Leave a comment


Skipping the Messy Stuff

 * Chapter Ten ALLIES  196
• Chapter Eleven BALANCE OF POWER  221
• Chapter Twelve CARELESS WHISPERS  241
• Chapter Thirteen FROM THE ASHES  258
• Chapter Fourteen LESSONS NOT LEARNED  278

All the earlier chapters are a lead-up to our late involvement in WWI,      where we meet Sir James Matthew Barrie, the prolific playwright and cousin to John Ferrell. John Ferrell’s supply ship, the Panama City, never a real ship, was not sunk by U-Boat submarines, though the elder Ferrell

____The Life and Times of a Black Southern Doctor 367

did indeed die in 1916; such a blue-blooded way to die, helping your
Scottish ancestors through a tough time.

10 and 11 encompass that bloody 1st world war, along with the
deadly influenza that started in Europe and traveled back to the US.
30 million people died worldwide and that is about the time that
Alpha Omega Campbell began practicing medicine.

After the doctor and Maggie wed in 1918, they both had affairs
that produced children. Maggie’s dalliance produced middle daughter,
Laura. That little child was so fair-skinned, isn’t that right banker Lewis? Alpha, for his part, did father a child; it’s just that whether it was with Camille
Diaz is buried among the Careless Whispers of reality.

Those Roaring years of flappers and debauchery are bypassed…

…here, as is the Great Depression. It seems the author (me) does not deal
well with hard times, which resurfaces in the closing chapters, a.k.a.
the happy, or rather calm ending. So From the Ashes emerges the
mid-1930’s. We lose great characters Harv Pearson, Herb Love and
Phoebe. We’ve already left the Endlichoffer’s behind and the elder

James Ferrell becomes the Dr.’s lawyer and we are (re) introduced
to Carolyn Hanes (Constance Caraway Private Eye) and her lover
Sara Fenwick (Fanny Renwick). Like the incest episode between James
and Agnes, this Lesbian relationship is a glimpse into life behind closed doors, as well as in real life.


Closure — Line-by-Line LATOBSD

Leave a comment

Closure — Line-by-Line LATOBSD


In fact, had I been true to the facts, we would have continued on from Chapter One to 1959.

But, and it is a big (upper case BUT),

as I came to Chapter Eighteen,
LOOKING DOWN, I knew I could not bring myself to play it out
the way it really did. I began to plot an amended beginning, which
morphed into the last chapter, TRIALS AND TRIUMPH. All along,
#19 was going to be about the trial, of which I have the majority of
the original transcript here as well.

Depressing, is the only way I can portray the trial of a 67 year
old. Did he do wrong things, sure, but he was of ill health and did
not deserve the ending that ultimately came to pass. And yes, his wife
did die 1 1/2 years into his incarceration.

What did actually happen at that sad time? I don’t have anything
to go on and that is where ‘historical fiction’ comes to bear; the word f-i-c-t-i-o-n, look it up. Creation, vision, fable, fantasy, tale are all used as synonyms. I prefer the latter. LATOBSD is a tale of epic dimension.

“When it came to the time to finish-up a book that I had worked 12 years (0n and off), I found myself dreading having to leave the reader with a lonely, broken man;  no money, no wife, no medicine, no future.

“How convenient is the genre of Historical Fiction? Don’t like the facts, make something up, make something good up. Need a BFF for one of your favorite characters? How’s Mary Pickford for you?”

(does anyone even remember Mary Pickford? It is history man, learn it!)


Closure — Line-by-Line LATOBSD

Respect the Stick

Leave a comment

Respect the Stick

Big Stick ideologyBig Stick diplomacy, or Big Stick policy refers to U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt’s foreign policy: “speak softly, and carry a big stick.” Roosevelt attributed the term to a West African proverb, “Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far,” but the claim that it originated in West Africa has been disputed.[1] The idea of negotiating peacefully, simultaneously threatening with the “big stick”, or the military, ties in heavily with the idea of Realpolitik, which implies a pursuit of political power that resembles Machiavellian ideals.[2] Roosevelt first used the phrase in a speech at the Minnesota State Fair on September 2, 1901,[3]four days before the assassination of President William McKinley who died eight days later, which subsequently thrust Roosevelt into the presidency. Roosevelt referred to the phrase earlier (January 26, 1900) in a letter to Henry W. Sprague of the Union League Club, mentioning his liking of the phrase in a bout of happiness after forcing New York‘s Republican committee to pull support away from a corrupt financial adviser. Roosevelt attributed the term as “a West African proverb”, and was seen at the time as evidence of Roosevelt’s “prolific” reading habits.[4][5] Roosevelt described his style of foreign policy as “the exercise of intelligent forethought and of decisive action sufficiently far in advance of any likely crisis”.[6] However, it is also rumored that Roosevelt himself first made the phrase publicly known,[1] and that he meant it was West African proverb only metaphorically.[1]


Leave a comment

Chapter Nine


Hughes telegraph (1866-1914), first telegraph printing text on a paper tape. Manufactured by Siemens & Halske, Germany; range: 300-400 km (WIKIPEDIA)

“What is coming through the wire?” asks Judith Eastman. “It looks
unusually long.”

