Episode 11

June 30, 2023


Author of Alabama Short Stories Book and Podcast - Shawn Wright

Hosted by

Dr. Chase Horton
Author of Alabama Short Stories Book and Podcast - Shawn Wright
Discover Birmingham
Author of Alabama Short Stories Book and Podcast - Shawn Wright

Jun 30 2023 | 01:03:29


Show Notes

Dr. Chase Horton gets caught up on his Alabama history with Shawn Wright, author of Alabama Short Stories. Shawn is also the creator of the Alabama Short Stories podcast, which can be found on Apple, Spotify, YouTube, and major podcast platforms.

They talk about the legendary Miss Fancy story, Vulcan's torch, the tragic story of the Botanical Gardens, Bear Bryant's famous "Call Your Mama" commercial, and many more.


Order Alabama Short Stories on Amazon!

Listen to the Alabama Short Stories Podcast! - Season 5 Coming in August

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Watch Short Clips From This Podcast On Instagram!

Visit Dr. Chase's Real Estate Homepage

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Episode Transcript

Speaker 0 00:00:13 I came this cry. Speaker 1 00:00:27 Shawn Wright, thanks for coming on. Great. Thanks for having me. I appreciate being here. Uh, we were talking about it before the episode that you're the first person I've had on who has their own podcast, so I wanted to find out about the mechanics of it, how you do yours. Cause you understand what a labor of love it can be and how time consuming it can feel like. So do you edit your own podcast? Oh, yeah. Yeah. Everything from nuts to Bolts. Yeah. How does that work? Well, this is my second podcast. I have the Alabama Short Stories podcast, and I had a podcast before that called The Shades Kaba Oral History Project. And both of them, well, really the second one is a scripted podcast. So I start with a script. It's well researched. I do a lot of work on making sure that the facts are right. Speaker 1 00:01:09 One of the things I like to do is answer some of the questions people have in my stories that, that have been, you know, online for years. And I'll write the script. I'll sit down, I will do the, uh, voiceover, and then I'll spend a lot of time taking out the ums and ahs as we talked about earlier, making sure it's, uh, it sounds right and sounds similar all the way through. And then I'll try to find a little bit of music to go with it. And I'll try to find, I like to do some sound effects every now and then. I've heard every now and then you'll weave one in. Yeah. It's really hard to find good sound effects. And honestly, I don't wanna spend any money or very little money because this podcast is not a, you know, a money making endeavor. Uh, so I kinda have to work within my budget, but every once in a while I'll find something, uh, crowd scream, a train whistle or something like that. Speaker 1 00:02:00 Uh, yeah. So, uh, um, but that, but that's how I found you, the Alabama Short Stories Podcast. And it reminded me a little bit of Mike Rose podcast. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> the way I heard it. I like it because they're short episodes. So if you're just on a commute to work, maybe your longest episode is 15 minutes, I would say. Correct. Yeah. I'd say most of them are, uh, about 10 or 12 minutes. Yeah. I love that because just on a quick commute, you can turn on an episode and like in your intro it says, for those who are a little behind on their Alabama history, and that got me because I'm totally behind on my Alabama history, so I feel like I'm getting a, a new education from your podcast. I've really been enjoying it. Yeah. And you know, part of the reason why I have the 10 minute episode, and the reason why every season is only 10 episodes long, is I knew I was gonna have to put a lot of time into this. Speaker 1 00:02:48 I didn't want to be committed to doing something every week because that wasn't gonna be sustainable. And I wanted to make sure that, uh, I didn't have to spend too much time writing the episode and all that. So, you know, a 10 minute episode, 12 minute episode is, is about five written pages, six written pages of copy. And that's a lot of work. I'll put a lot of time into it. So I wanted to make sure that it was short enough that, you know, I could keep it up. So when I burn out a little bit, I know I've got a couple months before I really have to get back into it, so I have a little, little breather time in there. Yeah. Talked about the Miss Fancy story on, on a recent podcast. Right. And I totally butchered it, but I <laugh>, you know, I repeated what I remembered from it, and, uh, that's just such a, that's such a Birmingham story. Speaker 1 00:03:32 Yeah, I, I love that, you know, and Elephant rowing the Straits of the City and talk about roll tide. Yeah. But that was a really fun one to, to read and, and to hear about. So as far as your podcast, do you write the script separately from the stories in the book? No, the stories in the book are the podcast episodes. That's awesome. And since they're written out, it's an easy, uh, transition. So all I have to do now, uh, is find some good pictures that are the right price, because a lot of the pictures, like if you go to any of the Birmingham News, which is owned by al.com mm-hmm. <affirmative>, uh, those are gonna cost more than something that I can find at the Alabama Archives or the Library of Congress and places like that. So, you know, you've, you've gotta have the rights to those pictures. Speaker 1 00:04:14 So I spent a lot of time doing that. And also made sure that on this one, that I have all my sources correct. You know, I wanna make sure that people can go back and, and see where my sources came from. Uh, Ms. Fancy is a good example. So Ms. Fancy is one of those stories that everybody tells and is a little bit wrong. So you'll see 'em on Facebook and places and somebody will post, you know, oh, Ms. Fancy did this, or, or that, and I'll give you an example. So when Ms. Fancy, she lived at the Avondale Zoo, and there was a point where they, they had to sell her. It just wasn't sustainable to keep the zoo up. And they sold her to a circus. And, uh, I forget the circus right off hand, but, uh, when I posted it on a history website, lots of comments. Speaker 1 00:05:00 And one of the persons said, oh, yeah, when they sold her, they called her Bama. They didn't call her Bama, they called her Frida. It was in the annual report. So it's those little things that I'm just like, yeah, let's correct those. Let's, let's make sure they're correct. Yes. Have the record straight. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, what was her name before Ms. Fan? I remember it being, it was like Manch, uh, uh, Fanin or Faan or something like that. If you're French, I, I, you know, I'll butcher that, but it was Fanin. Thank God they changed that. That's a terrible name for an elephant or anything else that's Yeah. Not great. Yeah. That was, uh, it was an interesting how they found her, or I know they had wanted to have a marquee animal and, uh, the elephant was perfect and somehow through talks or they knew that there was a, uh, an elephant that they could purchase. Speaker 1 00:05:46 And they went to Tuscaloosa where the, uh, circus was, and they worked out an agreement with the owner of the elephant who was somebody other than the circus. It went really quickly. They put her on a, uh, a train to Birmingham, and by the time she got to train, she was miss fancy <laugh>. Does Alabama's mascot being an elephant have anything to do with that? No, it doesn't. Uh, as a matter of fact, I made some funny comment. I said, because, you know, when you purchase an elephant, where else in Alabama are you gonna do it than Tuscaloosa? Yeah. And then I had one person who posted and said, well, Alabama didn't use the Elephant mascot until so many years after. And you're like, you're taking away all the fun. Yeah. You know, Speaker 1 00:06:34 I just wanna let you know something about Discover Birmingham's partner Dr. Chase Horton Real Estate with exp Realty. That's right. I'm talking about my business. Are you or someone you know, considering buying or selling a home within the next six months? If so, let's chat with their permission. Simply send me their name and number and I'll reach out to talk about the best way to achieve their real estate goal, whether they're a first time home buyer or they're selling a home they've cherished for 30 years. I've got 'em covered. And here's the deal, guys, did you know that there's a huge segment of the population who may not even find out about your listing? While some buyers with realtors may find out about your listing through the MLS or online searches, there's a huge local audience tuning into this very podcast right now. And when you list your home with Dr. Chase Real Estate, I'll showcase your listing on this