The Passing of Time…

 

cropped-pat-charlotte2.jpg  Charlotte and Patricia

1957/1958  –  2010

 

The Passing of Time…

What can one say about growing old? The loss of shape, hiding beneath many layers of clothing, sparkle gone from one’s eyes. One is no longer beautiful in the eyes of others. The function of one’s body grows weaker, sitting in that doomed place with little human contact. The sunset-glow in the beginning of each day is gone. Dreams escape the demented mind, as does the ordinariness of each day.
There is certain knowledge within the fog of the mind of the aged; those long ago youthful days may flitter across the closed window. Nonetheless, the prison door never opens the walled-in prison unknown to most. It is the last stage of life, frozen within and quite, a phantom of themselves, a hollow ghost. Whom can we blame?
No longer, a figure of delight, no longer surrounded by the sweet smell of one’s self. Like the snow-covered winter landscape, life is stilled, a shadow of one’s self. Life from the womb begins a painful story, a stormy world like summer winds and rain. Beauty spent and done, despite Hells rage now silenced by the passing of time. With the eyes looking, pass what lies ahead, bondage no longer a threat as the mind realizes it will only end in death.

©elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

The Brighton…

 

brighton 2

I recently research for a story I was outlining about the asylums almost 100 years ago. I did wonder if the patients of today get the same treatments. The answer is yes…

The facilities are cleaner, cheerful in many ways, however, the electrical shock therapy still exist; maybe a bit more human, but it does exist as well as cold bath treatments. Most of the control is by drugs, the dose of a drug is upped until it has made the patient more controllable.

We talk about “walls” keeping the US citizen and foreigners’ out, we talk about “civil rights” and we talk about conditions in schools and private homes. What about the home of the mentally ill? A short excerpt below give more thought on Asylums.

 

The Brighton…

 
Brighton was located in Illinois, a house of torture. In 1900, bleeding, freezing and kicks to the head, and shock therapy this best describes Brighton a home for the insane; and their treatment of patients until they were dead. It was Brighton’s’ policy for the insane, they received often physical abuse, water torture, and lobotomies, convinced it would eventually set the patients mind free.

There are those who believe that a spirit lives there today, a young girl, caretakers thought she had run away. They found her lifeless body in 1979 they called it an accident not a crime. Cold, lifeless and unclothed, how she had died no one would ever know. They say a stain in the shape of a human can still be seen on the floor where she died, and at night a ghostly figure floats up and down the hall, many have heard her cry.

A haunting you might say, Brighton a real life house of horrors where murder, suicide and brutality reigned while bodies frail and bloodstained were constrained. Closed, yes, but its dark history remains, buildings and tunnels crumbling and rotting, but the torture within those crumbling walls should never be forgotten.

121212

Many of these practices are still used today, like then, no one talks about it!

©elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

The Black Box…

womanwriterblog

The Black Box…

Shotgun weddings continue in the lives of many southerners, arranged marriages among the wealthy in the Deep South are still tradition; such a marriage would be the beginning; and end of one innocent life in the summer of 1950. Rebecca Darwin returned home after living in an all girl boarding school in western Georgia for twelve years; within weeks she was married to Carter Clayborne one of Tennessee’s’ most eligible bachelors; a union arranged by her mother.

Rebecca was forced into a loveless union arranged by her mother that quickly turned into a never-ending nightmare, one far worse than she could have imagined. Her days filled with constant commands from her mother and mother-in-law, and long nights surrendering to the cruelness of her husband. She would never have believe that being the daughter of Randall Darwin and Katherine Gilhanna-Darwin of Gilhanna Stables in Shelby County Tennessee.

She had seen her parents only once a year for a few days during the past twelve years. In her mind, Rebecca had created a loving father who gave in to the cruel ways of her mother. It was her father that drove her home from graduation; the agonizing silence was overwhelming as she stared out the window at the rolling hills. Her father dropped her off at the front door of the main house; she let the tears spill over her pale cheeks when he drove down the driveway toward the stables and the carriage house where she knew he lived. During the past few visits, Randall Darwin had, for some reason decided to tell Rebecca of his meeting her mother, their marriage and the circumstances surrounding her unwanted birth. Had the father she created been real after all, no!

