Abigail Padden is always uncovering interesting things at the Imaginactory. The other day she found a box of film, some of it dated as early as the 1920s. Unfortunately, quite a few of the reels have deteriorated beyond redemption. Still, there are at least 40 which seem to be in good condition and it is our plan to eventually convert the footage to digital after attempting to discover the film maker and how the collection came to the Imaginactory. Abigail did successfully convert a short clip from one reel, which I now present to the public. As for the clip itself, I know nothing but being an artist I naturally presume all chickens exist to provide paint for egg tempera.
The imaginactory is pleased to announce the forthcoming publication of the Sycamore Shadows Yearbook for 2011, a compilation of every post relating to the town and its citizens published in the past year. The book will be available free to all subscribers of imaginactory.com and for .99 to everyone else. If you’re cheap, subscribe. It will be published in formats compatible with the Nook, Kindle, iPad, and most other readers. (more…)
Pictured above is the area of Sycamore Shadows known by locals as “Amish Town,” a name which Nippy Keen objects to since he’s not Amish and owns more land than the two others put together. His place is on the right side of the road. The Yoder farm, which is partially in Pennsylvania, is on the top left and the Yost farm bottom left. Across from the Yost farm is Keen’s/ Hotchkiss’ Filling Station.
From the Imaginactory Archives
This gas station, the first and only one in town, was owned by Ebenezer Keen (Nippy Keen’s grandfather) and located on Sycpen Rd., just before the Pennsylvania line. It has been in continuous operation since 1920 and is currently owned by Ed Hotchkiss, though it’s still known as Keen’s. Ebenezer Keen supposedly operated a still in the rear during prohibition. The Keen farm is on the same side of the road, just to the left of the photo.
Each autumn my mother says to Dad, “Why don’t we drive over to Amish country?” which means Holmes County, Ohio. They’ll cruise around oohing and aahing at Amish farms which don’t look much different than regular farms, then eat at an Amish restaurant which serves food billed as “home cooking.” I don’t why anyone wants to go to a restaurant and eat home cooking. When I go out to eat I don’t want it to taste the same as at home, but my parents like it. (more…)
We are pleased to announce the upcoming “This Week in Sycamore Shadows History,” a weekly podcast beginning in October. Each Sunday evening at 8 pm we will present a short audio program highlighting some of the wonderful history, news, and folklore of our unusual town.
To learn more about the town where no one needs an address, the fish always bite, and buildings are never demolished, listen each week. All episodes will be available on the podcast page of this web site, or you may download / subscribe by clicking the Podbean logo. You will also be able to find us on iTunes. Thank you for your continued support.
It seems unfair that Gertilia Mayberry burned her house down and my family and most of the town has to suffer because of it, but that’s the way things work, especially when Aunt Ada and her virtues are nearby. It doesn’t affect me since I live at the Imaginactory and don’t listen to her anyway but when I was at (more…)
This photo was taken in the 1920s from “Laughlin’s Bridge,” looking downstream on Little Beaver Creek, about a mile from the Ohio River. On the flat to the right was located the town of Little Beaver Bridge and just upstream was the original covered bridge built in 1806, reportedly the first in Ohio, for what it’s worth. Because dams have raised the level of the river, and by extension this part of the creek, the rocks in this photo are no longer visible.
Aunt Ada says Sammy Blue was simply there one day, an intelligent young black man wearing a new hat, coming from nowhere in particular, without a history, without a family, carrying an expensive Martin guitar, appearing so natural that no one thought to question his presence until it no longer mattered and wasn’t worth the asking. How he would fish when he wasn’t playing the guitar, catching smallmouth and sauger, (more…)
It is hard to imagine Sycamore Shadows without Sotty Hoff’s at the end of Short Street, next to the park. It was built as an inn circa 1825, a log cabin with a puncheon floor and flaps for windows, and has remained the center of Sycamore Shadows’ social life for nearly two hundred years. The logs are still inside the bricks and plaster, so Happy Fohl says. He’s the owner and one of the nicest people I know. There’s not a person in town you won’t see eating or drinking at Sotty’s, except for Aunt Ada. She shuns all appearance of evil as a general principle, it also being something of a rule with her that most things naturally appear evil, which is why she does a lot of shunning but not much else. She calls it the “den of iniquity” and tells me that (more…)
I don’t think they expected an underground wood thrush faction, or that opposition would be as violent. Really, it’s been a mess — lifelong friends not speaking, Little Johnny Cubbage, who delivers the Evening Shadow and isn’t smart enough to find a turkey in a flock of hummingbirds, refusing to leave newspapers to the “nuthatchers,” Rube Elder finding one of his chickens dead on the porch with a note attached to it written in crayon which wasn’t very nice, and I heard Otto Hopp call Wid Coulter a “mother-thrusher” right in front of the book store, and Doc Ghesslet’s boy was standing right next to him (more…)
In most towns you’ll find one or two people who believe every political unit needs an official bird if they are to continue as a free society. Gradine Hess has mentioned it on occasion, though she’s not the type to interest folks in anything, and even Pap used to (more…)
I carry a camera with me wherever I go and though I am no photographer, I do snap an interesting photo on occasion. This sign is located at “the bend” just before the covered bridge and the town come into view. Outsiders will often stop and read the sign, then invariably look around and scratch their chins, wondering where the place is, eventually concluding it no longer exists. Two minutes later they round the bend and the town pops up, sort of like driving through the tunnel into Pittsburgh, except it’s prettier. I’m supposed to paint the sign, which isn’t as old as it looks, but don’t know when I’ll get to it. I keep telling people that sign painters might be artists, but not all artists are sign painters.
