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26 August 2008 @ 02:47 pm
Don't call me Delilah  
Mama should have had more sense than to name me Delilah Cooper. Naming me Cooper wasn't going to get them to acknowledge me; there's Coopers all over the place, and nobody's going to think a grubby moonshiner brat came from those Coopers. Delilah's even worse... what kind of mother names her own daughter for a Biblical betrayer? I don't know why she thought I'd be the downfall of anybody in that family -- when you're the mayor of New York's son, you can get away with pretty near anything. Puttin' some nobody backwoods girl in a family way is easy to hush up when your daddy owns the city. They ran her out of town on a rail (figures, what with the family businesses), and she had to move back down to Harpers Ferry. I think she had some notion of coming back one day with me in tow, bold as brass, to shame that Henry Cooper into claimin' me.

I don't know why they say that, anyway. Brass ain't bold. Sure, it's got good corrosion resistance and tensile strength, which is why we use it so much, but... well, nevermind. It wouldn't have worked, Mama's plan. They didn't know I'd inherited the Cooper spark, back then.

Mama passed on a couple years after I was born, leaving me to be raised by Grampa. Grampa was a cranky old coot, who ran a steam carriage repair shop in Harpers Ferry (and a still up in the hills near town.) Actually, Grampa fixed pretty near anything as had gears. I cut my teeth on an old pressure reducing valve; by age five I was passing my Grampa tools while he worked on the steam carriages. At fourteen I was running the repair shop, leaving Grampa to do most of the moonshining. He didn't want me too involved in that business. Besides, once you seen one valved reflux still, you seen 'em all; steam carriages were a sight finer to work on. The shop didn't make enough cash to live on, 'specially with a youngun like me craving any parts and mechanic books I could get my hands on.

I spent some of the best years of my life working that shop. Business was slow, but I had some folks comin' from nearby towns since what I fixed, stayed fixed. And I could tune a steam engine so it'd run smoother than you bought it. About the time I turned eighteen, I'd thrown together a powered glider out of piece parts left over from the steam carriages, plus whatever I could scrounge. She was my pride and joy, though flying her was a mite tricky. I couldn't get my hands on the parts for proper gyrostabilizers, so you had to eyeball the airfoil angles. Still, I was getting the hang of her, and having the time of my life.

Then the revenooers came.
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