through the letter slot on the front door. It is from Peg. Nellie rushes to open it. She didn’t send a letter, just a few pictures.

 

 

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(Peg on the road with Greyhound)

 

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(Peg on the road with Greyhound)

She is looking good.

 

In the meantime, Terry starts a spending spree. Instead of buying groceries and paying some household expenses with his first new paycheck, he splurges and rewards himself with a complete set of expensive golf clubs, bag, and all the little extra things that look good but you don’t really need.

 

The game itself is expensive to play if you do not earn that much. And the expense of the game takes away from the family expenses which by all rights should take priority. Terry doesn’t think that way. In Terry’s mind, he comes first. Nellies must make do and do her best with what is left. Golfing is his avenue of escape; his only pleasure. After all, he stops drinking. He leaves other women alone. He likes to let Nellie believe he is doing this on his own. But in actuality, he doesn’t want to go to jail as the Judge promises him he will do if he does not straighten up and fly straight (if you know what I mean). He figures if he spends one day a week on golfing that will be okay. Nellie knows how to pinch the pennies. She can make do with what she is given; she always has. Now is no different. That is what Terry tells himself. That is the way Terry thinks.

 

A letter came from Don. He makes it back to Texas okay. He finds his old girlfriend. He sends his love and a picture of him and his girl.

He says to be sure and tells Peg, “As soon as the divorce is final, I am marrying her and we are going to start making us a family. If Peg’s Greyhound bus ever comes up this way and lays over, tell her to be sure and stop and visit, if she can.”

 

 

 

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(Don and his soon to be wife)

Tales of Mom (11): The Good News and the Bad News

By Trudy A. Martinez

Peg meets Don outside when he gets off work. She tells him what is transpiring. And she tells him, “Nellie is pregnant with her first baby.”

Instead of allowing her to finish her ranting, Don butts in. saying, “Terry has a warrant out for his arrest”. Don takes a deep breath and then continues, “He did not spend the night at the camp; he took off.” Again he takes a deep breath, “He didn’t leave alone.” He hesitates momentarily. “He was with a 16 years old girl,” he blurts out quickly. “They left for parts unknown according to camp officials”, he explains.

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“Her daddy has his gun in hand, thinking there is going to be a shotgun wedding. If her daddy catches up with Terry before the sheriff,” Don says rubbing his chin, “You may be planning a funeral.” Don says under his breath, “I pray he does not kill him.”

Don and Peg decide: Don will go out looking for Terry. When he finds him, he will contact Peg. They pay the rent for the month. And they shop for groceries, purchasing plenty of food to stock them for the month. Then, he says, “We can decide what to do next when that time comes.”

Don sets out in Peg’s car the next morning, leaving the convertible for the women, as it is more comfortable.

Weeks go by without word. They work some when work is available. Nellie and Peggy decide to take a walk down to the river. Peggy looks around. They are alone. She decides to live dangerously. She strips down to her underwear. “Come on Nellie; join me in the water, “Peggy says.

“I don’ts want to drown!” Nellie exclaims.

“Come on! You won’t drown,” Peg reassures her.

Nellie shakes her head no and tells her, “No! I don’ts swim.”

Peggy jumps in. “Come on Nellie, it is not deep. Join me.”

“No!” Nellie replies firmly.

Nellie remembers when Pa tries to teach her to swim. It still terrifies her when she thinks of it. Pa picks her up and throws her in the river just as he does with all the others kids. He says, “Kick your feet and paddle your arms. That will keep you afloat.”

Nevertheless Nellie goes under. She panics. She does not kick. She does not paddle. She sinks to the bottom. Nellie allows fear to get the best of her and does not do as she is told.

Pa screams at her, “Kick, paddle!” All the while, Pa is taking off his clothes. Then he jumps in to save her. Since then, Nellie panics at the mere sight of water.

Peggy splashes the water up on the bank where Nellie is sitting. She screams and jumps up. “Don’t”, she cries out. “I am scared of da wat’r!”

In the meantime, Don catches up with Terry in San Diego. He is working at the shipyards. He tries to join the service, but does not pass the physical. They rate him a 4F, meaning he is not fit for duty. The young girl is with him.

Don says to Terry as soon as he can get him alone, “There is a warrant out for your arrest.” He adds,”Don’t you have a lick of sense, man?” Don tells him, “It can be quite serious since you crossed the state line with her.” He adds, “You need to lose her! Now! Put her on a bus heading back to her father,” he tells him. “You’re crazy to keep her with you anymore.”

