Friday, May 27, 2016

Read the "Founding" stories of The Homeplace Saga, from the beginning...


American Centennial at the Homeplace: 
The Founding (1833-1876)

A collection of short stories



This collection of short stories compiles each and all of the short stories written to represent this period in the fictional Oak Creek valley and Oak Springs of "The Homeplace Saga" series of family saga, historical fiction stories.

Many of these stories were once published on this blog, but many others were not. Read them in this collection, in order, with additional explanatory information that is background to the entire "The Homeplace Saga" series of family saga, historical fiction stories.

The ebooks of "The Kings of Oak Springs" pick up the stories of this community where this collection ends.

Happy Reading!! ;-)

Friday, May 13, 2016

Consider reading: "Back to the Homeplace"



Consider reading: Back to the Homeplace
set in the Southern Missouri Ozarks


Back to the Homeplace, the debut novel of William Leverne Smith, is available on Amazon.com and elsewhere, both in print and Kindle editions.

The novel is set on a farm and in a nearby fictional community located in the southern Missouri Ozark hills and near a fictional western branch of the Current River. The story revolves around a family dilemma following the death of their matriarch and the unusual will she left to insure the continuity of the farm, which has been in her family for over 150 years, intact. 

The year is 1987. The varied background and viewpoints of the adult children coming back to the Homeplace ignite controversy and expose long kept secrets as each family member searches for his or her share of the family legacy. While the older family members stake their claims on land and fortunes, the younger ones search for love and acceptance. Subplots involve AIDS Awareness in 1987 issues and a support group for domestic violence incidents.

At the heart of this family life story is how we do or do not effectively communicate among family members - parents with children, among children and grandchildren and that we must each face the consequences of our individual actions. What happens when they come back to the Homeplace?

Friday, May 6, 2016

Episode 30 - February 1999 - Life in Oak Springs, the Homeplace


Life in Oak Springs, the Homeplace
February 1999


This series of posts on each Friday, moving forward during 2016 have continued the stories of “The Homeplace Saga” series of family saga, historical fiction families in the area of Oak Springs following the novel “Christmas at the Homeplace,” which ended as 1997 began.

Earlier, we have seen the community move from January 1997 through January 1999. We now continue our story on February 4th of 1999, continuing in episodic serial format…




Episode 30 - Friday, Feb. 5th - Lori, at the Homeplace Country Inn, early morning

[From Episode 29:

Lori decided to wait until morning to call Karen, after she had seen the damage in the daylight. It might look much different then.]

Lori was up shortly after dawn, wearing work clothes and work boots, to examine the storm damage from the night before. The morning was cloudy and cold, but it was not raining. She decided to put on a coat and walk around the Inn on the outside, before she set out, again, to re-examine the damage upstairs on the inside. Wearing leather gloves, she was careful to pick up and toss into a pile away from the house, the many small tree branches, and loose shingles, etc., as she walked around the Inn, to make a clear walk space.

In daylight, the Inn looked both worse and better than it had in the dark the prior evening. There was much more ‘trash’ scattered around the area than she recalled seeing. On the positive side, Lori was pleased to see that the actual damage to the building was limited to the west end of the roof on the addition over Heritage Hall. The older part of the structure did not seem to be damaged at all. There did not appear to be any damage to the lower floor of the new addition. That was gratifying.

About to go back inside, Lori was mildly surprised to see the Deputy Sherriff pull into the parking area, again. It turned out he was just ‘making the rounds’ of the damaged sites. She thanked him for that. He did say that officials were saying, preliminarily, that it was an F-l tornado that had crossed the valley, northwest to southeast. Most electrical service had already been restored, he added. There had been no serious injuries, in spite of the extensive, limited, property damage along the path of the storm.

Back inside, Lori made a walking tour of the entire Inn, starting with the older portion. She found no apparent damage inside, as well. The same was true of the first floor of the newer part, including Heritage Hall. Everything seemed to be in order. Retracing her trip up the stairs to the second floor, above Heritage Hall, it appeared the same in daylight as it had the previous evening. The four rooms on the west, with the roof gone, were each damaged. Water had damaged the rug in the hallway, which would have to be replaced. Otherwise, however, the damage appeared to be limited to that one area. The other six rooms seemed to be undamaged.

