Fifty years ago, Pat persuaded me to start writing a journal. We were on a European trip continuing a contact with a Swiss photographer named Jack whose creative work we’d seen in a competitor’s knitting book. We’d hired him to photo and print the first four-color instruction book produced by our company, Brunswick Yarns. My journal writing helped me remember many details written in my books.
I followed Pat’s advice and I’ve been writing ever since. Much of my journals were written in longhand and now, although I’ve never taken a typing course, I peck away on my Mac. In December 2016, our son, Steve Morgan, set up a web site for me and I’m writing even more. I have to be somewhat careful what I write in my blogs, as these go out to the entire world—but what the h… at my age, who cares if my writing I offends anyone.
I took a creative-writing course at Furman University the fall of 1981. Furman is the outstanding college where Pat received her Cum Laude in 1975. My teacher was Bennie Lee Sinclair, a Furman graduate herself who was appointed Poet Laureate of South Carolina by Governor Richard Riley, another Furman graduate.
Bennie Lee was primarily a poet who also wrote Lynching, a novel published in 1992 that was probably inspired by the true-life story of the 1947 lynching in Pickens, South Carolina—the last lynching in this state, but not the last lynching in the United States.
Our textile plant was built in 1959—just twelve years after that lynching. In the late 1980s, I attended a full-day seminar at Furman about this lynching. Witnesses at the Willie Earle trial of the 31 taxi drivers and others who lynched him were called on to tell about it. The author, Rebecca West, was sent by the New Yorker magazine to cover the trail and wrote about it in that magazine—and later in one of her books. All 31 were acquitted at the trial. I surmise that my teacher, Bennie Lee, decided to write her novel based on that Furman seminar and the interest this case generated.
In this seminar I sat next to our accountant, Harold Clark. Harold was a long-time Greenville resident who had attended the Willie Earle Trial and told me more about it. Some of the lawyers were still well known in Greenville.
Bennie Lee talked about the importance of having an editor for one’s writings. Pat suggested I contact my college roommate, Dr. Cal Kendall, who was teaching English at the University of Minnesota. I called him that very evening and Dr. Cal and his wife, Ellie, have been my editor and continued good friends ever since. Our most recent project is the new book shown on this web site, written by my brother Peter, “Windmills by The Pink Motel and Other Tales of my Life.”
I started the following poem in that Furman Creative Writing Course and finished it today:
Some never try to even start
Some struggle and give up too soon
Others glide like birds in flight
Olympians strive for medals gold
Challenges of channels keep some
Swimming for years.
I swim to clear my mind
I swim to move my legs
I swim to save my back
I swim to stay alive