One Sunday Morning after the chores and Church, Dad, Mom and I went visiting. The 1937 Hudson Terraplane Super 6 was chugging up highway 13 to Aikman, Kansas from Chelsea to see Uncle Ramus, who had been in a bad accident.
To pass the time I was thinking, as a 13-year-old, how I would like to be able to spread my wings and fly. I would like to be like Gulliver and rule small people. I would like to have X-Ray vision. The imagination was working overtime and I dreamed things that a teenager dreams. We arrived at Uncle Ramus’s house and his new wife, Ruse, greeted us at the yard gate.
She told us to be quiet when we went into the bedroom where Uncle Ramus was lying. He was still in a coma. He had just been released from the Hospital five days ago and could not speak, or do anything for himself.
I did not want to go because I remembered him as a fun-lovin, barn dancin, hard workin, corn schukin man that loved life. I did not want to see him in a vegetable state. Dad and Mom said for me to come with them, reluctantly I followed.
Mom, Dad, and Aunt Ruse were discussing the weather and the latest quilting bee and I sat and stared at Uncle Ramus’s shaved head. I noticed a small bump just above the ear that had a small blood vessel expanding and contracting with each beat of his heart. As I stared, Uncle Ramus sez “Hi Billie how are you.” I jerked around and Mom, Dad, and Aunt Ruse were still talking and had heard nothing. I looked at Uncle Ramus and the bump and he spoke to me again. I thought I had gone nuts but he kept talking to me. He sez if I watched the bump on his head, we could communicate with each other by thought waves.
I watched his eyes, mouth, and nothing moved but the blood vessel in the bump. I thought this is not happening, and he thought back, yes it is. He told me if I watched the bump it was the “Inner Sanctum” and put us in the “Twilight Zone” and we could communicate. I looked around and my parents and Aunt Ruse had left the room. I was alone with a man who was talking to me through his “Inner Sanctum.”
Uncle Ramus told me that he remembered nothing right after the head on collision with another car but now all he wanted to do was talk to somebody about the whole thing. I thought I’m dreaming. Uncle Ramus sez “you are not dreaming, this is real.” “ Get this in your head and listen.”
Aunt Ruse came in and asked if I wanted some pie and ice cream and I said no I would stay with Uncle Ramus for a while longer.
As I watched the Inner Sanctum, he said through thought waves, that the man who was taking care of him was planning with his second wife Ruse to do away with him. They were kissing and going into the other bedroom while he lay there and could do nothing about it.
He relayed to me that he had a pile of money and he would tell me where it was and if anything happened to him, I could have it. The valise that the money was in was in the Chelsea Depot in Locker No. 13. The key was in a book on the shelf. The book titled “Aesop’s Fables” had a cut out page where the key was. The page was 13 and he said I should take the key and keep it on a string around my neck. I got the key and when I went back to the bed, Uncle Ramus did not respond and I figured he was asleep.
My Mom and Dad came and got me and we got into the Hudson Super 6 and headed to Chelsea.
Dad asked me why I stayed so long in Uncle Ramus's room. I almost let it out that I talked to him but I knew he would not believe me.
That night I had bad dreams about Uncle Ramus. The next morning while milking the cows I asked Dad if he thought that Aunt Ruse and the helper Mr. Leech might hurt Uncle Ramus. Dad told me that she was too nice a woman to even think about something like that.
I left the farm in my horse drawn buggy, that Dad had bought for me at an auction at P.I.Buchanan’s just south of us, and drove to Aikman to see Uncle Ramus. When I arrived Aunt Ruse and the helper Mr. Leech let me in and I went into Uncle Ramus’s room. I heard Aunt Ruse tell the helper Leech that she could not understand why I wanted to see Uncle Ramus. As I sat and looked at the bump on Uncle Ramus, he thought good morning Billie. I thought Hi and he started talking.
Uncle Ramus never moved his mouth, his lips or eyes but he was conveying his message to me through the bump. He told me that the helper Leech and Aunt Ruse were giving him some kind of medicine, and he wanted me to read the label to him. I got the bottle and thought the name and he said this was hog worm medicine and for me to take it with me and throw it away. I thought, Aunt Ruse and the helper Mr. Leech would find out and hurt me. Uncle Ramus thought waved to me that they would blame each other because they argued all the time. They did not trust each other and they wanted to find the money before they did away with me. Suddenly Uncle Ramus got quiet and I got up and left for home. I threw the hog worm medicine into the bar ditch on the way back.
