The Fifteen Mile House
But first, since Friday Fictioneers is all about fiction, I’ve asked Ula Grace if I could use the play she wrote about this house. For those who have followed my blog, they may remember that Ula was Tedbook’s Foreign Correspondent for many years. Now she is a student at Rutgers University (an honor student I might add… that’s what grandparents do) and in her living room, on their hearth, there is a ball and chain from Folsom Prison, she wanted to know all about the history. Here is the story she wrote for a creative writing class. I know it’s over 100 words, live with it…
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Prison Break… by Ula Grace
California, late 1880s. The barn at the Fifteen Mile House, not far from Folsom State Prison. A convict is attempting to saw through the chain holding the ball to the shackle around his ankle. He is wearing black and white prison stripes.
Whilhelmina Deterding walks into the barn. He doesn’t see her.
Convict: (muttering) Almost there, almost there…
Wilhelmina gasps and hides
Convict: (breaking through the metal) Finally!
He turns around and sees her
Convict: (still holding saw) Don’t scream. I won’t hurt you if you cooperate. I’m gonna need new clothes. You’re gonna find ‘em for me.
Wilhelmina: (pointing to the door of the tool shed) Th-there should be some clothes in there.
Convict: Go git ‘em for me.
Wilhelmina walks to the door of the shed. The convict follows behind. She reaches in and pulls out a pair of coveralls and a coat
Wilhelmina: (quietly) Are you from Folsom? How did you escape the chain gang?
Convict: (taking off his uniform) It’s better if you don’t know.
Wilhelmina averts her eyes as he strips and puts on the coveralls, leaving the striped uniform on the ground next to his shackle
Convict: I’m gonna leave now. Yer not to make a sound or a fuss til I do. Nor leave this barn til ten minutes after I leave, ya hear?
Wilhelmina: (to herself) What am I supposed to do with these prison rags…?
The Convict hears her as he leaves with the coat over his arm
Convict: (calling back) Make ‘em into a quilt or something!
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Well, Wilhelmina never did meet the prisoner in real life, but there really was one, and he did escape from Folsom Prison in the late 1800’s and cut off the chain attached to his leg to free him from the heavy ball in the barn at her ranch. He exchanged his striped uniform for a pair of coveralls and that supposedly made it’s way into a quilt she made.
The Fifteen Mile house was about 16 miles from Sacramento, California and was the second pony express stop from the city going east.
My Great-Great-Grandparents William and Wilhelmina Deterding came to this country from Germany in 1846, traveling across the plains in a covered wagon. They eventually established a ranch in 1857 near what is now the town of Folsom. They had 5 sons and 5 daughters and one of the daughters was my Great-Grandmother Matilda, she was born in that house. In addition to being a pony express stop, stage coaches would stop off there, travelers often staying overnight. Dances were held there too, judging by the ticket stubs we have.
A look at Wilhelmina and William in my sister Marja’s house today. In the center is a hair wreath she made in 1877. It would have been mine, but I made the mistake of wondering how much it might fetch on eBay within earshot of my mother.
We are fortunate to have an actual photograph of The Fifteen Mile House, and when I took a snap with my cell it took on an eerie appearance due to the reflection in the glass. “Perfect for Friday Fictioneers!”
Presently, across from this historical marker, a Costco stands in place of the old house.
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If you would like to read another story by a then 14 year old Ula Grace… Best Friends
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This week Rochelle choose my photo for the Friday Fictioneers writing prompt… always an honor. To read all the stories this old house prompted, click on the frog…
“Sally!!! If you ask me one more time today what time it’s coming, I’m putting you on a time out!”
“It’s on the truck. Supposed to be here today! Why isn’t it here?”
“Well today’s not over. What do you mean it’s on the truck? How do you know that?”
“Gramma showed me. She said it’s coming today and I want that Barbie.”
“Oh for god’s sake you have enough Barbies! How are you getting another one?”
“My nice gramma ordered it.”
“Well ask her or get dressed and wait on the porch for the UPS guy.”
‘”Nah, gonna play Barbies now.”
