4.06.2009

The Human Fly died on this day.

While browsing my pal Shona's blog, I came across her artwork that I've always found really funny, the story of the untimely death of the Human Fly.

(Shona of LALA dex press artwork above)


The legend for some 80 years was that the Human Fly scaled the walls of the City Courthouse with no harness or ropes...and died before making it back to the ground. Until last year when it was unearthed that the Human Fly actually had a name! Gasp! James A. Dearing!!! And .... it just so happens that while I'm reading the article (that was written last September and posted last September by Shona) when I get to the date of his death...it ends up it is today!!! This day, April 6th in 1923 the Human Fly died in Murfreesboro!
Cover Story: The Legend of the Human Fly ... Resolved | GHOST

Now, I don't know if it is the fact that I am a Murfreesboro native, or perhaps it really intrigues me because I spent many days of my first few years in a crib located behind the counter of my grandparent's shoe repair shop at 65 Public Square South...but I've always been oddly intrigued by this story. I have a strange connection to not only the Courthouse of Murfreesboro, but the whole square!!

My grandparents owned a shoe repair shop (Martin's Shoes) that was located on the same side of the square as Big B cleaners, Mullins' Jewelry, and later in the 90's Marti and Liz shoes. I ran around the square with my childhood best friend, Heather, whose grandparents owned City Cafe (back when the food was still really good). I remember that Heather and I would split a chocolate milkshake at City Cafe and then get money from our grandparents and go over to the Courthouse to visit Aubrey the blind man who ran a little candy stand (just what we needed, more sugar!). He always knew just who we were and was so sweet to us. I was always amazed that he knew how much change to give me back too!

Around the corner was Ruby's, the women's dress shop. My neighbor Julie's grandmother worked there (although at the time I thought her name was Ruby, haha)...I remember we would get into so much trouble playing hide and seek under the racks of clothes!! Pretty much all the kids and grandkids of the shop owners ran around the square together. Nearly every shop was what I would now call a Mom-n-Pop, family owned business. Mullins Jewelry owners had grandaughters around my age (there were like 5 of them!), we would play in the basements of Mullins and Martin Shoes playing tag and other games. Sometimes we would see dead rats and I remember it had a really musty mildewy smell-- but rats or no rats, it was so much fun!!

Around on the other side, my great uncle Kyle ran the Past Time Barber Shop ( I think that was the name). I would run over there to go see him and he'd give me quarters to play the video games. I remember that there was always a strange crowd of men just hanging out in there and in the back there was a pool table (or two). There is no way that if I had a little girl now that I would let her run around alone to barber shops with strange men in them!! But in the early 80's it was no big deal! So, I say all of this to say...that I love any history that has to do with Murfreesboro's city square...whenever I'm there I just get so nostalgic and wish that life was so simple. And it really was a small town. I'd like to know what the population of Murfreesboro was in say, 1983 versus what it is today- I'm sure it's five times what it was...I could be exaggerating.

To end on a sad note, as I thought back through all the names I just wrote out...of the Mullins, Heather's grandparents (the Coopers), Aubrey the blind man, my great uncle Kyle, etc. only my grandparents are still alive! That's so odd to realize at 30 that so many people that influenced your life are now gone. Kinda makes you wanna call a grandparent...I suggest you go do that right now! ;-)

4 comments:

jessica said...

hey---All the Mullins are still alive! don't scare me like that, woman!

Shona~ LALA dex press said...

I work in the old Elrod Dept Store building and the only thing I can see out my window is the clock tower. We may have to go on a walking tour of the square one day. And did you say the City Cafe's food was once good? When was this?

David S. said...

man, he almost made it to the top then splatto.. RIP Human Fly RIP

Carolyn said...

Jess- I was referring to Hershel and his wife (the grandparents). But you were right, Hershel is still alive...the wife, however, has been gone for years. I think way before you even worked there, right?

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