Dushore: Past and Present

 

A collaboration of Derek Davis, Melanie Norton, Linda White, the cast, and many, many others

 

Directed by Linda White

 

Introduction and transitions    editorial offices, Sullivan Review

Scene 1      Aristide's cabin, 1793

Scene 2      Main St., 1847

Scene 3      Main  St. and St. Basil's, 1863; 1871

Scene 4      Dushore railroad station, 1908

Intermission – 15 minutes

Scene 5      Randall residence, 1913

Scene 6      Main St., 1928

Scene 7      Barberic acts, 1968

Scene 8      Main St., 1983

Scene 9      Main St., the present

 

Cast (in order of appearance)

 

Sam                         Brenda Miller

Editor                       Darwin Hatch

Carissa (Lois)       Anne Kiner

Aristide-Aubert duPetit Thouars         Derek Davis

Nores                       Ben Hatch

Josiah Jackson     John Huhn

John Mosier           Ferdie Marek

Mrs. Jackson        Florence Suarez

Stranger                  Ben Hatch

Fr. Xavier Kaier    Jim Reynolds

Constance              Leona Hatch

Amanda                   Anastasia Miller

Charlotte Hill          Carol Jacques

Samuel Headley   Paul Schaefer

Nancy Milgrim       Florence Suarez

Philip            Paul Schaefer

Brewster                 Ben Hatch

Mr. Brown               Ferdie Marek

Mrs. Brown Ruth Reuter

Carrie Croll Barbara K. Schaefer

Charles Croll         Derek Davis

Jerome O'Neil       John Huhn

Rachel                     Leona Hatch

Colleen                    Anastasia Miller

Dr. William Randall         Paul Schaefer

Harland McCarty  Nicholas Miller

Mrs. Randall          Barbara K. Schaefer

Friends of Mrs. Randall Connie Hatch, Carol Jacques,                                                                    Ruth Reuter

Eli                             Ben Hatch

John                         Ferdie Marek

Jim                           Jim Reynolds

Jackie                      Barbara K. Schaefer

Manny                     Paul Schaefer

Moe                          Connie Hatch

Ruth                         Ruth Reuter

Rosemary               Carol Jacques

Businessman         John Huhn

Stoplight                  Ben Hatch

Line dancers                     4-H Bootscooters, Leaders: Kim                                                                Broschart, Noreen Keeney, Sandy                                               Pardoe; Members: Alyssa Blasi,                                                                Rachael Choplick, Heather Fitzgerald,                                                     Michael Fitzgerald, Whitney Fitzgerald,                                                       Ally Shrimp, Torie Shultz

 

Costumes               Barbara K. Schaefer, Linda White and cast

Lighting                   Judy Reynolds, Scott Osborg

Sound                      Judy Reynolds

Set design and construction                Derek Davis, Paul Schaefer

Map and portrait               Mary Ellen Minnier

Refreshments        Vivian McCarty, Brenda Kiner, Brenda Miller,                                        Barbara K. Schaefer

Historical consultants     Wilson Ferguson,  Connie Hatch, Dick                                                    Holcombe, Melanie Norton

 

TRANSITION 1

EDITOR -- Not named

SAM -- Reporter

CARISSA (LOIS LANE)--Cub reporter

SAM

on phone

Dushore. D-U-S-H-O-R-E. No, O-R-E.

hangs up

Man, living in a place where you have to spell out the name every time you get on the phone.

EDITOR

Could be worse.

mimes picking up phone

'Hello, I'm calling from Aristide Aubert dePetit Thouar (Ar-is-teed O-bear du-Peh-tee Twar).'

 

Sam continually fiddles with papers and notes throughout the scenes.

 

SAM

What?

 


EDITOR

That was our town's namesake, our founder, back in the 18th century. Well, first settler.

yelling offstage

Lois! Where's that book I asked you to get?

SAM

So that's what Founder's Day is about?

EDITOR

You want to be the Sully's hotshot reporter, right? The woman with the nose for the news?

SAM

Well, yeah....

EDITOR

Then you need to know the town's history. And pay attention to it.

SAM

But this is only the 150th anniversary and he was living more than 200 years ago -

EDITOR

You, my boy, are woefully undereducated.

Carissa comes in with the book


You need facts. Like the kind in this book.

pats the book and thumbs through it throughout the rest of his scenes

Thank you, Lois.

CARISSA

Yessir. Uh, sir?

EDITOR

Umm?

CARISSA

Why do you always call me Lois? You know my name's Carissa.

EDITOR

Lois Lane.

Superman? Clark Kent? Jimmy Olsen?

no response

See what I mean? These kids don't even know their superheroes. Tell you what, Lois, I'll stop calling you Lois as soon as you find out why I'm calling you Lois.

CARISSA

OK...

exit


EDITOR

to Sam

History! It's not just the past, my boy, it's what made us what we are today.

SAM

OK, so what about this Diddy-pate Twoor?

EDITOR

French naval captain, lost part of his hand some way - fought for Napoleon against Lord Nelson in the battle of the Nile. Died, thrown overboard by his own request to keep the British from finding his body.

SAM

But if he was over there...

EDITOR

He was here in 1793, there later. You heard of the French Azilum?

SAM

Vaguely.

EDITOR

It was set up during the French Revolution along the Susquehanna, over by Standing Stone. They wanted it as a refuge for Marie Antoinette, the Queen, but she had a slight misfortune.

SAM

But what -

EDITOR

Patience, my boy. Lois! Bring in the historiscope.

Carissa brings in the unlikely piece of machinery and the Editor sets it up, inserts a disk, pushes "start" and the lights switch to the main scene


SCENE 1 Aristide's cabin, exterior

ARISTIDE-AUBERT DuPETIT-THOUARS --33 years old

NORES -- 15 years old, friend and former shipmate

Aristide is outside the cabin, working on an ax.

ARISTIDE

These axes! Always the handle breaking, though the head endures! But this latest is hickory--and if Monsieur Boulongue  can be believed, should last longer, once it has been shaped to my hand. How I wish for my full hand - it would come in handy. Ha! It is good to practice the English. One could not make such a pun in French!

sets down ax and picks up a book from a stump close by

So, my good friend, Monsieur Robinson Crusoe, you have accompanied me without complaint all these months. To you I owe the burning desire to sculpt, with my own hands, this tidy home in the wilderness. I will be in your debt forever. But why did you not give me advice about ax handles?

How many days must I clear trees, before I can write to Felicite and Perpetue, my sisters, and say their new home awaits them? Oui, Monsieur, I know, I know: I must enlarge the cabin and start a garden and... mon dieu! it is exhausting... yet exhilarating!

laughs

I babble here like an infant, but you listen in sublime silence, eh, Robinson? Am I your man Friday or are you mine?

dips spring water into a battered metal cup

Such clean, fresh taste. Not like the stale, aged beverage on a sailing ship. Cool and refreshing, relaxing. Ah, perhaps too relaxing.

puts down cup

If I am to provide for myself and lose my dependence upon Azilum, I must clear the land to grow food.

Shoulders ax and moves offstage. seconds later, Nores enters. He looks around, peers into the cabin, looks around again

NORES

Every time, I lose my way on this tiresome journey from Azilum. It is not easy to find a lone soul in 400 acres of gloomy trees. Where could he have got to now?

looks up at the canopy

Aristide (Ar-is-teed), he feels comfortable here. I would lose my mind. I need to see the sky. Azilum has at least open space, the river, and a decent settlement. Though of what use are they now? Halloooo, Hallooo, Aristide.

Aristide enters

ARISTIDE

Ha, Nores. You have not undertaken this journey in some time. You look far more comfortable before a pleasant fire.

