Route 66 Factoids

Route 66 Factoids

Natalie Bright 

Our group’s Route 66 Anthology is in the final stages of edits and formatting. I hope you enjoy our stories which are set in different time periods, but have one common location: the U-Drop Inn in Shamrock.

Here are a few Route 66 Factoids that might be of interest.

In February 1927, Cyrus Avery from Tulsa, created the US66 Highway Association and in an extensive marketing campaign the Route was tagged, “Main Street of America.”

A goal of the newly formed US66 Highway Association was to make Route 66 the first fully paved highway in the new U.S. highway system.

The First Annual International-Trans-Continental Foot Race was held to promote Route 66. Beginning in Los Angeles on March 4, 1928, runners followed the 2,500 mile route to Chicago, and then continued on to New York.

The winner of the grueling First Annual International-Trans-Continental Foot Race was 19-year-old Andy Payne, a Cherokee from Foyil, Oklahoma. The 2,500 mile race began March 4, 1928, with Payne crossing the finish line May 26, 1928 and claiming the grand prize of $25,000.

In 1939 John Steinbeck portrayed Route 66 as an escape for desperate people, a road of tragedy and sorrow, in his book THE GRAPES OF WRATH, and coined the phrase “mother road.”

Billboards, colorful magazine advertisements, newspaper articles, travel brochures, and picture postcards promoting businesses and landscapes urged people to vacation on America’s Main Street during the 1940s. The notion of traveling on the highway Route 66 became an adventure and quest.


The International Hero


The International Hero

By Nandy Ekle

I am a very confirmed introvert. And really, I think a lot of writers are. Think about it. Writers spend a lot of time alone, with characters they made up, in a world they made up. And I believe they enjoy it that way. That’s the reason they do it. Dealing with people in your head is much easier than dealing with people in the room next to you.

And that’s the reason that for my day job, I do not answer phones; I write letters. Even though I sign my name to each every letter I write to each and every client I communicate with through my correspondence, I can still be anonymous.

So the day came when I was to send a fax to a client, but this client had the type of fax machine that had to be turned on before it would answer the fax. When means my instruction was to call the client on the telephone and advise him I was about to send him a fax.

Need I say how this affected me.

Sweat popped on the palms of my hands. I saw black dots before my eyes. My heart palpitated. And my lungs refused to pull enough air to feed my body. I was going to have call a complete stranger and speak to him. And since my telephone is not a recorded line, I was not supposed to have a conversation. I was to simply say, “Mr. Client, I am sending you a fax. Good bye.” 

Yes, I was terrified.

Now, when I was a kid in high school, I acted in several plays. And, really and truly, I was not too bad. And, of course, I am a writer, constantly creating characters and situations. And at other intensely nerve wracking times of my life, such as job interviews, I had been known to invent characters to hide behind while I did what I had to do to get through it.

So that’s what I did in order to call this client.

Suddenly I was a svelte secretary for an important global corporation. I had to call this client because he was waiting for my call to keep the global-sized bomb from obliterating the entire earth.

I wiped my hands on the sides of my gorgeous sheath dress and walked across the room in my stiletto heels, not wavering one bit. My perfectly coiffed hair stayed out of my way as I picked up the receiver to the phone.

When the phone call was finished and the fax was sent (fax report stated successful), I sat at my desk and thought about what a close call that was. I had made the call and saved the world.

Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.


History and Kids

Outtakes 345

History and Kids

By Cait Collins

I teach a group of fourth and fifth graders at my church.  They’re great kids and are really starting to figure out that the past often has a bearing on the present.  They know I’ve been working on a story about Route 66 and have expressed an interest in the Mother Road.  So I’m planning to take them to 6thStreet here in Amarillo.  This stretch of the historic highway is a haven for antique collectors, music lovers, and art gallery patrons.  I plan to show my kids how we lived back in the “olden days”.

This section of the Mother Road is a still a business district with antique shops, galleries, and music.  The Old Nat Ballroom still stands.  The history of a kinder gentler time lives on in a few blocks of the older part of Amarillo.  I really want them to see that even though it’s different our lives were still full and happy and we had technology.  Well, sort of.