Now, she was married to a monster with no one to help her. She had given up hope of her father, or that anyone would question the bruised cheeks and swollen lips that appeared the day after her wedding; she knew that everyone, including her father looked the other way; never questioned the heavy make-up or sunglasses. Time moved slowly, it took one year for her to get pregnant; and after losing a baby due to the inhumanities forced to endure from Carter; Rebecca knew that she was doomed. The day she decided to leave Carter; she drove quickly to Gilhanna, her father had to understand, as he had to tolerate the wrath of her mother himself; if she stayed in this marriage one more day, she would die.

Rebecca drove the winding back roads through the hills of eastern Tennessee with lighting speed; as her eyes focused on the rising line from the blacktop road her mind traveled back to her childhood; even her birth and before into the stories she had heard from her father, and Gilhanna staff…

It was at the Gantry County Bar-B-Q and Harness Race that her father Randall Darwin a young Irish horse trainer came into her mothers’ life. Her father came to the United States from England to train racing horses. He knew of the stone-faced Miss Katherine Gilman, and thought she might be of use to him. Yet, his plans did not turn out as he had imagined; Katherine Gilman possess him as if he were one of her horses, he was a unique breed.

“I don’t think we’ve met, do you plan to make Tennessee your home Mr. Darwin”, the inquiry came from a youthful but plain looking Katherine Gilhanna and rolled like honey from her lips.

Katherine was twenty-years older than Randall she instantly offered him a contract to train her horses and the carriage house to live in while he worked for her. It was her late night visits to the carriage house that resulted in her getting pregnant, a pregnancy she did not want; southern tradition, you marry. They were married in a civil ceremony in the local judges’ chambers six weeks after they met; Randall would continue to live in the carriage house and Katherine’s visits to him ended. Katherine lived up to her reputation, as a “cocksure” southerner and she would not have her reputation smeared by an unwanted pregnancy; employees, if they expected to work at Gilhanna Stables signed confidentiality agreements. Her life as a prominent member of the community would not change; her fake performance, as a loving mother-to-be would be the talk of the county.

The only child Katherine would ever have was born on August 27, 1930. Now, Katherine Gillman had two people to hate, her husband and this red headed half-Irish child. She named her Rebecca, a name she did not particularly like and placed her in the care of a small staff of housekeepers, and a nanny. Katherine had no intentions of dealing with a screaming baby. She would instill a fear like no human would ever know in this child.

On her daughter’s sixth birthday Katherine placed her in a Georgia boarding school, she was not to return to Gilhanna until she was eighteen years old. Katherine only allowed her to come home during the Christmas holidays.

In June of 1948, Rebecca graduated from Highland, the Georgia boarding school had become her home. The years of being away from her family had gone by quickly and her dreams lay in another place; the future, college, and then working in some big city or even going to Ireland to live. She could not have known as they drove toward Gilhanna that her endless threads of thoughts would turn an intangible existence created by her mother.

Katherine Gilman set out to buy her daughter a suitable husband, even before Rebecca graduated; arranged marriages… a commonplace solution to control and meet necessary southern social requirements. Randall left Rebecca at the front door and went to the stables he did not want to see what was going to take place in the main house.

Returning to reality, Rebecca pulled over to the side of the road; these memories frightened her and she was no longer able to hold back her tears. Where had those dreams gone? She could see Gilhanna from where she stopped the car; her first day there after eighteen years came flooding back, and the day she met Carter.

As Rebecca thought back, she remembered entering the foyer; seeing her mother doing what might resemble a peacock’s mating dance with her long time friend Ronnie Clayborne. Rebecca look back at the front door wishing her father had come in with her. Sitting on the sofa was Ronnie’s son Carter; she had remembered both Ronnie and Carter from her childhood; before she was sent away to school.

Instantly she had hated his nauseating southern drawl, he had some years ago graduated from college, and still lived with his mother. Rebecca greeted them both politely and excused herself, going to the stables where she knew her father would be…

“So, you’ve had enough of the grand dame of Gilhanna, her confederated friend and lazy son?”

