A NOVEL OF TRAVEL BACK IN TIME
This woman looked just like my Grandmother in the few pictures I had of her in an old album back home.
“What’s your name?” I asked.
“What’s yourn?” She replied.
I thought quickly and just pulling a name out of the air said, “James Hager.”
Her eyes narrowed, and she studied me closely. “I thought you said you weren’t no Yankee Spy.”
“The Hagers been known to be Unionist from up north in Hagerstown. Is that why youse in this area, roaming about and getting ya’self in such a shape that ya needed tending to? Did the Rebs git after ya and hurt ya?” she asked.
“No, No, No,” I said.
“I don’t know nothing about no Hagers from Hagerstown. I tried to get from Baltimore through to Virginny on my own and ran into a lot of trouble.”
“First, my horse went lame, and I had to sell him fur a lot less than what he was worth. Then I ran into Yanks coming out from the south, probably Washington, and had to go more to the north than I wanted to. I guess all the travel and worrying about getting stopped by the Yanks got me under the weather, and I just broke down.”
“I came to Baltimore from Arkansas about a year ago and was teaching school, when all the ruckus about Abe Lincoln came to the fore. I determined to jine the Confederates and lit out for Virginny, but got waylaid with all the Yankee troops moving north.”
“So that’s the reason, you found me in such distress. And by the way, as I remember, you was pulling me outta the water when I blacked out. I wanted to thank ya for all the help…washing my clothes and the vittles. I hope this explains my predicament.”
Again, I nearly choked. This was the name of my Grandmother before she married. But she was from Alabama, and the whole Gray clan had moved from Carrollton, Georgia to near Birmingham after the Civil War. They weren’t from Virginia.
Let me rephrase that. This area of Virginia became West Virginia in 1863.