Allendale: A Shunned House Part 9

The history of the house Elias collected was extensive and was, as well, a history of our branch of the family. George Allen, who was the first Allen in Middle Tennessee arrived with his oldest sons—Elias (b. 1772) James (b.  1774), and John (b. 1776)—and two trusted slaves before 1790 in the area that was to become Gallatin. The cabin they erected was the very one later incorporated into the first floor of Allendale. When George’s wife and the rest of the children were finally sent for, the house was transformed into a dog-trot, but for some reason the men seem to have quickly abandoned this home to the two slaves and set about to building Allenwood, just up the bend. I found correspondence from late 1791 in which George asks his lawyer to sell Dan down in Nashville as soon as possible and to expect to see him, George, before the turn of the year to replace the two slaves. Why George would sell an able-bodied man without having someone to replace him is not clear from the letter. What happened to the other slave remains unspoken.

But that is as much of a hint of a beginning as we get to the house’s impending long, sad history. By the time the rest of the family installs itself at Allenwood, Elias is living at Allendale.

There’s simply too much happening in October and the first week of November for me to get sick. And yet I kind of feel the burning in my cheeks.

I am literally willing myself not to get sick. I don’t know how realistic that is, but I am doing it.


It’s funny. This very weekend, someone on Twitter was complaining about Jennifer Weiner complaining about not being taken seriously as a writer because of her genre. The Twitter complainer made some claims about how some genres were just more likely to birth important novels–like, say, sci-fi, because it deals with ideas. Plus, if Weiner wants to be taken seriously, she should write for some real publications, even if only Entertainment Weekly, rather than Allure.

And I bit my tongue because I had other things to do this weekend than play internet feminist. But come on! If that’s not a line of thought for feminists to giggle over, I just don’t know what is!

Anyway, that’s just the cherry on the sundae of this delicious piece by Weiner in Allure, which made me cry at the end. I simply cannot think of a “legitimate” magazine–Entertainment Weekly? The Atlantic? What?–that would run a story like this, as raw as this is, and as beautiful. It seems strange to me, and obviously sexist, to say that this piece, in this place, is just obviously not that important.

As for the piece itself, I have to say, when it ended, I thought, I am not sure I could be that generous to that kid. I am almost certain that this would be a moment when I would fail as a parent, because it would be a moment when I looked at my kid and was like “Fuck you, you little monster.” Probably only in my head, but I would be repulsed. I literally cannot imagine having the skills to deal with this in any way close to how Weiner does.

The Color of Poor

There is a certain shade of turquoise that reminds me of K-Mart, and therefore is the color of being too poor to shop anywhere else. This must be from a time before Walmart, as cerrtainly Walmart became the place that is where you shop when you are too poor to shop anywhere else. But also, in my youth, Walmart’s clothes had a kind of utilitarianism to them. They just looked like shitty clothes.

They didn’t look like shitty clothes that were pretending not to be. But that color turquoise was only at K-Mart.and it was often the color of clothes I otherwise liked. And it seemed to me that, since I thought it was such a distinctive color, K-Mart Blue, and so immediately recognizable, I loathed it. I thought it marked me as someone whose nice shit even came from K-Mart.

Anyway, I just realized that blue is going in my new afghan.

Maybe there’s some shit you make peace with without even realizing it.