Terry ignores Don’s pleas.

“You are a married man, Terry. You are not single! You cannot marry her. Besides,” he adds, “Her daddy’s going to kill you. Ditch her. Cut your losses, before you are arrested.”

Terry ignores him.

When the girl comes in the room, she starts hanging all over Terry.

Don stands up to leave, telling him, “I will see you later. Think about what I said, Terry”.

Don finds a phone and calls the property owner back where the girls are staying and leaves a message for Peggy to call him back at the payphone at 7:00 o’clock; he will be waiting for her call.

When Peggy calls back, he tells her where they are and that the girl is still here with Terry and that he will be working on getting the girl on a bus heading back to her father.

“In the meantime, Peggy, you and Nellie pack up and head out here,” he says. “Call me every night at 7:00 o’clock to let me know where you are. I love you and take care with your driving.”

Peggy and Nellie set out in Don’s car.

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(This is a picture of Don’s car. Nellie is sitting in the front. That is Don. The picture is taken before this trip they are on now.)

When they leave, the top is down, allowing the heat from the sun’s rays to warm their bodies. Later however, a chilly breeze comes up, requiring them to halt to keep from freezing. Both Nellie and Peggy try to get the top up, but, the top will not budge. They lack the strength to force it. Anxious as they are to reach their destination, they decide to continue driving all night, if need be, regardless of the weather.

To keep warm, they retrieve Nellie’s quilts from the trunk. Laying one quilt over their lap and wrapping another around their head and shoulders like a cape, they continue on their way.

The highlight of their trip takes place outside of San Diego on a hill or mountain with an elevation of 6,000 ft. It is freezing cold. It is Middle-of-the-night. The automobile brakes go out. Peg (as stubborn as she is) is determined to make it down that hill, brakes or not.

Therefore, she takes the remainder of Nellie’s quilts and throws them over Nellie’s head. Peggy says, “Keep your head down!” Then, Peggy takes off down the mountain without any brakes.

At the bottom of the hill, Peggy pulls into a gas station for brake fluid and directions to the address Don gave her.

The attendant tells her,” it is going to take more than just fluid, Miss. There is a bad leak. The liquid is just going right through.” He wipes his greasy hands on a rag. Then he continues, “I will not be able to get a new hose line until morning after the parts house opens.” He points to the motel, “I recommend you stay at the motel next door until then.”

Peg and Nellie grab their luggage out of the automobile. “See you tomorrow then,” Peg says.

They walk to the motel. They check in. They rent one room, one bed which they will share. They hit the rack, exhausted.

The next morning after a cup of coffee, they check on the repair of the automobile. “Your automobile is ready,” the attendant reports.

“Thank you,” Peg says. “I really appreciate your quick work on my vehicle. We really need to get moving.” They pay for the repairs. And with the directions in hand, they hit the road again. It is not far to their destination.

Don is sitting on the stoop drinking his morning coffee when they drive up. “Have you had breakfast?” He asks.

“No, we have not yet eaten,” Peggy answers.

Nellie shakes her head to the left and right.

“There is a nice café just around the corner,” Don says. “Wait here, I’ll grab my wallet and treat you to a nice hot breakfast.” Don goes inside.

Don tells Terry, “The girls are here.” He grabs his wallet and hat. “Now,” he says, “Take that girl to the bus station as soon as I leave with Peggy and Nellie.”

“Okay!” Terry exclaims. “She’ll be out of here when you get back.”

The girl puts up a fight and insists she is not leaving. Terry gets her bags, picks her up, and takes her to the bus station and leaves. He arrives back at the apartment shortly before the others return from breakfast.

Within an hour after Nellie and Peggy arrive back at the apartment, there is a knock on the door. Don answers the door. “Is Terry here?” A police officer asks.

“Whose there?” Peggy calls out to Don who had gone to answer the door.

“It is the police. They are looking for Terry. They are here to arrest him”, Don says, “The police have a warrant. Peggy, tell your brother to get his rear-end out here.”

“Okay, will do.” Peggy goes to the bedroom where Terry is laying down. “Get your lazy butt up”, she says, “You’ve got visitors that insist on seeing you now”! She exclaims.

When Terry comes out, the police arrest him on the spot, handcuff him and place him in the back seat of the police car.

