The Love Story of Floyd and Fannie Mae (Chapter 2/3)0
This is a story about 2 ordinary people and an extraordinary love. Their names were Floyd and Fannie Mae and yes, they were real people. I knew them both and I knew them both when they were in their eighties and their nineties. Parts of this story have been reconstructed, as naturally I was not there for their entire lives. Parts of the story weave in the lives of my own grandparents. So to that end, the Fannie Mae and Floyd here are fictional.
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By the turn of the next decade – 1920, something began to call him; to pull at him, to pull at his heart and his mind.
The world was changing and the 20s seems so different than the teens
You see Floyd’s friends, those he learned to play music with, had gone off to a city about two hundred miles away
That was a large distance in those days
But there, music was everywhere
And his friends told him they needed him there
That radio was the technology changing the country … that Floyd could make a living there that made life back in Virginia look so …. bland
The stories he heard were fantastic.
Of nights of playing music and people applauding and cheering
And how it just wasn’t the same there without Floyd
That success and fame awaited them all if only Floyd were there.
So He talked to Fannie and he said, “Fannie, let’s go.”
And she said, “I cannot, Floyd. My father needs me here .. I’m all he has …He’ll surely die without me …And the store? …And Floyd we can’t go … Not now …Just wait for me for a little while …I can’t go right now …All that we have is here … our life is here. All we know is here. Just wait for me for a little while…”
The pull of the music and the life he had imagined and the stories he was hearing was too strong and so, one day Floyd did something that he was ashamed of – he left.
And he broke Fannie’s heart
Oh, the plan was just to go there – to make a start – and to make name for himself
Everyone said he was that good
And radio was making people take notice
It was making ordinary people famous
And his plan was to make so much money that he could them bring Fannie with him … and her father, too
And they would not need the store or the farm or anything at all any more
But Floyd just had to go … just had to follow the music that was pulling; pulling at him
So He went to follow the strange longing that was calling him.
At the very beginning, Floyd did enjoy seeing his friends again, and playing music. And indeed sometimes people did stand and applaud but a life in that place and on the road and playing at night; and sleeping in the day …and not having Fannie Mae most of all… soon began to change and morph into something dark
The money wasn’t that good
And there were so many people just as good as him
The charm of it all began to wilt and the enchantment began to wear off
He began to miss all he had before
He missed Fannie Mae so much that the music was now not pleasing to him but painful.
Life without Fannie was no life for Floyd.
He began to hate the very sound of the music that had called him away.
Soon the beat of the music was no longer music but it fell on his ears like thunder. Floyd felt he had ruined everything.
He had left Fannie, oh he had written to her faithfully and she wrote to him but still he thought he had made a choice.
He had chosen a new, more exciting life over the life he had with Fannie Mae and he knew he had made a mistake and he knew she would never take him back
That is what he feared the most
Floyd was distraught
But just as he had done his whole life, he sat down and wrote
Pen on paper.
Which is all that Floyd could do in times of joy and distress.
He turned to the one thing he knew, writing.
He needed to describe to Fannie Mae that the dream music which had lulled him and called him and tempted him away was now the very thing that he hated because she was not there, that his life was nothing without her and so he wrote.
The music on my ear is falling
And like a quilted coverlet
It enshrouds me with lovely callings
But wet with passion I seek you full
To taste of you, I seek you full
But you are gone
And all alone, I cannot stop these hopeless squalls
While each note, as thunder, falls.
You see, Floyd had realized there was a music of the ear but there was also a music of the heart. Fannie Mae was the music inside of Floyd and nothing mattered to him anymore except to be with her and that music was calling him
Stronger, stronger than the music of the ear was the music of the heart. He realized that all he had ever wanted and needed and loved in life was Fannie Mae and so he wrote her that poem. With trembling hands he placed the letter in an envelope and put a stamp on it from where he was – addressed to King George County Virginia.
Would she get it? When she got it what would she say? What demands would she make? What venom would she give him? There was almost no chance at all that he could go back, practically none, but he had to take the chance.
He mailed the letter and he waited and he waited and he waited more.
Fannie got it and she read it and she knew exactly what Floyd was trying to say.
She always knew what he was trying to say
You see for Fannie Mae the music of her heart was Floyd and always had been but he was the one who left in the night.
And that’s the end of chapter two of The Love Story of Floyd and Fannie Mae.
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