Lori was about to call Karen when the phone rang. It was the insurance adjustor for her insurer. He said they would be by later in the afternoon or the following morning. She thanked them for the prompt response. He said their team was anxious to determine the extent of damage of all of their insured, and would let her know their results as soon as they had them available.

Reaching Karen, she shared the information she had available. Lori assured Karen there was no reason for her to rush back. Things would work out, over the weekend, and Karen would be needed the following week, but sooner would not be necessary.

Karen: I’m so glad no one was hurt. That is a minor miracle in itself.

Lori: For sure. Physical damage can be repaired. Let all down there in Austin know we are fine up here. Drive carefully on the way home.




NOTE: This is the final episode of this series of stories. Thank you for your interest!



"May everyone have a homeplace, if only in your mind."

Dr. Bill  ;-)


Friday, April 29, 2016

Episode 29 - February 4, 1999 - Life in Oak Springs, the Homeplace


Life in Oak Springs, the Homeplace
February 1999


This series of posts on each Friday, moving forward during 2016 will continue the stories of “The Homeplace Saga” series of family saga, historical fiction families in the area of Oak Springs following the novel “Christmas at the Homeplace,” which ended as 1997 began.

Earlier, we have seen the community move from January 1997 through January 1999. We now continue our story on February 4th of 1999, continuing in episodic serial format…





Episode 29 - Thursday, Feb. 4th - Lori, at the Homeplace Country Inn - late evening

[From Episode 28:

As they turned to do that, a Deputy Sheriff pulled into the driveway…]

Deputy: You folks need any help here?

Gary: I think we have it under control here… some serious roof damage on the far side, but no injuries.

Lori: Was it a tornado? We saw the Hollingsworth place…

Deputy: We are assessing that now. So far, the worst damage is at the Hollingsworth farm. All the buildings are gone there. Thankfully, no one was living there right now.

Lori: How about Bart Bevins’ place, the Stables?

Deputy: Just came from there. They’re ok. Just tree limbs down, and such.

Lori: Any word on electricity?

Deputy: Crews are out. Outage is fairly localized, we think. If so, they should be able to repair it fairly quickly. Let us know if you need anything. Otherwise, I’ll be on down the road, to check on others.

Lori: Thank you!


Lori joined Maria inside, while Gary took the first ladder around to the far side. In about a half hour, Gary came back in to see Lori.


Gary: Let’s go walk upstairs, together, now that I’ve looked at the damage from the outside.


Gary had his large flashlight, so Lori went with him, to the stairs to the second floor. Once they had assured that the stairway was clear, they went on up, cautiously, Gary leading the way. As they arrived at the second floor landing, in the beam of Gary’s light, they could see the collapsed ceiling about half way down the hall, and even open air, in places. Gary called out to Trace, who responded and they carefully moved ahead, to further assess the damage. The four rooms at the end of the hall were completely demolished with the roof gone. It was hard to tell how much damage there was to the walls and ceilings ‘this side of’ those rooms.


Gary: We’ll work toward getting some tarp up here to minimize any further water damage to the balance of the second floor. There was not a lot of rain after the damage was done, so that is good, so far. It is possible there will be more rain, tonight, however, so that will be our first job. There does not appear to be damage to the floor on this level, nor the ceiling of the first floor. We want to minimize the water damage. You were lucky there.

Lori: For as bad as it is, it could have been so much worse.

Gary: Yes, my thoughts exactly.

Lori: Well, let’s get about doing what we must do. How can I help?


They talked about that as they returned to the main floor, and got to work. Lori decided to wait until morning to call Karen, after she had seen the damage in the daylight. It might look much different then.




[To be continued, next Friday]



"May everyone have a homeplace, if only in your mind."

Dr. Bill  ;-)


Friday, April 22, 2016

Episode 28 - February 4, 1999 - Life in Oak Springs, the Homeplace


Life in Oak Springs, the Homeplace
February 1999


This series of posts on each Friday, moving forward during 2016 will continue the stories of “The Homeplace Saga” series of family saga, historical fiction families in the area of Oak Springs following the novel “Christmas at the Homeplace,” which ended as 1997 began.

Earlier, we have seen the community move from January 1997 through January 1999. We now pick up our story on February 4th of 1999, continuing in episodic serial format…




Episode 28 - Thursday, Feb. 4th - Lori, at the Construction Co offices - late evening

[From Episode 27:

Immediately after the next thunderclap, the phone rings…]

Gary picked up the phone and listened: It’s for you, Lori.