Terry learns the girl called her father from the bus depot, telling him Terry’s whereabouts. Her father notifies the police of Terry’s location. Charges are filed. Consequently, the San Diego Police Department issues a warrant for Terry’s arrest.

Nellie and Peggy go to Terry’s arraignment. After hearing Terry’s statement and seeing Nellie’s condition, the Judge makes a decision to release Terry into Nellie’s custody.

The Judge says to Nellie, “If this man so much as looks at another woman, Nellie, you are ordered to contact me personally. Do you understand?” He says.

Nellie Nods.

“He will go to jail quicker than you can snap your fingers. This is the condition for his release to you.” The Judge says, “He is to tow the mark. Do you understand?” He again asks Nellie.

Nellie answers, “Yes.”

“Nellie, you are to tie him to your apron strings. He is to do his duty as a husband and father or he will spend the next 5 to 10 years in jail. Do you understand, Terry?” The Judge stares at Terry.

Terry hangs his head down, Lifts it back up and replies, “Yes, Your Honor, I understand and will abide by your ruling.”

The Judge hit his gavel and exclaims, “Next case!”

Tales of Mom 9

 

Nellie Plans to Leave

Tales of Mom 9

Nellie Plans to Leave

The depression deepens, leaving Nellie wondering about Terry.

“Pa, I got to finds ‘em,” she says. “It be two years since I sees ‘em.”

The few years they are together before the country sinks into a deep depression, Terry does as he says he will: He teaches Nellie Mae to speak. He said, “All she needs is self-confidence, instruction, and practice, lots of practice.”

Although Nellie practices both day and night, she never meets Terry’s perfective expectation.

Nevertheless, the doctor says, “It is a miracle. I did not expect her to perform as well as she does. Terry has truly done wonders with her.”

Now looking at Pa, Nellie feels he is about to mention Terry is not bothering to write. It does not matter to Pa that he writes his mother, telling her he is ashamed to write Nellie because he feels he cannot provide for her, as he should.

Pa says,”A man’s primary duty is to care for his wife. When you marry, you become as one.” Then he gives me this silly grin and adds, “Would you cut off your right arm and leave it at home while you explore the universe?”

Well, when Pa puts it that way, Nellie has to contemplate what is going on here? But right now, she is not in a mood for a lecture, so she spurts out quickly before he has a chance to say a word, “I know ya don’ts wants me followin’ after ‘em, buts I got to.”

Trying hard to prevent her Pa from starting one of his lectures, she answers his questions before he gets a chance to voice them. “Peg (Terry’s sister) says I cans go wit’ ‘er. ‘Er hubby sent fer ‘er. He tells ‘er, ‘Terry is ‘ere at da C.C.C. (Cylde Citizen’s Training Corp School).’”

Before Nellie gets a chance to catch her breath and continue, Pa asks, “Why doesn’t he send for you himself?”

“Ya knows how proud ‘em is!” She exclaims, attempting to provide an honorable explanation for his neglect in face of her uneasiness with the circumstances herself.

 

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(The C.C.C. uniforms the students wear)

“Women should not be traipsing around the countryside by themselves”, Pa begins to lecture with his remark.

“Peg got a car,” Nellies quickly replies. “Her daddy teaches her how to fix da car if dar be trouble,” she explains.

Pa already knew of Peg’s ability; she helped him fix his car when he broke down in town just last week.

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(Pa’s car is next to the station with its hood up)

So at this point, Pa keeps his silence even though Nellie pauses for a moment giving him a chance to speak.

“’Besides, I needs be wit ‘em,” she says. Deciding to change her tactic somewhat, she quotes, “’For bett’r or worse,’” and then asks“, ain’t dat wats ya tells someone when ya marries dem, Pa?” Not waiting for an answer, she immediately initiates another quote, “’Lets no man . . .”

Interrupting her before she has a chance to finish, he says, “You made your point”. Being a preacher and believing a man should be with his wife, he feels he has no alternative but to say, “Better pack, young lady”.

“I already packed—never unpacked, ‘cept my clothes,” she says excitedly as she moves around the room.

Tales of Mom 8

 

Heartthrob, Red, Pa, and the stranger

 

Meanwhile, the times get hard. To supplement the family income, Pa takes a side job; and he supplies his employer with some items fresh from the farm.

Nellie use to walk the eggs to the market each week for him. Now Pa walks to town every afternoon (except Sunday) to do some clerking for Gidby at the Country store. He supplies him with fresh eggs, fresh churned butter, and milk daily.

