Out with the old…

This installation of the Franklin Stove Blog is a departure from the usual format.

It’s fictional, based on accounts of actual events.

It might even be considered a ghost writ post.

This is a work of fiction. Any similarity to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events, is purely coincidental.

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

Hey, it’s me, Rose, the Spirit of the Crimson Tide, again. Ever since the football team left for New Orleans on December 26th to play in the Sugar Bowl, Bryant-Denny stadium has been dark at night. There’s been less activity than ever. I guess that’s to be expected. The Crimson Tide’s football season ended with a win over Kansas State. For some fans, particularly the “Rolltards,” a winning season and a bowl game victory didn’t make the cut, but I was impressed. How could I not be? I was on the sidelines during games in the stadium and had a unique perspective of the immense effort put forth by the players and coaches.

When I was alone in Bryant-Denny at the end of the year, I thought about just how I’d wound up as a ghost in the stadium. You can’t change the past. That’s for sure. But maybe you can understand it.

In 1968, the year that I died, my relationship with Estelle, a black student, would’ve made a lot of people hate me. I hadn’t come out to my parents. If I had been able to bring Estelle home for Christmas, I would never have accidentally shot myself. There would’ve been a sense of a joyous celebration, not mind numbing holiday routines. Of course, her family would’ve have been just as upset as mine had they learned of our forbidden love.

The campus was hardly “gay friendly.” I could imagine how people would’ve reacted if they’d thought Estelle and I were a couple. Some people didn’t even like the sight of a black and white girl being together as friends. Many would’ve been enraged by the sight of a black male student holding hands with a white co-ed. Their reaction to any show of affection between Estelle and I would’ve been worse.

I remember hearing about how a black student had been asked out by a goofy white boy. Cyntherina later told everybody how they’d been sitting in the Orange Julius on The Strip and people on the sidewalk were pointing at them and reproachfully staring daggers at them. That was the last time she went out with him. He’d kissed her tentatively at the “date’s” end. I think she thought he was just doing some virtue signaling.

I remember, when I was a ghost in Tutwiler Hall in the Seventies, that a bohemian art student who’d lived there had a subscription to Ralph Ginzburg’s Avant Garde magazine. One issue had a photo essay of an inter-racial couple, a back man and white woman, on the streets of New York City. The hateful expressions of New Yorkers towards the couple were captured by the photographer. I thought that, even in the Big Apple, Estelle and I would’ve been harshly judged by some people.

For over fifty years I haunted Tutwiler Hall until it was demolished on July 4th, 2022. I’ve since been in Bryant-Denny stadium. Another year has come and gone. Will I be stadium bound for another fifty years or longer? 2022 was truly a year that saw my old version of life after death transformed.

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2 thoughts on “Out with the old…

  1. Julie K Evelsizer says:

    No wonder she shot herself. The overwhelming Roll Tide decor must have been too much of a reminder of her home life. And I didn’t expect this plot twist. Rose always said she and Estelle were BFFs.

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