Lori [After listening a few moments]: Stay where you are, I’ll be right there.
[To the men] That was Maria, at the Inn. She said there was a very loud roar, then it sounded like the roof blew off. She is afraid to look. I told her we’d be right over.

Gary: Trace, you take the Ram. Those floodlights are still on it. I’ll take the half-ton, with the ladders. Lori, watch out for debris on the roads… that wind has been pretty vicious. We’re right behind you.


Approaching the turn onto Highway 24, Lori cannot believe her eyes, as she slows nearly to a stop. The familiar scene of Virginia’s farmhouse on the far right corner is now a pile of twisted lumber, it appears. Lori slowly makes the turn, avoiding some tree branches in the road, and proceeds cautiously toward the Homeplace County Inn, just a half-mile further down the road.

Turning in the drive, as the car lights sweep across the Inn, everything looks reasonably normal, except for tree branches strewn across the yard. She parks, notices there are no lights on, and starts to go inside to talk to Maria. The lights of the two trucks following her, with her friends, approach the yard as she approaches the front door.


There are no lights on in the Inn, but Maria approaches her, holding the battery-powered lantern they always keep within arms reach behind the main desk.


Maria: It seemed to end as fast as it started. After I called you, it has been deathly quiet. I am so happy to see you. Thanks for coming quickly.

Lori: Thank goodness you are all right. The construction guys are right behind me. They’ll be able to tell us what happened. [Lori could see their powerful flashlights flashing back and forth, outside] It may have been a tornado. Virginia Hollingsworth’s farmhouse down the road was destroyed. We’re really lucky you are alive.

Maria: I’m fine. Just scared. Nothing really happened down here. But the noise up above was awful. You said to call, so I just called you, and waited to see what happened next. Nothing did. That was almost more scary!

Lori: Oh, you poor thing. Thank you for calling, and being brave. Let’s walk out front, and see if they have found anything yet. [They slowly make their way back out front]


Gary [on his way back to his truck to get the first ladder]: The far corner of the roof on the second floor is gone. Blown away. Looks perhaps like you just caught the edge of a twister. Did you see Virginia’s place?

Lori: I sure did. It made me really scared to come over here.

Gary: You have some severe damage, but in a fairly confined area, it appears, on first inspection. Trace is setting up the floodlights, back there, and we’ll get the ladders out and do a closer look. You may just be very lucky, if you know what I mean.

Lori: Oh my, yes. The whole place could look like Virginia’s, with Maria trapped inside.

Gary: Fortunately, that didn’t happen. Go back inside, and relax, as much as you can. Stay out of this drizzle. Try calling about the electricity… it is probably out all over. I’ll go help Trace.


As they turned to do that, a Deputy Sheriff's car pulled into the driveway…


[To be continued, next Friday]



"May everyone have a homeplace, if only in your mind."

Dr. Bill  ;-)


Friday, April 15, 2016

Episode 27 - February 4, 1999 - Life in Oak Springs, the Homeplace


Life in Oak Springs, the Homeplace
February 1999


This series of posts on each Friday, moving forward during 2016 will continue the stories of “The Homeplace Saga” series of family saga, historical fiction families in the area of Oak Springs following the novel “Christmas at the Homeplace,” which ended as 1997 began.

Earlier, we have seen the community move from January 1997 through January 1999. We now pick up our story on February 4th of 1999, continuing in episodic serial format…




Episode 27 - Thursday, Feb. 4th: Lori, at the Homeplace Country Inn - late afternoon

Lori (speaking to Maria, the evening desk clerk at the Inn): I just got off the phone with Karen. She is nicely settled in down in Austin for her granddaughter’s birthday on Saturday.

Maria: That is nice to hear. I know she has been looking forward to this trip.

Lori: She is really going to enjoy her time there. It should be very quiet here, tonight, too, Maria. No guests tonight, only one couple coming in tomorrow afternoon. Stay close to the phone, in case we get another reservation, but otherwise, you can read or do as you wish this evening. We may get some thunder and lightning, I hear, but we could use the rain.

Maria: I kind of like a rainy night. I brought a good book to read, if it really is quiet. Thanks!  You have good evening, yourself.