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Got this story the moment I saw the photo… Thanks Rochelle…Friday Fictioneers
More stories inspired by Jean Hays’ photo…
Thought I’d share with AnythingGoes…
“I’m thinking tunafish salad sandwiches.”
“Why? Ethel, you know I don’t like fish.”
“That’s so silly, Cheryl, just because you found a bone once.”
“More than once I found bones. They don’t pull them out right.”
“You can have a Devil Dog, I hear they make good hotdogs.”
“They don’t make the hotdogs, they just heat them up.”
“Well, have a heated up hotdog then!! I know you like chili dogs.”
“Nah, not in the mood for spicy.”
“Heavens to Murgatroyd! What will you eat?!?”
“For God’s sake, Ethel, haven’t heard that in ages. I’ll have the tuna.”
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Always fun to see one of my photos used for the prompt at Friday Fictioneers… Each week, 100 some writers making up 100 word flash fiction stories at the behest of Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. Nice to see Ethel and Cheryl show up for this one.
Here is where to find the stories…
Grandma was watching a documentary, the loud drumming filling the air has caught Little Sally’s attention.
“Come in girl, sit up here with me Sally, you might like this.”
Little Sally watches the men twirling fire and women moving back and forth waving their hands.
“That’s what I’ve always wanted to be.”
“What’s that, honey?”
“A dancer. I’ve always wanted to be a dancer.”
“Since I saw these outfits. I want one, why’re they grassy?
“Because once people made their clothes out of what they could find. This honors tradition.”
“I’ll bet you can find it on Amazon.”
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Special Photographer this week, Rochelle probably didn’t have to steal this image… Photo Prompt © Jan Wayne Fields. Rochelle’s Frog of the Week holds more stories, give it a click…
I have invited an author friend of mine to join Friday Fictioneers. She started a writing blog because she wanted to try some flash fiction. What better place to start I told her. Look for GRIFFINSKEYFICTION… here is Polly’s first story… Aloha from Waikiki
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Oh look! Little Sally has found her grass skirt… only $7.95 free shipping for Prime. And you know what? This little hula skirt model is just how I picture Little Sally.
“Bobby, give it back!”
“I didn’t take it, you’re being mean.” Bobby starts to cry.
“Sally, stop it now! What are you going on about?”
Bobby took my tower, it was right here.”
“Did too. Grandma gave it to me, it’s precious.”
“Did you look under the fridge, Sally, maybe it fell off.”
“Maybe the dog ate it.”
“Shut up, Bobby!”
Little Sally gets down on hands and knees and looks under the fridge.
“Gimme a flashlight, Bobby.”
“Get one yourself.”
“Mother!” Little Sally pokes around under the refrigerator with a finger. “Found it!”
“Shut up, Bobby.”
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Click Frog for more stories.
Bobby and Little Sally are playing in the backyard, it’s been raining something terrible for a week now and this was the first sunny day.
“🎶Ring around the rosy,
A pocket full of posies,
We all fall down! 🎶”
“Sally!!! You didn’t fall down!.”
“I don’t wanna get my dress dirty, Bobby. No one says you have to fall down.”
Enter Mother, who puts something in the birdbath as Bobby and Little Sally start going in a circle agin.
🎶Ring around the… Mother! What’s that water doing there?”
“The sun is finally out, my new Solar Garden Fountain™!”
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Little Sally thought you might like to see Mother’s new birdbath fountain, so she took a photo for you with her new camera.
When I saw this photo of the fountain, by C. E. Ayr , I immediately thought of a photo I have of my father and his siblings gathered around a pond in their backyard in the 30’s. Like everyone else at that time they did not have a ‘pot to piss in’, but they did have a large garden where they grew food and shared with the neighbors. My father is the big one, Emily to his right and Bill, Laura and Gary to the left. There were goldfish in the pond and they are posing for Pops, I imagine.
I have one other photo, I would like to think it was a fountain, with my Uncle Gary, the youngest, maybe he played Ring Around the Rosy with Emily.
Friday Fictioneers’ Stories Here:
“Hi Cheryl. I’m going to make meatballs, do you have a good recipe.”
