Monthly Archives: April 2015

3 Clicks to Horrific

Grandma Layton was an insatiable reader and prolific note-writer. Which both helped and hindered our efforts at putting together her biography, “Signs Along the Way” – with literally thousands of slips of papers, backs of envelopes, napkins, old receipts, etc. to go through, it’s a miracle we ever finished the book! Many were simply lists of words, or simple phrases she hoped to use in a short story, or perhaps to help develop a character. Other papers were filled to the brim with notable quotes, news of the day, something she had read or wanted to know more about. Say, for instance, she found an especially beautiful flower, nestled in a crevice by the side of a dirt road deep in the heart of Franklin County. And it was pale blue, with little flecks of purple, and touches of white. Grandma would have to know its name, because that’s just how she was. The resulting search could possibly take days, even weeks, reading through flower books, magazines, encyclopedias – and probably calling friends and neighbors if necessary. While retyping one of Grandma Layton’s short stories, I came across “Henry’s Flivver”, and thought it was misspelled, because I’d never heard of such a thing. In about ten seconds I discovered that it was a car – one of the first Fords – without leaving my chair… I began to imagine how much time that would have saved Grandma, how much she would have learned on top of everything she already knew, and how intriguing she would find that journey.
I forgot about the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon (yes, I had to look that up). I have found that an innocent internet search can go from pleasant to horrific in as few as three clicks of the mouse. Watching Dressage videos, the Dancing Mare in particular, is one of my favorite computer entertainment pastimes. Well, I wanted to see more. Three clicks later I was into the middle of a rodeo video that I wish I could unsee. After three or four such excursions, I have learned to stay on topic. I’m too old, and have seen enough tragedy and cruelty to know that it exists, and that I can’t save or change the entire world, just do my best in my small part of it.
Grandma Layton’s life and art work dispels the myths and misconceptions of mental illness and old age, and she did it all the old-fashioned way – without the internet! — Carla