It's hard to tell which of Grandma Audrey's stories are factual and which are purely fiction. Grandma apparently had a habit of writing fact-based stories, changing the names of the people involved, and presenting the stories and their characters as fiction. Those who were there when one of those stories happened could probably give us the scoop, but, even as interested as I am, I won't ask anyone to name names. There has probably never been an aspiring writer who hasn't been instructed, "Write what you know." That's what Audrey did. If she chose to call it fiction, then I'm willing to go along with her. Besides, maybe some of her stories really did come entirely from her imagination.
My late Aunt Nina, Audrey's eldest child and a good writer herself, sent me an email about Grandma's stories several years ago. Nina has since gone home to God and Grandma, so I couldn't ask her permission, but I don't think she would have minded my sharing her words here:
"You mentioned wanting to read some of Grandma's writings. Shirley has some of them (maybe all) and I bet she would be happy to have some of the short stories and poems she wrote copied and sent to you. ... [They] definitely show a flair for putting words on paper. The problem's that she had only a tenth grade education, albeit, she was the top student in the class. She was awarded a scholarship to Chillicothe business college, but her mother would not consent to her 16 year old daughter leaving home to attend school. So she went to work in a garment factory in Springfield and lived with her grandparents until she met and married Daddy. One child after another kept her pretty busy and her life experiences so limited that the only thing she had to write about was her kids.
"One of her essays was about a woman with 9 kids and she named them all, using our middle names to disguise what she felt was fiction. The children were Lucy, [Leroy], Linvel, Lee, Arthur, Lloyd, Floyd, Erna and May. Right down the line in order of our birth. She showed me that so proudly, and when I started reading it, I could hardly restrain my mirth. That is just one example."
I'm telling you this now, dear readers, because I know you'll be as curious as I am when you read the story I've picked out to post later tonight. Did that incident really happen? Was that kid one of Audrey's?
Shhhh. If you know, don't tell. Unless that kid was you and you want to claim it.