I think young people are more willing to learn history when they have hands-on or eyes on the artifacts.  But there’s another reality…they keep me young.  I get to see the life I lived through their eyes.  I get a second chance at living the good times and the bad times through their interpretations of the items they see and touch. And I will pick their brains for a historic building to house my antique pottery and china shop in my next Route 66 story.  The location has to be special because the mission is life saving.  I have my eye on a store front.  I wonder what my students will think about my pick.

More Rough Work

More Rough Work

by Adam Huddleston

Here is the next scene from last week’s submission.

Several rats scampered in front of Jack’s cart as he wheeled it behind the tiny shack.  Before he had even rounded the corner, a rough voice growled at him from inside.

“You better have had a good day, Boy, or this whip is gonna drink tonight!”

The hairs on the back of the young man’s neck stood out and he flinched.  He had suffered Carson’s beatings for several years, and unless he was blessed with a miracle from the royal court, he would continue to; possibly until his miserable life ended and a new slave took his place.

“The day was profitable, sir.  I nearly sold out of the jelly-fruits.  The middle of the day was too hot to-”

“Shut your mouth, whelp! I took a trip into town today to witness your fine vending skills.  All I saw you doing was eyeing the little tart across from you!”

Jack’s face reddened and he took a half-step towards his master.

“Oh?  So the little spit wants to fight me?  You forget your place, but that’ll soon be remedied.”

Carson grabbed a thick, leather whip from a hook on the wall and a fireplace poker that had been resting in the hut’s modest hearth.  He took a threating step toward his slave and held the weapons up.  Jack could see the poker’s red-hot tip reflected in Carson’s eyes.

“Which shall it be?  Leather or fire?”

Jack lowered his head and backed up until he bumped up against the door.

“My…apologies, sir.  I meant no offense.  I know my place, I do.”

Carson lowered the items for a brief moment, then rushed forward with them raised.  Jack spun and ducked, at the same moment grasping the doorknob and twisting it fervently.  Carson slammed into him and the pair went sprawling out onto the front yard.

The poker landed in a dry patch of grass and in an instant, the lawn was ablaze.  Carson jumped on top of his slave and began choking him with hands that were seemingly too large.  Jack’s eyes bulged from their sockets.  A loud crack came from behind the struggling pair.

“The hut,” Jack gurgled through his ever-tightening throat.

Carson turned his head to see his home going up in flames. He jumped off of his victim and stood, looking in amazement as the shack and all of his belongings were destroyed.

Jack slowly rose to a pair of feet that were beyond wobbly. With his master’s attention turned elsewhere, he took his once chance to escape.  Stumbling off into the darkness, Jack headed for the woods on the other side of the dirt road.  With any luck, he might make it to Mary’s house before collapsing.

A Good Saturday

Outtakes 344


A Good Saturday

By Cait Collins


Last Saturday a new coffee company opened across from my office.  They had a special going—any medium coffee was $1.00. I decided to support the new business in the neighborhood. So I left home early to get in line for a white chocolate mocha.  When I got to the window the barrister handed me my coffee and said that another company had paid for the first 100 cups of coffee. My coffee was paid for.  Now a dollar cup of coffee doesn’t seem like much, but just the idea of someone doing something nice for a bunch of people really made my day.

It made me think that we all should find ways to make someone’s day.  Writers have opportunities to give back to the next generation of authors.  Schools have mentoring opportunities, kids after school programs might need story readers, judge a youth writing contest, or sit with a young person and teach him to read.  Kids need adults to help them grow and blossom.  They could use a high five when they write their first poem or story.  And we need them to remind us of all the people who helped us develop our talents.

Just an hour, a Big Chief tablet, a pen could mean more that we imagine. So pay it forward and mentor a kid.

Beatrix Potter – self-published author

Beatrix Potter funded the first print run of 250 copies of The Tale of Peter Rabbit.
Now 45 million copies have been sold around the world.

