I take the two bags of old papers found in the dilapidated shack and dump them on the counter top. Curiosity gets the better of me. Wiping the off each item with a damp paper towel, I sort the trash-like items into stacks of pictures, old letters, newspaper clippings, and official documents. Most of it goes into the trashcan beside me. I don’t keep the hundreds of Christmas cards with a simple signature. If a note is on it, then I keep it.
I go through the documents and realize I’ve never heard these names. Well, then, I’m not from around here, what do I expect? I find birth announcements, report cards, a death certificate dated April 3, 1929, and another dated April 7, 1927. The bank statements bear the name Theodore McDaniel. I open a marriage license between a Mattie McDaniel and N.L. Walker, dated 1954. Don’t tell me there isn’t a story here!
I enlist Ma’s help. She’s lived in this area over 40 years. She confirms that the last person to live in the old house was Theodore (or Buck, as he was called) and he died more than 20 years ago from a tree that fell on him a few hundred yards away.