Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The 1927 Roswell Incident, Roswell, New Mexico


Previously, Ella Mae Quicksilver divined in the stars that she should leave Heber-Overgaard, Arizona and go east to Roswell, New Mexico. Ella Mae’s car broke down in Magdalena, New Mexico where Jessie Long befriended her. But Jessie harbored a fearsome presence in the back of his house and Ella Mae quickly resumed her trip.
     Ella Mae arrived in Roswell and her “sense” took her to a small, oddly shaped stucco house for sale on the northwest side of Roswell. There she settled in, avoiding the curious neighbors. In 1927 Roswell was a farming and ranch town, blessed with the Union Pacific railroad and a salubrious climate.
     Small town rumors swirled about Ella Mae, including a scandalous story of the death of her parents in a shootout during a Colorado bank robbery. Stories spread that the newcomer traded at the bank in gold nuggets, supposedly from Arizona's Lost Dutchman Mine.
     On a warm evening Ella Mae was at her kitchen window and glanced out at the dirt road that ran past her white stucco house. To her surprise, a stranger was walking down the road and she expected the man to walk on by. She gasped as the man turned into her gate and headed up her walk. He glanced over at the window and Ella Mae‘s eyes widened as he reminded her of that movie throb, the one with the narrow face, jet black hair and obsidian eyes. Ella Mae had never seen a man so handsome.
     To Ella Mae’s shock the man walked right in the door, pausing to look at her. He was dressed in a white shirt, a chocolate tie and a black suit, reminding her of those evangelicals that go door to door.
     Inexplicably, the stranger moved in to the 2nd bedroom. When Ella Mae asked about his suitcase, he waved her away. Blessed with striking Latin looks, the man spoke in a lilting voice that was almost a song. But he rarely spoke, even when they sat on the porch sipping tea in the cool evening.
     In the mornings after breakfast, he would walk down the road. The minute Ella Mae took her eyes off him and then looked back, he was gone. She had no idea where he went each day or what he did.
     One evening over a simple dinner, she asked where he came from. He stopped, eating, put his fork down and hesitated, then told her he came from far away, a very different place.
     “You mean Akron, Ohio? Where they make the automobile tires?” Ella Mae ventured.    
     The stranger made a face and went back to eating. She could assume he was not from Akron and her sense warned her not to pursue the subject further.
     Another time he mentioned he was a scout, surveying the Roswell area. And Ella Mae thought it must be for some business back East. Perhaps some kind of food processing, which would make sense with the railway coming through Roswell. But her intuition told her no logical response would be forthcoming and in her heart she did not want to drive him away.
     In the evenings, they would retire to their respective bedrooms. Ella Mae would pause and look at the handsome stranger. She was twenty, never had a boy friend,  never even held hands. The man would nod at her, his face passive, and then disappear into his room. Ella Mae would sigh, wondering.
     One night Ella Mae was in bed and she opened her eyes to see an angel standing beside her, holding out a hand with a glowing capsule. Ella Mae opened her mouth and the hand placed the capsule on her tongue.  She swallowed and suddenly felt a twinge, then a jolt, next a shock as if someone had jabbed her in the stomach.
     Ella Mae awoke with a start and was surprised to see the stranger standing at her side. He was looking down at her and for the first time there was a faint smile on his lips. Ella Mae was surprised to see an amber glow radiating from her body. Was she dreaming... a dream within a dream?
     The next morning over breakfast, she wanted to ask him if he had come to her room. But before she could speak, he announced he was leaving. His survey was complete. He thanked her for the hospitality and wished her well, saying that from time to time he would check in on her. That he would be back.
     Ella Mae wanted to protest, but his sharp look quieted her. He got up, nodded and went out the door. She sat at the table in confusion, then jumped and ran to the window. But, of course, the stranger was gone.
     A few months later Jessie Long phoned, liking to remain in contact and called from time to time. He mentioned he was going to Socorro, New Mexico and was thinking of driving on to Roswell. Would it be okay?
     For the first time, Ella Mae told Jessie about the stranger who had stayed with her a few weeks in the guest bedroom. Jessie was agitated, but she assured him this was just someone who was a friend and there was no romance between them.
     Jessie calmed down and confirmed he would drive over the next week. Ella Mae agreed and then added.
     “Just so you know, Jessie. I’m pregnant.”

Monday, July 9, 2012

Our Lady of the Mountain, Magdalena, New Mexico

Previously, Mary and Johnny Quicksilver were fatally ambushed in 1924 during an attempted Telluride bank robbery. Their precocious daughter, Ella Mae, successfully took over the antique and bake shop, Enchantment, in Heber-Overgaard, Arizona.