Red, Pa’s pet hen (who by the way, is the color red and thinks Pa, is his Ma) follows, stopping occasionally to peck at the ground. If Pa gets too far ahead of her, she makes a racket, as if to order Pa to “Wait up.” Then she dashes as fast as she can to catch up, kicking up the dust as she goes.

Similarly, the horse, who Pa calls Heartthrob, starts following them (Pa and Red) around the farm; he walks close to the fence line as far as he can and then stands watching Pa and Red disappear upon the horizon each afternoon.

Mysteriously, Heartthrob knows when it is time for Pa and Red to return. Making his way back to the same spot, he stands waiting when they come across the hilly crest. One night he seems agitated. As Pa and Red start down the slope, he whinnies, snorts, and kicks up the dust when he sees them.

“What is the matter with you?” Pa calls out.

Red starts clucking.

Heartthrob stands on his hind legs, whinnies, and then runs in circles, shaking his head, snorting, and kicking up the dust.

“Get your hands up,” a rough, unshaven, dirty looking stranger yells.

Pa either does not hear him or pretends not to hear.

The stranger repeats himself. “Get them up I said.”

Before Pa gets a chance to respond, Heartthrob jumps the fence and knocks the gun from the man’s hand just as he is fixing to shoot.

The man falls to the ground, landing right next to Red, startling her. Feathers fly and dust fills the air when the stranger reaches for the gun lying next to her. Red is “Clucking. Clucking and clucking”

Heartthrob stomps on the stranger, attempting to protect his new friend, Red.

“Whoa, boy,” Pa says, trying to calm Heartthrob down  when he sees him attacking the man.

Pa did not fear the man as you might think; instead, he believes like Roosevelt, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”.

With one exception above all else, Pa says, “Fear the Lord God, the Almighty.”

Thinking the stranger is having ‘hard times.’ Pa is about to ask the man to the farm to comfort and feed. Hoover makes our responsibility as citizens clear during his presidency, saying it is the people’s responsibility to help and feed each other when the need is there; this declaration does not change things at our farm; we always feed and care for strangers willing to work. According to Pa, those who are not willing to work deserve to starve.

After the harvest of the potatoes, Pa digs a huge hole close to the house. He then puts the potato harvest in the hole and covers the hole to keep them cool. As long as we are careful not to disclose where we store our winter supplies, there will be enough to feed us till spring. That means it is important not to be seen removing items from the different storage places of the various crops we harvest.

The farm produces most of what we need. There are two cows in the barn, two hogs, a bunch of piglets in the pigpen, a roaster and three dozen or more chickens are in the henhouse and just as many in the chicken pen. There is corn, pecans, walnuts, tomatoes, herbs, onions, rhubarb, potatoes, apples, figs, and other fruits and vegetables growing for family consumption on the farm. It is a lot of work trying to keep the crops growing and preparing for the winter.

The scarecrows may keep the birds out of the crops, but they do not keep out desperate people. When desperate people are not willing to work it is not our problem. Pa caught a man digging into our hole one night; he is now in jail. If a man asks for food in exchange for work, Pa helps him out by giving him work, food, and shelter for the night. However, the man Pa caught tries to steal it. He never thinks of the consequence of his own action. Or he never thinks how his actions affect us or himself either. This is a different story.

People blame Hoover for the hard times. Pa says this is why he lost the election to Roosevelt. Nevertheless, even after Roosevelt takes office, times get even worse. Why, even Nellie returns home after the Mill closes.

Terry on the other hand, set out for parts unknown, looking for work. Perhaps, he is like this stranger, hungry, and desperate. Pa says the government had a hand in making the ‘hard times’ harder—had something to do with foreign countries.

However, this strange man (who Heartthrob and Red attack) has no knowledge of the political ramifications; to him, it is a matter of survival, his survival.

Consequently, Pa invites the man to the farmhouse to eat and offers to let him sleep in the barn in exchange for helping out a bit on the farm with some work Pa needs help with and needs to complete before the hard winter sets in..

Conversely, the man chooses not to because the next thing he does is take advantage of the opportunity to regain his footing when the occasion presents itself while Pa is calming Heartthrob. Forgetting his gun lying on the ground, the stranger starts running and yelling, “Your horse is nuts, Mister. He nuts”!

Since then,  Heartthrob walks with Pa and Red to and from town, warning them of impending danger.

