Writer Without A Clause: Essay #1
Writer Without a Clause. Sounds sort of familiar, doesn't it? A few years back, a film came out—well, it was more than just a few years back. It came out in 1955, two years before I was born.
It was called Rebel Without a Cause and starred a young man named James Dean. Not Jimmy Dean. He's the sausage guy. I'm talking about the tough guy, James Dean. You know what's tough? The film came out a couple of months after the guy's death at age twenty-four.
So why do I bring up this guy, Dean, and his film? Because the title of the film sounds vaguely similar to my hub title. Maybe it's the stuff of a lawsuit. We'll never find out since I've decided not to pursue it.
What is Writer Without a Clause? It's me, Chris Mills, sitting here with my laptop and clearly nothing particular on my mind to write about. But I'm going to just keep on writing to see where we end up.
Fairmount, Indiana, Home of James Dean and the Annual James Dean Festival
I've already brought up this guy, James Dean. I have a bit more to say about him because he was, as I am, a Hoosier, a native of the State of Indiana. Not only that, but he grew up in the little town of Fairmount. That is significant to me for two reasons. First, It is a town very near where I grew up. Both of my parents also grew up near Fairmount.
Dean graduated from High School in 1949. My father graduated in 1946 and my mother in 1950. Yep, you guessed it. Mom and dad knew and ran around with this tough guy, James Dean.
Why do I share this? I share it as a means of holding your attention. It is my shameless claim to fame. Yes, my father played basketball with James Dean. Mom remembers going to the same church youth group with...yes, James Dean.
Fairmount, Indiana celebrates the life and stardom of their favorite son each year at the James Dean Festival.
Not only were my parents closely tied to the town of Fairmount, Indiana, but I was as well. Three of my best friends in my teenage years went to Fairmount High School, also known as, Madison-Grant High School.
Fairmount produces tough young men. James Dean is proof of that, but it didn't stop with him. Years later, down main street, drove three teenagers named Tom, Doug, and Chris. It was night time, and they were in a 1975 Caprice Classic. No, it wasn't a cool car in and of itself. But it was cool because it was rolling down a Fairmount, Indiana street, a street James Dean had driven on, and Chris Mills, that's me, was at the wheel.
You can visit the cemetery and see James Dean's grave. Or you can walk around town, which will take about ten minutes.
I suppose I could tell you about the time my father kicked James Deans butt. Would you like to hear that story? Stay with me into the next section, and I'll tell you all about it.
But I want to move on from Fairmount for the moment to another small Indiana town called, Weaver. This was a town made up of former slaves and their families. the town was right along one branch of the Underground Railroad. Many of the runaways chose to stay in Weaver.
This little town had a giant of a man who lived there. His name was, Mr. Weaver. He was the school teacher. My mother's one room school house was near Weaver. One day each year, my mother's school and Weaver school would trade schools and teachers. Mom walked to Weaver and sat under the teaching of a man she remembers well to this day. Mom is now 86 years old. She said he was an imposing man, but in a good way. She had a lot of respect for him since many of the Weaver kids went on to have very successful careers in politics, law, education and healthcare.
The town of Weaver still exists on the map. But the town is gone. I want to write a story about Weaver someday. I just have no idea where to begin.
Some Photos of the Town of Weaver, Indiana
So we have looked at the inspiration for this hub which is the man,James Dean and his film, Rebel Without a Cause. We have also seen how this man crossed paths with my family in the little town of Fairmount, Indiana. And Fairmount was not the only small town in Indiana. The village of Weaver is significant as a place where runaway slaves and later, freed slaves, settled and made new lives for themselves.
It is a special thing to be able to talk with our parents and grandparents to find out these nuggets of gold in our family histories. Mine is not the only family with such stories, but...my story will likely be the only one with James Dean in it.
James Dean Fight Scene: Rebel Without a Cause
I promised to tell about the time my father kicked James Dean's butt. Well, it never happened, but I hope that kept you reading to the end. Thanks for sticking around.
© 2018 Chris Mills