NORES

So I do, and so I shall. But what is that on your face? Are you becoming a wild man?

ARISTIDE

Of what use to shave when there are no lovely creatures around to admire? Though perhaps I should remove it when I journey to Azilum, with its many members of the fair sex.

NORES

Ah yes! Especially the widow d'Autremont (doh-treh-mont).....

ARISTIDE holds up a restraining finger at Nores


... But I cannot understand why you have hidden yourself so far from the comforts of what little civilization we have established.

ARISTIDE

It is not so far! Only 20 miles to Azilum, which I walk frequently for provisions, then return. I have walked before from Wilmington to Philadelphia, from Philadelphia to Azilum, from there to New York state. The worst has never been more than a few blisters.

NORES

And the fever that laid you low on your return from Genesee.

ARISTIDE

shrugs

Minor difficulties. I only wish that I did not always return from Azilum loaded like a pack animal.

NORES

Perhaps you could afford a horse if you were not so generous with your funds!

ARISTIDE

Ah, perhaps I could, but what then  would you have to reproach me with?


NORES

I could ask why you could not--within a million available acres--find a suitable home closer to Azilum.

ARISTIDE

It was generous enough of my Royalist countrymen to reward me for my efforts at Azilum with these splendid acres out of their one million. They say they own that much across the vast Pennsylvania wilderness, eh? Do you think it possible they exaggerate?

NORES

Having just tramped here from Azilum, I would say they own twice that much and that I have traversed every acre. How can you do this so frequently?

ARISTIDE

I confess, I have a secret. It is the fresh mountain air! Such a change from the salt tang of the sea. Also these trees, how magnificent, they inspire me to great labor. Although it seems almost sacrilege to lay ax to them.

looks up at giant elm by the door

But this mighty friend, I will not touch. Some things remain sacred.

coughs into his hand and looks off into the distance

Ahh, the widow d'Autremont at Azilum, as you were saying, with her three sons...

NORES

Ah yes! The widow! And you would pretend to admire only vegetative things.

ARISTIDE

That is most unfair.

NORES

But she is quite fair, as I have noted.

ARISTIDE

upset

So you too find her attractive?

NORES

She is 50 years of age! I am but 16! Do not include me in your fantasies.

ARISTIDE

embarrassed

Well, let us put aside this discussion and talk of jollier things.

NORES

Aristide, your banter and good cheer are sore missed at Azilum. Tell me, has this been worth all the trouble and sacrifice?

ARISTIDE

Oui! For myself, I work to make a refuge for my loving sisters to join me. And, for our country, I hope to see our good queen spirited safely to live in comfort in Azilum.

NORES

Ah, then I must -

ARISTIDE

The queen is Austrian by birth, oui, but Marie Antoinette is the true soul of France. So many love her, and those who revile her as the symbol of dissolute royalty should know her better. She is sweet, if naive, untroubled by their views of her, even while imprisoned.

NORES

But I have terrible tidings ...ahh, Aristide, this is so difficult to unleash.

ARISTIDE

What news? Is it...?

NORES

Marie Antoinette has met the guillotine.

ARISTIDE

Noooo. It cannot be.


NORES

It is. Her beauty lies in the executioner's basket.

ARISTIDE

I am riven! This abominable revolution has torn the heart from our nation. What sense now to all we have done? We had hoped to bring our beloved queen safely to these shores. Now both she and good King Louis have lost their heads to the guillotine.

NORES

The Dauphin (Daw-fan) - Louis' son and heir - yet lives. Perhaps he might be brought here.

ARISTIDE

Oui, that is true, but for me, my deepest hopes are dashed. Will my sisters want to come  without the queen? Will I want them to? I can no longer see my way clearly.

NORES

The madness of the Terror will recede. It must. The Dauphin may yet become monarch or some other savior may appear to raise France's glory once again.


ARISTIDE

France's glory. What glory can arise from the loss of all hope?

NORES

Anything is possible in time. Perhaps you will return to the sea. You were the best Captain I ever served under.

ARISTIDE

laughs miserably

And at your age, the only one. But I must not make a hasty decision while in the throes of misery.

picks up Crusoe and addresses it

So, my most constant companion, Monsieur Crusoe, what did you do at the end of your hope? Did you despair and starve to death? No, you survived and fashioned a life as best you could. My sojourn here may come to an end. But for the present - there are more trees to fell.

NORES

And you are welcome to them, Aristide, but I hope you will still be seen at Azilum often, as we have need of your quick wit more than ever.


ARISTIDE

Next weekend, my friend, I will tramp my way there, as usual. For now, spend some time and rest your so weary feet. But when I come to Azilum, be sure to prepare your own good cheer, in the form of spirited drink.

NORES

Are we not French? When has our hospitality ever failed?


TRANSITION 2

SAM

Huh! Who would have thought we'd be tied into the French Revolution?

EDITOR

That's what I'm talking about. A small town paper like this, it doesn't just report the news, it chronicles the history. So you have to know the details.

SAM

OK, I'll read up on it.

reaches for Editor's book, Editor yanks it back possessively

So Aristide ended up fighting for Napoleon?

EDITOR

Yup. Maybe because they were both short guys. He left here in 1796. Some say he had both legs shot off in the last battle, some say the other arm and a leg, some even say he asked to be tied to the mast to go down with the ship, though that seems a bit over-dramatic. Dead in 1798, only 38 years old.

SAM

But what happened here after he left? If there wasn't anybody else around.

EDITOR

Not much, at least not that got into the books. One or two houses, otherwise it was pretty quiet until the Tioga Turnpike came through.

CARISSA

popping her head in

In 1819!

EDITOR

How'd you know about that, Lois?

CARISSA

They taught us in school.

EDITOR

Sam, you also went to school as I recall. How come you don't know your history?

SAM

Well, I know who Lois Lane was. Is.

EDITOR

OK, you two can switch jobs. Now listen. The Turnpike was started as a pay-your-way road in 1805 to run from Berwick to Newtown, what's now Elmira. Picture it? But it didn't get as far as the Dushore area until 1819.

waves hand toward audience


You out there might remember we covered that a bit in the Laporte play, and we'll hit it harder, most likely, when we do Mildred.

to Sam

That's what's known as an aside.

Anyway, the turnpike was the first road that people could use to get up here easily, so you might say that Dushore - which wasn't Dushore yet - took off after that.

SAM

Boom town, huh?

EDITOR

Well, more of a mild burp. Anyway, I was going to show you about the next important folks, John Mosier - he was Swiss - and a couple fellahs named Jackson.

whacks at historiscope

What's wrong with this contraption? You been fiddling with it again, Lois?

Carissa shakes her head, Editor whacks it again

There, I think that's got her going.


SCENE 2 Exterior Jackson's store

                      JOSIAH JACKSON

MRS. JACKSON

JOHN MOSIER

STRANGER

JACKSON

You know, John, I wonder a-times if it doesn't cause confusion in some, this store being owned once by a Jackson, then by a few others, then by a Jackson again.

MOSIER

It does not confuse me, no. For one thing, you, Josiah, are a doctor, but Samuel, he was not. For one other thing, I sell my house lot across the roadway to you and nobody else. For the last thing, Samuel is dead and you, I would most surely think, are not.

JACKSON

claps him on the back

You got me there, sir.

enter Mrs. Jackson, from store

MRS. JACKSON

pointing across the street

Won't it be fine to have all that extra space?

JACKSON

wary

Space for what, my dear?

MRS. JACKSON

For our new house and new store.

JACKSON

Well, I wasn't exactly certain -

MRS. JACKSON

Isn't it just too cramped here with the house, the store and your physician's... things, all pushed together?

