- It’s 1963. It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, World is a popular feature film. Martin Luther King gives his “I Have a Dream,” speech, and one of the most tragic events in American history occurs. The little Murdo Girl’s world gets a little bigger, but so far, just a little. She hasn’t seen the Beatles yet.
Well, we finally sold our house. I’m happy about it, because we had to do so much when people came over to look at it. We had a red booth in the kitchen that’s attached to the wall, so it stayed with the house. Well, there’s a big rip where Dad sits and we had to remember to put a magazine over it so no one could see it.
We moved to where the motel is. There was already a basement on the property. Dad used to have his plumbing shop there, before he moved it to the gingerbread house. Dad’s men, mostly Bill Wilkins, made it into a house. They did a good job, and I think it will be a nice change for us.
Mom’s happy the house is below the ground. She says if we get a mad tourist, they won’t know where to find us. If a tourist sees us walk over to the basement, we’re supposed to tell them it’s the ice house, which is true I guess, since we keep the ice in a freezer down there.
Berferd has started hanging around #1 at the motel. That’s not good, because he chases every truck that goes by. He doesn’t mind cars, but he hates trucks. A couple of weeks ago, he came yelping back from chasing a truck and we think his leg was fractured. We put a stick on it and wrapped it so it would stay straight while it healed. Do you know what he does now? He chases the trucks with one stiff leg. He yelps all the way out there and all the way back. It makes me mad, because Berferd is smarter than that. Dad said there’s nothing we can do to stop Berferd from chasing trucks, because it’s in his blood.
I don’t think I told you that I’m in the 6th grade now and my teacher is Mrs. Lathrop. Her husband is Harold Lathrop and he owns the barbershop. I’ve had long hair most of my life, but one day, I decided I wanted a really short haircut. I figured who better to cut it than Harold Lathrop. I have a picture I’ll show you. I think he did a fine job. Only a couple of kids teased me a little. One boy said, “It’s okay to have hair, Mary.” I just smiled at him and told him, ” I know that!”
One good thing about owning a motel is you get sales tax. We have a big coffee can in the kitchen cupboard with all this change in it. I live off that money all winter. While Dad and I were bachelors, I needed a new pair of white tennis shoes. I didn’t even have to ask Dad. I just got $7.00 in change and went to Joy Payne’s store and bought some. There will be plenty of money for me to get regular haircuts at the barbershop, too.
Here’s and update on my Dad’s diet. When we were moving, I saw Dad throw out all the Metrical. He said he figured out the problem. He read an insurance chart that tells how much you should weigh for your height. Dad said he wasn’t too fat, he’s just not tall enough. My brother Billy, says girls are lucky because if they gain weight, they just buy shoes with taller heels.
Today, right before recess, Mr. Pickner stuck his head in the classroom door and said, “Our President has been shot.” Mrs. Lathrop said we could stay in for recess if we wanted to. This boy named Warren and I were the only ones who didn’t go outside. I was talking to Warren and I said, “I sure hope he doesn’t die.” Warren said, “Well, if he got shot in the head, he won’t be a very good President.” I know that sounds like something a dumb boy would say, but I don’t think Warren was trying to be mean.
Right after recess, Mr. Pickner came in our room and said, “The President has died.” I could tell Warren was just as sad as the rest of us.
Some other ladies with pillbox hats… one is made from trees, the one on the left looks a little like the one Mom wore to visit school, but Mom’s had a plume and the hat part was white and bigger.