One of the things Christy and I did while we were in Florida last week visiting our dad was to plot out the sequel to Whistling Woman, Moonfixer. Moonfixer is the nickname Aunt Bessie was given by the mountain people in the Old Fort/Black Mountain area where she and Uncle Fletcher went to live after they were married. They called her that because she was tall for a woman and according to our research and our dad, a “moonfixer” is someone who’s tall enough to reach up and “fix the moon.”

While researching the word, we found references on to Earl Lloyd, the first African American to play in the NBA:

“When NBA pioneer Earl Lloyd was a freshman at West Virginia State in the late 1940s, he was the tallest man on campus. At 6-feet-5, it wasn’t uncommon for Lloyd’s friends to jokingly ask him to “fix the moon,” so that the night might fall just so as they went out on their dates….Detroit Free Press.

And we also found a reference to a “Steampunk character with a slight manga style” called Moon-fixer. From Art Flakes (if you click the link, you’ll also get a picture!):

“If you have a bad moon rising, she will fix it right away, so it makes no harm at night.”

We’re still researching as we’ve yet to find where the term originated from but we knew right away it was perfect for the title of the book that will tell about the next part of Aunt Bessie’s life.

001This is one of the first paintings I remember Daddy painting, it’s the back of Aunt Bessie’s house on Stone Mountain (sorry for the color, I really need to take some photography courses!). Daddy has many stories about Aunt Bessie’s time in the Old Fort/Black Mountain area–even more than he had about her time in Hot Springs–because he actually lived with her and Uncle Fletcher for a while. And his brother, our Uncle Ken, has gotten in on the act, emailing us his memories and stories of Stone Mountain, too.

This promises to be a fun book for us, not only because we’ll get to spend time in an area we loved as kids and we have lots of family stories to revisit, but also because part of it will take place during the early years of the 20th century, a very interesting time in history. We’re not sure of the exact time span of the book yet–perhaps the next 30 years?–but we do know it’s going to require quite a lot of research. After all, think of all the changes, electricity, telephones, just to name two, and then there’s the historical events, the first world war, the Spanish flu pandemic, women winning the right to vote, etc. Although, most of that didn’t affect Aunt Bessie’s life up on Stone Mountain, she was too busy teaching in one-room schools and establishing a home for her and Uncle Fletch on the 40 acres of the Zachariah Solomon plantation they puchased for their house–the one Christy and I visited many times as children.

And yes, like the title to this post says, there are magic quilts, white lightnin’, and things that go thump in the church…not to mention ghosts, bootleggers, revenuers, and dead men wielding knives!