I’ve been mining Bodie Parkhurst’s bio for material. Bodie Parkhurst is the author of GOOD ON PAPER, which I’m reading slowly because it’s so good and so powerful I have to savor it like bourbon balls, a little at a time and intensely.
Here is her biography again:
Bodie Parkhurst is a writer, artist, and designer. She lives in a Craftsman worker’s cottage named Betty in the empty half of Oregon with the House Leroy, her son Patrick, two formerly-feral Hawaiian cats, and a ghost named Jesús. She has a Master’s degree in English with a minor in Art, got through college by driving a truck and working in a dairy, and believes that no experience in life should be wasted.If nothing else, it provides plot material. She provides cover design typesetting, and print coordination services to various small presses, and self-publishers.
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What is “the House Leroy”?
The House Leroy started out as a friend of my mother’s who needed a place to stay in exchange for doing odd jobs. I was just moving into the house, and there were a lot of odd jobs to be done, so he came up and started by painting the trim, tearing down the wasp-infested shed, weeding the flowerbeds, and stripping the library floor. And then he moved on to stripping the kitchen floor, digging out the foundations of the house, waterproofing them, and installing french drains. And then he remodeled the kitchen, my bedroom, and my son’s room. He built shelves, he put in crown molding and bead board. He taught our old cat Ginger to like smoking on the porch.
When we go to Portland he drives us. When I get frustrated he sits and listens to me rant and then says, “You’ll figure it out. You know I don’t understand what you do.” And then sometimes he cooks supper. A House Leroy is more than a handyman–it’s more like having a tangible house spirit. Every home should have one.
Is the ghost named “Gee-zuss” or “Hey-seuss”? Do you know whose ghost he is or what he wants?
It’s Hey seuss. Jesús started as a joke, but over time he has become part of the house legend. Here’s the story so far. Jesús fled north, pursued by the forces of Pancho Villa. We’re not sure if he was fighting with them and got tired of it, or fighting against them and got tired of that, but in our story he began working for the farmer who originally constructed this house. Betty came here with her husband. She was a new bride. And then the war came, and her husband went, and he never came back. Betty made ends meet by “doing” for the farmer’s wife–helping with child care, occasionally helping with the milking, helping with cooking for harvest–stuff like that. One day the farmer sent the newly arrived Jesús over to fix the roof without warning Betty first. She heard steps overhead, and came out to see what was happening. Jesús spoke little English. Betty spoke no Spanish. A certain tenseness ensued. The farmer intervened, and peace was restored. That night Betty unbent enough to feed Jesús supper on the porch. She even included a piece of pie. After that Jesús made looking after Betty and her house part of his days. Betty made feeding him breakfast and mending his shirts part of hers. He took to sleeping on the porch on summer nights. When fall approached Betty brought him thick quilt. And one night she invited him inside. He left before morning. Betty and Jesús have been together ever since. They never married–never saw the need for it. But they took care of each other. And they still do.
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From Bodie Parkhurst’s wonderful blog, where she shares news about her writing, her life, her projects, her printing house (Magic Dog Press) and her family recipes:
Good on Paper
by Bodie Parkhurst
Publication date: May 2010
Buy a book today
Available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions
Published by Magic Dog Press at CreateSpace
WRITING PROMPT: Tell a story about the spirit of your house, trailer, apartment, apartment building, library, church, or other structure that’s important to you.
p.s. I’m blogging at Fatal Foodies, as I always do on Tuesdays. Come on over and visit.