show. That way thousands of local listeners and potential buyers will discover your listing before anyone else. So, once again, if you know of anyone who's thinking of buying or selling within the next six months or so, simply text home to 2 0 5 2 1 3 9 7 2 0. That's home. H o m e 2 2 0 5 2 1 3 9 7 2 0. All right. Now let's jump back into today's episode of the Discover Birmingham Podcast and highlight the best parts of our awesome city. Speaker 1 00:08:09 I thought it was so funny to imagine her sleeping in the Mattress Factory. I actually, what it was, it wasn't a mattress factory, it was the Birmingham Ad Club had a home show, and it was at this, uh, there was a auditorium somewhere down on, I think Second Avenue. And it was, uh, it was named after an evangelist who had all these auditoriums around so he could tour around and go to these places. They had this home show there. They bought Ms. Fancy pretty quickly. They took her to the Home show, and the mattress company donated the mattresses so she could sleep on the mattresses there. Oh, that's what it was. Okay. Yeah. And so the next morning they got up, they took a tour, they went up to the, uh, Birmingham Age Herald Building, which became the Post Harold. And they basically presented her to the publisher who was instrumental in, um, uh, finding the elephant, purchasing the elephant. Speaker 1 00:09:03 And then she did a tour down 20th Street all the way to Five Point South. Somehow made her way to Lake View and then Avondale to see where her pen was gonna be and where she was gonna live and be around all the other animals. It wasn't built just yet. So they took her to a lumber company that actually had a big space, and they built her a pen that actually was heated, cuz it was during, uh, winter when they got her. So she stayed there until they, they could finish her, uh, pen and her, you know, place to sleep inside, um, at Avondale. And I remember you mentioning that, you know, this was during prohibition and that the only way that she would take her medicine was with a, a solid amount of whiskey. Right. <laugh>. And, and I think it was what, it was almost like at least a pint or something that she would need. Speaker 1 00:09:47 Yeah. It was a pretty large amount. And it was the officers who confiscated the liquor. They would donate the liquor to Ms. Fancy so she could take her medicine. And her caretaker tended to get into it every now and then as, as one would do. Yeah, sure. <laugh>, I think Birmingham has so many unique stories. And another one that stood out to me was about the botanical gardens. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And for one thing, who would've thought, I didn't know that, uh, it was a driving range before it was a garden <laugh>. Right. My friends and I go to trivia every Wednesday night, so we love little tidbits like that. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Yeah. I was, that was fun to find out. And you know, I found that fact out just, uh, doing research on newspapers.com and then you f found out that the man who owned this driving range, and I think before that it was down on by Shades Creek down, uh, off Shades Creek Parkway. Speaker 1 00:10:39 But, uh, he fought it really hard because that was his livelihood and he, uh, he put money into it. He, uh, didn't wanna move, but the, the city, uh, it was a pet project for the mayor. So the city won out and they eminent domained it. Yeah. Yeah. And they, uh, and you know, I think he was renting his, I don't think he owned the property. Mm. But, uh, you know, they were finding golf balls for decades afterwards. So, <laugh>, that was such a minor detail in the overarching story about the Botanical Garden. It was that, I think it was called The Last Wish of a Dying Woman or something like that. Right, right. I'll totally butcher it if I tell it. But something that stood out to me about that story was that, you know, she had this, this terrible diagnosis but ended up living well. Speaker 1 00:11:18 So the story is, um, in a nutshell. Yeah. So this man for Birmingham, he was in the Navy, uh, and he was in the Navy at the end of World War ii. And he was in occupied Japan. And he met a woman there that he named Katie. She had a, another name, but they got married and they moved back to Alabama where, and, you know, she was a little worried about it because it was the end of World War ii. Um, how would she be, you know, accepted in the south? And, you know, we, the south was not kind to minorities in the late forties, but she came to Birmingham and really loved the, the city. And she became pretty popular amongst her friends about teaching, you know, tea, uh, ceremonies. Um, she loved to garden. Her husband Jack, he, he struggled to find work and he would go to Miami and some other places. Speaker 1 00:12:10 And they ended up having four children, I believe. And somewhere along the way she found out that she had a braiden tumor and that she got sent to a nursing home in Atlanta that would take care of her. And her dream was that there would be a garden built in her memory in Birmingham, cuz she loved Birmingham. She probably knew she would never get back there. And that kind of took on a life of its own. I don't know what her idea was. She probably thought it was gonna be Let's do a little small garden. Yeah. But it turned into this, this huge undertaking as part of the larger Botanical Gardens master plan, which probably included a Japanese garden, but it probably wasn't on top of their list. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> when they started this. But then, um, some garden clubs got involved, took on a life of its own, you know, she was a big celebrity at it. Speaker 1 00:12:58 She never came to Birmingham to see it. They started this, this project and it turned into what it is today. And it's, it's just a huge, yeah. That's one of my favorite parts of the Botanical Garden. It's so unique and it's beautiful. But obviously we'll get back into some stories at some point, but when you're writing mm-hmm. <affirmative>, how do you decide what story you wanna write about? Or does it just kind of come to you in a dream? Or do you, is it, is it people, you know, you hear people talking about certain things and you think that'll be a perfect story. How do you pick it? So I've got a master list of every story that's popped into my head. Some of them, they're just not gonna work out. They're not long enough. Like I've got this one story about, what is his name? Speaker 1 00:13:37 Waldo Sermon I think. And he's the inventor of p PVC vinyl. Okay. Which can turn into records and stuff like that. There's a lot of chemists and, um, inventors that have made things like that. And you're like, this would be great, but that's a 32nd story. I need a 10 minute story. Yeah. So I can bundle some of those together. But I've got this long list and I look at it and I stare at it for a while and I wait for inspiration to jump into, into my head. And, and I think, yeah, that could be a story. And then what I'll do is I'll start doing research. I use Evernote as kind of my catchall file system, and I'll go through and I'll start looking for websites, doing searches. I'll put the stories in there. I'll find, uh, newspaper articles, which really has a lot of interesting information. Speaker 1 00:14:23 Cuz if you can go to newspaper articles, you can usually change that perception. Everybody has. You can, you can prove it like the, the whole fasion story about what, you know, the elephant's name was. So I just start putting lots of, uh, research material in there. I'll go through pick outs, will jump out and say, yeah, this, this is what we're writing about today. Yeah. And, um, I'll start working on it. And writing is kind of new to me. I'm a graphic designer by trade. That's what I've done all my life. I've tried to stay away from writing as much as I could, but it's really become something that I've really enjoying in the past, you know, five, 10 years and really just five years. So it's difficult. I think writing's difficult in general, but, uh, you know, I'll write a little bit, then I'll do another story, start writing on that, and then I'll come back to it after a while. Speaker 1 00:15:09 It just, it kind of works itself out and for some reason it just falls into the 10 minutes. It really, it's not, I'm not trying to edit it down to that 10 or 12 minutes. It just, that's the way the stories fall out. Well, I think the short story idea is, uh, is perfect for now. You know, people's attention spans have decreased over the years. So I think short stories they really hit, especially with the bite-sized podcast and the stories that, you know, you could read a chapter before bed. It's not like a cliffhanger. Another one of my favorites of yours is the one about the wall up around Florence, the