Book one in the Over the Barnes Bridge series is a true story about my paternal grandparent’s childhood tragedies and how they survived and found one another in the early 1900s. He in Baltimore City. She in an Appalachian coal mining town in Western Maryland.
In 1908, Ida was incarcerated for two years in a Reform School. That same year, Norman's mother was committed to a mental hospital leaving him to fend for himself.
Both children had to grow up fast, and there was little time for tears. This is their story.
In book two, the story continues with the death of their son, Ida’s mental breakdown, and a perilous move from their home in Baltimore City to a coal mining and logging town in Appalachia.
The spring of 1919 finds them and their four remaining children living in "McCullough Town” where Jim is forced to become a coal miner.
Book three begins in 1929 with the stock market crash igniting the Great Depression. Ida and Jim Barnes eke out a living during the dark days of the 1930s while also dealing with the angst and misadventures of their five adolescent children. The story includes vignettes, many taken from the author’s mother’s journals.
Jim and his four sons seek work logging, mining, or doing odd jobs in the mountains of Western Maryland while Jim’s wife, Ida, and their daughter tend crops, hogs and chickens, tote water from the creek to scrub clothes and mend them by kerosene lamp. Until President Roosevelt’s New Deal brings hope to America, life is a day-by-day struggle for survival.
“Dark Days on Bear Creek” is a roller-coaster of emotional episodes ranging from near-death experiences and family feuds to poignant joyful moments. Throughout the decade of hopelessness and hardship, the children eventually mature, work picks up, and times get better.
Characters, events, and settings in this book were drawn from family stories, the author’s childhood memories, Friendsville historical references, census records, newspaper articles, obituaries, and genealogical data. The author’s imagination was called into play only when details were not available.
Condo Capers are short mystery stories set in the imaginary Florida Gulf Coast village of Slash Pine. Mary McKenzie Morningstar, "M,” is a retired psychotherapist. Her husband, Harrison Blake Blacklock, "Blackie," was a National Park Service law enforcement ranger.
Anticipating sunny, peaceful days in their retirement, they moved from frigid New England to a little condo at White Ibis Condominiums in southwest Florida.
When murder is afoot, professional curiosity and sense of duty drive M and Blackie doggedly in the pursuit of justice. Although Sheriff Ambrose of the Mango County Police Department repeatedly warns them not to interfere in police work, M and Blackie never rest until Ambrose solves his case.
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