Rebecca’s’ fathers’ rationalization of certain situations could sometime be very straightforward. Randall Darwin walked among the stalls with Rebecca beside him, both in silence; then he told her that he thought Katherine was arranging a marriage between her and Carter Clayborne. Rebecca remembered running to her room using the kitchen entrance to miss seeing her mother. She soon found that she could not hide for long, when her mother entered the room.

“I have arranged for you to go to the Country Club with Ronnie and Carter, you will be
ready by eight.” An unfeeling Katherine turned leaving the room.

“I will not go anywhere with those snobs.”

Rebecca was not surprised with the pain that the sting of her mother’s hand coming violently down across her face had caused. The tears of degradation and rage did not come until her mother slithered from the room, the venom from her hand leaving Rebecca numb.

During the weeks that followed, Katherine forced Rebecca to be with the Claiborne’s day and night. She could do nothing but keep silent, and conform to her mothers’ wishes. Then suddenly, her mother announced her impending marriage to Carter. Rebecca remembered running to the stables.

“Daddy,” it was all she could get out between breathless sobs.

Randall Darwin held his child close, he knew that he could not help her; he was incapable of helping himself. Rebecca had hoped that he would fight for her freedom until the end, but she lifted her from him and walked away. Three weeks later, Rebecca stood by Carter in the middle of the garden beneath an arbor of fresh cut flowers wearing a simple blue linen suit, everything arranged by her mother, her mind paralyzed by the pills she had been forced to take early that morning, and her gloved hands held no bouquet, only each other.

Rebecca woke that spring morning and decided that she would leave. She pulled back onto the road turning toward Gilhanna. Running from the car straight into her father’s arms, Rebecca cried…

“Daddy, I am going to divorce Carter.”

“Now Rebecca have you talked to your mother, and have you thought this out clearly, what you are about to do that is?”

Randall did the only thing he could do; he called Katherine from his office, waited for her return call and then drove Rebecca to the main house. He stared at the hardwood floor of the drawing room, unable to face his only child; he tried not to make eye contact with her. He stood silently pouring himself a drink as Katherine talk to the family doctor. He left when the doctor entered along with Carter, they were talking about how Rebecca had threatened to kill herself and she needed treatment for her own good.

Rebecca watched her father walked through the double door without looking back at her. Her mother and Carter seem to be making a big fuss over how she had been upset with the miscarriages and talking of killing herself. She looked at her arm, the rubber tubing, the syringe, and felt the numbness that caused her to feel heavy, yet weightless at the same time. Her vision blurring, the fleur-de-lis wallpaper became waves of beige and gold swaying in an invisible breeze. The reason she was there dissolved into an ocean of oblivion.

When Rebecca began to regain her senses, she was lying on an examining table in the Shelby Medical Clinic, she recognized doctor who had given her the shot. Standing in the corner of the room were her mother, husband and two sheriff deputies. This time Rebecca did not protest when the doctor gave her another shot of his magic that sent her to a place where she no longer cared. The wheelchair bumped over each crack in the sidewalk, each feeling as if she was falling into a crater. The doctor and nurse put her in the back of a squad car as her mother began to tell Carter that his wife would never leave him. She leans far into the back seat, and in her own heartless way said in a low evil voice…

“You see what happens when you try to disgrace me,” Katherine said cruelly, “putting you away for being insane will be more acceptable than have you leave your husband.”

Her body quivering beneath the threadbare blanket Rebecca fought violently against the straps confining her to the bed, her mind battled with drugged hallucinations; when she slept, they became chaotic dreams. In the end she always gave in, lie quietly watching the unwanted souls shuffle back and forth in the dimly lit hallway. Rebecca knew of Challis Manor, at the edge of the Appalachian foothills it provided medical treatments for the mentally ill, a place where wealthy Tennesseans paid to have members of their families placed to avoid embarrassment; Rebecca was not there because she had a mental or physical problem, she was there because she tried to leave her husband.

Rebecca struggled in the confusion, she had undergone several shock treatments, and it had not taken away her need to be free. She fought confinement, she fought treatments and she wanted her father to come and take her away.

