Author Jo Huddleston

Sweet Southern Romance

Monday, May 6, 2013

Meet Gertrude Hall

Monday Meanderings

I want you to get to know some of the characters of my novel That Summer. For the next few Mondays I’ll interview one of the characters and you can leave comments if you want. I think this might help you when you read my novel to know how these characters feel as they move through the story. If you leave a comment on this blog that is totally related to the interview I'll give you an extra entry in the next Thursday book drawing.

Beyond the Past, book 2 in the Caney Creek Series has just released. Today’s interview is the last one with characters from That Summer. Next Monday I'll start with characters from book 2.

Today I’m talking with Gertrude Hall, a widow who rents rooms in her house to young men, most of them working at the hosiery mill. When Jim Callaway comes to Newton, he rents a room from Gertrude.

JO: Hello, are you Gertrude Hall?

GERTRUDE: Yes, ma’am, that’s me.

JO: Do you know Jim Callaway?

GERTRUDE: Oh, yes I do. When I think of Jim I’m both happy and sad.

JO: Why is that, Gertrude?

GERTRUDE: When he was barely shaving, that young man came to my house wanting to rent a room. As we talked I asked who his parents were. I knew of his momma because she sold eggs and vegetables on the courthouse square on Saturdays. His parents are good, solid, honest people.

JO: When you met Jim did you think well of him also?

GERTRUDE: Yes, I did. That boy left the family farm and came to Newton to get a job. Had all his belongings in a burlap sack and his dreams swimming in his head. I’d seen lots of young men come here hoping to work at the hosiery mill but when they weren’t hiring, those young men drifted away. Now, Jim, he had determination. I tried to warn him not to be so sure about his dreams.

JO: Did Jim find a job and reach his dreams?

GERTRUDE: I’ll tell you, that boy was a tough one but a naïve one when it came to girls. He got a job at the mill but he got a heap of trouble when he met the mill owner’s daughter. His best friend and his family tried to tell him that she was above them and he shouldn’t run around with her. I tried to talk some sense into that boy. At the beginning he wouldn’t listen to me or any of the others.

JO: Did you ever get him to listen to you?

GERTRUDE: Yes, but not until he was in trouble over his head. He fell for that mill owner’s daughter hook, line, and sinker. He set him up a credit account over at the department store so he could buy Caroline—that’s the mill owner’s daughter—a Christmas present. She invited him to her parents Christmas Eve party, even bought him a new suit of clothes and overcoat to wear. Poor Jim, over there in that crowd of social upper crusts. He was in way over his head.

JO: Didn’t he realize that?

GERTRUDE:  You know, I don’t think he ever did. Then Caroline disappeared on Christmas Day. Jim moped around here after that. His letters to her came back and her daddy told those who asked that his daughter had married a boy from Texas and moved out there with him. There was this sweet girl, Louisa, who stayed at Miss June’s Boardinghouse that Jim had spent some time with. He started visiting her a lot.

JO: How did that turn out?

GERTRUDE: That Louisa was the sweetest thing and oh, did she love Jim. They married and had a beautiful daughter. About that time the mill was laying people off and all of my young men boarders had left. So I fixed Jim and Louisa up with one of my vacant room. They were so happy. They thought they’d found their happily ever after.

JO: Gertrude, you look sad. What happened?

GERTRUDE: I sorry. I can’t talk about it anymore.  It just breaks my heart to even think about those two young people.

The winner of last Thursday's blog post for a copy of When the Heart Heals by Ann Shorey is Katie J. I'll email you to get your mailing address and get the book out to you. Thanks all for commenting. Watch for more book giveaways.

Till next time … keep on smiling.


  1. Gertrude rents rooms to men who work at hosiery.
    Carolyn Jefferson

  2. Carolyn, thanks for coming by and leaving a comment. You'll get an extra entry in Thursday's book drawing if you comment on Thursday's blog.

  3. Oh, Gertrude, you're leaving us hanging!

    1. Kay, yes, hanging till the end of book #1. Thanks for leaving a comment, which will give you an extra entry in Thursday's drawing if visit there and leave a comment.