JACKSON

Um, well I'd actually thought -

MRS. JACKSON

I know dear, it will be quite wonderful. Thank you so much, Mr. Mosier, for making this possible.

JACKSON

under his breath

Some things are more possible than others.

MOSIER

Oh, you are most welcome. I like to see this, the way the town grows, swish. Big and ...boily?

JACKSON

"Burly," I think you're looking for. You came in what, 1825?

MOSIER

Ja, I buy first 75 acre, then later 35 more. Sometimes, it then was called Mosier's Hollow. My blacksmith business, it has been busting some days, a good investment, yes?

JACKSON

Twenty-two years. I'm sorry to see you give it up. Who's the fellah bought your business part?

MOSIER

Mr. Cornelius Cronin. A sturdy workman.

Footsore Stranger enters leading horse reins

STRANGER

Where can I find a blacksmith?

MOSIER

I think the nearest is maybe in Forksville.

STRANGER

Where's that?

MOSIER

15 miles, that way.

STRANGER

I thought there was one here. Ain't this Jackson's Hollow?


JACKSON

Sometimes.

STRANGER

How's that?

Jackson points to the sign over his door that reads "Dushore"

STRANGER

Dush-ore. I heard of all kinds of ore, but not no dush ore.

MOSIER

It is "Dushore."

STRANGER

I don't see no shore neither.

MRS. JACKSON

in a flawless French accent

He was French Capitain Ar-is-teed O'bear du-peh-tee Twars.

STRANGER

How can you even say that?

MOSIER

I question the same thing. That is why -

JACKSON

pushing his hands together

- it was shortened to its present form. To make it easier for some to say. But... now John, this was another thing I've wondered. Samuel Jackson put that sign up and I think most people approved, but here was duPetit, a Frenchie who fought for Napoleon against all the rest of Europe, so how come you'd name the town for him?

MOSIER

He was a good man, he was the first man here and all who knew him, they liked him. It was anyway a long time ago. He is not our enemy now, not here in Dushore.

JACKSON

True.

The Stranger is suddenly pulled backwards by the reins

STRANGER

Louise, you stop that now. Dang, she's the friskiest filly I ever seen. An' she always needs new shoes - you know how women are.

MRS. JACKSON

Hmph!

JACKSON

to Mosier

I thought the Cronin fellah was taking over your blacksmithing.

MOSIER

No, he said he will instead build a store.

JACKSON

Dagnab. And John Heacock's come and set up a doctor's office at Fairchild's. Competition every which way.

MOSIER

But that is all good! We have then so much good stuff on our main street and also nearby: salt, spices, gunpowder, potions, tools, cloth and two doctors. The turnpike makes the Fairchilds happy to have travelers to stop at their tavern on Cherry Hill. And soon there will be another blacksmith, you bet. Commerce! That is Dushore. A place to come and buy, buy, buy.

JACKSON

Hmm, maybe. Seems to me it's mostly just a junction in the path for people going between the Susquehanna up north and the Loyalsock running down south. Time will tell.

shaking his shoe

Their travel sure does stir up the mud though.

STRANGER

Louise is too much the lady, she don't like to step in it.


MRS. JACKSON

Some of us would prefer not to step in what your horse deposits.

STRANGER

Hush up! She hears you, she'll go all giddy-wise.

another yank on the reins

C'mon Louise, let go of it, they don't mean nothin'. Better find me a blacksmith.


TRANSITION 3

SAM

That commerce idea turned out pretty well. So what was the year we just watched?

EDITOR

Now, friend reporter Sam, when you went to school, as we both have assured ourselves you did, you also took up arithmetic, did you not?

SAM

OK, but -

EDITOR

What year did Mr. Mosier say he settled in the town later to be known as Dushore?

SAM

1825.

EDITOR

And how many years did Mr. Jackson say had elapsed since that date?

SAM

Twenty-two.

Editor spreads his hands

SAM

So, uh, 1847.


EDITOR

Right when Sullivan County was being formed, cut out of Lycoming County. You know, you're so smart I'm going to get my 30 ought 6 and blow the dunce cap right off your head.

SAM

Geez. So, I suppose next we go on to 1859, the year we're having the 150th anniversary of. But if whatsit Twar was the founder in the 18th century, what are we celebrating that happened in 1859?

EDITOR

That was the year the borough was incorporated, the state stamped a piece of paper saying so. Some accounts say the name Dushore was chosen then in some kind of referendum, but I like the Jackson sign story better. It's more... dramatic. Anyway, 1859's not worth much of a visit.

Carissa comes in, lugging a pile of discs

SAM

Something must have happened that year.

EDITOR

Mr. Mosier died.

Editor stacks discs, pats them

CARISSA

What did he do after he sold his blacksmith shop? Did he retire? What'd he die of?

EDITOR

Doesn't say, anywhere I've read. If you find out, Lois, you get a raise.

CARISSA

But I'm a volunteer. I don't get anything now.

EDITOR

pats her head, like disks

And I'll give you twice as much.

SAM

More arithmetic.

EDITOR

Always. For example, in the first general election in the borough after 1859 - that would have been 1860, I suppose - 46 votes were cast. Let's say half the adult males showed up to vote - no vote for females then, remember - so there were maybe 180 adults living in town and say two times as many children. Altogether, comes to about 600 inhabitants. 40 years later it was up to 1200. Now it's back down to 600.

SAM

Huh!

EDITOR

Exactly.

shuffles through the disks

Lois, where's 1863, I don't see it here?

Carissa pulls out a disc from near the bottom of the pile and hands it to him

EDITOR

harrumphing

You need to keep these things in order.

smiles

OK, my bad, as you youngsters might say. Now! It's time to do a little catch-up on the Dushore churches, especially St. Basil's. We'll start with 1863.

inserts disc in historiscope

Lights, Lois.

Carissa runs out, lights dim


SCENE 3--Main street

FATHER XAVIER KAIER--just arriving

SAMUEL F. HEADLEY--rich and important

CHARLOTTE HILL

AMANDA --her grandchild

NANCY MILGRAM - head of Ladies' Auxiliary

CONSTANCE--another child

 

CONSTANCE is onstage, bored

FR. KAIER

waving offstage

Thank you! May the Lord grant you many blessings for your aid.

OFFSTAGE VOICE

My pleasure, Father. You will be bringing us our first Mass in three months - and on Easter Sunday to double the grace. God be with you.

FR. KAIER

So this is Dushore. How amazing that I could even find the place.

CHARLOTTE and AMANDA walk on. CONSTANCE waves at them. AMANDA responds then pulls on CHARLOTTE's arm.

AMANDA

Grandma, grandma....

CHARLOTTE sees FR. KAIER, stops, shushes AMANDA and points Kaier out to her.

CHARLOTTE

Not now, Amanda. You stay right here.

She approaches FR. KAIER. AMANDA huddles behind her.

Father?

FR. KAIER

Yes?

CHARLOTTE

Are you looking for something?

FR. KAIER

St. Basil's chapel. Is it nearby?

CHARLOTTE points up hill

CHARLOTTE

That small structure. We wish it were larger - and more sturdy.

FR. KAIER

Ah, good, excellent. The Lord seldom complains of his dwelling.

CONSTANCE begins a game of tag with AMANDA.

CHARLOTTE

to children

Settle down and stop that running!

to Kaier

Are you - will you be -?

FR. KAIER

I have been assigned here as pastor. I am Father Kaier.

CHARLOTTE

How wonderful! I'm so pleased to meet you. My name is Charlotte Hill. Amanda! Say good afternoon to our new priest, Father Kaier. You too, Constance. Don't you children have any manners?