Shoppy. What's Tom's wall? What's Tom's wall? That's, it's called Toms Wall. Yeah. My wife's family is from around Florence. So we've been up there before. And as I was hearing the story, you know, it's the same story that the man tells. Speaker 1 00:15:55 You know, when you, when you come, he's there. Tom is, and he'll, he, he will tell you the whole story about his grandmother and why he did it. And have you ever been? No. Oh man, it feels very sacred, for lack of a better term. But, um, before we were going, my wife's aunt, who's very familiar with it, was like, you know, they have a fertility rock there we're like, what? <laugh>? And this was before we were married. So she's like, don't touch the rock <laugh>. Over the year, we've talked to a couple of people who swear mm-hmm. <affirmative> that they were having fertility issues for sometimes years. And they've touched this rock at Tom's Wall and it worked. They were able to get pregnant after touching this rock. You know, I don't know how to explain it, but something happened. Yeah. And I think it's so cool, but that's a really amazing story. Speaker 1 00:16:42 I mean, imagine this guy spending years and years and years building a stone wall. Yeah. That's such an endeavor. I mean, if I've, I've moved, you know, a pallet of, of grass before, you know, piece by piece and just wanted to die at the end of the day. And this man day after day after day was taking truckloads of rock and moving them and plaing them and building. And it's like doing the podcast. How long am I gonna do this podcast? You know, is it over now? Do I have another 10 years? But he was committed to building this and just every day. And, you know, I think about his poor wife having to, you know, put up with that the whole time as well. But, uh, yeah, I, I've heard such great stuff about it. I'd love to see it. Uh, it is on my list, but, you know, there's also a dinosaur tooth in the wall somewhere, so No kidding. Speaker 1 00:17:30 If you touch that, you know, who knows what'll happen? Who knows. Yeah. You might travel back in time or something. <laugh> you. That's, uh, that's an amazing one. Tylee, recommend visiting the Wall if you've never been. Are you working on anything new or is there gonna be a season four of the podcast? Yeah, actually there is a season four, oh sorry, season five. Yeah, season five. Um, I finished writing season five, and this is the time of the year for graphic designers. Everybody's on vacation, so there's not a whole lot of work. So I'm trying to take advantage of the time and write as much as I can. So I've finished season five, which I will probably put out in August. The last story is about Veterans Day, about it being started in Birmingham. So I kind of want it to end, come out right before Veteran's Day. Speaker 1 00:18:14 So, you know, I usually have about three or four months between seasons. And so while I've got the time, I've started on season six. And once I finish writing season six, then I'm gonna do a second book. So I've got three seasons in each book. Very nice. You've got it all planned out ahead of time. Yeah, I think that's the move the way that I'm doing this podcast. I'll record one and then I'll release it. I'm scheduling guests, you know, pretty much weekly, but I had a guest on recently, uh, named Chewy, and he owns some favorite Birmingham restaurants. So since then I've had people now reaching out to me about coming to the podcast. Mm-hmm. So now I've got five booked out. So that's how I need it, you know, I want to have 'em scheduled ahead of time where I don't just have to record it and then release it where I can have some kind of like, in the pocket that I can release in case I'm out of town for a week or something like that. Speaker 1 00:18:58 So really enjoying doing the podcast. Not many people have a podcast. Right. And when people find out that you have a podcast, they like to chat about it. So it's been fun as far as that goes. Well, let me ask you, what, why do you have a podcast? What's your, not necessarily an endgame, but other than just enjoyment, which I think is valid, what is, uh, what's your reason for having a podcast? I love listening to podcasts. I, I hardly listen to music anymore, whether I'm in, in the car Right. Or in the gym, or, uh, cooking dinner. I've normally got a podcast playing in the background. So it gives me a reason to reach out and meet people that I Yeah. That I really would not have had a reason to do before. Some of the people that I've had on, I probably wouldn't have been connected with otherwise. Speaker 1 00:19:38 Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So it gives me a good way to just make some new friends to network mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And, um, you know, I'll also subtly every now and then, uh, weave in the fact that I'm a realtor and, you know, people can discover my business that way. So yeah, it's got multiple, uh, purposes, but ultimately it's, it's something unique that I can do. It's kind of a new hobby, and I've, it's been fun. Yeah. That's, you know, I kind of got into podcasting, like this first book here that I've got, the Shades gba Oral History Project. What year was that? Like 2018? 2019. We were leading up to the hundredth anniversary of Shades GBA Elementary opening. And it used to be a high school and it was a, or originally was a high school, and it was the first one over the mountain in south, uh, Jefferson County. Speaker 1 00:20:23 And, you know, there's a whole backstory there that I won't get into, but I didn't know if they were doing anything. They were gonna celebrate it. So I contacted the principal and he said, contact the PTO president. And they had some stuff going on. And, um, I just had this idea that I wanted to go and interview the high school students from Shades, gaba, and it closed in 1949 and became Shades Valley High School. Mm-hmm. So, but then once I really started thinking about it, those 1949, um, students are all like 90 years old now, and there were not a whole lot of them left. So my idea about having this oral history that I could record for people just, uh, um, kind of went by the wayside. I found a couple of people, herb Griffin, for instance, who's the, a legend in Homewood. Yeah. Speaker 1 00:21:08 Um, you know, I got to interview him. I've known him, um, from church. And, uh, I kind of turned it into maybe more of a, instead of interviews, it was more of, uh, stories. You know, I talked about athletics at Shades Coba, and I, I tried to document all these different things and I made it to about 23 episodes. It was gonna be limited anyway. I made it to 23 episodes, and that's when Covid started. And I thought, okay, I guess we're done. You know, and then all my work went away and I'm sitting at home and I think, I can't sit on the sofa watching Netflix and drinking wine for who knows how long. So I've gotta do something. So I thought, well, let's turn this into a book. How hard could a book be to write <laugh>? It's pretty hard about that. Yeah, I would imagine so. Speaker 1 00:21:53 Because none of the stories, none of the, none of my podcast was really written like a book. I had to actually go back in and re-edit and put it into some kind of book form. But I really enjoyed the process and it was really fun. And now I've got a book that I could hand out, I could sell. You're talking about, you know, hyper-local. This is hyper-local. Totally. And a lot of people bought it. It's, uh, it's been great. It's so much fun to see it on the library shelves, you know, see it on Amazon. And that's kind of what got me going after it all ended. I was like, I, I need something else to do. And I was like, I need another podcast. I like doing the podcast. How do I do it? And that's how the Alabama Short Stories podcast came about. Speaker 1 00:22:36 Yeah. I, I did wanna get into the first 100 years book. