Mindy Hardwick's Blog

Author Mindy Hardwick Muses about Writing

Something Mysterious

on October 24, 2010

I went back to my former middle school and presented two days of writing workshops to the eighth graders at North Kirkwood Middle School. One of the things we talked about in the workshop was writing about things which are “mysterious.”  I shared about my house growing up. We had a covered man hole in our garage which led to a small cellar in our basement. At one time, this mysterious cellar and covered man hole were a way to store apples. The years we lived in that house, my brother and I used the cellar to play hide and seek, and the covered man hole was how we got into the basement when we forgot our keys to the house.  Lately, that mysterious man hole and cellar has become a setting for a key scene in my middle grade manuscript.

But, in my growing up neighborhood, there was also another house which was “mysterious.” This house was believed to have once been a safe house for slaves. There were tunnels which ran under the house and slaves used the tunnels to travel unseen.  The rumor said that the tunnels went to the high school across the street. The rumors also circulated that there were ghosts in the tunnels and house.

While I was visiting in Kirkwood, I found that old house. As a child, the house seemed far away. In reality, the house was one block away and we could have gotten there by cutting through the yards around our house.  The house was still blue, and it still stood out among the other small brick homes which had been built all around it. But as an adult, I was struck by how unique that house was compared to all the others around it. It was out of a different era and a different place, and yet, there it still stood. A testimony to those who protected and helped slaves travel to freedom.

Mysterious House


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