CHILDREN

Good afternoon, Father Kaier.

FR. KAIER

Good afternoon to you. You are Catholic?

Charlotte nods

Please spread the word. I will be celebrating Easter mass tomorrow at 10:30.

CHARLOTTE

Glory! I thought it'd never happen. We are so glad to have you here! We have sorely missed having a priest.


FR. KAIER

I only learned of the assignment this Wednesday. In Allentown. I must say it took some high-tailing to get here in time -- by railroad, stage and the great decency of the hotel proprietor in Laporte, who drove me here. The Lord has been busy on our behalf.

CHARLOTTE

Oh my goodness. Amanda, we must tell everyone. Come along.

AMANDA

Grandma! I want to play with Constance! You promised! You said if I helped you load the wagon, you'd give me time to play with Constance!

CHILDREN

Pleeeeeeeaaaaaaaase. Pretty please with sugar on top.

CHARLOTTE

Oh, dear, I did say that. All right then. You play with Constance until I come back and fetch you.

CHILDREN

Thank you, thank you!

They hug her


CONSTANCE

Wait 'til you see our new kittens. They are so cute!

enter Headley

AMANDA

Let's go!

CONSTANCE

            Wait a minute. I want to....

CHARLOTTE

Father, that's Mr. Headley, he's the most important man in town.

AMANDA

He's the richest.

CHARLOTTE

Really, isn't that the same thing? Father, let me introduce you. Constance, why are you standing right in my way?

CONSTANCE

I have an important question. Father, my daddy wants to know why the Good Lord picked up every rock in the world and dropped it here in Sullivan County?

FR. KAIER

hand on girl's shoulder

God moves boulders in mysterious ways.

CONSTANCE

Oh, OK!

AMANDA

That was silly!

CONSTANCE AND AMANDA

He's funny!

CHILDREN run offstage while CHARLOTTE approaches HEADLEY with FR. KAIER.

CHARLOTTE

Mr. Headley, look who has arrived in Dushore this very minute! Our new parish priest, Father Kaier!

HEADLEY

Welcome Father.

FR. KAIER

Thank you.

to himself

Popular already.

CHARLOTTE

I have to go tell Mrs. Milgram. Oh, she's going to be so pleased. Excuse me Father, so I can spread the good news.

FR. KAIER

Of course, Mrs. Hill. And blessings upon you.

She exits.

HEADLEY

This is wonderful news.

holds out his hand, shakes

I'm Samuel Headley. I own the grist mill and, um, several other things.

FR. KAIER

My name is Father Xavier Kaier. I gather you are not Catholic?

HEADLEY

True, but how...?

FR. KAIER

You shook my hand. Most Catholics are reticent to show such physical familiarity with a priest.

HEADLEY

flustered

Oh, I -

FR. KAIER

It doesn't bother me in the least. But since you are not of the faith, perhaps you could tell me something of the other religious establishments in the area.

HEADLEY

Weeell, I'm not too certain on the dates, but I think the first was one of those all-denomination churches, around 1826, Frieden's Peace Church - it was German, used by the Lutherans, Reformed and Catholics - then the Evangelical Church was set up in 1847 and built a couple years later. Zion Lutheran came in three or four years after that. And, of course, St. Basil's started in the late 1830s, but I guess you know all that.

FR. KAIER

Actually, consider me a blank slate. I know nothing about the parish but its name.

HEADLEY

OK then. You need to talk to Jim Dunn, he had a lot to do with setting it up - wrote a letter to the bishop in Philadelphia. Dunn got the chapel built and the cemetery started, but there were just visitor priests then - separate ones for the German and the English-speaking, ain't that something? It didn't have a full pastor till, oh, 1852, Father McNaughton. After him, Father Carroll, but he was here just a couple years, died this January.

FR. KAIER

Might I suggest that you stop by the chapel tomorrow to look in on the congregation? Before or after your own service?

HEADLEY

Oh, sure, sure. You know, I get the feeling you will prove a genuine blessing to the community.

lights down on the main scene, up on the Editor's office

EDITOR

OK, we're going to skip ahead a little to keep to the topic, churches. Sam, you taking notes?

Sam, who is leaning back in his chair, shoots forward to grab paper and pencil

SAM

Yup. Right.

EDITOR

It's March 12, 1871, Father Kaier's getting ready to celebrate his first mass in the new stone church, which is pretty much as it is now, except no murals painted yet.

slips disc into historiscope

Exert your magic, Lois.

lights switch to inside of St. Basil's. AMANDA and CONSTANCE are singing a hymn while NANCY MILGRAM directs. FR. KAIER and CHARLOTTE enter and watch.

NANCY MILGRAM

Very good, children. Now, let's just try that tricky bit again, one last time.

They sing again.

FR. KAIER

Children, you sound like a choir of heavenly angels. I was blessed by the Lord when I found my way here.

NANCY MILGRAM

You have certainly been a blessing to us.

CHARLOTTE

Yes, indeed! Oh dear, I need to get back to my cleaning or we won't be ready for tomorrow.

She exits.

NANCY MILGRAM

I think these children are as ready as they'll ever be.

To children

Make sure you're here by 10 am tomorrow.

CHILDREN

OK Mrs. Milgram. Goodbye! Goodbye, Father.

FR. KAIER/NANCY MILGRAM

Goodbye, children. 

 


NANCY MILGRAM

So we have our beautiful church at last, after so many things went wrong. Sometimes it felt like it could never be finished.

FR. KAIER

But now we conclude that comedy of errors with a triumph.

NANCY MILGRAM

Father, do you think it will all come right in the end? That the parish will be able to pay for this structure?

FR. KAIER

I do think so. Would the Lord put us through these trials only to turn us over to the Devil?

MILGRAM

Oh no, Father, but it has been so difficult. There were so many times you must have felt like giving up.

FR. KAIER

raising his hands

Trust in the Lord, He will lead you home! We said, we will build a frame church, a temporary structure, yes, but risen to the glory of God. Then we found that it would cost three times our estimates. So the first try was a loss.

MILGRAM

Then a brick church -

FR. KAIER

getting carried away

A baked clay edifice certain to please the Lord.

MILGRAM

But they sent us bricks so inferior they would not hold up a child's playhouse.

FR. KAIER

And though they were useless, we had to pay half price for them because of the contract.

MILGRAM

So finally, a stone church. What could go wrong with stone?

FR. KAIER

Not quite the Rock of Ages. The first foundation so inadequate that it had to be torn down. And we started over yet again. But time and the Lord cure all. See, Mrs. Milgram, how sturdy it is now with the rebuilding, how solid? It will last the centuries.

CHARLOTTE

running in

Father, father! The back wall is cracked all to heck and gone. It's going to tumble down!

FR. KAIER

What? Show me.

CHARLOTTE

doubling over with laughter

Got you, Father, didn't I?

FR. KAIER

Bless your intent, but that. Is not. Funny.


TRANSITION 4

EDITOR

Sometimes it's a good idea to follow where topics lead you, instead of just plodding along year by year.

SAM

Works for me. I guess.

CARISSA

It defies the Aristotelian (ar-is-toe-TEE-li-an) rules of drama.

EDITOR

Well, whoopdedoo, smarty. Sam, just for your edification, we should move along to the railroads. You know, for quite awhile they were the lifeline of Dushore - the whole county, really.

SAM

The station's still around. And some of the old tracks run right into the Agway storeroom.

