Charles Pendelton
      © 2008 Marty Langdon
Chapter 14

                           A long fabrication of tall tales woven
This was told to me seven years ago by Miss Drucella Wade, who sold us her home. I was only
twelve years old at the time and had a penchant for dreaming. How I yearned for stories told to
me by my grandparents, aunts, and uncles alike. How they laughed or became excited when
told them and how these tales took me to another place in my mind. To visualize a part of what

they saw in that forgotten era, the missing pieces of time before we were to relive again in thought.

How I conceptualized those days of long ago.

Just to hear them speak of when they were children, growing up on Thompson Street in Manhattan,
and what wonderful times they had back then. My aunt and uncle, who never married, were still living
there, and once a year, we would stop by to pay them a visit. Overall, the place was kept fairly neat,
and the interior brick walls still retained their original dull luster, for they were never painted. In the
bathroom, you had to pull on a chain which in turn released the water so the toilet bowl could flush.

Unfortunately, there was no Victorian toilet bowl depicting a scene you would expect to find on
some of the world's most expensive china. No, those toilets were reserved only for the wealthy.

My uncle Tony was notorious for clogging it, and whenever he went in to do his business,
someone would open a window. They are no longer with us, for they have escaped through
a crack in time and have vanished. Just to see a part of what they saw in that forgotten era
is enough to move me forward, like a chess piece on a table played by God. And very soon,
when the game is over, it will be my turn to move off the board and on to better pastures.

To this day, I often think of the past and the people who came before us.
They are the ones who have struggled to overcome insurmountable odds
to take each family where it is today. Like the animals on the ground or the
fowl in the sky, we, too, struggle to protect and preserve our own bloodline.

Each family goes back to the very beginning of time.

Obviously, if you are here today, it means you came from someone who came from
someone straight down the line. No matter who you are, your ancestral roots date
back to either the baboon or the apple, and that's God's honest truth. Only by the
introduction of foreign blood through adoption can a family tree become impure.
To take someone’s offspring and love them as your own literally equates to
grafting them into a household with an entirely different lineage.

If you really want to get technical, every woman who bears children
leaves her own family to join another, so I guess it all works out.

On several occasion, I have pondered my roots. To see my grandmother as a baby,
crawling around on the floor and talking nonsense, or my grandfather's father
growing up
in Glasgow. Better still, my grandmother's great-grandmother in her
mother's arms, looking up into
those peering eyes before learning how to speak.

The missing pieces of time before we were to relive again in thought.
Oh, how I conceptualized those days of long ago.

Ever feel like yesterday is really today?
And that, in all actuality, we've been long since removed?

Hearing about the past made me forget about the present age I was living in.

It made me forget about things on my mind that bothered me. Things I
no longer had any control over. Things that would eventually take their
toll on me until there was nothing left but a shadow of who I once was.
The year was 1975, and my mother was officially remarried.

Joe MacAlister was a military man who rendered great service to his country.
Enlisting in the army in 1926, he abandoned his comely wife of four years,
leaving her to raise two little tyrants on her own for many months at a time.
His occasional return would impart many disciplines needed upon the youths,
but when he left, the children lived as though they had bulls for ancestors.

Somewhere at the beginning of the nineteen-thirties,
that tree fort was built by the boys and their dad.

Drucella would tell me unending stories about life in her day before moving
to New York, and for me, that was history coming first-hand from the source.
Unlike in school, where everything is totally unrelated to the person sitting
right in front of you.

The way I see it, old women who've never married have only two
things left in life:
Long stories and plenty of idle time to tell them.

She spoke fondly of her parents as she reminisced of a gentler time.

A time when everything in the universe was perfect because the chronological
order of events had already unfolded.
With a grim expectation of slowly dying,
coupled together with that of losing our own faculties, we should also factor
each waking day as an immediate cause for concern as well.

Much like the withered spine of a discarded novel when it becomes untaut,
the strings that bind all things slowly begin to lose their rigidity and unravel.