A nurse brought Rebecca two small pills, it was extra medication and it could mean only one thing, it was time for another treatment. They put her on a gurney and placed her in the hallway outside her room. She could not stop her mind as it suspended itself between reality and the delusional. Should she doubt herself, she examined the redness of her wrist made by her constantly fighting the heavy leather straps causing deep cuts, after more medication, Rebecca’s involuntary thrashing turned into calmness.

Rebecca’s mind seemed frozen in time and her body was controlled, but they could not free her of the madness of her confused memories. She would drift for hours in hopelessness, her flesh burning, she wondered if she would ever escape her anguished nightmares of her childhood, her marriage, her life.

“Daddy, is that you?”

Rebecca’s visions clung to her like the sweat that gathered and rolled down her face in her fretful attempt to free. It is hot, no one cared, she turned over on her side a white clad figure took her hand, the gurney was moving, and then stopped. A glass vial of a syringe glittered in the semi-lit room; it was more medication to help them imprison her mind.

“Daddy I’m afraid.”

“Daddy, are you out there?”

Rebecca’s visions clung to her like the sweat that gathered and rolled down her face; she remembers a little girl riding with her daddy on the back of a fine Tennessee walking horse in an open field. She felt someone pick up her hand, turning it was a white clad figure, the gurney was moving, and then stopped. A glass syringe glittered in the semi-lit room; it was more medication to help them imprison her mind.

“Daddy, daddy are you out there, I’m afraid.”

Rebecca knew about the small room designed for suffering; the plastered walls had cracks that snaked toward the ceiling resembling leafless trees in winter. She tried to open her eyes but the glare from the lights blinded her. The room filled with people, nurses, doctors; one saying shock treatment again might be risky; somewhere in the distance, Rebecca could hear her mother’s voice fervently auguring with someone. She could picture her mother’s face contorted with anger; then remembered, her mother preferred a lunatic in the family instead of a divorced daughter.

“You see what happens when you try to disgrace me, putting you away for being insane will be more acceptable than have you leave your husband.”

White flecks began to explode behind the lids of Rebecca’s closed eyes. Her arms and legs strain against the leather straps as convulsions, a reaction from the drug raced through her body. She opened her eyes and watched as the blood coming from her bound wrist spread across her pale flesh leaving a crimson trail down to the sheet. She drifted among abysmal visions of pain and humiliation; traveling into a realm of kaleidoscopic dreams when she heard her mother say…

“I am paying you people enough to take such a risk, and I signed a waiver, what else do you want?”

Rebecca opened her eyes and looked at the mirrored window across from her; she knew behind it stood her mother, and Carter. The poignant smell of antiseptic became heavy in the air. Rebecca felt herself losing control of her thoughts; she could feel her eyes as if on a mission of their own dart back and forth taking in the limited boundaries of the small treatment room, a surge of electricity violated her body, her mind, and her senses. A nurse put a wooden paddle between her teeth; the electrical current coursed deeply into her brain. If she woke, she would try to remember once again who she was; how she got into the asylum and the Rebecca Darwin that she was before she married Carter Clayborne.

Rebecca’s eyes opened and were oblivious of the intense light invading her enlarged pupils; she tried to focus on a large mirror above her. In its reflection was that of a young girl lying on a small narrow bed, leather straps on her arms, legs and across her chest, her skin had a bluish tint of death; her body emancipated, her hollow raven eyes seem more animal than human. Then the lights became soft, a white garment of serenity blanketed the young girl. Rebecca closed her eyes then opened them for one last look looked; she knew that she and the young girl were the same and would soon be free; she smiled.

It was just a small black electrical box sitting on a chipped white enamel table; nineteen-year-old Rebecca Clayborne her eyes now like dark stagnant pools was unhooked from the box. Before they wheeled her from the room she closed her eyes for the last time, she had firsthand knowledge of the power of the little black box! It altered minds, made people submissive; Katherine Gilhanna-Darwin and Carter Clayborne would no longer have to worry about being embarrassed, there would be no a divorce in the family. Rebecca knew that her mother and the Gilhanna money controlled “the black box”!

 

©elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

Check on Amazon.com Books – under Ann Johnson-Murphree

 

womanwriterblog

Seasons…

Making yourself live without contact with others, you are doomed. Like the flowers of summer without human contact, the soul may cease to bloom.