EDITOR

Agway. Used to be the Green Leaf Federation mill, same sort of place, agricultural supplies. It was on the right of way to the trestle.... Ah, the trestle. That was a great and wonderful construction, over 300 feet long, right past the Hotel, caught your eye every time you came through Dushore....

sits musing for a moment

The rail line had been coming here from Monroeton since 1867, then it was extended on to Bernice in 1871 to grab the coal. The trestle was part of the extension. Facts speak loudest, and I've got them right here.

Drags out a dusty tape recorder and presses the button. Aside to audience

Sometimes the older technologies work just fine.

TAPED VOICE

1879 -- State Line and Sullivan Railroad, 1,500 tons of coal hauled daily, 2,000 freight car loads annually, one engine. 1896 -- trestle derailment. 1897 -- now Lehigh Valley Railroad, 12,500 tons of coal hauled daily. 1900 -- hauling coal, lumber, tanning bark, finished leather, cattle, sheep, poultry, wool, butter, buckwheat, apples, potatoes, eggs, maple sugar, ice and milk. Six passenger trains a day, three in each direction, with special excursions added. 1927 -- National Highway Act expands roads, railroads begin decline. 1930s -- Great Depression drastically reduces rail use. 1955 -- rail line discontinued south of Dushore, trestle torn down. 1972 -- flooding from Hurricane Agnes destroys rail bed, all rail service to Dushore discontinued.

EDITOR

lights low, puts in historiscope disc

So let's look at 1908. It's a good year, with the advantage of decent information on the town, 'specially at the station. Lots going on, the place was at its peak as a commercial and mercantile center.

lights fade, switch to train platform


SCENE 4--Train platform and ice house

PHILIP--worker

BREWSTER--worker

MR.& MRS. BROWN--train passengers

CHARLES and CARRIE CROLL--townsfolk

 

Two workers on the station platform, Philip standing, Brewster lolling on a bench

PHILIP

Dawn's comin' up Brewster, better get the lead out.

BREWSTER

Philip, it's been comin' up for a hundred years with no help atall from me.

PHILIP

I need you to look lively. We have to load the ice into this refrigeration car and I could do with some help from you.

BREWSTER

Oh, you know I'll pitch in when needed.


PHILIP

bellows

You're needed NOW!

Brewster jumps up

BREWSTER

You could scare the ice right out from the ice house into the car without no help from me.

They wander over to the front of the ice house and start heaving the blocks onto a cart.

BREWSTER

Lord, these things weigh more'n my ox. And how come it don't all melt in there?

PHILIP

Ain't you never been inside?

BREWSTER

Nah, nobody ever said I hadta.

PHILIP

Some people are born lazy. You was just born the walkin' dead. Here's how it works, see? They saw the ice out of Obert's Pond and pile it in here all surrounded by sawdust.

BREWSTER

Sawdust?


PHILIP

For insulation, you beaver head. Lasts half the year. C'mon, heave with me here.

When their cart is full, Brewster and Philip pull it offstage. Mr. & Mrs. Brown enter.

MR. BROWN

Are we riding this train all the way to Sunbury or do we -

MRS. BROWN

Exchange? I don't know, dear. But I am sure that the conductor will inform us. And you should have that information with the tickets.

MR. BROWN

Oh, yes. Right here in my vest pocket.

pats his chest

Or my trousers.

pats some more

Or here inside the newspaper. Or -

MRS. BROWN

You haven't lost them?

Second couple approaches, Husband produces tickets with a flourish from his shirt pocket, much relived, and turns to them


MR. BROWN

Excuse me, are you Dushore residents? I was wondering -

CARRIE

We are indeed. We're taking a trip down to Wilkes-Barre. Mr. Croll here is the town barber.

MR. BROWN

I don't mean to intrude -

CARRIE

Oh, not at all. We like everybody, don't we, Charles?

CHARLES

Umph.

MR. BROWN

My friend came through a bit back -

MRS. BROWN

You mean James? That was several years ago.

MR. BROWN

He mentioned a store he enjoyed visiting, the B. Kline Enterprise -

CHARLES

Gone. That's Jim Cunningham's hardware store now.


CARRIE

Things do change, as Charles said, didn't you, Charles? Bob McGee's saloon used to be Tubach's furniture and undertaking business. And John Reeser's department store was Wells & Ackley's general store. Except for your barber shop, Charles, I think the only others left from twenty years past are Mr. Rettenbury the jeweler, Dennis Carroll at the hardware store and Rush Thompson's law office.

CHARLES

Umph. Sounds right.

MR. BROWN

I don't think -

MRS. BROWN

This is such a busy place. I've never seen a small town with such vitality.

Brewster and Philip cross stage with empty cart.

CHARLES

Lots of turnover though. In business.

CARRIE

Oh, Charles. That's just a measure of our growth - Dushore has more than doubled in size in the last 20 years.

MRS. BROWN

Goodness!

CHARLES

I tell you what's no good. The land north of Headley was open commons, and then it was fenced. That was public property, a common cow pasture. It's full of the Irish up there, and it was done on them here just like England did on them back in Ireland. That's one blistering... heck of a thing, ain't it?

CARRIE

Charles gets incensed about that.

CHARLES

I do and I well think I should.

Philip and Brewster enter with cart loaded with milk cans, cross the stage and unload cans behind the set.

BREWSTER

There ain't enough milk in the world to be put in two big refrigerator cars.


PHILIP

with great pride

Our cows don't just give milk, they oooooze it out, like maple sap. Mr. Harrington at the creamery turns so much cream into butter you could grease a slide from here to Missouri. And you know what? 'Course you don't. The locomotive for the milk train's the fastest on the Lehigh Valley Railroad -

BREWSTER

You don't say!

PHILIP

I just did, and it has the right of way over every other train. They have to pull over and let it past, swoosh.

BREWSTER

Good thing, too, or there'd be curdled milk all over the tracks.

PHILIP

Brewster, granite rock is dense but it ain't got nothin' on you.

checks across the track

Look lively, that first car has race horses to unload! Get back there, folks!

Philip and Brewster exit.

MRS. BROWN

Race horses?

CARRIE

For the County Fair. Isn't that exciting? It's for the farmers to get together and compete for the best in whatever they do. And the ladies get involved too, with canning, an' sewing, an' knitting an' such. It's held around the county one place and then another, but one day they want a permanent location.

MR. BROWN

Do lots of folks come? I was to -

CARRIE

Oh my, there's teams seems like as far as the eye can see. And big tents set up all over. An' foods that make your stomach jump up and take notice - sausages fried with onions, and taffy and ice cream of all flavors, fritters, soda pop, candies, my goodness.

BREWSTER

Entering, giving up on the horses with Philip following

They want to stay, leave 'em in there.


PHILIP

That's no way to do a job, can't just give up.

CHARLES

Sing to 'em.

PHILIP

What?

CHARLES

Soothes their nerves.

BREWSTER

What're we gonna sing to some horses?

CARRIE

That song by Stephen Foster, from when he lived up this way. It's got horses in it.

Everyone sings Camptown Races as Philip and Brewster go back to the horses.


TRANSITION 5

EDITOR

Keepin' to topics, let's move on and take a look at the medical establishment.

SAM

I can't follow what you're doing here.

EDITOR

I'm trying to balance the timeline against the development of professions and industries. OK? Last stop was 1908 at the railroad, now we'll go on about 5 years.

SAM

And it has to do with doctors?

EDITOR

Right. Well, this particular incident wasn't a purely medical one, though it involved a doctor. Lived on Headley Street. In fact, it was just plain tragic. Lois! I need that 1913 disk.