She is speaking to Harv Pearson, in a rare moment when they are
in their Rochester office simultaneously. One or the other or both are
on the road most of the time.

“Might be a test run. It’s a bit early for news and there hasn’t
been anything worthwhile for weeks.”

Certainly not of the human interest variety, the kind that makes
good pictures and good press. They are at the mercy of the news and
news makers. Beginning with their first issue of the Pearson-Eastman
Journal, the blockbuster interview and pictorial of Teddy Roosevelt
in the American West, they had set the standard for finding great
stories, combining the two mediums into a must read for millions of
readers, i.e. subscribers.

Harv is the nearer to the information ticker, so he picks up the
end of the two foot and adding paper ribbon, reading his way back
to the busy machine. He keeps adjusting his reading spectacles like
they must be distorting the words.

“Does the cat have your tongue?” asks Judith playfully; curious as
to why his mouth is hanging open without so much as a peep.

“We’re headed for California,” he says simply.

“Another gold rush?”

“That is if the U.S. Mint isn’t earthquake proof.”

“You don’t say.”

____The Life and Times of a Black Southern Doctor 173

“Read for yourself,” he hands her the start of a frightening account.
“It’s on fire, Judith, my God, it’s only after five in the morning there.
Most people were sleeping when it hit, I would think that casualties
are high.”

“We wouldn’t get there for three days.” She recounts the train
ride back from Yosemite, in the Journal’s inaugural days.

“There is nothing else going on.” He laments the fluffy content of
their magazine of late, though no one in their right mind would wish
disaster on anyone for the sake of news. “If I know Jackson (his editor
at the Quincy Reporter) we’ll be lucky if we beat him there.”

“You mean your newspaper has room in the budget for that?”

“He watched me chase stories for years, not standard procedure for a small town rag, but I own it. He does not take that into account.
If I told him he couldn’t, I would lose my credibility. The Reporter
has the reputation of getting a big story first hand.”

“So, why don’t you sell him the Reporter?” This is not the first
time she has suggested that move, for mostly selfish reasons that
include taking away the one threat to his continued and permanent
presence in her life. She has passed that point where she has enough
emotional fuel for a return trip to her once lonely world. If only he
would take that final step concerning their relationship; a proposal
of betrothal instead of status quosal. “I mean, he has been running
it without much help from you for five years now, something he
pointed out when you were too busy to buy those new printing
presses. The poor guy is working himself to death while you are
doing a scant imitation of William Randolph Hearst.”

Harv Pearson is not as dense as Judith thinks. He knows that he
can never be a publishing giant, not with his love for the field and his
passion for their Journal. Selling out to Jackson is the right thing to
do . . . . but so too is marrying the woman he loves. That makes two
important items he hasn’t made time for. Should either or both grow
tired of his procrastination, it would literally be a crying shame.

“Judith?” He stops his preparation for a transcontinental commute
to a burning San Francisco, to prevent a fire at home. “What would
you say; no . . . . I was wondering if, I mean . . . . we haven’t really
discussed this, but . . . .”

“Yes!” she says with assurance.

“Yes? But I didn’t ask you a yes or no question.”


“Before the Internet and before that the computer, news was spread by a “ticker”. Science Fiction had not gotten past Jules Verne.”


Boston Legal

Leave a comment

Boston Legal



     Boston, Massachusetts is directly due east of Rochester, New York. The intervening 300 miles is richly historic land that was originally deeded to the Algonquin Indians, only to be replaced by the Iroquois, followed by the Dutch, English and finally independence.

Painting with a body of water with sailing ships in the foreground and a city in the background

Early Boston

Independence is the basis for James Ferrell, as he pursues his legal
education, freeing him from the underlying despair of his southern
roots. There are fine institutions of higher learning in his home state,
but he could not pass up the opportunity to lose much of his regional
accent and begin his career north of the Mason-Dixon Line.


 For Harv Pearson to request his involvement in the formation of his  new magazine is a lucky break on an epic scale. Attorneysare quickly becoming as numerous as the stars above. Rochester orTallahassee, hither and yon, you can find one; practicing the art of writing the law, knowing existing law, finding a way around the
law. Any and every number of them is as qualified as this upstart
from Florida, but this first client comes from a place where people
take care of their own, not completely without logic or potential of
competence, yet bending over backwards to nurture and grow those
families you know. Sow a seed, water it and watch it increase in your
fertilized soil.

     James and Abigail Ferrell are promising seedlings without
pretense, fully aware of how fortunate they are. And do not assume
that Abbey does not contribute to the overall plant. She has and
continues to work hard to support her husband in his loftier pursuits,
both monetary and motivational. She seems to stay abreast of
everything that James has in the hopper, like she is a fly on every wall
of every room that he occupies. If he, in her opinion, has a deviant
thought in matters of the law, she corrects him lovingly with faultless
knowledge. James has since stopped wondering on how she knows
things, she just knows.

“Has Beacon Hill copyrighted the name, Pearson-Eastman
Journal?” asks Abbey in typically pointed fashion.