 
Time and stillness may be an important need; to reject sharing life with others, may be the greatest form of greed. Purpose has its seasons, life follows a well-planned path; your journey has a reason.

 
Clearing the mind and restoring the spirit will smooth any rutted road; listen, there is a plan of how your life should unfold. You may be on the right path today; the journey may seem rough, the essence and energy of your spirit will find the true way.

 
Gratefulness, awareness and God’s grace is woven within the fabric of your being for a reason. Devote today to discovering your true self create your own season.

 

 

 

©2018.elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

 

Books at: Amazon.com  listed under Ann Johnson-Murphree

 

 

The Cost of Freedom…

usa american flag animated pic gif

Ancestors have served in the military for more than 150 years, all served their respective states with pride. Even though the Civil War was for many reasons both good and bad, all were still soldiers with many giving their lives for their beliefs. Although the poem written at the bottom of this narrative are in fact my mother’s brothers; these boys served in WW I and the Korean War.  The ancestors are Murphree, Roberts, White,  and Vest; members of these families have served in American Revolutionary War, Cherokee–American Wars, Creek War, Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korean Conflict. I also want to honor my son and say thank you for  your service in the United States Air Force.

The Cost of Freedom

Standing in what looked like a sea of white as a warm afternoon breeze touched their bronzed faces three young men rode home in an old wagon through fields of cotton unaware that their youth would soon be forgotten.

There was a time when they were three babies crawling at their mothers feet waiting patiently for warm sweet milk and tea cakes luxuries in their world, a poor mans’ treat.

Their mother insisted they go to school and discover their own dreams she vowed at their birth that her children would not break their backs or sell their souls working as poor farmers in the cotton fields planting, hoeing and picking the south’s white gold.

Eighteen, nineteen and twenty years old, they had never known anything but working the red southern soil day after day sacrificing their mothers’ dream for very little pay.

Threadbare overalls shirtless and shoeless they stopped at the dirt road leading to the farm they called home knowing that this way of life was quickly to end their decisions saddened their father broke their mothers’ heart leaving it so crushed that it would never mend.

They reached a nearby creek at setting sun sipped on moonshine laughed had one last day of fun then left for home. It was no more than a shack but supper always a feast for kings then they crawled into cornhusk beds it was a hard life but a life where they knew that they belonged.

Then one winter day it all changed as proud Americans that wore their pride like armor there was no question they would answer the call, not only for them but also for us all.

It was early morning when their father stood quietly drawing on his old pipe under the old oak tree thinking of the warmth of the coming spring while their mother sat in her rocking chair afraid of what the future would bring.

One by one they walk out the door childish faces broad smiles shinny shoes starched uniforms. Three young men proudly walked down the old dirt road that day no one knew when or if they would ever return but these young men knew it was to defend freedom an endowment blessed with the day they were born.

Mother and father held each other as they slowly walked into their home and closed the door while their three young sons walked away straight and tall ready to fight a war in a land they did not know on a faraway shore.

The window of their house proudly displayed three gold stars the days gradually turned into years their mothers’ heart had stopped beating death had finally stopped her tears. Their father grew old as he walked fallow land alone with his life consumed by his many fears.

Then one day as he stood beneath the oak tree drawing in the smoke from his old pipe while thoughts begin to drift back on his life. He wondered where it had gone but knowing that their mother at last is happy that her young sons were finally coming home.

He stared down the road as three shadowy figures grew closer would he recognize them he could not even remember how long it had been. Their youth was gone their smiles were drawn the war returned his sons now three broken and scarred old men.

 

Author’s Books on Amazon.com
Ann Johnson-Murphree

 

Black Feathered Angels…

7b03c4a599cff7b49a0a6b3733a88eb1

Black Feathered Angels…

I have enough memories from the past to last me for the rest of my life. My unstinted memory will not bury them so deep that I cannot bring them to the surface in a moment’s notice.

In the deep recesses of my mind, I see a small country church, a chorus of crows; the splashing sounds of the brook running through the Birch trees. The wind caressing the colossal row of Oaks in the field. All memories from my early days.

I see death, going down a road moving away from the weathered house of worship, a wagon pulled by six black horses, followed by black feathered angels. No longer will the water beneath the Birch taste fresh and cool, nor will the winds surrounding the Oaks embrace warm flesh.