One summer evening Ella Mae Quicksilver was on her shop porch after a violent thunder storm crackled through the area. She stood gazing at the sky and saw a shooting star falling to the east. Suddenly a beam of light enveloped her, riveting her as if she were struck by lightning.
     Ella Mae fell back in her rocking chair. She knew it was a sign, a signal to move on. That week she sold her antique and bakery business, packed essentials such as her mother’s gold nuggets in her her 1926 Ford touring sedan and drove southeast through Showlow to U.S. Route 60.
     Just outside of Magdalena, New Mexico her car stalled and she coasted into the drive of a modest ranch set perpendicular to the two-lane road. It was early evening and she knocked on the door, which was opened by Jessie Long Mansell, a wiry, leather skinned rancher in overalls. Ella Mae explained her  touring car had broken down and asked for assistance.
     Jessie invited Ella Mae in and appraised his visitor, a slender young woman with high cheekbones, dark eyes and long black hair, clearly Indian blood, perhaps Apache. Jessie offered Ella Mae a room for the evening, saying he would look at her car in the morning.
     Over dinner, Jessie explained he lived alone in the front part of the ranch, saying the back portion was closed and Ella Mae should not venture there. He said he had lost his wife and children in an Indian raid a few years back, one of the last Mescalero Indian ventures into the area, which was now peaceful.
     Strangely, the young girl of Apache descent and the old rancher clicked, seemingly comfortable with each other. Ella Mae was bright and also had the “gift”. She sensed she would be safe with Jessie Long. Still, a black cloud seemed to hang over the homestead. There was something strange in the forbidden back of the house. Occasionally Ella Mae heard a snarling voice and scratching, perhaps a dog, a wolf?
     After dinner they sat on the front porch in rocking chairs  gazing at the Magdalena Mountain, the angelic face seemingly carved in the form of the biblical Magdalena, our Lady of the Mountain.
     Ella Mae told Jessie she was heading east and would stop in Roswell, as she had a dream that her future was there in that ranching and farming town. Jessie Long scoffed saying she was better off in Magdalena with its mining of gold and silver.
     Their discussion was interrupted by another car that swung into the drive and a tall, attractive redhead emerged along with the driver, a medium sized, dark-skinned man with a U-shaped face and a nasty turned down mouth.
     The surly looking man pulled a revolver while the redhead gazed at them with an evil smile. The man demanded Jessie Long’s gold and money. Ella Mae thought of her treasure, which she had secreted under the back seat of her touring sedan.
     Of course, Jessie protested the intrusion, saying there was no gold and little money. But the man waved him away, while the redhead went inside and rummaged through the house.
     After a few minutes, the woman emerged and shrugged with palms up, but noted the back half of the house was sealed. The man frowned and asked Jessie Long for the key. Jessie said a key was hanging on the wall, but added:  “You don’t want to go back there.”
     The man laughed,gave the revolver to the redhead and then he went to the back of the house and opened the door. There was a moment of quiet, then voices. The man shouted and shouted again, hoarser the second time. A few seconds of quiet followed, and then the man screamed.
     Ella Mae felt an icicle prick her heart. Jessie Long looked down at his shoes and sighed. The redhead went stiff, pointing her gun at the inside of the house, then back at her captives.
     It was if the man’s screaming went on for hours, but it was over in seconds and the three of them stood in the quiet. The night bird’s song stopped, even the owl in the cottonwood tree and the insects were shocked into silence.
     Without a word, the Redhead put the revolver in her bag and retreated to the car. She asked Jessie to crank the Model T, warning of the “kick back”. Jessie Long obliged her and the redhead screeched out of the drive, heading west into the black night.  Ella Mae was wide-eyed as Jessie returned to the porch. He paused at the steps and looking up at the ashen Ella Mae.
     “Don’t ask.” Was all Jessie Long said.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Enchantment Shop, Mogollon Rim, Heber-Overgaard, Arizona

Previously, Bo Savage saw Lilly's apparition in the Verde Valley mists. Evening Star, who had sealed Max and Lilly in her gold mine, escaped along the Mogollon Rim.

 Mary Maude, a young widow formerly known as Evening Star and of Yavapai-Apache descent, came to Heber-Overgaard in Eastern Arizona and bought an abandoned general store. She traded in antiques, baking tasty pies and delicious snicker doodle cookies
     Prospering in her small shop which Mary called The Enchantment, she became a mysterious fixture in the Heber-Overgaard area. No one knew where Mary Maude came from, or where she got her yellow nuggets.
     One rainy afternoon Johnny Quicksilver, of unknown origins and a tall, lean man dressed in black ,came to town and stopped at Mary’s. The two clicked after Johnny sampled her snicker doodles and tasted her pie. He lingered and Mary Maude fell in love with Johnny, who happened to be a notorious Colorado bank robber.
    The two of them settled in at Mary's shop. Johnny disappeared from time to time taking his “trips”. One evening Johnny returned to the Enchantment after having stopped at the Red Onion Saloon to down a few. He shared his take with Mary and told her about the new piano player at the saloon, a fetching woman in white who could play and sing like a bird. Immediately Mary went stiff and recalled the woman in white among the pines on the Mogollon Rim.      After Johnny had fallen asleep, Mary donned her cape and walked to the Red Onion. As usual voices were loud and tinny piano chords floated on the chill night air. She went in, going to the end of the bar where the owner, Bub, was toting up bills. She sidled up to Bub and gave, asking about the new piano player, the pretty lady in white.
     Bub scratched his bald head and blinked. There was no new piano player. And no lady in white.
     A few years later in the early 1920s Mary joined Johnny on a bold plan to rob the San Miguel Bank in Telluride, a bustling Colorado gold town. Mary and Johnny died in a furious shootout during the bank robbery. It was an ambush as the sheriff had been tipped in advance by the new piano player that he was courting, a Miss Lilly.
     Johnny and Mary are survived by their gifted daughter, Ella Mae Quicksilver.