Tales of Mom 7

 

The Meeting

By Trudy A. Martinez

The next night Terry waits; he arrives early at the set meeting place. Nine O’clock comes and goes, but no Nellie Mae. All the while he is thinking, “She’ll be here any minute.” Occasionally, he pulls out his pocket watch, flips it open to check the time, and tells himself, “In a minute, she’ll be here, in a minute.”

After a while, he gets out of the automobile and walks around, pacing back and forth. He is so certain she will come. In his mind he imagines reasons for her delay, “Her daddy must be up late dealing with a household problem; or he’s preparing for Sunday’s sermon.” When the cock crows and the sun hit the horizon, he knows his wait is over. He is wrong. Nellie isn’t coming. He waited all night, hoping. He hangs his head down in disappointment, his tiredness overwhelms him, and he dozes off to sleep right there in his automobile just below the hilly crest.

A few hours pass. Terry awakes suddenly.

“I ‘m a man of my word,” Terry tells himself. “I’m going to see her daddy.” He declares,” I don’t just want to court her; I want her for my wife”.

Nellie is at the mill working when Terry came a calling on Pa without her knowledge. Pa is not too happy about the matter, especially since he immediately asks, “May I have Nellie Mae’s hand in marriage.”

Terry’s request comes as a complete surprise. There has been no courting. And Pa knowing Terry’s reputation and all doesn’t help matters.

Pa tells Terry, “I’ll need to get back to you, Terry, on this matter. I just won’t give you an answer one way or the other until I speak with everyone this might affect. And frankly, I just don’t believe you are worthy of my daughter’s hand.”

Terry leaves, thanking him for his consideration.

The whole matter just doesn’t sit well with Pa.

Ma, on the other hand, (remembering five or six years back what happens with Nellie’s friend who had all the prospects of becoming a beau and marrying her), feels a notion to defend her worthiness rather than “bad mouthing” her suitor.

“So she don’t talk proper—most of the time not at all”, Ma says, “She do well with everything else; she cooks, she sews; she be thriftier than most. She do well ‘round here. Don’t she Pa?”

Pa says nothing. Every time he looks, as if he is about to open his mouth to speak, Ma adds a little reinforcement to her argument.

“She knows how to care for the youngins,” she says, shaking a finger at him. “She practically raises them three boys on her own.”

Glancing over at Pa, she seeks acknowledgment, “Ain’t that right, Pa?” She asks.

“Of course it is—you know it too”, she answers for him. “She be up every mornin’ before the cock crows milking old bitsy.”

Pa, (thinking she might reconsider her approach if she thinks about how Nellie’s marrying will affect her) asks quickly before Ma has a chance to take a breath and start in again, “What are you going to do without her, Ma?”

“I—be missing Nellie —that for sure.” Leaning over close to Pa’s ear she suggests, “This boy wantin’ her. He’s wantin’ to help Nellie talk too. We cannot let him slip away. We got to be doing right by her, Pa. She be twenty-two in December”.

After pausing for a moment to gather her thoughts, she starts in again, reminding him of past mistakes they make.

“If you ask me that question: “What are you going to do without her?” Before you scare the poor little Griffin boy, Earl, away, Nellie be married now with youngins of her own. We never see him no more, not even on Sundays.”

Neither considers Nellie’s feelings on the subject, but they decide amongst themselves to let Nellie decide for herself.

Ma tells Nellie when she returns home from the Mill, “Terry came by to see Pa, asking permission to courts ya, Nellie. How ya feel about it? Does ya want be courted, Nellie?

Nellie nods.

“Then Pa be telling him it’ll be okay for him be courting ya.”

As soon as Terry gets the news, he is at the door. Nellie no longer walks to the Mill every day (except Sunday). Instead, Terry picks Nellie up and drives her there in his automobile; he returns her home in the evening. On Sunday’s Terry accompanies Nellie to her Pa’s church. It is a regular routine until (after a short engagement) Terry pops the question. Nellie accepts. And they both run off and elope; they marry.

 

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(Nellie Mae and Terry Charles on their wedding day)

 

They set up housekeeping nearby. Nellie continues to work at the mill. Terry encourages and instructs Nellie on her speech. They are a beautiful looking couple. Nellie is truly a beautiful woman.

 

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(Nellie made this outfit. She now dresses to please her husband)

Ma and Pa accept the marriage and pray everything will go well with them. Knowing Nellie received the right spiritual training, they feel she will seek the Lord’s guidance in her life as time goes by.