Progress Report & Convo with Jule

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If you’ve been following along the blog over the past few days, you know that the first chapter is about Emmett’s family.  (Well, my family, too. Emmett is my cousin.)

The first chapter is in pretty good shape; actually, it is probably going to be divided into two more sections (maybe subchapters) because of how much information I have. If I could just get off my ass and get a little more motivated — or caffeinated — I could have the first section completed in a few hours. It is coming together. This time last week I didn’t have a damn thing to show. So there ya go.

Jule and Julian Wilson in the 1940s. Jule still has that lovely smile.

Jule and Julian Wilson in the 1940s. Julian was Emmett’s fraternal twin.

Right after I wrote the paragraph above, I got a call from Emmett’s 97-year-old niece, Jule. She’s a lovely person; we stay in touch. Jule got excited when I told her the first chapter is in production, and there’s a lot of new information about her grandfather in there. Her enthusiasm turned my morning around; it also made my day when Jule told me how thankful she was for the work I’m doing. “I’ve known nothing about my grandfather all my life,” she said to me. “Well,” she added, “better late than never.”

Jule doesn’t remember her grandfather or Emmett; she was born in 1917. Emmett died in 1918; Dr. Wilson died in 1920. She’s always wondered about her grandfather, someone who defied the odds. He came home from the Civil War mostly on foot and intact. He completely restarted his life three different times within 10 years. He was considered a very good physician at a time when you didn’t have today’s credential rigor, and when medical school was (on average) only one academic year (fall to spring).

Margie (short for Margarine, left) and Butterball, sitting on me this morning. Yes. I have chickens as pets. We call them "Pets with Benefits."

Margie (short for Margarine, left) and Butterball, sitting on me this morning. Yes. I have chickens as pets. We call them “Pets with Benefits.”

This was a man who was trying to make ends meet, raising 10 children on occasional payments in cash, but mostly, chickens and produce, and despite the fact he was held in high regard, he had problems keeping it all together because he served a mostly poor community. Try paying the bill collector with a chicken, sometime.

I’ve promised her a sneak peak of the first chapter — I told her I’d get it out to her as soon as I could, so I better get back to work. She said, ‘No rush, but I am 97.” 🙂

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