I went to the Chelsea Train Depot and looked up Locker 13. While no one was looking I opened it and looked inside. There was a large valise but I did not open it. I locked the locker and left.
Two Sunday’s later Dad, Mom, and I went back to see Uncle Ramus. When I walked into the room and looked at the bump he sez “Hi Billie, I’m glad you came today.” I have feeling in my hands and feet and can hear and see but do not let on you know. I am going to surprise Ruse and the helper Leech, maybe to night while they are in bed together. Please do not tell any body about this. I got out of bed last night and the limbs seem to be working O.K. I got back into bed and here I lay. I had to laugh; Ruse and the helper have no idea that I can move. Uncle Ramus told me that I could go but to come back tomorrow for the latest happening.
Monday was a Holiday and there was no school at Chelsea Dist. No. 10. I could hitch up the mules to the buggy and go to Uncle Ramus’s and not miss any school. This was the longest night I had seen and had a hard time sleeping but finally morning came and I got up. After I finished the chores and breakfast, I drove the mules up to Aikman to see Uncle Ramus.
I knocked but no one came to the door. I opened the door and hollered “it’s Billie may I come in.” All was quiet and I walked slowly to the room of Uncle Ramus. The door was open, I walked in, and looked at the bump and Uncle Ramus sez “Hi Billie” call your dad and have him come up and look into the other bedroom. I called 2-f-3, on the party line. Dad answered the telephone, and I told him that something was wrong at the home of Uncle Ramus. I said that I thought he should come up now.
Dad arrived in a few minutes, I met him at the door we went to the bedroom where Aunt Ruse and the helper Leech were, and Dad would not let me go in with him.
Dad came out and called the Sheriff at Cassoday to come to Uncle Ramus’s where there were two dead people.
The Sheriff and the coroner agreed that they died because they were scared to death. No marks no blood nothing to show foul play. They removed the bodies and Dad told me to stay with Uncle Ramus until he got back. When everyone had left Uncle Ramus got out of bed and told me in a whisper that he had put on a sheet and walked into the other bedroom. He woke them and when they looked at him, he said Boo! And they both fainted he thought. He checked to see if they were O.K. and he found that they had expired.
It was strange to see Uncle Ramus standing again. He told me that he would have to go to the Poor Farm, east of El Dorado, run by Bill Arnold. He told me not to say anything to anybody because they would think that he had killed Ruse and the helper Leech. Although I thought about killing them, I did not mean for it to happen. The door opened and Dad walked down the hall to the bedroom. Uncle Ramus got into bed before Dad came in. Dad noticed that Uncle Ramus had a smile on his face.
My Dad looked at me and I knew that he was onto Uncle Ramus. I knew that he knew more than he let on. The ambulance came and took Uncle Ramus to the Poor Farm and we left.
We had to go to the Poor Farm to enter Uncle Ramus into one of the rooms. While Dad was filling out the papers Uncle Ramus, lying in bed,
motioned me to come closer. Uncle Ramus wanted to know if I had the key and I said yes. He told me to get the Valise, take it to the farm, and leave it at the foot of the silo on the north forty. I harnessed the mules and took the buggy to the Chelsea Depot, got the Valise, left it beside the silo, and went to the house to get ready for bed.
Later that night Uncle Ramus sneaked into my room and woke me. He said he was leaving the country, but he would leave a reward for me at the silo. He said thanks for the help and he was gone, never to be seen again.
The Poor Farm did not report Uncle Ramus missing because they got money from the State for him. If they reported him missing, they would lose the monthly stipend that they received for him. Dad and I went to visit Uncle Ramus but the staff at the Poor Farm gave us some lame excuse why we could not see him. Dad turned to me and said “O.K. where is Ramus?”
I told Dad everything that happened and that I did not know where he was. Several weeks later I received a penny postcard from the Island of Hoola Hoola. The card said, “Am having a wonderful time wish you were here” the card was unsigned but I knew who sent it. This Island was in the Poola Poola chain along with Island Moola Moola and Boola Boola.
By the way, Uncle Ramus left my reward at the foot of the silo and I was now the proud owner of two crisp $50.00 dollar bills.
Written by the Nephew of Uncle Ramus, Brer Manka 10/27/99.
Copied from a lost document dated 09-15-39.