“They say Old Weezie’s been reading palms out of her run-down shack for a hundred years or more and, although I have to question the accuracy of that hundred years, still Old Weezie sure looks older than dirt, which was one of my grandmother’s favorite sayings.”
And that was as far as I got last night. Today has been busy, but I got home in time to write this before I have to go out again.
They say Old Weezie’s been reading palms out of her run-down shack for a hundred years or more and, although I have to question the accuracy of that hundred years, still Old Weezie sure looks older than dirt, which was one of my grandmother’s favorite sayings.
Now here’s the moment in the story where I tell you that I grew up in a little town, population 800, back in one of the prettiest hollers in all of West Virginia, and Old Weezie was more or less the town witch, at least in the sense that she was one of those bent and wrinkled women who look like they were born a hundred years old, or at least you cannot possibly imagine that she was ever a young woman. Then somebody, usually my wretched sister, Emaline, who was always flipping her blond curls and rolling her eyes, anyway, it would always have been Emaline who would pipe up and say, “Oh, but look at those blue eyes. You can always tell from the eyes. They never change. You trust me, Weezie was young and she was drop-dead gorgeous.” Emaline would always have to come up with some little piece of information like about the eyes, plus she also never failed to say something “sweet” when everybody else was being kinda critical. And the final, most annoying thing about Emaline, who never left this holler any more than the rest of us, but did subscribe to two movie magazines, was that she never, ever, ever failed to slip in some “cool” phrase like “drop-dead gorgeous,” which let’s face it no one in Merkleville, which was the name of our town, no one had ever heard of and if they somehow had heard of it would not under any circumstances actually say it for fear of looking like an idiot. But there would come Emaline, just saying it and not looking like an idiot at all. I pretty much hated Emaline’s guts.
But this is the moment in the story when I confess that there is no little town in a holler in West Virginia, there is no Emaline and, most important of all, there is no Old Weezie, at least not in real life.
My name is Rebecca Marshall Starling. I am nineteen years old and I was named for my paternal grandmother, Rebecca Princess Starling (I am deadly serious about that middle name) and my maternal grandfather who I never heard anyone call anything other than “Mr. Marshall.” And he always acted like someone you would call “Mister.” I never was able to warm up to him. I was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, went to Westminster Academy from kindergarten all the way through high school, where I made passably good grades, played field hockey, was on the staff of the yearbook, and dated the best player on the soccer team. I spent my summers playing tennis and swimming at the Piedmont Country Club where my parents were members and where my Starling grandparents were something like founding members or Framers of the Declaration or something. Anyway, we were serious country club members. Saturdays, weather permitting, Daddy would play golf then gather in the bar with his buddies, toss back a few whiskeys, get a little snookered, and start ordering steak for the golfers and drinks for the house. By this time, Mother would have herded us up and we’d be at home having whatever dinner she had once again foolishly prepared in case Daddy decided to come home, which to my knowledge he never did.
One afternoon when I was around ten years old, my grandmother Starling (who Grandfather Starling always called “Princess.” Do you believe that?), gave me a book. It was obviously old and she cautioned me to be careful with it. The name of the book, still just visible on the dark green cover, was Tales of Darkness from the Deep South. It was a large volume, thick and heavy, and when I looked at the Table of Contents, I saw there were two hundred stories. This was a treasure trove for the young reader that I was.
And in that book, which quickly became my favorite, was the story of Old Weezie.
The New List
- The dusty, old book was sitting there, just begging to be read.
- He tried to remember who had talked him into this.
- It had just been here, and now we couldn’t find it.
- There was something not quite right about the window.
- Everything about her was a lie.