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. I haven't listened to that podcast. I actually didn't know about it. Yeah. I knew you. I knew you'd written the book, but I didn't know there was a, a podcast attached that's gonna be one that my mom will love. My mom is huge on old Alabama history. She loves it. She's big on Ancestry and yeah, she's, uh, me too. Yeah. She's traced our lineage back to, you know, old Cahaba, the town, and she's connected it to the McElroy family and how they were in the fabric business. And she loves tracing and, and researching. She's part of study clubs and she's part of the d a r and she's just like, history buff, Speaker 1 00:23:21 More cash, more capital, and new customers for your business. That's where Moxie comes in. Moxie Birmingham is a growing community of small businesses helping one another thrive as a member. You earn more revenue from brand new customers, not spend your hard earned revenue on various expenses and even get a no interest, no payment line of credit all within the Moxie Network. As a Moxie member myself, I can tell you that I choose to support other businesses that also accept moxie. In fact, I've discovered some of my very favorite restaurants, health care practitioners and home and auto service businesses through Moxie. I'm talking soho, social, heavenly Donuts, nothing but cakes, just to name a few. Go to moxie birmingham.com. That's m o x E y B h A m.com to learn more. Moxie, it's the smarter way to barter. Speaker 1 00:24:31 I, I, I remember I was, I do a lot of stuff with scouts, or I used to do a lot of stuff with scouts, and we would have to do presentations for this one wood batch thing that I did. And I remember somebody saying, you keep saying so, you know, like, I go, so you know, the next, so, and I'm like, oh, I can't do that. And besides if you do the ums and the ahs, uh, it's a lot of editing work. It's a ton of editing work. I, I'll typically go through and remove most of them, whether it be from myself or, or the guest. But it's made me very conscious of how I speak. And I, I haven't mastered it yet, but I have noticed that I am now more aware of my filler words, partly because I know it's gonna save me a lot of time on the back end while I'm editing. Speaker 1 00:25:13 But also because my last guest was named, uh, Lee Penta, you know, it was Gus's Hotdogs. Yeah. Awesome guy. He is so well spoken. And he was talking to me about it after, and I was asking him how you avoid saying, um, and things like that. And he said, it's the Barack Obama system. He says that a pause for effect is a lot more engaging. It kind of brings the audience in than an, um, filler word. So if you just pause and don't fill that void, then it makes it more engaging to listen to. I think he's right. I would think that the pause gives you a chance to think about your thought, because the filler word is really that we're going, mm, what's that next word I wanted to say? The pause would take that out. I would think. What I noticed personally is that I have podcast ptsd because my first podcast that I did, I did with my old partner when I was a chiropractor. Speaker 1 00:26:10 And, and I love him. He, and I've been friends for a long time, and he is an absolute legend, but when we get on the mics, he's kind of, um, he's like a bulldozer, you know, like he gets, he, if a thought comes into his head, doesn't matter if you're in mid-sentence or not, that thought's coming out. So when I was doing that podcast with him, I would have to throw in a filler word to let him know I wasn't done with my thought in hopes that he wouldn't try to butt in. So, well, I kinda had that on the Shades Cahaba podcast, I, the lunchroom Lady edition, I knew more about this man's grandmother than he did. And so I filled him in on a lot of the history before we started talking. And I said, you can present this as your own so I don't have to. And, and then he just kind of went off and started making things up. It's like, okay, okay, let's come's, try this again. Speaker 1 00:27:00 I think it's awesome to be aware of the history, especially around the area that you're from, especially in short bits like you have. I'm sure that's a pretty good party trick. I I bet people like talking to you at gatherings because you know a lot about where you are and just simply knowing a lot about the location that you're in is, is interesting and engaging to talk to. Are there any stories that stand out as far as the ones that people have the most questions about? I don't know if it's, if people have the most questions about it, maybe it's more of the people don't know the story. I've, I've <laugh> I have a tendency, I've got some friends I go hiking with, you know, just a Red Mountain park or wherever. And when I go hiking or we go mountain biking, I tend to talk a lot. Speaker 1 00:27:41 I don't know if it's the blood going through my system, but I'm just talking, talking, talking. And I'll start telling these, these stories and things like that. And it, it's usually people like, oh, I didn't know that. I didn't know about Miss Fancy and, and kind of her background, the, some of the little details. And it might be too much for them, but, you know, they put up with it. So I just don't think people know about the history around here or the rest of the state, which I'm trying to do. A good bit of my audience is Birmingham. I, I'm surprised that it hasn't really grown in other places, and it's probably because of Facebook and the places I'm able to, to post the story. I don't know if maybe the people in Huntsville are, you know, uh, listening to it as much. I'm, I'm trying to get more in about mobile, uh, which is where my mom's from. Speaker 1 00:28:25 Um, there's some interesting stories down there. Yeah. I enjoy the Joe Kane story. Yeah, that's, and I've got another story we're gonna talk about the Kla Tilda and Cujo Lewis, and which is kind of the, the beginnings of Africa Town and Plateau in, uh, the mobile area because my mom grew up in Pritchard and she lived right on the edge of that. And that was something that I had no clue about up until recently. Not that, you know, you would tell a 10 year old all about the history of Pritchard, Alabama. Uh, but I, it was interesting. So I, I'm getting into that and I'm kind of crafting that story, so trying to tell a little bit more about that. But just, you know, looking at other people's podcasts and looking at books and, and you'll hear these little stories and you wanna latch onto that and, and dig a little deeper and find out there's something interesting going on there from listening to your podcast. Speaker 1 00:29:16 It seems like there have been a surprising amount of inventors out of Alabama. The ones that stand out to me are the inventor of the Super Soaker and the Nerf gun, and I think he's still alive. Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. He's still around. And then the windshield wiper mm-hmm. <affirmative>, Marion Anderson. Yeah. And then one of the versions of the typewriter. Right. And he was from Center, Alabama, just before the Civil War. He, he was like the editor of the paper in center, and he was a lawyer and a couple other things. And I think he just got tired of writing. So he came up with some system that would kind of write for him. And it was pretty popular. Well, I don't wanna say it's pretty popular. It was, it worked pretty well. And the Civil War was about to start. So he went to England, took it with him, and he had it patented there, and then he brought it back and they sold it here. Speaker 1 00:30:06 But there was another group at the same, there's actually a couple of different groups that were inventing a typewriter of sorts. And I think the Underwood typewriter was the one that really kind of took off, but they took part of this guy's, I think they might have bought him out and stuff like that. So I think at the end of it, I quoted somebody else that says, yeah, if the Underwood typewriter is the father of typewriters, then this guy is certainly the grandfather of typewriters. So do people ever suggest ideas to you? Oh yeah. My dad does all the time. Really? Yeah. He's, and, and my dad was the, the first episode that I did. He's the only person that I interviewed at all, but, uh, dad's always calling me up with, with ideas and usually they're pretty good. So yeah. I would love to find out more about that fountain in the middle of five points in front of the church. Speaker 1 00:30:50 Right, right. They're fixing that up right now. Are they? Yeah, they've gone in, they've been cleaning it up. I think the art museum is a part of that. You know, they want to restore it and make sure it's still in, in good working shape, but it's, uh, Frank Fleming who did that. Mm. And that is on my list because, you know, a lot of people, a lot of people, they're some conspiracy theorist say that, oh, it's the devil and it's worshiping the devil. Yeah. And it's called the Storyteller. It's, it's a, a weird animal telling stories, but if you've seen Frank Fleming's other artwork, his other sculptures, you, you know, it's right in line with what he would do. So, yeah. I think whenever people see, uh, that the goat head on the human body, they think like Baffa matter, you know, something's crazy. But yeah. Speaker 1 00:31:30 I'm glad to know that it's not that, especially since it's in front of the church, but I think with it being in the center of Five Points, people think, you know, pentagram. Yeah, right. I, I could see why someone might go down that route, but I'm glad to know that it's not that. But you know, that story, it's a great story. Uh, it might be a two minute story. I don't know if I can get 10 minutes out of it. So it's sitting there in my to-do list wondering