The Ballad of Gary Lee

Every woman is a rebel, and usually in wild revolt against herself.

-Oscar Wilde, A Woman of No Importance

Not long ago, I shared with you the rediscovery of some old family photographs, including the memento mori of my great-uncle, Gary Lee. In that box of photographs, news clippings, and letters, I found not just the only pictures to exist of this little soul, but also a family story, and a dark secret. This is possibly scandal enough for the likes of Savannah, much less a little one-light town in North Carolina. You know Mayberry? Alright, well think even smaller and you get Broadway.

It all started in the late 1920s with my great-grandparents, Holton and Hermie…
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Memento Mori

At sunset, the little soul that had come with the dawning went away, leaving heartbreak behind it.   -L. M. Montgomery

The hurricane brought with it all of the expected hardships: wind, rain, flooding, downed trees, power outages. For me, it also brought a unique opportunity to look for old family photographs as I attempted to stave off the mounting cabin fever. And so it was, with the kiddo safely ensconced with his grandmother, I set out to my maternal great-grandmother’s house to raid the attic. Though I only had to run across the street, the relentless rain had me soaked in 10 seconds flat. I didn’t care; I was on a mission.

I was dead set on finding a specific box of photographs that I had not seen for some 20 years. Spurred into action by a friend’s Instagram post on the subject, I knew I had to find one photograph in particular: a 1933 photograph, hand painted in delicate blue and pale pink hues. I had no hope of knowing whether the pictures would still be there; the house had undergone a few renovations and cleanings since I last laid eyes on the dusty cardboard box which I now sought.

(warning: post contains morbid imagery after the jump)

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