…And now about the cauldron sing,
Like elves and fairies in a ring,
enchanting all that you put in.
Shakespeare; Macbeth 4.1
Cass Padden told me he’d found something in the woods the other day, in the midst of a stand of white pines: a perfect circle made of mushrooms, twenty feet across in a small opening in the trees, bone-white fungi as perfectly round as the circle itself, each of which seemed lighted from (more…)
Please listen to the audio track while reading this post, which I have kept rather short so most readers can finish the article before the sounds are over. Those of you who were educated in the public school system may have to replay the audio several times.
When my grandmother Sanderling died the family didn’t expect Pap to take it so hard since she mostly filled a maid role in the marriage, or a butler perhaps, but certainly not a couple like my parents and more certainly not a continuous romance like the Wilsons before Edson got caught in the hammock with Edna Minzel, or John Blue and Nicole Hibbson, who was Nicole Knight before she was married and would have been Nicole Blue if she had gone to the wedding instead of running off to Europe with Winston Hibbson. I suspect the lack of romance on Pap and Grandma’s part may have been because Grandma did not look like either Nicole Hibbson (more…)
Udders Cubbage says the ghost of her deceased husband Big Benny visits her every Tuesday evening at seven sharp, in the bathroom while she’s soaking in the tub, and he’s been gone for fifteen years. She says he’s so regular about it that she gave up using bubble-bath on that particular night just to give him the pleasure of looking where the bubbles would be every other day of the week. The eternal spirit of Big Benny Cubbage sits on the edge of the tub listening, and smoking, while Udders washes and tells about her week, what needs done around the house, and the latest news in town. (more…)
Eunice Broddy passed away last night, closing a ninety-nine year chapter in the history of Sycamore Shadows, something worthy of note even if she seems to have lived a rather uneventful and unproductive life. Everyone agrees that her death was (more…)
I cannot understand what makes people like Poisson Bodkin go crazy. I knew a man who ate nothing but Campbell’s soup and each time he emptied a can he’d nail the label to the wall of his dining room. The day he ran out of wall space he killed himself, leaving seventeen cans of soup, three red-eared sliders, and a note written in red crayon on the back of a chicken noodle label saying his life no longer held meaning. (more…)
“Now don’t you worry, Delph’ Ma’am,” Jiggs Radbourne was saying a little while later.
“I know it sounds bad and all – Curly gettin’ shot — but I just came from lookin’ at his hind-end and it could be worse — not so bad at all. I ain’t no doctor but it ain’t that bad; Doc said Curly’s out of the woods. So you sit there and don’t worry yourself none.”
“Oh no! Worry? Why would I worry?” asks Adelphie. (more…)
My best friend Ssnuff bought me three Moleskine sketchbooks for Christmas one year. He didn’t buy them to be nice, though; he said he was just sick of me doodling and drawing on his stuff, and on his wife’s stuff, and I concede he was right that time. I should’ve turned it over before I started drawing the pig. (more…)
Curly was lying on his side with his hand on his head when Ed arrived, in a pickup truck since the ambulance was in the shop for repairs. Curly estimated the speed of Ed’s truck to be in the neighborhood of forty miles an hour but it was only an estimate since he was more interested in rolling out of the way. Whatever the speed, it was too fast for driving through a filling station. He mentioned it as Ed jumped from the truck with a blanket and a beer. (more…)