Wylette “Wylie” Hansford

Why, hello, it is such a pleasure to meet you. How could you know that I was from the South? And I thought it was you all who had the accent! Imagine my surprise. Well, I can’t deny it, now can I? Yes, I was born in Fayetteville, North Carolina, home of Fort Bragg. My daddy was a Master Sergeant, retired now, so I’m just an army brat at heart, you know.

Oh, but I do love New England. Getting used to the cold was a bit more than a trifle, mind you, but I’ll never forget seeing the snow for the first time. All that whiteness falling out of the sky, why it was just like a scene from one of those Hallmark movies, surely.

Oh, you know something about the South? Well, isn’t that nice. My accent seems a little strong to you? Oh, well, that must be just your ears having lived up hear with Yankees for so long. You know, I do have to run, but it’s been nice talking to y— . Alright, we’re alone and you don’t look like a student so I’ll drop the Southern Belle routine. You think it’s easy fitting in up here? You Northerners always think you’re so high-minded and open, but you’re not, especially when your ears hear the drawl. It’s like walking around with a big stain on your clothing, and you can’t wash it off, and nobody around you has the decency to ignore it. C’mon, be honest with yourself. Every Southerner is a stupid hick redneck, right? We all eat grits three times a day, wave Confederate flags, and watch reruns of the Dukes of Hazard.

Allow me to bring you into the present century. I wouldn’t own a Confederate flag any more than I’d own a Nazi flag. I always preferred hash browns to grits and Starsky and Hutch could have beaten the crap out of those Dukes on a bad day. That’s not to say that I reject where I came from. Not at all. Most people back home are amazingly hospitable no matter where you happen to come from and no matter what color you are, the countryside is gorgeous, and the weather isn’t freezing your ass off you for the majority of the year.

It was nice there, and I was really happy. I was pretty, and a great student. For a while back in grammar school I couldn’t understand what was so hard about tests. I mean, the teachers said things, and then asked you to repeat those things a few days later. You just gave them back what they said to you. You didn’t have to think about it. I even wondered if I was doing something wrong, but then I saw that the remembering part was the issue for most of the other kids. They actually forgot things. I told Dad about it and he spoke to the school, had a guy with a suit and a briefcase come in during recess and give me a test, and the word came back that I had a photographic memory. All this and brains too. I was going to grow up and be Miss Fayetteville, and marry the cutest, richest guy in town and have a token job just to keep my brain busy. No worries.

Then my dad’s drinking got worse, and he and mom split up, and I guess that Mom just wanted to get as far away from the hurt as she could, and three years ago we ended up here in Farmingham. I had heard that New Englanders were socially on the chilly side, but I learned that the Scarlette O’Hara act made the boys into mush, so I’ve kept it up. Is it me? Not really, but the boys like ‘em sweet and pretty, and a little on the dumb side, so I “forget” some things when test time comes. It’s no big. I want to be popular again. I want to feel accepted again. I’m so tired of feeling out of place.

And now this. Mom asks me to mow the lawn as she’s leaving for work, and just after she leaves I get this crazy dizzy spell. I thought I was about to get The Period Cramp from Hell, when it goes away and all I feel is … different. I go to start the lawn mower, and I rip the starter cable clean out. Ok, old mower, probably need a tune up or whatever. But yesterday, I batted a rock with a stick and didn’t see it come down. Grand slam home run. What the hell is happening to me?

Quote: “You wanna kill me, honey? Frankly, Ugly my dear ... (stakes the baddie) I don’t give a damn.”