Thursday, July 31, 2008

Attics, Small Towns and Buried Treasure

People keep asking me what I’ve been doing since I became unemployed. Well, lots of things.

I’ve been cleaning out my attic and cupboards for the garage sale we’re having on Saturday. We figured since our kids are now 24 and 20, it might be time to get rid of all the stuffed animals, Micromachines, Fisher Price toys, games and puzzles. The Legos, Star Wars and Ghostbusters toys are staying, though. I’m also getting rid of all the might-need-it-someday stuff that we’re not really going to need someday. If anyone thinks they might need my junk, let me know. But you have to come and get it.

I’m researching magazines for articles I have some ideas for, and I submitted a short story to an e-zine. I’ve also been doing a lot of writing. I have a new book kind of figured out, and a first chapter written. It’s a funny mystery (at least I think it’s funny), which is a new direction for me. It’s a lot of fun so far.

When I started researching small towns for the setting in the new book, I found this site. I could spend hours looking at this stuff—and I think I did. You can pick any state you want to research. If you click on what’s in parenthesis, it gives you a list of smaller towns. After that, there’s even a link for towns with less than 1000 people. I’ve browsed the listings for several states.

Did you know there’s a town in Mississippi named Chunky (population 344)? I can’t help but wonder how that town was named. There’s one in Georgia called Ty Ty (pop. 716). Why not just one Ty? There’s another town in Georgia called Experiment (pop. 3233). The experiment must have worked—the town is still there. We have our share of odd names in Pennsylvania, too: Grindstone, Mars, Nanty-Glo, Glen Campbell (not the singer, I’m sure!), even Intercourse.

I dare you to go to that site and not spend hours there.

There was also a news article that caught my eye a few days ago. There’s some guy named Franz Felhaber, who keeps taking old, decomposed cash to various banks and attempts to cash it in. In his latest venture, he arrived at the Treasury Department carrying a suitcase with over 5 million dollars. Authorities are suspicious. Felhaber can’t seem to keep his story straight, either. He’s said the money was an inheritance, was found in a tree, found when someone dug up a field, belongs to relatives from Mexico. The list goes on. No wonder the feds are suspicious.

As a writer, I can’t help but wonder where the money really did come from. Is it drug money? Buried treasure? Ransom? What do you think?


Anonymous said...

You have to admit I did a good job organizing the attic. Don't take all the credit :-P.

When the Henry Clay Frick did Josh turn 20? Have I really been paying that little attention to birthdays? Or is this some kind of older brother thing?

Thanks for keeping the Ghostbusters stuff and the Legos. I'm going to play with them the next time I'm home. After all, the Ghostbusters fire house is the boy's version of the Barbie dream house.

Joyce said...

Andy, I want a picture of you wearing the Ghostbusters back pack and Ghost Trap.

I know math was never your best subject but 24 - 4 = 20.

And yes, you did a good job with the attic.

Anonymous said...

Also "anonymous" here:
Haven't seen the attic, but I'm sure that Andy did a stellar job. I'd pay major $$ to see that photo of Andy wearing the Ghostbuster's gear! Looking forward to checking out those small town sites, and pleased to hear about your new writing adventures!!

Anonymous said...

I want major $$ for wearing the Ghostbusters back pack. You mean you don't have any pictures of me from when I was 5?