Alpha Omega M.D. – Final Episode
…Alpha O. Campbell, M.D. deserved a better fate. Gwendolyn Hoff has given it to him. Thank you for the privilege of writing this story.
A.O., God rest your soul. It has been one wild ride!…
In chapters 8 and 9 we are introduced to suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst, who is an admitted sidetrack. The company town Blountstown is the Calhoun County seat, but it is mere fodder for the overall story. Company towns can really be like Blountstown.
All the above is 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 sailed, was not sunk by U-Boat submarines, though the elder Ferrell did indeed die in 1916; such a blue-blooded way to die, helping your Scottish ancestors through a tough time.
Chapters 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, right banker Lewis? Alpha, for his part, did father a child; it’s just that whether it was with Camille Diaz is buried amongst the Careless Whispers. Camille is fictional.
Alice Paul did argue for the cause of the right for women to vote, which was a hard fought and contentious lead-up to the Roaring Twenties, but is window dressing for my purposes.
Those Roaring years of flappers and debauchery are bypassed here, as is the Great Depression. It seems the author does not deal well with hard times, which resurface 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 Ferrells.
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 in the South, as well as real life. This statement is not meant to offend, it’s just that things happen down there that are “different”, perhaps more frequently or just a figment of a fertile fancy.
Chapters, Hospitable, Inhospitable fly us to Area 51 and an alien contact. Good ol’ Newt Swakhammer, what a guy? The government calls him a crank. But the year 1947 harbors UFO’s, as well as the brick & mortar of Laura Bell Memorial Hospital… born of Alpha O. Campbell’s spirit, the building itself is one large lightning rod; meant for good, yet attracting an onslaught of controversy and hardship.
As for the remainder of The Life and Times, not so many pages back, your imagination is the king. My imagination has splattered the backdrop of history from way-back 1896, all the way up to the dawn of John Fitzgerald Kennedy… Just the dawn, mind you, then you are reeled back to 1955.
Isn’t that rude? But look at the payoff. Instead of an old man in jail, we happen upon a Laura Bell Memorial Hospital with a future. What a shame that this was not the ending to the saga of one of the first Black doctors in Florida. In my rosy reality, we all have access to Alice’s Wonderful Looking Glass.
A.O., God rest your soul. It has been one wild ride!
Copyright © 2016 by Gwendolyn K Hoff All Rights Reserved
Alpha Omega M.D.
– Final Episode
Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #333
… pure fictional genius…
Nearly all of the main Tallahassee characters were real people. I used their actual names and because of the volatile nature of the events, especially in the 1950’s, I may have the legal department pulling out their hair. If I had fictionalized their names, I could never have kept them all straight. Who they were and what was their relation to A.O. Campbell needed to be as is. Perhaps it is due to my simple mind, but George Lewis, Charles Wilson, Franklin McLoud, the Dr.’s nurses, the Dr.’s attorneys, the Prosecutors, Starke Prison and Audrie Franich, all appearing in chapter 1 & subsequently, are real.
Now, some of the machinations surrounding his trial and subsequent imprisonment, well that is a combination of speculation and fictionalization on my part. None of this tinkering affects the end result.
Carolyn Hanes and Capt. Robert Ford do have a big role in the book. Bob Ford did indeed pilot the Pacific Clipper at the outbreak of WWII and had to fly it back to New York counterclockwise. Carolyn Hanes is pure fiction. You may think she is my alter ego. That is left for you to imagine.
In chapter 2, the Ferrell family is foundational to the story line. Most all of them are true, in the fact that they did exist. I may have exaggerated their role, but they do and did contribute to Leon County past.
Laura Bell/Olla is a key to the complicated bloodlines of the Campbell family. She is the mother of Maggie Lou, though Maggie’s erotic conception may be subject to my imagination. Maggie Lou does go on to marry the doctor in 1916.
The Campbell family, headed by Willy and Amanda, is the all-in-all. Alfrey (A.O.) Campbell had four brothers and sisters. Hosea is the most infamous, but was he such a rascal, I do not know?
More than likely, the Campbell’s were slaves at some point, but the evil Jefferson Smythwick did not exist and his Fort Sumter South plantation occupies made-up ground. You must admit though that the escape by Alfrey et al was an exciting treat. Take that mean old slave owners!