“Well, no, we have been swamped with the addition of Herbert
Love to the limited partnership. It’s not like merely adding a name to
a document you know,” he dares to clarify.
____160 Gwendolyn Hoff
“If they do not have patent rights to their name, the first issue is
fair game for plagiarism, or even worse, another magazine stealing
their format ideas.”

“Yes,” he concedes, “I see your point. Sometimes even the senior
partners lose track of details, seeing that we have over a one hundred
clients that I am aware of. Not the least of them is J.P. Morgan’s
scheme to freeze John D. Rockefeller out of the steel business.”

“I guess that makes George Eastman chopped liver?”

“No, but he is a silent partner. Judith is the Eastman in the lead.”

“Perhaps when we gain the right to vote, we’ll get some respect,”
Abbeys states emphatically.

“Well, I respect you, honey bunch.” Oops.

     “You can take your honey bunch and put it in the cellar with the
old potatoes. When men have the nerve to respect women outside
the walls of the home, then and only then will God be glorified and
true equality exist.”

“I must leave Hon . . . uh, Abbey. The office is expecting me.”

“Coward. I hope Susan B. Anthony is waiting in the lobby—that
would fix your wagon!”

“I heard she is in a sanatorium, old and crazy I suspect.”

He should have kept going.

You best stop at the diner on your way home.


And you will find your bed things on the sofa. It will give you time to ponder women’s suffrage.

This time he moves through the door without clever commentary,
one phrase late in ceasing.

Every 100 Yrs.

1 Comment

Stieg Larsson

“Armageddon was yesterday, today we have a serious problem.”

― Stieg LarssonThe Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

“The purpose of school is for children to learn, not for them to feel good about themselves all the time.”
― Jean M. TwengeGeneration Me: Why Today’s Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled–and More Miserable Than Ever Before



“Every one hundred years we enter a new century.”

– Gwendolyn Hoff

The 20th Century (!900+)

Leave a comment
John Steinbeck

“Someone should write an erudite essay on the moral, physical, and esthetic effect of the Model T Ford on the American nation. Two generations of Americans knew more about the Ford coil than the clitoris, about the planetary system of gears than the solar system of stars. With the Model T, part of the concept of private property disappeared. Pliers ceased to be privately owned and a tire pump belonged to the last man who had picked it up. Most of the babies of the period were conceived in Model T Fords and not a few were born in them. The theory of the Anglo Saxon home became so warped that it never quite recovered.”

― John Steinbeck

Julio Cortázar

“In the twentieth century nothing can better cure the anthropocentrism that is the author of all our ills than to cast ourselves into the physics of the infinitely large (or the infinitely small). By reading any text of popular science we quickly regain the sense of the absurd, but this time it is a sentiment that can be held in our hands, born of tangible, demonstrable, almost consoling things. We no longer believe because it is absurd: it is absurd because we must believe.”

― Julio CortázarAround the Day in Eighty Worlds


The 20th Century

Coming Tomorrow- A Daily Dose of Days Long Gone — Historic Fiction

Leave a comment

THE LIFE AND TIMES OF A BLACK SOUTHERN DOCTOR is a book that I worked on from 1995 to 2006. It is Hi Fi (historical fiction) that runs from 1896 to 1959. Alpha Omega Campbell M.D. was a real man who began practicing medicine in Tallahassee Florida in 1913.

“And though the man was real (b. 1889 d. 1977) I use his life as a framework for recounting the turn-of-the-century past, all the way thru to his trial for manslaughter in the death of a girl he treated at his clinic. Most all the direct scenes concerning the doctor were real, but I take the events along the way and shape them in a refreshing way. No one else writes Hi Fi like I do.

“Beginning  June 17 I will be posting the book, which has been published and available in print, much like the way I posted CONSTANCE CARAWAY this winter/spring, perhaps in larger chunks. Feel free to ask questions of me as you read. When you see a book laid out in blocks/scenes, you are able to digest it ONE DAY AT A TIME.”


Alpha Omega Campbell — Groundbreaker, Medicine Maker


Alpha Omega Campbell

THE LIFE AND TIMES OF A BLACK SOUTHERN DOCTOR is a book that I worked on from 1995 to 2006. It is Hi Fi (historical fiction) that runs from 1896 to 1959. Alpha Omega Campbell M.D. was a real man who began practicing medicine in Tallahassee Florida in 1913.

“And though the man was real (b. 1889 d. 1977) I use his life as a framework for recounting the turn-of-the-century past, all the way thru to his trial for manslaughter in the death of a girl he treated at his clinic. Most all the direct scenes concerning the doctor were real, but I take the events along the way and shape them in a refreshing way. No one else writes Hi Fi (Historical Fiction) like I do.

“Beginning  in March 2-19 I will be posting the book, which has been published and available in print (ISBN 978-1-4691-9018), much like the way I posted CONSTANCE CARAWAY IN 2018, . Feel free to ask questions of me as you read. When you see a book laid out in blocks/scenes, you are able to digest it ONE DAY AT A TIME.”