“Are you kidding me, I’ve never made meatballs. Ask Mama Margie, she’s a real Italian, from Staten Island.”
“I thought Italians came from Italy.”
“Oh for God’s sake Ethel, they can come from anywhere as long as their relatives started in Italy.”
“Well Betty said she was a good cook, do you have her number?”
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“Hello, is this Margie? This is Ethel, a friend of Betty’s. I want to make meatballs and she said you were a real Italian cook.”
“I think I can help you, Ethel.”
Can you imagine Ethel cooking? I’m not sure I can, but that’s my 100 word story and I’m sticking to it. Friday Fictioneers is all about 100 Word Flash Fiction…
Here is where to find Friday Fictioneers and read leader Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ blog.
The photo prompt today is by Roger Bultot… It will be interesting to see the stories, I’ve already read a few good ones, click that frog to read them…
Here is my story, I was making meatballs last night to go with some spaghetti. There really is a Mama Margie, she gave me a baked ziti recipe once. She is a real Italian from Staten Island, but now cooks in the Show Me State.
I forgot to take a photo of the meat balls right out of the oven, but here they are on a plate with Arrabbiata sauced spaghetti, my favorite sauce. I will have to ask Margie if she has a recipe for Arrabbiata, but she would call it gravy, she is a real Italian after all. My sister Mariya, not an Italian but an Organic-an, steamed radishes, burdock root and broccoli to go with.
Mother’s holding Bobby’s hand as they ride up to the second floor. Mother is not happy, her daughter has disappeared. Again. She’d call once more, except she does not want to cause a scene in Nordstroms. This is their third trip from first floor to the fourth and then down again, waiting for Grandmother to finish her shopping in foundations. Grandmother is very picky when it comes to her drawers, and likes to take her time. As if anyone would ever see them, thinks Mother.
Mother hears snickering behind her and turns to see Little Sally, smirking.
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Here is where to find Friday Fictioneers and read leader Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ blog. I sent Rochelle this photo taken by Swedish photographer, Ulrika Undén who exhibits her works at INSTAOLOGY, because I knew it would make a perfect prompt for flash fiction.
Click this frog to read all the Fictioneers’ stories…
I remember riding the elevator with my grandmother in Hale’s Department Store in Sacramento in the ’50s, and I think it was the second floor, the operator would call out “Lady’s Wear and Foundations.” I alway’s though it was such a funny word. I wrote another story about ‘foundations’ you can find it here… Foundations Please!
“Hi, Cheryl, it’s me Ethel.”
“Okay, what do you want?”
“Cheryl, why do you always think I want something?”
“Because you always do, Ethel. I can tell by the perky way you say ‘Hi, Cheryl’. So, cut to the chase, what is it?”
“Well be that way, but since you ask, you have a snow shovel don’t you?”
“I do, and so do you. You got one when you worked at Wal-Mart, remember?”
“I can’t find it, I think I let someone borrow it.”
“That’s why I have mine, I don’t lend. Why?”
“My walk, could you shovel it.”
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Some 100 Word Flash Fiction based on the photo of Dale Rogerson’s front yard she sent Rochelle for this week’s story prompt. Do drop by Friday Fictioneers if you want to write a story, and click on the frog to read all the stories, some may feature snow:
“I don’t wanna do the dishes, I’m too little!”, huffed Little Sally.
” You are not too little to eat the food I cook, are you?”
“Then you are not too little to do the dishes. Time you did some chores, young lady. Besides you can stand on a chair.”
Little Sally drags a kitchen chair across the linoleum to the sink.
“I’ll get all wet. Probably get water all over the floor. Maybe break some dishes.”
“No you won’t if you know what’s good for you, Sally.”
Water runs, soap bubbles, Mother watches.
“Hey, this is kind of fun.”
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Thanks to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields … go see this week’s FF Challenge. This is the 100 words I got from Ronda Del Boccio’s photo prompt, it looks like my sink, except mine is full of dishes. I wonder how Little Sally did?
More Friday Fictioneers stories here…