xt7jh98zct60_39 https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7jh98zct60/data/mets.xml https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7jh98zct60/data/2015ms086.dao.xml Bevins, Martha 0.05 Cubic Feet 55 items archival material 2015ms086 English University of Kentucky The physical rights to the materials in this collection are held by the University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center.  Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. Martha Bevins letters to Tom McCarthy Radio broadcasting. Agriculture -- Kentucky. Birds Women air pilots. 1958 January 8 text 1958 January 8 2016 https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7jh98zct60/data/2015ms086/Box_ms_42/Folder_1/Item_39/1958_1_8_Bevins_Ditching_plane_in_Carolinas_p1.pdf 1958 January 8 1958 1958 January 8 section false xt7jh98zct60_39 xt7jh98zct60 r ,
Morning View Kentucky
8 January 1958

Hello Mr. McCarthy,
I am in hearty accord With your dislike for the ugliness of rock &
roll. Furthermore, I am downright allergic to the burp-beller-gag-
gurgle-strangle—and—hiocup vocalizing therewith. Seems pathetic that,
after Spending untold centuries perfecting language as a means of
communication, we should now revert to the animal sounds of our
neolithic ancestors.
Your mentioning the inherent music of the deep South reminded me of
a moment of long-ago enchantment which will forever remain vividly
"eather information to pilots was exceedingly sketchy in those days,
and violent rain storms trapped me in a little plane over the
desolate swamp lands of the Carolinas. I bumped and bounced along
barely above the tops of the tall long-leaf pines, peering hopefully
for open ground through the sheets of Water that drove against the
windshield. My map showed a minor railroad a few miles too the left
and I worked toward it in search of cultivated fields.
I had not been following its single track very far when I passed
over a tiny town, and just on the other side of it, found a grassy
field where I could land safely. after tying the butterfly to a
convenient fence, I went epattering through the smothering rain
down the narrow, sandy road to seek shelter in the sodden little
town over which I had Just flown. In those distant days, the arrival
of an airplane at a small town Was usually cause for excitement; but
no one had noticed me in the storm.
lhe town possessed a tired general store and a railroad station. The
Station Was the only building which had ever known paint, and that
had not been recently. 1he main street consisted of the railroad and
the little sandy road, running side by side. Along the road side,
houses of a few white folks sat in wide, desolate yards, and the rest
of the town Was made up of the little cottages of the colored people
who worked in the surrounding cotton fields and endless pine woods.
No large town was near, so I arranged to stay in a home and settled
down to Wait out the rain.
The rain stopped about dusk and shortly thereafter the clouds quickly
scattered, revealing a rising full moon. the evening was warm and
still and rich with the scent of pine burning in stove and fireplace,
with the odor of unseen flowers, and of the moist earth itself. Years
before, some one had planted a row of swamp magnolias in front of the
houses, and they stood now in majestic prime. Moonbeams glittered on

' their Satiny leaves and touched the great, pale bowls of their bloom

to unearthly whiteness. Gently, the moonlight transformed the unpainted
buildings to dull silver and cast heaVy shadows over drabness, turning
the weary little town to a black-and-silver fairy lend.

But the climax was yet to come. As I eat on the wide porch steps, I
saw the colored people Walking in twos and threes and little groups,
converging on the railroad station not far away. It Was the usual
station, a Small building perched upon a long, raised platform. lhey
clustered on the platform, some sitting along the edge with their feet
dangling, while othvrs perched on odd bits of station equipment. I
would guess there were finally about thirty of them.

Suddenly a voice was raised in song, and as the others joined it, the
real magic of the evening began. Ihere Was no effort at Showmanship,
no diSplay —- it Was simply singing.

, as the night listened, they sang the sad,sad songs with all the
heartbreak of the world in them, and the weight of a great weariness.
There were spirituals illuminated by exultation and the bright rays
of hope, followed by shout songs like great, strong pillars of sound,
and little tunes as gay as a mid-summer picnic.

At the end of about an hour, a rickety little train clattered through
without stopping, and, as though on signal, the group presently diSpersed
and was gone, leaving the station platform deserted in the moonlight,
and the silence beset by a strange loneliness.
I flew away in the bright sunshine of the following morning, never to
return. With me went an indelible memory of that brief interlude of
incredible beauty, when all the world Was moonlight and song.
I suppOSe the trained musical ear would have found faults in that
nocturnal singing; but I have paid absurd prices to hear famous people
in fabulous BroadWay shows and opera without ever again finding the
equal of that Spell Spontaneously woven in a dreary little Carolina town.
’ {5 J'UW‘A Wei