Carissa brings the disk, Editor slips it into the machine


SCENE 5--well in Dr. Randall's yard

COLLEEN, RACHEL--children

ZACK COLE--well worker

WILLIAM RANDALL--physician

MRS. RANDALL

JEROME O'NEIL--well worker

HARLAND McCARTY--drug store clerk

WOMEN--friends of Mrs. Randall

 

O'NEIL

wandering around muttering, then yells

C'mon, Zack, hurry up. It's near lunch time.

quiet again

Martha's made that good potato salad, hardly wait.

O'Neil starts sawing a pipe with a hack saw. Colleen and Rachel run in, playing tag, Rachel notices tripod over well.

RACHEL

Oooo, what's that?

COLLEEN

I don't know.

RACHEL

Come on. Let's play ring around the rosie.

Children run around the well singing "ring around the rosie." When they all fall down at the end, Rachel ends with her head close to the well. She looks down in and yells into the well.

RACHEL

What're you doin'?

O'Neil notices kids playing around well.

O'NEIL

You kids get away from that well. I don't want you fallin' in.

RACHEL

Still looking down the well.

What're you doin'?

Rachel and Colleen stare down the well.

O'NEIL

Wastin' our time because other people don't do their job right. Wouldn't have to go and blast open Doc Randall's old well if the town water wasn't dirty. An' get back from the edge, it's 30 feet down.

COLLEEN

looking down well

He ain't doin' nothin'.

O'NEIL

He's hitchin' a pipe into where we blasted out a week ago. Wouldja get away from it?

COLLEEN

Then why ain't he movin'?

O'NEIL

comes over and looks down the well

What? What are you up to? Oh glory - Zack! You kids get back!

The kids move away as he shouts toward the house

Doc Randall! We gotta get him up! Zack's passed out down there!

Randall rushes out of the house

RANDALL

What's happened?

O'NEIL

I think it's the well gas, Doc.

RANDALL

You stay up ready to haul. I'll go down the rope.


O'NEIL

Take care it don't get you too.

Randall disappears down rope

Oh glory, this is bad.

to the kids

You kids run around to Pealer's drugstore and ask for help. We need more hands here. Fast as you can.

Kids take off. He shouts

Miz Randall - you and the women come out to steady this rig and give a hand.

RANDALL

voice from the well

I've got the rope around Cole. I'll hold on and you haul us.

O'NEIL

Can't haul you both myself, I need more hands.

McCarty rushes in, children following, several women spill out of the house

O'NEIL

C'mon, McCarty, we got two men down there. Cole's passed out. Look, you ladies hold the tripod and help handle the pulley. Should of rigged this better. Oh glory.

McCarty, O'Neil and two women haul on the rope

RANDALL

I have to ... rest. Dizzy.

MCCARTY

You all hold, I'll get another rope down to the Doc and cinch him with it.

McCarty starts down on second rope. we hear slipping and banging

MCCARTY

Coming out of the well

The Doc fell off. All the way.

O'NEIL

Come on ladies, we gotta haul Zack out now, he's been down too long.

The ladies, McCarty and O'Neil haul Cole up. The ladies help Cole offstage.

MCCARTY

Let me try this again. We have to get Randall. This is godawful.

O'NEIL

I can do it. You oughtn't start down there again.


MCCARTY

You stay. We need the strongest up here to haul.

McCarty lowers into well

MCCARTY

His head's under water. I'll wrap my arms around him, then you pull us up together.

O'NEIL

Can't do it myself. C'mon, ladies...

MRS. RANDALL

Come on girls, give us a hand!

O'Neill, the women and girls pull the two men up. Randall is unconscious and bloody; McCarty staggers and passes out.

One of the women puts her hand on McCarty's heart, another does the same with Randall. McCarty brushes the hand away and begins to get up.

WOMAN

looking up from Randall, horrified

I don't think he's gonna make it.

O'NEIL

Don't go talkin' like that.

MRS. RANDALL

I know some of the techniques, got to get him breathing. Jenny - call every doctor in the county. Get 'em out here. Oh William, why do you do these things? Always doing for everybody else and then you're the one gets in trouble.

O'NEIL

Let's take him over on the porch with Zack where we can work on him. He'll come around. He's gotta come around.

They carry Randall offstage


TRANSITION 6

CARISSA

That must have been a close one for Dr. Randall.

EDITOR

More than close. Every other doctor in the county worked over him for four hours straight, but it was no use.

SAM

He died?

EDITOR

He did, but Zack Cole, the one he went to rescue, survived. Dr. Randall was treated as a hero, which indeed he was. Nobody was more important to the county than doctors, especially in those days of horrible injuries.

SAM

I was reading about one doctor, earlier on -

flips through papers

William Benjamin. His daughter said she could hear him in their back room, got lumbermen with their legs smashed up too bad to save, fill them full of whiskey, the only anesthetic they had, then take a saw and -


CARISSA

fingers in ears

Whoo whoo whoo whoo, I don't want to hear this.

EDITOR

This might be a good time to change topics. Ahem. Roads! I loved the trains, but things progress, or at least seem to. Roads, highways, they've got top billing these days. Down the line, they'll all be ruins and people will be flying or getting teleported. But till that happens.... When do you think route 220 came through?

SAM

I don't know, maybe 1910? Or just after World War I?

EDITOR

That's what might be expected, with cars coming in then, but it took awhile. 1928, to be exact.

CARISSA

So I guess I have to find the 1928 disk?

EDITOR

Of course, Lois.

CARISSA

I'm not doing it until you call me by my right name and stop this Lois stuff.

EDITOR

You want to keep your job, missy?

CARISSA

cowed but defiant

My non-paying job? OK. OK.

 

exits

SAM

That was cold.

EDITOR

Life is a complex, twisted trunk of a malformed tree. But so far's this job is concerned, I wield the chainsaw.

Carissa comes in and brings him the disk

EDITOR

Thank you, Lois.

lights switch to roadside


SCENE 6--Main Street

JOHN

ELI

JIM

 

John and Eli are tugging along a house-front flat, Jim helps keep it steady

ELI

I think it's stupid.

JOHN

It's gotta be done, so it don't matter if it's so high-powered intelligent.

JIM

I think it will be a major civic improvement, having our own numbered road for people to find us on.

ELI

Anybody can't find Dushore without a number to ride on shouldn't be comin' here.

JIM

That's a very narrow outlook.

ELI

That's cuz I like narrow roads.


JOHN

Wide. I like 'em wide.

Double take from Jim. Sean and Eli settle the house into its new location

ELI

So why didn't they use Center Street? It's already wide. No, they have to rip up German Street, which ain't more'n an alley, and then we have to move whole buildings out of the way so they can get Mr. 220 pushed through.

JIM

Wherever they put it, they'd have to move something. Center St. just ends at Main Street, like German Street does. They got their reasons for choosing.

ELI

Sure they do. Government boys, they always got real good reasons. Like for that new tax.

JOHN

What tax?

ELI

The sidewalk tax.

JOHN

A tax on sidewalks, what d'ya mean?

ELI

The state'll be putting in new sidewalks along with the road, and they're gonna tax according to footage, how much sidewalk a man has along the front of his property.

JOHN

What?!

ELI

You didn't read it in the Review?

JOHN

It ain't about reading it, that's just no right way to do things.

John kicks at flat, almost knocks it over, the others steady it

JIM

Home wrecker. Now who's getting all wired up?

JOHN

It's a bad idea, it's a mean idea. It's unconstitutional.

ELI

Since the income tax went through on the amendment, everything's constitutional. How many feet you got along the new right of way anyhow?

JOHN

None, I don't got any.

ELI

Then what all -

JOHN

It's the principle, man. No taxation without representation.

ELI

Guess our representative voted for it.

JIM

You boys settle down so we can finish up and go to the fish fry.

tugs at something offstage

I can't push this by myself.

the three of them haul out an outhouse on wheels

ELI

We gotta move this too?

