“Ditch 66 Anthology” Invitation 

by Jessica Stolen
 An Invitation from Bird Island Cultural Centre Board member Paul Heyl:

“I recently reread Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters. It is the story of a small community told through the eyes of people now residing in the Spoon River Cemetery.
Dead people tend to have nothing to lose, so each tells their truths more candidly than they would have when alive. None of the self-eulogies were more than one and a half pages. Imagining deceased people from my life, I began writing their stories. Then it dawned on me; this might be a good way for an extended community to tell its history.
I am looking for people to share their histories for a community production titled, Ditch 66 Anthology. I am hopeful that someone will be willing to tell the story of the seed industry in this area.
It is important to avoid wanting to glorify how sweet and kind our grandmothers were, rather, it is important to focus on specific incidents. Don’t worry about your writing abilities; we will assist you.”

Stories may be submitted to paulheyl@hotmail.com or send it to Paul Heyl, 1011 30th St.NW Unit 210, Willmar, MN 56201.
Paul Heyl is a Cultural Centre Board Member, former Bird Island Mayor, and an avid reader and writer.

Georgie Fewer 
Died (1902) 
“No one knows 
what caused the fire. 
I was a good employee always wanting to please my boss. 
It seemed all important to get as much merchandise 
from the main street furniture store, 
before it was consumed by the fire. 
As I was stepping through the doorway 
a chair in each hand 
the furnace fuel oil tank exploded. 
The entire foundation rose up and fell back into place 
with my foot wedged between the foundation 
and sidewalk. 
At first, I screamed for helpful release, 
then I screamed for someone to cut my foot off 
with an axe from just inside the hardware store across the street. 
My Mama was there screaming 
at the ever growing crowd 
to not harm her son. 
While the fire grew, 
Mama even held onto Herman from the hardware store 
who came with his axe in hand 
until it was too late to save me 
let alone my foot. 
I went out in a blaze 
that was not glory. 
Remembered only for my pleading screams, 
my mother’s refusal to let bystanders axe off 
my ensnared foot until it was too late, 
and the stain that my cremated remains 
embedded into the sidewalk. 
No one even thinks about 
what I might have accomplished 
with or without both feet had anyone in the crowd done what needed doing.”         By Paul Heyl 

To download or print a copy of the entry form click the link below.
https://birdislandculture.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/03/Tales-From-the-Tall-Grass-Prairie-2024-Official-Entry-Form.pdf

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