Note to everyone — I know I usually change the names to protect the innocent, guilty, and indifferent…. but not this time. These people were the real deal.
A hardy laugh floats from the open window of the old Austin Seven, a twenty-six year old, dark haired beauty behind the wheel. Her paramour Jimmie, in the passenger seat, laughs along, swept up in her enthusiasm and lust for life. It is approaching dusk as the little car zooms down the dirt roads, kicking up limestone and Florida sugar sand in its wake, daring the rest of the world to catch them.
It’s August 27th, 1936. Night falls as the lovers embrace on the landing outside of her apartment and the young man saunters down the stairs and into the warm night. Zella Lee looks after him and sees another man angrily striding across the street. He is tall and well dressed; an ever present boater hat sits jauntily on top of his black hair, green eyes flashing under the brim. “Well, now I did it,” she says to herself. The unhappy man is Lonnie and she’s just been caught with yet another man. She and Lonnie get in his car and go for a ride, they talk late into the night and he leaves at 1:00 am.
I know all of this happened; know it for a fact — the names, the dates, the thoughts, the times — because she told me. Sort of. You see Zella Lee was my grandmother and I have her diaries. (more…)