JOHN

Everything's supposed to be got out of the way.

ELI

Pushing an outhouse down Main Street on wheels, that's the dumbest yet.

push outhouse across the stage and off

TRANSITION 7

CARISSA

And now they do it every year.

EDITOR

A slight case of a resurrected idea. I was wondering ... do you think we could make space here for a comic interlude?

SAM

You mean this whole thing hasn't been one?

EDITOR

This has been history interspersed with relevant quips, delivered with aplomb (a plum).

CARISSA

making chewing motions

A plum?

EDITOR

Lois, please bring me the 1968 disk.

Carissa dashes off

SAM

What happened then?

EDITOR

It will be self-explanatory. As I said, a comic interlude and so not necessarily -

SAM

You kind of waste a lot of words.

EDITOR

Hmph!

Carissa brings in the disk, slightly malformed

CARISSA

It's a little twisted.

EDITOR

Of course. So is the incident.

Editor has to force the disk in with some banging

EDITOR

Here we go.

lights fade, come up on Main Street


SCENE 7--Main Street, in front of barber shop

MANNY

MOE

JACKIE

three hunters, two women and a man, enter in varying stages of tipsiness

JACKIE

hiccups

MANNY

You sound smashed, m'dear.

JACKIE

S'all right, I never drunt hunk. Hunt drunk. I'm celebratin'. My first buck.

MOE

pointing at Manny

I thought he was yer first buck.

MANNY

Oh, ha, ha, very fuzzy. Funny.

MOE

I'm glad I ain't related to either of you.

JACKIE

So're we. Hey, loookit that.

 


MANNY

stumbling in a circle

What?

JACKIE

That. The barber pole.

MANNY

Huh! Yeah. A barber pole.

MOE

Next week I'm gonna take you out to see a street sign. They're real fun.

JACKIE

I like barber poles. All kindsa barber poles.

MOE

How many kinds you seen?

JACKIE

I dunno. This one scot yellow in it.

MANNY

Thas unusual. Don't usually see 'em that have yellow in 'em.

MOE

Are we gonna get home or are we gonna leer at some dang barber pole?

JACKIE

I want it.

 

MANNY

What d'ya want?

JACKIE

The barber pole. The barber pole with the loooong cute yellow stripe. Want a barber pole with a yellow stripe.

MANNY

What'd you do with it?

JACKIE

I'd keep it. For my very own.

MOE

You want ta swipe a barber pole?

JACKIE

Just that one. I wanna swipe that barber pole. Barber pole with cute yellow stripe.

MANNY

Aw c'mon. Gotta find the pickup. You drive, huh Moe? You're the sorta sober one.

JACKIE

Barber pole! Barber pole! I wanna baaaarber pole!

MOE

Don't start shoutin'. You'll have everybody out.

JACKIE

Barber pole! Bar-ber pole. Bar-ber pole. Bar-ber po-o-o-ole.

MOE

Why you ever let her loose? Thought you was gonna keep her chained up.

MANNY

It's not so bad. She just wants a barber pole.

MOE

She wants common sense.

JACKIE

starts dancing around, in a sing-song

Barber pole, barber pole,

barber, barber, baaaarber pole.

It's not coal down in a hooooooole,

it's a yellow-strip-ed bar ber pole.

MANNY

It's kinda pretty.

JACKIE

It's be-U-ti-ful, the most be-u-ti-ful barber pole that's ever ... poled.

MOE

C'mon, you two loonies.

JACKIE

I want it. We come up here ever' year and I don't get anything.

MOE

You got a buck.

JACKIE

Can't keep it in the living room. Smell.

MOE

You can't put a barber pole in yer living room neither.

MANNY

I dunno. Could. Maybe.

MOE

I'm goin' to the pickup.

JACKIE

Wait. Wait, wait, wait. Bet we could fit it in. Hide it under the buck. My buck.

MANNY

Huh! Yeah, huh, that'd work.

MOE

You really plannin' on this?

JACKIE

Get the truck, g'wan. We'll unhitch it. Pull it up.

MOE

going offstage

This ain't even civilized.

MANNY

Don't know how it's 'tached.


JACKIE

leaning into the pole

Push it, push it over. I push, you grab.

they push it part way over and Manny holds it, arms wrapped around

JACKIE

Moe, we got it. Got the barber pole, barber pole, got the barber pole. It's loose.

MOE

off stage

Ain't the only thing's loose.

carry the barber pole offstage. lights fade, up on newsroom


TRANSITION 8

SAM

That's the one that was returned last January? With an apology note?

EDITOR

The very same. After 41 years, someone's conscience got the best of him or her; an anonymous survivor of a group of inebriated revelers.  Oh, am I using too many big words for you? Since you don't like to hear me talk?

SAM

Now don't take it like that. I didn't mean not talking. Sorry. You're the boss.

EDITOR

In that case, you and Lois can both keep your jobs. But to get to the serious side of things - and it is serious - we're moving along to 1983, January 26th. Now that's a date you should know.

SAM

The fire?

EDITOR

Exactly, the great Dushore Fire.


CARISSA

coming in and handing disk to the Editor

I can't imagine what it looked like then.

EDITOR

Karen Black has some of the buildings from then on her mural on the Dushore Market, but yes, it's hard - and very uncomfortable - to picture everything that was lost. The best we can do is try to recall the heartache of it without getting maudlin. The town's character has definitely changed since then.

inserts disk, lights shift to Main and German


SCENE 8--northwest corner of Main and German, facing southwest, dawn

RUTH -- woman, new to area

ROSEMARY -- her friend, local resident

BUSINESSMAN

EDITOR

SAM

OFFSTAGE VOICES

 

red, flickering glow over everything, people come running through, yells of firemen, sounds of water and general noise

RUTH

I lost everything. I couldn't get any of it out.

ROSEMARY

Your wallet? Your money?

RUTH

They're OK. But my furniture, my clothes, all the family pictures, my books and notebooks, my records -everything.


ROSEMARY

Most people, I bet, don't even know about those apartments over the stores.

BUSINESSMAN

I lost more than that, young lady.

ROSEMARY

How, did anybody get...?

BUSINESSMAN

No, everybody's OK, thank the Lord, but that's my - that was my business. Gone. The inventory, the building, the records, you name it, burned to a crisp.

RUTH

Did you have insurance?

BUSINESSMAN

Yes, I had that much sense. But it isn't just money, it's... part of who you are. It's what you've done with your life. You can't get that back.

OFFSTAGE VOICE

I got the coffee wagon. Get some donuts or something for those men to eat.

Editor puffs in from the wings


EDITOR

Got a call on my way to the convention, turned around. What's happened to the Sully? Blasted smoke, can't see.

BUSINESSMAN

It's still all right, near as I could tell.

EDITOR

I sure hope so. All our equipment. Print shop across Water Street looks OK too so far. Whew. Anybody know how it started?

OFFSTAGE VOICE 2

Might've been electrical.

Editor takes notes while talking

ROSEMARY

It's like the whole county wants to burn down.

RUTH

It's just a few buildings, isn't it, Ro? I'll find another place.

ROSEMARY

You can stay with me, you know that, but I meant -


BUSINESSMAN

A few buildings to you, miss, but it's most of the businesses, the life's blood here. We've lost Miss Kitty's luncheonette, Charnitski's Market, Bohenski's Hardware, the jewelry store and Lord knows what all else until the fire dies down. It's almost as bad as in Lopez.

ROSEMARY

That's what I was getting at, first Lopez, now here.

RUTH

Lopez? What happened there?