Miss Drucella also told me a story about her very first car. It was a Model A Ford
purchased in the fall of 1903 for under a thousand dollars. At the time of purchase,
it was converted from a two-seater into a Tonneau. Here little Miss Drucella Magee,
who would one day become Miss Drucella Wade, had the back seat all to herself
as a youngster growing up in rural Ohio. Only seventeen hundred and fifty cars
were made but would boast hers was the finest. 

                                                                               Pg 70

So highly she spoke of that automobile, it almost sounded as though
she was speaking of
a small child. How proud she must have been!

“When I first saw that car, I walked over
to it and would not leave its side. It was fire-
engine red, and I was hypnotized. The sky was
overcast that day, making all the other
cars appear gloomy. Too business-like, or I don't know
what it was exactly. I only knew
that if my daddy was going to buy a car, then it was going to
be this one, so I sat inside
and would not get out for the world. The salesman took a liking to
me as mom and dad
walked around the lot looking, and he bet me a nickel that he could sell
my daddy the car.
Now that was some bet. My father never liked the color red much, to begin
with, but that
salesman, what was his name? Oh, never mind. That salesman was so good he
have talked my father into buying any car on that lot, but he did it for me, you see.

A week later, I'll never forget it. I had daddy drive back to the lot, where I showed that
man the nickel. Of course, he wouldn't take it, so I said to him, you see that car over there?
He said yes. I said, if you don't take this nickel, then I'm going over to that car. I'm going
to get inside, and I'm not going to leave. I'll be here for weeksssssss. He started to laugh.

Well, in that case, he said, I better take it.

Do you know that it took me a week’s worth of household
chores to earn that nickel?
But it was worth it. Who do you know that gets the car of their
dreams for a nickel?”

“And a chauffeur to boot,” I exclaimed.

“That's right,” said the old
lady with bleached white curls, now laughing.
The long fabrication of tall tales woven
would never at any time become
dull, and my ears could not get enough words to listen to. 

"After daddy purchased the automobile, he took my mother and me to the confectioner.

That was so nice of him. I bought rock candy and sucked on it all day long. From there,
we stopped off at the general store for some school supplies I needed, and then daddy
took us home. Whenever I made crafts, it was always paper and glue I ran out of first.

Do you know my parents had that car until I was almost thirty years old?
A couple of fixer-ups along the way, but nothin’ major.

You see, back then, there was no assembly line, so the automobile had to be made by
hand, and this took time. But doing things this way assured the buyer he was getting
a quality product, unlike today, where everything is mass-produced by machinery.

They should call it New America ‘cos it's certainly not the land I grew up in, but
what can ya do. (Sighs deeply) Boy, they certainly don't make ‘em like they used
to. The following month we were planning a trip to the store, and my mother was
so determined, having finally worked up the courage to test drive that new car.

In those years, licenses for driving hadn't even been issued yet, let alone made
mandatory. My mother was so happy that day because it was her anniversary and
my father remembered. Just to know he hadn't forgotten was enough to brighten

Mother's heart, allowing her to feel like the queen she most certainly was.

                                                                               Pg 71

Little things were a thrill back then, like going to the marketplace, for example,
or giving the new car a go. We had nothin’ much to do in those days but remain
a family ‘cos money was tight, and times were hard. Even going to church was
an adventure for us. There would always be laughter and harmony and joy.

Where was I again?
I seem to have forgotten where I was going with this story.

“You were saying your mom was gonna test drive the car.

“Oh, that's right, I'm getting senile in my old age.
(Laughs lightly) Never thought I'd see the day.

Anyway, my mother put the key into the ignition and went around to crank the car from
the front; recklessly and in haste, she tried to start the engine, but the car misfired, and
the crank spun out of her hand, nearly breaking my mother’s wrist. Needless to say, my
father started the car that morning and drove Mother straight to the town infirmary.

I can see you’re fascinated by all this, but livin’ back then, well, let’s just say it isn’t
all you imagine it to be. Dangers lurked around every corner at the turn of the century.

You always had to keep your eyes open. God forbid you should step on a rusty nail or
come down with the flu, for that matter. In those days 'us people' referred to it as the grippe.

We had no vaccines back then for nothin’ with the exception of cowpox, but even then,
allergic reactions weren’t unheard of, and in those cases, that person usually died.
someone coughed in the store that had tuberculosis, you could catch it and die. Even

an expectant mother had to fear for the worst when delivering a child into the world.