Lori: I plan to. You have the number of the office where I’ll be. Don’t hesitate to call me, if anything unusual comes up. I don’t mind being called.

Maria: Thanks. We’ll see how the evening goes.


Later, Lori is having a meeting with Trace and Gary to go over the final plans for the Homeplace Estates housing development. As usual, the men had hot pizza ready when she arrived at the Construction Company office…


Lori: I’ll stick to Diet Coke, tonight, thank you!

Trace: Well, that’s easy to handle. Still quiet at the Inn?

Lori: This week, yes. Winter season finished last week, it seems. Next week it looks like the spring season is starting early this year - more folks coming than we had expected. But, of course, that is always good news.

Trace: Great! Let’s eat, while the pizza is hot. We just took it out. [He handed Lori her plate] Gary has the plans spread out over on the table, when we are ready to look at them.


A bit later, as the three of them have been going over the plans, step by step, detail by detail, to see if they have included everything they planned.


Lori: These look very good, guys. I think they’re ready to present to the Trustee Meeting. Agreed? [A lightning flash filled the room, followed immediately by a huge thunderclap]

Gary: I was simply going to reply ‘Yes’ but that lightning and thunder gave a much more pointed reply.

Trace: That was very close by… [another similar combination] Wow, there it goes, again. [Heavy rain could be heard on the roof and on the windows] I didn’t realize this storm tonight would be this strong.

Lori: The wind seems to be blowing hard, as well.


Immediately after the next thunderclap, the phone rings…




[To be continued, next Friday]



"May everyone have a homeplace, if only in your mind."


Dr. Bill  ;-)


Friday, April 8, 2016

Episode 26 - February 1st, 1999 - Life in Oak Springs, the Homeplace


Life in Oak Springs, the Homeplace
February 1999


This series of posts on each Friday, moving forward during 2016 will continue the stories of “The Homeplace Saga” series of family saga, historical fiction families in the area of Oak Springs following the novel “Christmas at the Homeplace,” which ended as 1997 began.

Earlier, we have seen the community move from January 1997 through January 1999. We now pick up our story on February 1st of 1999, continuing in episodic serial format…


Virginia's Farm house


Episode 26 - Monday, Feb. 1st, late afternoon - Karen visited Virginia again


Karen visited Virginia at the nursing home. Virginia seemed to be in good spirits.

Karen: I wanted to share some news with you about a person we met recently who turned out to be a relative.

Virginia: That is usually a pleasant thing to learn.

Karen: Yes, that was especially true, in this case. His name is Bruce Randolph. He lives in New York City and is about my age, a couple of years younger, actually.

Virginia: New York. Did you know you had any family in New York?

Karen: Not until I talked to you last time. He is Ethel’s son.

Virginia: Well, isn’t that something. I suppose it makes sense, but it has been a very long time. [Karen could see Virginia’s mind wander off into the distance for a few moments. Karen waited a bit to reply.]

Karen: We learned a little more about the story. [She paused] But we also learned there is much of the story of Ethel we will never know. She died shortly after giving birth to Bruce, in 1939. It was within a few days of when Grandpa William died.

Virginia: Did William know?

Karen: We cannot know for sure. It appears he may have had a letter from Ethel that she was having a baby… but then, they each passed away without further contact.

Virginia [Taking that all in, and reflecting]: Then, he and Ethel did keep in contact?

Karen: That does appear to be the case. We did find evidence that he did support her move, financially. However, we did not find any letters between them, just a few brief notes in the journal he kept, that mentioned her, almost in coded words. He was keeping it a secret from the rest of the family, it appears.

Virginia: He did become quite a self-centered man, lived alone, after his wife died. I’m not surprised to hear that.

Karen (turning the conversation back to the positive): Bruce is a very nice man. We are happy to have a new cousin. He met everyone, and I’m sure he will visit, again.

Virginia: That’s nice. That is as it should be.

Karen (changing the subject completely): Is anyone living on your farm now?

Virginia: No, the house is empty right now. The cropland is rented out, of course, but no one is living there. I thought for a long time that I would move back out, but I know now that I won’t. I’m very happy here. I should probably sell it to some nice young family, but just haven’t, yet.

Karen: Well, there is plenty of time to do that, when you are ready.




[To be continued, next Friday]



"May everyone have a homeplace, if only in your mind."


Dr. Bill  ;-)