ROSEMARY

It was last year, April, just before you came. The whole downtown burned, the factories, the old hotels, the post office -

BUSINESSMAN

Just about every business. Turned it to near a ghost town. All this fire, maybe it's a warning to us.

enter Sam


EDITOR

Now I wouldn't say that. It's unfortunate happenstance, but we'll rebound. A lot of hard-working people here. A lot of concentrated energy and decency. Sam? Go down there and talk to the firemen. See where they're from. Sure is a bunch of them.

exit Sam

OFFSTAGE VOICE 3

Watch out for the hose. C'mon, step back.

everyone on stage takes a few steps back

ROSEMARY

This must be the worst that's ever happened in Dushore.

EDITOR

Actually, the fires of 1898 might have been the worst. Two of them.

RUTH

Really?

EDITOR

First it was the grist mill and saw mill in March - Samuel Headley built them together, and the grist mill did most of the grinding for the north half of the county. Killed the superintendent in his office.

ROSEMARY

That's awful.

BUSINESSMAN

I haven't heard about anybody dying today.

RUTH

Thank the Lord!

EDITOR

That mill fire could have been way worse. It could have exploded. The mill was full of grain and flour. You ever see a grain elevator blow up from the dust? I did. Big mushroom cloud and the building looked like a plane had hit it. Just rubble. Then in June -

Sam returns

What's the word?

SAM

There seem to be 11 or 12 volunteer fire companies and maybe 150 fireman. Some came from 40 miles. And it's knocked out the power and phone lines everywhere.

RUTH

pointing

Look! Look! The side of that building across the street -

SAM

The print shop!

RUTH

It's glowing red.

EDITOR

Everybody start praying. If that goes, we've lost another block. And I've lost my shirt.

BUSINESSMAN

Amazing - what's keeping it from catching fire?

ROSEMARY

Maybe it's just some weird reflection.

RUTH

Doesn't look like it.

BUSINESSMAN

So what was that you said? A second fire the same year?

EDITOR

1898. Like this one, burned several buildings with a bunch of businesses in them. Tubach's furniture and Cole's hardware escaped somehow - and listen to this, in the middle of it all, some fellows actually ducked in and hauled the gasoline and dynamite out of the hardware store.


BUSINESSMAN

It'll take them a couple days to get this all put out.

EDITOR

Well, if our offices don't fry, I'm going to get the Sully out tomorrow.

ROSEMARY

You're kidding.

EDITOR

Some things I don't kid about.

lights down, just a red glow left


TRANSITION 9

SAM

Geez, what was I doing there? Can you turn that machine off, it's making me dizzy.

CARISSA

to editor

And that should have been Doc Shoemaker, not you.

EDITOR

We'll get to that later.

SAM

So where to next?

EDITOR

How about right now, the present?

CARISSA

That's not part of history.

EDITOR

Aha! a common mistake. History encompasses all of human activity, past and present. What we are now is the result of what we were before. Today is the leading edge of history, but yesterday is already the past.


CARISSA

whispered aside to audience

He's slumming from the New York Times.

aloud

I don't have a 2009 disk.

EDITOR

Pf course not. It's still being processed. But that shouldn't hold us back. I think it's time to introduce Dushore's most famous and unique character.

SAM

scratching his head

There are so many.

EDITOR

Unique, I said, in all the county.

CARISSA

The stoplight!

lights fade and come up on stoplight


SCENE 9--At stoplight

STOPLIGHT

LINE DANCERS--entire cast

DANCER 1

My name is Black. I live on Blacks Rd.

DANCER 2

My name is Thall. I live on Thalls Rd.

DANCER 3

My name is Rohe. I live on Rohes Rd.

DANCER 4

My name is Colonna, I live on Colonna Ln.

litany fades out behind Stoplight's speech

STOPLIGHT

wearing green hat, holding out left arm to stop traffic, motioning it toward him with right

That's the way of it in Sullivan County. History sits right smack on the highway and the back roads. It must feel good to see your family's name all around you. Me? I came out of a factory, guess that makes me a flatlander.

switches to red cap and switches hands

But I've been here long enough I should qualify as a resident, don't you think?

DANCER 5

Flatlander... That's somebody from out of the area comes to visit or maybe owns a cabin.

DANCER 6

Flatlander? That's somebody wasn't born here but come - well, it don't matter when.

DANCER 7

Me, a flatlander? I been here 47 years.

STOPLIGHT

Like the man said, I'm unique. I have authority. I control the flow and the direction. And I've seen my share of history pass by. Remember when those monster machines for Procter and Gamble pushed through here a few years back? They had to drag me out of the way with a hook!

massages neck

I still get a crick in my wire now and then.

country music fades in stronger

DANCER 1

Look up the hill at St. Basil's in the declining sun, as clean and clear as laundry on the line.

DANCER 2

A little cloud behind the steeple, with a silver lining.

Stoplight's cap switching gets a little more rapid

STOPLIGHT

But where's all this traffic coming from on an August evening? Must be to gawk at the line dancers.

DANCER 3

People passing through don't half understand line dancing.

DANCER 4

It's a soft, easy, low-key kind of motion.

DANCER 5

Like a quiet walk in the woods, a little uphill now and then, some switchbacks...

STOPLIGHT

Like the Endless Mountains.

Speakers step out from line but keep their place in the music, then step back

DANCER 1

The history of Dushore...

DANCER 2

200 years, from woods so dense and sunless they terrified explorers and scared off the Indians...

DANCER 3

to men and women and horses clearing trees and rocks by brute force...

DANCER 4

to the Turnpike bringing in settlers and supplies...

DANCER 5

to the railroads with their furious energy, hauling in jobs, taking out butter and cream...

DANCER 1

to blacktop highways all converging...

STOPLIGHT

on a crossroads that most find by accident, but the lucky ones call home.

DANCER 2

and through it all, the shops and restaurants and banks and bustle of business never stop.


DANCER 3

history hasn't ended, it's just beginning.

DANCER 4

We've got the most beautiful scenery...

DANCER 5

the crookedest roads...

DANCER 1

the friendliest people..

DANCER 2

well, some of them...

DANCER 3

in the whole known world.

DANCER 4

You're exaggerating.

DANCER 5

Of course we are. It's silly..

DANCER 1

overblown...

DANCER 2

ridiculous...

DANCER 3

but true.

dancers take final twirl and exit. Stoplight lifts and drops a yellow hat, blinking "caution"


TRANSITION 10

SAM

So... that's it?

EDITOR

Yup, it's pretty much wound up.

SAM

You know... I sorta hate to say this, but like Caris - Lois - said, you don't seem like you should be our editor. I mean, you're not Doc.

EDITOR

Of course I'm not Doc. I'm the generic editor, the irascible old codger with a heart of gold. I've been in every newspaper movie from the 1930s on.

SAM

But why couldn't you just play Doc Shoemaker?

EDITOR

Jeez, girl, don't you have any brains? There's just one person on earth that can play Doc. And I don't see him up here, do you? Let's check the audience.

house lights go up slightly

EDITOR

Doc, you out there?


alternate 1--doc is in audience

SAM

There he is.

wait for audience to applaud and settle down.

alternate 2--Doc Isn't there

SAM

Don't think he's here.

Transition 10 cont'd

EDITOR

OK folks, looks like the show is over. You can applaud or boo, whichever way you feel.

 

CARISSA

Wait a minute!

holds up Superman comic book

I'm Lois Lane, intrepid reporter!

EDITOR

That's it, Carissa. I knew you could do it.

C'mon, Sam. We have to get off and cover the news.

exit, followed by curtain call

___________________

copyright 2009, Sullivan County Council on the Arts