Chapters 3 and 4 contain the fictional Southeast Anti-slavery Society, headed by the great Herbert Love. I call him great because he is the person, who I posit, providing for the Dr.’s education. In fact, I have since learned that A.O.’s extended family may have sacrificed holdings to finance his education.
Love never made Secretary of Agriculture in a McKinley administration, but he would have had the qualifications. He was engaged in farming of some sort, though he takes on a lion’s share philanthropy for my purposes.
Siegfried and Frieda Endlichoffer, the German couple across the lake from John Ferrell, are based on a personal acquaintance. They are a sweet augmentation to the Tallahassee landscape and what better neighbors could anyone have?
The Horizons of chapters 5 and 6 are the recounting of what was going on the last time we entered a new century. 1900 had as many amazing changes as we have in the year 2000. President McKinley was indeed assassinated in 1901 and that was preceded by the Galveston hurricane, the Great Plague and followed by the San Francisco earthquake of 1906.
Harv Pearson is a huge player in LATOBSD. He marries Judith Eastman in chapter 7, who is fictional and they start the Pearson-Eastman Journal, a make believe publication that gives this book the legs to reach out to the entire flat world… pure fictional genius.
Alpha Omega M.D.
Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #332
…From the desk of Gwendolyn Kim Hoff…
A personal guide: to deciphering the fact and fiction behind THE LIFE AND TIMES OF A BLACK SOUTHERN DOCTOR; genre of Historical Fiction.
Well readers, here we find ourselves, at the end of a book that may have:
Not on the list, ‘6.. Pleased’ is my wish, but there is quite a twist from where you thought things were headed. Was not A.O. Campbell tried and convicted, in a court of law, of the things we read of in Chapter One? In real life, sadly he was, pretty much the way ALPHA AND OMEGA was laid out.
I myself met the granddaughter of the doctor, more than a dozen years ago. She found out that I was writer and as many of us who set words to page are told, ‘I have a great story that needs to be told.’ I happened to be between projects and thus began a journey that has led me to this point.
In my files are pictures, articles and memorabilia from the life of this Southern Black Doctor. Legendary is the word that can describe what I have accumulated, in fact strewn around my office at this moment. So much of what I have written is flat-out true; real people, places and things littered from 1896 to 1955. 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 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 really did die 1 1/2 years into his incarceration.
What actually did happen during that sad time? I don’t have anything to go on and that is where ‘historical fiction’ comes to bear; the word fiction, look it up. Creation, vision, fable, fantasy, tale are all used as synonyms. I prefer the latter. LATOBSD is a tale of epic dimension.
LATOBSD covers roughly 60 years, more than enough trips around the sun to both meet and say goodbye to too many fine people; From the spring of youth, to the winter of maturity – from the dawn of unrighteousness, to the sunset of discontentment.
In the interest of accuracy, I will sort through the most flagrant fracturing of history perpetrated by little ol’ me. Remember “The Rocky and Bullwinkle” feature: Fractured Fairytales? If you are too young… get over it.
So… here we go, hop-scotching from through the pages of The Life and Times of a Black Southern Doctor, sifting from front to back. Feel free to leaf back to the earlier pages, to refresh your memory. And I will try not to rush.
If you want to leave well enough alone and believe that all things I penned are true, thank you investing your time to read LATOBSD… a real roller coaster ride…
Alpha Omega M.D.
Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #331
…A double barrel dose of help: Kenty Johnson has money saved up and Kenty Jr. has the fresh blood of knowledge…
A.O. is taking his new lease on life in, in the spirit in which it is presented. Even as he watches familiar landmarks pass by as they ease up to his Virginia Street address. He is thinking about the future.
Maggie is waiting on the front steps of their house. What a welcome sight. There too are daughters Alpha, Laura and Zillah and their families. Maggie is seated in a wheelchair, one and all waving a hearty ‘welcome home’.
“Thank you, gracious Lord,” he proclaims tearfully.
But that isn’t all. There are other familiar faces.
“What’s Kenty Johnson doin’ here?” Dr. J. Kenty Johnson is with his son, himself a newly minted doctor.
“I needed a reliable source of information about your situation and Kenty came to mind. He filled in the particulars of your life, practice and such. AND he mentioned that his son was looking to make a difference in the Tallahassee community. And did we say that he fresh from medical school? A double barrel dose of help: Kenty has money saved up and Kenty Jr. has the fresh blood of knowledge.”