if, uh, one day I might could put it with something else. Is there another story that'll go along with that? And I found that's been a, a pretty good way to extend my stories. It seems like there are a lot of stories that would be really good stories, but they are too short. Maybe something like YouTube shorts could be a, a good outlet for that. Speaker 1 00:32:05 Yeah. There's little one minute. Of course, you gotta do video then, and that's a whole new component. Well, that's a good point. You know, it's, it's nice that you're doing video. I think it's great you're doing video and I actually put my podcast on YouTube, but it's an audiogram audio. Yeah. And I consciously did not want to do the video early on because I was gonna have to find images and I was gonna have to find a lot of images. A lot of people posting are posting images that are copyrighted or that they haven't gotten permission. And I'm trying to be on the up and up and not do that. Especially cuz in the book it, it'll, it'll get me, you know, if, if somebody finds out. But, uh, I just, I just thought that was more work than I wanted to do. It does add a whole new level to it because we're capturing the audio here mm-hmm. Speaker 1 00:32:51 <affirmative> through this P four device, then you gotta match it up separately with the audio on the camera. And I do that within a video editing platform called Shot Cut. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And it's, it is an open source platform and it works really well. But because I have to get up and shut the camera off every 30 minutes, <laugh>, and then restart it. Right. You have to go through and match it up several different times. And then through that I'll make reels for Instagram. And that's the way that I utilize the video. I try to take the most interesting things that you say or that I say. Mm-hmm. And just highlight those. So I do have an entire video of the whole podcast and sometimes I'll put those on YouTube, but it takes two hours to upload it to YouTube because it's in 4k. So Yeah. Speaker 1 00:33:34 It's a whole thing. Yeah. Yeah. It's, uh, you know, you gotta think about these things. I mean, I was a little active on Reddit, or at least I like to follow a lot of the people on podcast subreddits, <laugh>. There's so many people who are like, okay, I just bought, you know, $2,000 worth of, of equipment for my podcast. What should I talk about <laugh>? Like, well, you've lost, you've already lost. Nobody's gonna listen. Nobody wants to listen to you ramble. You know, they wanna see an interview, they want a a story, they wanna know what's going on. Yeah. They put the car before the horse. Yeah. You're not Joe Rogan. That's right. Yeah. So just let's, and, and I feel sorry for these people because they're so excited about it and they, they want to do something creative. And at the end of the day, that's what I want to do. Speaker 1 00:34:17 I want to make something, you know, I'm a visual artist. I, I'm writing, which is fun. I'm doing the podcast. I do, you know, I've done video and other things and I just want make something and, uh, and kind of have some joy doing it. So, um, and so I feel sorry for these people who are just like, I spent all this money, what now? Yeah. Good luck, <laugh>. Yeah. I like the history aspect of it because it will always be relevant. Yeah. Someone might discover your podcast in 15, 20 years. It'll always be relevant because it's history. One of my favorite ones was about the go to church or the devil. We'll get you signed <laugh>. Yeah, that's great. And uh, when you said that they almost changed it to Paul, bear Bryant walking on water, I was like, that's so Alabama. Yeah. Yeah. Speaker 1 00:35:03 And in my mind, I always see that sign for some reason. I want to think that that's been there since I was a child. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. But what, what did they put it up in like the late eighties, early nineties? I think it was. Yeah, it was, it's pretty new. And you're just like, okay, well, you know, I just, I love seeing that sign. I look forward to seeing it. And when it was, when it fell down, it took 'em a while to put it back up. And I think everybody was a little distressed that it was not gonna be put up quick enough. But my favorite part about the story was once I got into it and I'm like, you know, can I get 10 minutes out of this? And I started doing the background and you're like, oh, the, the devil wasn't this guy's own property. Speaker 1 00:35:42 It wasn't like he created the devil. It came from the tan car gas stations in Montgomery. They had their red devil oil and, you know, it was, it was posted outside the, the gas station. So that was their, their mascot. Yeah, yeah. Like a tiger in the tank kind of thing. Yeah. You know, it's, that was their mascot. And I think once it all shut down, somehow he came up with it and he put it up. So, you know, I just loved, you know, hearing that story and, and also the man's story, who, you know, he was a, um, a civil engineer. He helped his company, helped build a lot of the interstates, probably the interstate right there in front of that lake, uh, where the sign is. So it was interesting hearing all those stories and finding out where the devil really came from. Speaker 1 00:36:22 Do you have a favorite story that you've worked on? Well, they're all my children. Isn't that what we're supposed to say? A hundred percent. One of my favorite is the first one I did, and it really kind of is what put me on this path, was the interview that I did with my dad. And that story was about the Bear Bryant call Your Mama ad for South Central Bell. Oh. And the reason why I wanted to do it was I kept seeing these stories on social media and people would tell it and they would tell it wrong. What's, you know, how did he get started? What was going on? Well, my dad was the creative director for, uh, lucky and Forny advertising at the time. He was at a supper club and one of his, uh, good friends, huge Alabama fan, just knew everything Alabama. Speaker 1 00:37:07 And just as a passing story, he said that when the freshmen would come on campus, bear brunt would make 'em sit down and write a note home, let their parents know that they were doing fine actually sending a, a card. Cuz you know, back in the day, I guess having a, you know, doing long distance was expensive. Yeah. You know, he said that he thought that was a great idea. He brought it back to his team of writers, videographers and others, and they wrote this story about him having them sit down and call their parents or write their parents. And it was actually one of a number of commercials, none of which we remembered to this day. You know, they were just throwaways, I guess. And as he was doing, bear Bryant was doing his bit. He said, Hey, can I add one more part? Speaker 1 00:37:53 I want to try something different. And, uh, they said, uh, you know, sure. And that's when he did his, you know, I, I wish I could call my mama and it, you know, and it just blew up. Uh, you know, there's a story about a man called South Central Rebell and told him, I want to thank you for that, because it made me think to go call my mom. And she died that night. Wow. So I got to talk to her and, but you would hear all these crazy things about the people who were involved. And I just, I wanna set the record straight and I wanna give people credit where credit was due and I move on. So that was, that was fun. And <laugh>, my dad actually did a really great job when I interviewed him. You know, can, can you imagine interviewing your dad? Speaker 1 00:38:32 Oh yeah. <laugh>, he knew this, he knew the assignment and, uh, he sat down and we did it. Right. So, and he's the only one I've interviewed and he probably will be the only one that I interview. It's a historical piece. And, um, it's actually my number one episode. Um, everybody loves that really. And, um, and then I found the old commercial online, and because I had the skills with video editing and audio, I was able to go in and kinda sweeten it up a little bit, make it a little easier to listen to from a, you know, 1980s videotape that's been uploaded to YouTube <laugh>. Speaking of those skills, did you know those before you started podcasting? Or was that from graphic design or was it a kind of a learn as you go kind of thing? Yeah, learn as you go. So I'm, I'm a graphic designer. Speaker 1 00:39:13 I'm self-employed. Been self-employed for years. Um, what, what's your business called? It's Sean Wright Graphic Design. Okay. There's nothing special about it. Sean wright.net. There you go. Because of that, I, and I was a print designer to begin with and I'm, that's still my, my true love. I love to do brochures and reports, that kind of thing. I do lots of websites and, you know, five years after I started in