Her voice grew weak as she muttered beneath her breath, “as in the case of my older
sister, who I never met. You got sick back then, and your parents prayed before taking
you to a doctor. They prayed for my sister, but she passed on in the night. God rest
her soul. She died of rheumatic fever before I was even thought of. Now, they have
vaccines for everything under the sun, but the world has grown colder since my day.

Just look at all the medicines we have today as opposed to when I was a little girl.

        Back then, it was a chemist's dream.
We had tonics, bitters, tinctures, and liniments.
All to cure everything and none that worked.

          They did provide hope, though.

I can recall tincture of lavender, tincture of bloodroot, tincture of vanilla, tincture of iodine.”

“My grandmother has that in her medicine cabinet,” I interjected.
“A little
brown glass bottle with an old brown paper label. When I
get a bad scrape, she gets
it. There's a long glass stem on the cap
inside the bottle that she rubs on my cut.”

“And what color is it?”
“And how does it feel?”
“Burns like fire!”

“That's one thing you never forget, the sting of iodine.

I fell once while running with my friends and tore all the skin off
my knee.
The second that iodine touched me, hoo-eee did I scream.

                                                                               Pg 72

And if I ever felt like I was getting sick, my mother
would give me a warm glass of ginger ale to drink.

I like root beer, but it has to be cold.

Root beer is good if you wanna throw up.

“Were there a lot of superstitious people in your time?”

“What do you think?
We lived like the Amish folk live today in a town that
was just beginning to
improve itself. There was nothing but superstitious
minds influenced by just
about anything. Even the most foolish things
could make one gasp in surprise or
spin out of control. One person told
another, and before you knew it, it was already
two towns over.”

“Do you remember any?”

“Are you writing a book, young man?”

I just might one day,” I said with eyes that sparkled in their own quizzicality.

Well, you better remember me in your story, or I will come back to haunt you.”
*She spoke jovially but in a way that one listening might have interpreted otherwise*

There was a slight peculiarity to it, and now a seed had been planted in my brain. Those
sinister words sent chills down my spine, for they could not be abolished. Perhaps it was
an undertone of eeriness concealed in a faraway smile that caused my skin to prickle.

I remember my mother telling me that if a dog is heard howling in the night when
someone is sick, it means that the person who is sick will probably pass away before
sunrise. Never kill a sparrow. If you do, you will be cursed, for a sparrow carries the
souls of our dearly departed into the next life. Finding the whisker of a cat will bring
untold joy. If you find one, you should hide it in a very safe place and never bring it
into a sunny room. . . Oh, there were hundreds of them. We were so silly.”

“How were kids back then?”


“When you were little, how did the other kids act?

“Let’s see, the girls probably teased the boys more than they do
nowadays, and the boys would play their share of practical jokes
on the girls as well, but nothing ever too drastic. If that helps.

Everyone went to church with their family on Sunday, whether they liked
it or not,
and that was the way it was. We had a lot more respect for God
back then than your
generation has for him today, I'll say that much.”

“You didn't have a television
or radio back then, did you?”

“No, we didn't, and you want to know something? We
didn't need one.
We had each other, and we had our friends, and back then, that
all that mattered. All these new contraptions... My goodness!

I guarantee you, in a few more years, some new gadget will find its way
the market, and everyone will have to buy it. We don't have it now,
and we really
don't need it, but I'm sure it'll ease life's burden a bit.”

“What else could they

“They'll make it. You mark my words; they will make it, and do you want
to know
something else?
There are still some towns in this country, and by country, I mean
America, that don't even have common telephone service. They're still getting
around to it. Now think of how lucky we are to have had one for so long.”

I thought about the question and could not imagine how people lived in such desolate
townships. I then began to dwell on my own personal dilemma before cutting in.

“What do you do when you feel really bad about
something inside, and nothing makes
it go away?”

“You can start by talking about it.” I shook my head while looking down
at the table.
“Sometimes, the way I like to look at things is to imagine the worst-case
scenario you
can possibly think of being in and then putting someone in it. Then you
know what
that person would do? That person would say to himself, this isn't so bad,
and then
he would put somebody in a situation worse than even he is in. Now, after
doing this
two or three times, you look at your problem, and it isn't really so bad at all
now, is it?”