One month ago, Alpha Campbell would have been bloated full of irrational pride, having suffered in silence for the better part of a decade. He was determined to find a way out of their money struggles and did not need outside help.
We all know what path that led him down.
“Well boys, don’t you think it is time we roll up our sleeves?”
Upon hearing Dr. Alpha O. Campbell utter that inclusive statement, his nurses who were hiding in LBMH for fear of their lives, come sprinting out the front door.
Somehow, Laura Bell Memorial Hospital looked whiter than normal that day… From down the street, a car streaks to the emergency side entrance, a man screams out, “My wife’s water just broke! Please help!”
“Scrub up, you Johnsons; we have a baby to deliver… Edwina will get you gowns and get her to the second floor…”
… The LBMH wing for whites.
(The End of the Beginning)
Alpha Omega M.D.
page 312 (end Ch. 19)
Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #328
…we are proud of our enforcement of the laws of Florida, in fact, we have been assembling a case against a Negro doctor who we’ve been watching all summer…
There is a black sedan bearing Leon County tags pulling through the service entrance to the Leon County Jail at half past the hour. When 5:00 approaches, another car, this time with Florida official license plates, enters the fortified gate. The guards allow passage for both, without question.
It is by way of the front gate that Carolyn and Bob Ford enter the jail, carrying a note signed by Cousin Curt, Head Jailer of Leon County. Curt has already welcomed the Assistant States Attorney, who will join them on a tour of the facility.
“It a pleasure to meet to you Miss Hanes. You are one of Tallahassee’s true treasures.”
“You are too kind, Attorney Morrison. I have been keeping an eye on my hometown for some time. California is so different and a world away from the Old South. Laws seem to be so liberal in comparison, you know, like abortion.”
“Yes Miss Hanes, we are proud of our enforcement of the laws of Florida. In fact, we have been assembling a case against a Negro doctor who we’ve been watching all summer. He is at this jail right now.”
“Is that Alpha O. Campbell?” Lyn asks, not so innocently.
“Why, yes. How did you know about him?”
Morrison raises his eyebrows.
“He is such a dear man, helping folks who don’t have much money. Y’all need more doctors like him, instead of taking him out of the community. I plan to do an article on his life.” She is layering on a thick blanket of underpin to aid her plan. “Say, is not your boss going to run for Governor?”
“Well yes, but wouldn’t that automatically make you States Attorney for the State of Florida?”
“When or if Wilbert Hopkins is elected Governor, then I would run the Attorney’s office.”
“Oh, the tour, let’s continue. Is this the infirmary, Curt?” She winks at him with her far eye.
The look on his face is screaming, ‘You are getting red hot!’
“The door is locked,” she states.
“Here, I can open it…”
Alpha Omega M.D.
Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #327
…Racism aside, homophobia is a very tangible hatred. Keeping this sordid mess off the front page of The Tallahassee Democrat will supersede prosecuting a country doctor…
Joe Slater’s car slows down well before the jail’s large city block. “Here we are, you’ll have to walk the rest of the way. Folks around here know my car, so I’m putting up the top and laying low. Come and get me if you run into trouble and don’t let that snake keep hold of you,” he warns. “Do you have another witness to Joyce’s escapades, like his wife?”
“His wife will find out soon enough, but I have someone else in mind.” Merely exposing prisoner sexual abuse would not spring the doctor. “Assistant State’s Attorney Morrison will be there. He thinks that I am conducting an interview for a piece on model prisons.”
“Whoa, Harry Morrison… he is putting the case against Campbell together – never liked Doc Campbell much. I heard him call A.O. a little monkey one time.”
“That’s quite disgusting, but what he is going to see will make him think twice about using Winthrop Joyce for corroboration.” Racism aside, homophobia is a very tangible hatred. Keeping this sordid mess off the front page of The Tallahassee Democrat will supersede prosecuting a country doctor for doing the biding of connected parents. “Thank you so much, Joe. I cannot tell you what a huge favor you are doing for me. I know one doctor who will be eternally indebted as well.”
“I hardily suggest that he cease and desist from doing abortions. This happens to be “a onetime chance” to get off the hook. I will not do this again.”
“Understood,” as clear as the church bell chiming four times, time to put the plan into action.