I first wrote this story for "The Story Telling Place" on Time Goes By. I was encouraged to re-publish this on my blog. If you have read this before please move on to another blog.
The Young Authors
By Darlene Costner
My family owned what was then called a Cottage Court and tourist season. I would often run into two young budding authors, Howard and James, who shared a small travel trailer on our place. They usually left early in the morning to go to scenic outdoor areas to work on their manuscripts.. One summer, when I was a young woman, I helped out by cleaning the cabins during
I had not been married very long then and didn't own a washing machine so I used the camp laundry room. As luck would have it I chose the same day that Howard and James did their laundry. They used to stand around urging me to hurry and finish so they could get their laundry out of the way and rush off to the Garden of the Gods, or wherever they were going that day.
Being a woman, I sorted my laundry into the usual piles; white, colored, delicate and jeans. Automatic washers were soon to be a necessity, but then we had to use a with the accompanying three rinse tubs. Howard and James shortened the time spent by putting their entire laundry into one load and rinsing it in only one tub. When they hung their laundry out the entire wash was pale blue from the dye in their jeans. Curtains, underwear, everything - pale blue.
While they were staying at our place Howard Lindsey had a story published in the Ladies Home Journal about a little boy who almost hung himself. This was quite a big deal and the local radio station interviewed him and newspapers ran big stories about it. The guys were being sponsored by a doctor's wife and she came from her home town for the occasion. She told me that she always encouraged her young men to write about what they knew and that Howard was the young boy who had almost hung himself when he was a child. She also said James was writing a best seller. I thought, yeah right!
When the weather became cold the young men loaded up their tiny travel trailer to move on to warmer climates so they could continue their writing in the great outdoors. If you haven't guessed by now, James was the James Jones who wrote From Here To Eternity, an enormous best seller followed by the movie.
After the book was published, Mrs. Handy, the doctor's wife, wrote my parents telling them to be sure to get the latest edition of Holiday in which they were mentioned. James had written an article about the places he stayed while writing his best seller.
My step-father rushed to the book store to load up on the magazine. We never saw the magazine again after my step-father read the article. James had written that my step-father was the laziest man he ever knew; all he did was sit around all day drinking coffee and smoking a cigarette. Since it was true, I admit I got a perverse pleasure from that article.
James’ last book was, Go To the Widow Maker in which he related an episode when young artists stayed in the home owned by their sponsor. Recalling the words of Mrs. Handy, I felt like I was peeking through a keyhole. I won't relate the episode but those of you who may have read the book will probably know what I am referring to. The rest of you can use your imagination.