I relive a sad memory, my great-grandmother’s heart has been silenced, and the rocker on the porch stilled, no hand wave’s goodbye anymore. In a cobwebbed corner of the room where she slept, the sun shines through a cloudy window, as the image of tattered curtains dance in a nearby mirror. Everyone we love soon leaves us.

Sitting on the steps of that old weathered church, I have but one memory and that childhood is dead.

 

©2018elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

 

Author’s Books On Amazon…

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_4_8?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=ann+johnson-murphree&sprefix=ann+john%2Caps%2C221&crid=RM5ALVGUNEEB

 

 

Is the man we believe to be God untrue?

th

 

AUTHORS NOTE: 40 writers wrote the Bible over a span of 1500 years. Unlike other religious writings, the Bible reads as a factual news account of real events, places, people, and dialogue. Historians and archaeologists have repeatedly confirmed its authenticity. Using the writers’ own writing styles and personalities, God shows us who he is and what it is like to know him. There is one central message consistently carried by all 40 writers of the Bible: God, who created us all, desires a relationship with us. He calls us to know him and trust him. The Bible not only inspires us, it explains life and God to us. It does not answer all the questions we might have, but enough of them. It shows us how to live with purpose and compassion. How to relate to others. It encourages us to rely on God for strength, direction, and enjoy his love for us. The Bible also tells us how we can have eternal life. Multiple categories of evidence support the historical accuracy of the Bible as well as its claim to divine authorship.
Nonetheless, as a person who questions many things in life, I believe in God, I do not fear him; I should have no fear if he is my father. I believe many of the things written in the Bible, I also question many of the things. If the Bible had forty authors, as a writer myself I do not believe that the many translations over 1500 years can remain consistent to the original. We all need something to believe in, first believe in you.

***

Is the man we believe to be God untrue?

Did he create the patterns of the world, humans, animals, plants, trees and with his care the world evolved, it grew. Did he smile upon us, even in our defiling times? Through unspoken words, did he create beauty with his colorful art, with only a thought did this come from his loving heart?

Is “He” with us in thought during our times of fear and suffering, if we call unto him does he hear? Is he a myth, a creation of the imagination? Does he forgive for all offences, or is it us that created him through thought and wanting senses? The Bible, a book we are told to believe and understand. Yet, forty authors wrote this book down through the ages, was it written to control the masses, or was it God’s creation. Did “He” put the thoughts in their minds when they begin to write, or did they create this man like a character in a book, his words, and his look?

Among many that want to control the heart, wants us to believe, do these many authors also want to deceive? These preachers of the Book, do they speak to free souls from sin, do they take pearls, rubies, silver and gold telling us it will ease our pain. Do they preach and beg for riches; are all their efforts only for gain? They desire the tender that many will leave in the offering tray in order to receive God’s blessing must we pay? Oh preacher advance your flawed hand, your smiles, your tears, are you, yourself engulfed in fear?

These words are not to offend the Christian way, or remove the Holiest of Books, to disbelieve, nor sanctify a learned way. The scars of battle, must we try to be valiant and hold the spirit up to the highest aspiration. Must we have a religious heart or a caged spirit deep within our chest that holds you to the highest purpose in life? First love yourself; therefore, you are what you believe. You are responsible for the pains you suffer, it does not come from forces unseen, shock or fear, live within your own strength and goodness and is it possible that hell is no doubt the things we must face while walking upon this earth.

Yes, upon yourself depend; be responsible for your own passion, your own tears. Do not believe “He” takes what he wants and leaves us in fear; believe in yourself and be responsible for wiping away your own tears. If it is your desire to believe that you will someday walk upon a different plane, that there is a world waiting where love is like a constant burning flame. If this belief makes your heart fly, your spirits soar, to see your love one waiting on that Heavenly Shore. If you want to believe then you have nothing to fear, the life you are leading is up to you, yet, there are times when one must ask the question, is the man we believe to be God untrue?

 

©2018.elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_4_8?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=ann+johnson-murphree&sprefix=ann+john%2Caps%2C221&crid=RM5ALVGUNEEB