Later that night, I did as Miss Drucella said,
but it only made the problem worse.

“Aren't you afraid of dying,” I asked politely?

“No one should ever be afraid of dyin', child, if they have faith, that is.
I think maybe it's because my father would read to me every night
something from the Bible. Then if ever I became frightened, he would
have me say aloud Romans 10:13, and all my fears would subside.
You do know Romans 10:13, don't you?

For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved,
and then he would say, now not even death can hurt you.”

                                                Peanut Butter Conspiracy - Hold on (to what you've got)

                                                                               Pg 73


Reviews for chapter 14

Marie Asabelli - Your writing enlightens me


                                               This review was posted on July/2/22

                                         Lameez' review

  Beta-Read Report for 'The Embryo Man and Other Tales of Woe - Chapter 14'

                                Beta Reader: Lameez Rushin (Lameezisreal)






                                             This review was posted on Aug/3/22

                                          nehanegi1905 's review
The Embryo Man and Other Tales of Woe: Chapter 14 -
A long fabrication of tall tales woven

                                             Reader's Report by nehanegi1905

Hey Chas! Here’s my review for the 14th chapter.

Let’s just start with the fact that how magnificent this chapter is in itself.

The way Miss Drucella explains the ordinary life of her times is what makes
this chapter extra special. It reminds me of my conversations with my grandparents.

How they start from one topic to another and then what you have is a beautiful series
of their life experiences that they are always willing to share. All the wise words and
predictions coming from Miss Drucella will eventually turn into the facts of the future.

I think you really pulled off in bringing the nostalgia of the past into this chapter which
makes this chapter extra special. There’s usually always something about a chapter
that strikes me here and there but not with this one. I was so immersed in reading this
chaper that I actually forgot the fact that I have to review this afterward as well.

It was a beautiful reading experience for me.

                                                This review was posted on Sept/5/22

                                                          iqrabashir871 's review
The Embryo Man and Other Tales of Woe: Chapter 14 -
A long fabrication of tall tales woven

                                                        Reader's Report by Iqra


                                         This review was posted on Sept/14/22

                                                         alits29's review

             The Embryo Man and Other Tales of Woe: Chapter 14 - Reader Report

                               Beta Reader's Report by Alitha Igloria (alits29)

                                     This review was posted on Sept/16/22

                                  kanchanninawe's review

     The Embryo Man and Other Tales of Woe: Chapter 14 - A long fabrication of tall tales woven

                                        Reader's Report by




                                       This review was posted on Sept/22/22

                                                   Hajranoor's review

The Embryo Man and Other Tales of Woe: Chapter 14 -
A long fabrication of tall tales woven

                                            Reader's Report by Hajra



                                       This review was posted on Nov/20/22

                                                    Alysorrow's review
The Embryo Man and Other Tales of Woe: Chapter 14 - A long fabrication of tall tales woven

Reader's Report by Aly Sorrow




                                               This review was posted on Nov/29/22

                                              Tayyaba17's review

The Embryo Man and Other Tales of Woe: Chapter 14 - A long fabrication of tall tales woven

                                                     Reader's Report by Tayya






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PG 70) The Brighton water-closet - page removed from an old catalogue -

PG 70) Living through secrets/Terms of precedence
by Nathan Spoor - 

PG 70) Adam and Eve
by Lucas Cranach the elder -

PG 70) The first lesson
by George Baxter -

PG 70) The Model A Ford
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PG 71) LePage's gripspreader mucilage
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PG 71) Auto repair (Kodak camera ad)
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PG 71) Love and six cylinders
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PG 72) The butter churn
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PG 72) Oddment 54
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PG 72) Dr. Sage's catarrh remedy
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PG 72) Warner's safe Diabetes cure
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PG 73) Hires Root Beer advertising sign
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PG 73) Vintage Hallowee'n card
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PG 73) Vinegar Valentine's Day card circa 1890's -

PG 73) The telephone
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PG 73) Calvary
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