Stories Read from the Rocks
Kathryn Scanlan


Bill of Goods

1. I have two yellow with blue backs and red tops, two green with yellow backs and red tops, three white with blue backs and red tops, and one red with a blue back and a black top.

2. They are tight and tiny and bound by the back of the neck. The best part is inside, which is flat, and wide, and tall, and long.

3. Some are coming off. Some are damaged or missing. Some are gray, some are green.

4. Here’s a supple pair. They have backs and holes. I love imagining them.

5. For its age it is slightly loose. Phrases are printed. It has a base on which are dozens. It is also missing.

6. Only a little rust pinches. The remains are attached.

7. It is framed and ringed and taut, hung with sturdy red droplets.

8. Not original but useful, they do look as though they’ve gone through many times.

9. It has sharpness. Iridescence when held to the light.

10. Some seem newer. Their warping doesn’t bother me a bit!

11. Would make a great little one, even for soup, even for pencils. Beyond are mountains, an airplane.

12. It is not too heavy to pull, but rides the circumference of a wealthy estate.

13. The body is very soft in case you’d like to hook a chain for safekeeping.

14. These collars and hats that sit, these collars and hats for inserting.

15. There are slips in the paint and wax dripped on the cake, rainbow shade pressed snugly to the windows.

16. This torn portion has a good measurement. Someone covered and cut the faces.

17. The person gave them hair glued to paper. And the boy and his tiny mother, their bodies were lost long ago.

18. The head, floating, the water staining at his feet, burnt or cooked, behind glass.

19. The knob releases eyes and mouth, tail and ears, pretty faded, pitted and written.

20. This allows the light to pass through. It allows movement. Each has its regions, and all are in excellent condition.



"   "

Floyd died Mar 11—’69 

Elsie "   " Mar 24—'70

Iva "   " Mar 17—'69

Tobe "   " Mar 19—'72

Belle "  " Mar 31—'72

Lizzie "   " Feb 11—'72

Vern "   " Dec 10—'70

Maude "   " Jan 13—'71

Bayard "   " Feb 21—'72

Maude "   " Oct 10—'71

Ella "   " Feb 14—'72

Gertrude "   " Oct 12—'72

Gary "   " Sept 7—'72

Hanna "   " Jan 17—'72

Clara "   " Feb 26—'72

David "   "  "          "



Beardstown Boy

The little fellow was playing with a bird’s nest and two young sparrows he had found in the yard when last seen by his mother. A basement window was out due to flood damage and it is believed the boy placed the nest on the sill and perhaps knocked it off and in reaching for it tumbled into the basement where the water was four feet deep. The mother was at her sewing machine and if the boy cried out the noise of the machine prevented her from hearing him. When the child was missed the bird’s nest was found floating on the basement waters. The father located the body with a hoe and brought it to the surface. A physician worked over it for an hour in a futile attempt at resuscitation. 





Safely here—cool and nice plenty of fruit—all kinds and cheap—birds singing all day and night—hope dahlias will not break down. Do you remember this place?

I am only about 40 mile south of you now; this a box car job, be here about a week. Nothing new every thing is same old rut. Most awful anxious to hear from you to know how you are getting along. Most awful lonesome here nothing here but one small store and 3 or 4 houses. I can’t get away till Wednesday night they won’t listen to anything else.

I am sitting around this morning not doing much. I’m sick this morning cannot go to school. Went to the doctor yesterday he said I had appendicitis aren’t you sorry for me. You broke your promise, have you forgot.

I’m sure you was glad to see your mamma, I was glad for you and her too when I heard she had you. Lula Mae gave me a sweet kiss for you, just smacked so loud.

We are so sorry the baby is sick but no one has told us what the matter was. Ma gets terrible nervous at times, but when she can get out in the yard and fool around she will be better we hope.

This morn at 2 o’clock Daltons’ house burned. Started in the wood-house but they don’t know how it started. Mrs. D. has no clothes but her night dress, ran over to Wilsons’ barefooted.

Got home all OK we could of sold all the rabbits we had in about 10 minutes for 15c apiece everything is the same old way around here.

I am sorry but I will have to disappoint you in regard to the dahlia bulbs as mine all spoiled. I took them up in the fall and they got too dry. I ought to have left them in the ground.





Gifts of 1972

Karl—sweet corn

Mildred—green gage plums, sprouts + mangoes


Mary—eggplant, kohlrabi—squash—cucumbers +

sweet corn + okra



D.—dinners (6 or 7)—bacon—sausage + liver +

polish sausage

Ruth + Clarence—sweet corn



We will be all right if they just keep it up



teeth pulled      Jan 25—‘41 

got my teeth    Feb 27—‘41