the business, we got a computer. So everything changed and it always has changed. And the farther along we've gotten, technology is easier to use. You know, you can get the video editing program. You don't have to go to an avid machine where it was in a big room and you know, have big videotapes. You're putting in, you can do it on your laptop. And I use Final Cut Pro as as my video editing app. Speaker 1 00:39:56 But there's all sorts of very simple things that you can use on your phone because of that. These are services I've offered over the years. You know, I've written, um, radio episodes or I've, um, done videos for corporations and things like that. It's not, it's not top of the thing that I want to do, but, you know, if, if your client needs it and wants it, well let's go ahead and do it. Yeah. So, yeah, for me it was also kind of a learn as you go kind of thing. I had practiced a little bit and picked it up from, I had a chiropractic YouTube channel, and I don't know if you know this, but chiropractic videos on YouTube are very popular. I bet <laugh> people light hearing that crack. Right. And so sometimes I would have a friend come in or something and I would adjust them and video it and I would put a, uh, a lapel microphone right under where I was gonna be adjusting. Speaker 1 00:40:44 So it gets, it really picks up that sound and they would always be popular and uh, learn how to edit and everything that way. So then once it morphed into the podcast, some of it translated, but I had my buddy Josh on, uh, episode three of this podcast and he owns, uh, a new hair salon downtown called The Well Salon. It's really nice. It's where I get my hair cut. And he came in the evening to do a podcast and I wanted to promote his grand opening. And I go to bed by nine every night. That's my bedtime. A o l goodbye at nine o'clock. Like after that I'm out. He had to come late. So we pushed through, we went for an hour and 45 minutes, which is way longer than I normally go on a podcast. And we wrapped it up and it was great. Speaker 1 00:41:27 And I was ready to go to bed and I looked down to cut off the sound and I had totally forgotten to press the record button. Right. <laugh>. So Josh is a night house. He's like, oh man, it's okay. Like, we'll, we'll just go again. I got another hour and a half and I'm, in my mind I'm like slowly dying but <laugh>. So we went again. But that one little tech malfunction Oh man, that's made me 100%, like, should double check everything right beforehand and make sure you get it right. Sometimes you have a little learning moment like that mm-hmm. <affirmative> that, that you never forget. Yeah. And I think, not putting words in your mouth, but I bet you're probably doing the podcast the same reason I'm doing it. We're doing it cuz we like to do it and it's fun, but maybe somebody's gonna see this or see my book or listen to my podcast and they're gonna go, you know what, he does this, I'm gonna give him money now to do something else. Speaker 1 00:42:21 <laugh>. That, that's definitely a piece of it. Yeah. And, uh, you know, in my case, I've, I had a, one gentleman found my book from Tampa and he, he called me up and he's just published his plays that he's written, he's written five plays over, you know, the decades and we put it together in a book. So that was, you know, that was just a out of nowhere, you know, a a you know, bonus to to doing the, uh, book. It can pay off in ways that you don't expect it to. Right. I had my friend Chewy on a of previous episode that I mentioned, and that's where I gave him your book as a, as a gift for coming on because he's a big Birmingham guy. He really enjoys history as well. I knew he'd like it, but as a joke with him when I was searching for your book on Amazon, the second one that popped up is a, uh, it's an erotic novel called Alabama Admirer <laugh>. Speaker 1 00:43:06 So I, I had punched in Alabama short stories Nice. And just because of the SEO Alabama admirer popped up after. So I was like, I, I gotta get this too. So I first acted like I was giving him that as his thank you for coming on. And I read the, uh, the back of the book and it's, it's, uh, a really <laugh> it's, it's a wild sounding book. So yeah, I have a copy of it. I haven't read it yet. I probably won't, but I will, uh, I will give that to the right person. <laugh>. Right. <laugh>. That's great. But as far as season five coming out, what do you think will be the biggest hit out of all those stories you think? I actually, before I came here, I actually wrote these down cuz I knew you were gonna ask me questions. Yeah. And I was not gonna remember a thing I've got, I'll tell you the, the stories I've got right now. Speaker 1 00:43:49 Yeah. I wanna know. So sneak peek. We're talking about Smith Lake. Everybody knows Smith Lake. What you don't know probably is that it filled really fast, but it filled up with nine months because of rains and things like that. So there's a whole story about that. It was supposed to take five years. No kidding. Yeah. So we'll talk about that a little bit. We're gonna talk about the Region's bank building, the holiday lights. Oh. But we're also gonna talk about other lights throughout the state and you know, about how people have celebrated using the lights over the years and really talk about kind of their history. We're talking about, uh, veterans Day. That's a big one. I don't know if you know, but Veteran's Day started in Birmingham. Raymond Weeks was instrumental back up a little bit. There was our Misas Day for the end of World War I on the 11th hour of the 11th month of the 11th day. Speaker 1 00:44:34 Mm-hmm. You know, and so he turned it into Veteran's Day. So it started in Birmingham. So it's supposedly the biggest Veterans Day parade. I've got John Henry, the steel driving man, you know that folklore. Yeah. Supposed to be up in West Virginia, probably more like Donovan. So, um, we're gonna talk a little bit about that. No kidding. You an Alabama fan. I'm an Auburn fan. Oh, well good for you. I have all my teeth <laugh>, so I, uh, I'm, I'm happy to talk about Alabama athletics and all that. So we're gonna talk about Shorty Price. I don't know if you know about, about him. He was a, a character. He ran for governor all the time. He was, he was a little tiny man who was probably Alabama's number one cheerleader up until, you know, the eighties. That's a fun story We're gonna talk about. Hugo Black Supreme Court, justice Hugo Black got his start in Birmingham. Speaker 1 00:45:22 Oh. But he was also initiated into the Klan and one of the largest initiations, clan celebrations ever. Right. About where Lake Shore and Columbiana Road intersect in Homewood. Um, there was a huge lake there. Edgewood Lake. Yeah. There was a race course track. This podcast story's gonna talk about the intersection of those three. Interesting. Um, yeah. So, uh, that's, that's been a fun story. Uh, we're gonna talk about Carrie Tuggle. She started a school really for kids who were in the criminal system who were being jailed with adults. So she started the school for these children over in Enon Ridge, which is kind of close to North Smithfield, somewhere around there. And she started this school that really gave hope to a lot of kids and some, um, really good people came out of there like Ag Gaston, you know, um, he came out of there, uh, we're gonna talk about Harper Lee and Truman Capote. Speaker 1 00:46:26 Oh, that'll be a good one. From, from Pint Monroeville, right? Monroeville, yeah. They were friends growing up. He lived with his aunts next door to Harper Lee and her family. And then, uh, kind of their relationship moving forward and, and adulthood and kind of how it fell apart. Yeah. And the, the allegations there, are you gonna get into that, that Truman Capote maybe more than helped her Right. To Kill a Mockingbird? Yeah. I think that has kind of been pushed aside. Oh, has it? I think it's more of how much she helped him with in Cold Blood. Oh really? She wrote I think 150 pages of well thought out notes from Cuz she went out and helped him. He ended up, I think he dedicated the book to her and his friend, but did not acknowledge what she did for him. Interesting book. Because he was really mad at, by this point because he had been a writer for years. Speaker 1 00:47:18 She had been <laugh>. She wrote this book To Kill a Mockingbird and it became wildly successful. So he just couldn't handle that. That's a good one. You can set the record straight on. Yeah. And then the last story is about Sam z Murray, the banana man. He was about this Jewish immigrant who ended up in Selma, Alabama. He found that bananas were coming into the port of Mobile, found out that they were throwing away what they called rips, the ones that would not make it to market. So why even take it out? Yeah. And this is, um, you know, 18 hundreds, um, late 18 hundreds and basically about him starting this little business and eventually becoming head of United Fruit, which is now Chiquita Banana. And he just became this wealthy. And, and, um, he also had his hand in overthrowing governments in Honduras and Guatemala. Speaker 1 00:48:12 Oh, okay. All started from this guy from Selma. So the banana cartels. Yeah. Yeah. So those, those are the stories that I've got for season five. And then, you know, season six we're talking about, uh, you know, sacred Heart Music. We're talking about Cujo Lewis, the Good Roads movement about improving the roads throughout the state. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, the WT Smith Lumber Company. And, you know, in Alabama and the Wiregrass down there, there's a whole story about that. There's, um, Willie Mays and his father playing on an industrial baseball team here in Birmingham. Together, they were both in the outfield and kind of a little bit of story about Willie Mays and all that. So that's where I am on that. And those stories won't come out until 2024. Wow. So you're way ahead of the game. Yeah. Some of those sound really, really good. Yeah. Can't wait to hear that. Speaker 1 00:48:56 So when you release a season, you released the whole season at one time? Uh, no. No. Or you do like HBO and Drip One per week? Yeah, one per week. They'll come out on Tuesdays for 10 straight weeks. And then I'll have, I've got a website that doesn't necessarily have a little more information, but you can listen to it there. I'll put out, do my social media drops throughout the week. I'll do, uh, um, I'll do a YouTube audiogram version that I'll put out there. Not many people listen to that. But, uh, one just hit me that you might possibly do in the future. I know you probably get tired of people suggesting it. No, no. That's, uh, my neighbor right here across the street, bill was the manager of the Barons for a while, and he's the one that did the deal to get Michael Jordan to come down and play on the Barons. Speaker 1 00:49:36 Oh, yeah. He might be a good one to, you know, get, get a firsthand account from, I might have to get him on. He'd be an interesting guest as well. Yeah, I mean, I think that would be good. I mean, there's a whole history about the Birmingham Barons, not just Michael Jordan, but they've been around for, you know, uh, decades. You know, there, there was a time, I think we had the Birmingham a's when Charlie Finley owned the Oakland A's, and he's from Birmingham. And I, there's some story there. I'm not a big baseball fan, but, you know, you've got the, the Barons and then you've got the Birmingham Black Barons. Um, yeah, there's, there's all sorts of good Baron lore. Correct me if I'm wrong here, and I, in my Alabama history, like I said, is so bad. Was George Washington Carver from Alabama? Yeah. The peanut, uh, yeah. Speaker 1 00:50:18 Was he? Yeah. I mean, he's, he's Alabama. I read, just did a little bit of light reading on that because, you know, the legend is that he found however many hundred uses for the peanut mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And I was curious, what are the, all these uses, you know, like I can think of maybe five to 10 off the top of head. Right. So I wanted to go find out what, what was he thinking here? Like, how did he come up with all these uses? Turns out he wouldn't publish them. Um, he just kind of had to take his word for the fact that he had found all these uses for the peanut. So I just thought it was kind of funny that he, that he never would share the uses. You just have to kind of trust him on that one. I thought, I read something just recently, like in the past couple of weeks, that he, everybody thinks he invented peanut butter. Speaker 1 00:50:58 I don't think he invented peanut butter. Yeah, I think you're right. But, um, yeah, I mean, there's, there's great story about, you know, him, you know, all the, the people who came through, uh, Tuskegee Institute. There's, you know, wonderful stories there, you know, the Tuskegee Airmen. There's, uh, I, I did this one story about a woman who, um, there's a, a whole history of women aviators in Alabama. You've got the Tuskegee Airmen. There's a, a really great story about an African American woman that I haven't done just yet. I've got a story about a, a woman from Aniston who tried to fly across the Atlantic because, uh, you know, you know, if if Lindbergh did it, why can't she? And I've found some other stories that I'm about to, um, do about women aviators and women working in World War ii. And one of the reasons a lot of the factories came to Alabama was because the women in Alabama would work. Speaker 1 00:51:49 They would work in a factory that is, I think there's a lot of little stories, you know, to follow there. Do you have an Instagram account? Oh, yes. Yeah. There's one that I follow that's really, really interesting. It's, it's called Historical, maybe Historic Birmingham, a Architectures, I'll link to the name in the show notes. But they post historic photos of some of the amazing homes that used to be around Birmingham. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And one that they posted was, you know, that church, I think it maybe Stevia Baptist on top of the mountain. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> with a Beautiful Overlook. That's the site of a home. And you know, when you're driving through Svia, when you enter and when you leave, there are those column structures mm-hmm. <affirmative> that say Welcome. So those were, I believe, pieces from this home Greek architecture. But yeah. Do you know anything about that story? Speaker 1 00:52:40 Oh, yeah. Actually, I'm old enough to remember seeing it up there. No kidding. Yeah, it was, uh, um, the, is the Temple of Vesta or something like that. Yeah. So they had this house, it's a big round house up there. Yep. And then they had like a smaller pavilion or whatever, and that's, that was moved to the top of, um, you know, it's right up there when you're leaving Homewood to go to Vestavia that, um, that temple is up at the top. Um, they moved it over there, but yeah, it was a, it was a wacky house. And I think the story was that if he had like a light on the top of the house, maybe a red light and a green light, and if one of the lights was on, it meant that he was receiving guests at the time. Oh. Like royalty. Speaker 1 00:53:17 So. Well, I mean, it's a long way to get up there, right? Yeah. You know, why, why make the, the trip? So, um, but when Mount, uh, what was it, vest, Davey Hill's Baptist Church, I believe bought it. Yeah. They, they, they tore the house down. They kept the, the smaller temple for a while until Vest Davia moved it to where it is now. Yeah. That reminds me of, of Vulcan's torch. Another, another gray toy. What was it, the, the light on top of this torch would be red if there had been a, a fatal car accident. Is that how it worked? Yeah. Did you, have you ever seen it? Did you I remember seeing it when I was a kid. Yeah. Yeah. We could, we could see it from my porch growing up in Homewood, uh, when the, during the winter when all the leaves were gone. Speaker 1 00:53:51 Yeah. But that was a great story. You know, they, you know the story about Vulcan being at the, uh, um, the World's Fair or the, I forget what the name of it was, but it was in St. Louis. They brought it back. They didn't put it together for a while. It sat by the railroad track, then it went to the fairgrounds for a while. They, they put it on wrong, the arms were wrong. Um, and then in 1939, I believe they built, uh, the base, I think it was the W p A Project Works Projects Administration. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And, uh, they built the base. They put the, um, statue up on top and, you know, it sat there for a while until the, was it the junior Civitan? Was that, uh, the group, they had a safety commission and they wanted to do something to stop the deaths on the highways in the Birmingham area. Speaker 1 00:54:38 There were too many, uh, I guess this is before seat belts. This is, you know, people were dying left and right. So they wanted to do something. So I think one of the first ideas was to put a light on the flag pullout side of maybe the West End Library. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And they went through a couple of those variations. Let's put a light maybe on a building downtown. And somebody came up with the idea about, let's put it on Vulcan. Let's take that spear that is in his hand and we're gonna wrap this metal cone around it with, uh, neon lights. And that the base of the statue in the guard shack was a little switch. And if they heard that somebody had died, they would switch the red light on. I, I guess it would stay on for 24 hours or maybe for the rest of that day. Speaker 1 00:55:23 And then it would go back to green. And then when another death happened, they turned it on. So it was a temporary idea that turned into a long-term thing when they took Vulcan down to refurbish it and make it better. There was, people were screaming they wanted the Popsicle light back up on there. But, um, I I'm, I'm glad it went away. Uh, it's, you can see it now in the, in the museum. It's there. Oh, really? Yeah. So you can see what it looks like. Yeah. It was a little morbid, you know. It is. Yeah. I remember it being a kid and seeing that my parents told me what it meant and it was, uh, it had an effect, you know it. Yeah. And, uh, I think it packed a little bit more punch than a drive safely sign. Right, <laugh>. Yeah, it did. Speaker 1 00:56:05 And it, and people loved it. You know, there, there's some old people that just, they were so disappointed it didn't go back up, but you know, we, we can move on. Yeah. You know, they had, it was temporary anyway, it just kept going on and on. Anything else you wanna talk about? You wanna wrap up? Yeah. Well, again, I appreciate you having me on here. It's, uh, I, I love doing this. I love the stories. I like hearing, uh, other ideas for stories. I've got a long list. You know, I don't know how long I'm gonna do this. I, I know I'm committed to at least six seasons. I'll have another vol. That's why I actually wrote this. It's volume one on here. That was kind of a way to make me keep going so I could do another book. And, you know, the beauty today about with technology and all that was I was able to do this. Speaker 1 00:56:47 It's on amazon.com and I was able to do it because they do print on demand publishing. You know, it's when you order that book, when this book is ordered, they print it out when you get, so you don't have to have a big inventory. Right. You do. When you go through traditional publishing, you really have to, I think some of them will, will say, well, you gotta buy 3000 books. Yeah. I don't, I don't know if I'll ever sell 3000 of this book. You know, it'd be great if I could, but that's not really why I'm doing it. I'm just trying to get it out there. So, but I'll do it volume two and then we'll take a look and see what else I wanna do. There might be more stories, cuz you keep thinking they're gonna run out, they keep popping back up and, and I'm actually getting better at writing. Speaker 1 00:57:26 I think I was an awful English student. <laugh>. Yeah. Uh, and I'm getting, uh, much better at it. And I'm enjoying it. I'm enjoying the process. Um, uh, I do have some books I'd like to write, which might be a pipe dream, but would they be kind of in the same vein of, of historical Birmingham or something totally different? Something totally different. I've got one story about, uh, one of my relatives who was in the Civil War, and he was captured, I think he was like 17 years old, and he was, uh, sent to, um, prisoner of War camp and he got out by Green to join the Union Army and fighting the Indians out west. Hmm. So I've got a, a fictional story based around that. And then I've got this young adult idea about aliens and middle school kids that I really like. Speaker 1 00:58:09 And, and honestly, I'm enjoying the process of figuring out the story and, you know, writing it, I don't think is the end game. I think for me it's just the process. So that one's nonfiction. Yeah. <laugh>. Yeah. Well, kind of actually the, the, the child is based a lot of my, my soon to be ninth grader and all his issues going through middle school and, you know, finding friends in his place and, you know, it's wrapped up in an alien story <laugh>. That's what I was gonna ask. So are the friends that he finds extraterrestrial? Maybe possibly. You know, you you have kids? I have a, an eight month old. Oh, okay. All right. So one of the things that they don't tell you about being a parent is you're gonna have to relive middle school and high school and all the social anxieties that you had are gonna come flooding back in. Speaker 1 00:58:56 Yeah. All right. And you know, all you want is for your child to find their place and find their friends and do whatever makes them happy. You know, so they're gonna, and it's gonna be different because you've gotta had your own situations. And so I've been watching him go through these things and the struggles he's had. Everybody has struggles, by the way. Absolutely. Um, and I thought these, these are really great ideas for this character in this book. It's not based on him, but it's based, you know, I'll take some of these little things that this kid does. Um, so in inspired by Yeah, it's inspired by, and also some of his friends and kind of what they went through. And you've got, you know, the kids who just wanna be weird and the kids who, you know, are bigger than everybody else, and, you know, trying how they're fitting in. Speaker 1 00:59:43 And everybody thinks that they're just a, you know, a beast and, you know, middle school's so awful and it's, but it's, I think it's ripe for a, you know, story. Oh, abso I mean, talk about drama. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, if I had to go back and really up my middle school, I don't think I would choose that route to go again. No, no. I remember my <laugh>, we went to the old Homewood Junior High and Homewood Middle School, and I remember when they tore it down, my brother went and stood outside and watched it get torn down <laugh> just as like one final closure. Yeah. <laugh>. Yeah. That had to be been cathartic in some way. Mm-hmm. You know, speaking of aliens. Mm-hmm. Did you hear about, uh, maybe a month ago, the Las Vegas sighting? I think I did. It's, I think it's kind of the most credible one that's happened recently. Speaker 1 01:00:26 Mm-hmm. Because there's like police body cam footage. I happened to have heard about this on a podcast yesterday, so it's fresh on the brain. Apparently in Las Vegas there were the, there was a family and they saw something shoot outta the sky that looked like a meteor coming towards the earth, and it landed in one of their neighbor's backyard. So they go over there and they swear, and you can see their interview in the police body cam footage. They're saying that behind a forklift that was in this backyard out pops an eight to 10 foot tall extraterrestrial. And they said that it caused them to have a sensation of sleep paralysis. They, like, they couldn't move. And I want this to be true so bad. I have trouble believing anything that has to do with it, because I've never seen it. It's, it's pretty compelling. Speaker 1 01:01:14 Yeah. And I want it to be true, but I don't know. What do you think? Well, so, okay, there, I do have an alien story. You do? Yeah. Yeah. So if you, if you follow the one about, uh, close Encounters of the Third Kind, and they did the movie at Berkeley Field and Mobile, supposedly soon after they did that, or maybe even leading up to that, Brookley Field has had a number of UFO sightings, uh, being a military base and all that. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, some pretty credible, or as credible as you wanna believe it is. But yeah. So there's, uh, there's been some sightings there as well. But, you know, do I believe in aliens? You know, I think it'd be kind of fun, but at the same time, they can't be nice, you know, the, there can't be a a, a kumbaya moment with aliens. Speaker 1 01:01:59 Right. It just, I, it doesn't seem like that's gonna be Yeah. You know, I feel like if they have made the trek here mm-hmm. <affirmative>, it can't be because they just wanna say hi. Right. Right. But what is that line from contact movie if, if we're alone in the universe, it'd be an awful big waste of space. Right. <laugh>? I don't know. I think that, I think it could be true. Yeah. Who knows? Yeah. I, I think it's fun to, to talk about and think about and, you know, maybe let's keep it there. Yeah. <laugh>. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Absolutely. Oh, hey, hey, before we end this up, I do wanna give you two things I wanna give you. Um, I know you've got a book. I'm gonna give you another book Okay. And give you my Shades Cahaba book. Yeah. I, I want to get, I, I've been looking forward to diving into that one. So read it if you want, pass it on to your, uh, future, um, um, uh, guest. I will, whatever you wanna do. But, uh, um, that's a, a thank you for having me on the show. Thank you for doing the show. Is look, the, the name of the podcast is Discover Birmingham, and I feel like we've been discovering Birmingham. So for Mission accomplished, right. <laugh>? Very much so. Speaker 2 01:03:15 No, I can't let it down. This Speaker 0 01:03:22 Feel. Speaker 2 01:03:26 Oh, the city made.

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