It was the first Saturday in August 1971, in Pumkinsville,
Virginia. It was six 0' clock in the morning when Kathy woke from a dream about
Mark Lindsay. She imagined him holding her in his arms, and the image in her
mind made her feel like she was flying. Kathy absolutely loved Paul Revere and
Her walls were covered with cutouts of the group, especially
her dream guy, Mark Lindsay. After the dream momentarily lingered, she realized
that she was alone in her warm bed. She embraced herself and fell fast asleep.
Kathy finally rolled out of bed about noon. Her parents were
arguing as usual. Her mom was smoking a Kool Filtered King and standing over
the stove. Her cigarette had burned nearly to the filter when the ashes fell
into the skillet. No one noticed, so Gladys continued frying hamburgers. Kathy
had to be at work by one, so she headed for the bathroom to do her makeup.
The phone in the kitchen rang several times before Kathy's
father Bill finally got off of the couch to pick it up. He answered the phone
rudely as he often did.
Kathy's mom Gladys stood at the stove remembering
the man whom she had loved so deeply prior to getting stuck with Bill. Gladys
had been madly in love with a man from Rhea Valley, but her mother didn't
approve of him because he was poor. Bill on the other hand had a steady job,
but he didn't have Gladys' heart.
When Kathy entered the kitchen for lunch, Gladys asked if she
had any plans for the weekend. Kathy told her mom that she and Dorkus would
probably go to the Drive-In. Gladys immediately started in on Kathy about being
overly promiscuous. Kathy tried to eat her burger, but suddenly lost her
appetite. She told her mom that she didn't even have a boyfriend, so there was
nothing for her to worry about.
Kathy walked into the den where her father Bill was watching
television. He yelled into the kitchen, "hey old woman, where's my lunch? I'm
tired of waiting. Stop puffing on that cigarette, and bring me my plate." Kathy
just shook her head. She imagined being anywhere but home. As Gladys walked
with Bill's plate into the den, she envisioned him choking to death. This put a
smile on her face as she bent down to give Bill his dinner. "Here you go old
man," said Gladys. Bill looked at his burger, and got angry because there was
no bun. Gladys had put Bill's burger on two slices of light bread, both of
which were heels. Bill began yelling, "what the hell is this on my burger? You
know I hate mustard. Old woman, you can't do anything right...you're fired."
Gladys shot back quickly, "well if you don't like my cooking, you can just
leave...see if I care". Bill threw his plate on the coffee table as he headed
toward the front door. Kathy got up and followed her father to his car. Bill
was talking under his breath, "how I ever got stuck with that crazy old
woman...it's beyond me."
Bill got into his Impala and lit a cigar. Bill noticing that
Kathy seemed down said, "what's the matter Catbird?" Kathy looked at the ground
before she made eye contact." I just don't like listening to you and mom fight,
that's all." Bill started laughing and said, "that's all your old mammy lives
for...she ain't never gonna change! You should know that by now." Kathy nodded
her head in agreement as Bill got out of his car to embrace his daughter.
Kathy told her dad that she loved him, and she headed to the
Cavalier Restaurant where she worked on the cash register. At work, Kathy was
noticeably absent-minded. Twice in the first hour, two customers complained
that she had short-changed them. Again Kathy began to think of Mark Lindsay.
She stood at the counter lost in her head. She imagined herself running her
hands through Mark's hair. A customer had approached the counter to order, but
Kathy was staring into the register. The drawer had been open for several
minutes. The customer tried to get Kathy's attention, but was unsuccessful. The
owner now noticing Kathy's blank expression tried to get her to snap out of the
daydream, but it became obvious that she was gone.
The restaurant owner sat Kathy down in a chair, and put a rag on
her forehead. It was obvious that something was terribly wrong. When Kathy's
parents arrived, Gladys tried to get Kathy to snap out of it, but she never
Soon thereafter, Kathy was committed to an asylum. The thought
of being in the big house alone with Bill was more than Gladys could stand. On
a brisk morning three months after Kathy was left in the Asylum, her mother
jumped into the Holston River. Her body was never found.
Bill on the other hand found solace in the bottle, and drank
himself into oblivion. He died of alcohol poisoning shortly after Gladys hurled
herself into the river.
For thirty years, Kathy sat staring at a wall in the Marion
Asylum. No one ever visited her until the day she died. She was buried on
Graveyard Hill on a cold wintry morning as eerie clouds blanketed the sky. As
her casket was lowered into the frozen ground, a car sped around dead man's
curve with the radio blaring a song by Paul Revere and the Raiders. A small
child stared out of the car's passenger window...he would soon be lost forever.
The Osborne house still sits on Railroad Avenue. Their initials
carved into the sidewalk where only birds now venture. Children nervously pass
the house en route to the trestle. The track is gone too. Only bicycles and
tourists cross the trestle that faces the old Osborne house that once sneered
from the hill.