She also created and patented a Peter Rabbit doll which led to stationary, tea sets, wallpaper, blankets, art books, and figurines. This self-published author is considered the first to make use of the commercialization of her characters.

Excerpt from “The Love Affair”


Excerpt from “The Love Affair”

By Nandy Ekle

Jose was really her perfect match. His cream-colored skin never changed and his dark eyes always showed her reflection back to her. The reflection of herself she saw in those deep gorgeous mirrors was beautiful. She giggled as she thought about his weight. Sometimes he was pretty hefty, and sometimes he was slim. But he was always the most wonderful sight for her eyes, especially on Super Bowl Sunday each year.

She straightened the front of her floral print chiffon dress and adjusted the sleeves around the upper part of her arms. Dabbing on a spray of cologne, she checked to make sure her teeth weren’t wearing her lipstick. Yes, the age showed in her face, but she could live with a little maturity. Bryan never seemed to notice; Jose would love it.

She flounced down the stairs and saw her beefy husband looking over the nest she had built for him.

“What kinda’ sammiches?”

“Bologna. I know what you like.”

“Sure do. Thanks, babe.” He grabbed one bread triangle and bit half of it, chewing with a glop of mustard on his chin. Snagging a bottle from the cooler next to him, he plopped down and wielded the remote like a scepter.

“’at’s a good sammich,” he said around his chewing. A soggy piece of bread flew out of his mouth and hit her shoulder.

“Thanks,” she answered through gritted teeth while brushing the goop away.

He swallowed. “Sorry,” he said without looking at her. He pointed the remote control at the television like a king commanding his loyal subjects.

Another Rough Bit of Work

Another Rough Bit of Work

by Adam Huddleston


I didn’t have anything prepared to submit this week, so I went with a few paragraphs of a rough draft I’m working on.

Jack sold assorted fruits and vegetables from a little stand on the village square.  Mary sold bread from her own stand across from him.  Although the two had never met (such interactions were strictly forbidden without permission from their parents) he just knew that she was going to be his wife someday.

“We got sweet jelly-fruits here! Crispy, juicy water peas,” he barked to the small, early-morning crowd meandering about the town center.  One older fellow looked his direction, seemed to consider for a moment, and turned away.

“Hot, fresh rolls!  Honey-baked loafs,” Mary suggested to the same group.  Two ladies in the crowd made a bee-line for her stand, reaching into their leather satchels as they walked.

Jack propped his elbows on the hard, splintery wood and watched through half-closed eyes as the love of his life sold her wares and the customers walked away happily munching a couple of glazed pastries.

A little boy, no older than five, tottered up to Jack’s stand and stood there silently.  His eyes widened as he looked over the selection of garden foods.  A grimy little hand slowly reached out for a melon but stopped short when he saw Jack’s eyes watching him.  Jack frowned melodramatically, then tossed the child the piece of fruit he’d been drooling over.  The tot took a large bite of it and ran off at a gallop.

“I saw that,” a voice came to him from across the square.

Jack’s head popped up and he saw Mary grinning at him.  His face turned the shade of the melon he had just donated to the little boy.

“Oh!  Yeah, well, I have plenty of them in stock, so…” he trailed off.

“Those melons are worth five durons a piece.  I can’t imagine your master would be too happy knowing you’re giving away his produce.”

Jack looked at her closely, trying to gauge if she was pulling his leg. Her smile broke into a large guffaw of laughter and he relaxed, laughing back in return.  He reached into his front pocket, pulled out a handful of durons, and dropped them into the clay pot resting on the back corner of his stand.  Then he pressed his index finger to his lips in a hushing gesture.

“Mums the word,” Mary said.

Hours passed.  The sun, which had shown directly into Jack’s eyes that morning, made its slow circuit across the sky and now faced Mary.  Just like their king, even the heavens seemed impartial in their cruelty.

Mary pulled a large umbrella from the darkness under her cart.  Straining under the weight, she gave an awkward attempt at attaching it to the front of the stand.