Billy B. and Chet and Jane watched with eyes as wide as saucers as the Southern Illinois University Theatre Company performed at Hillcrest School. Billy B. had never witnessed a live performance before and he was awe-struck. The Play seemed to transport him into another world of wonder and whimsy and heightened emotions. The Theatre Students even came into the audience during the production and Billy B. had never experienced such a grand escape from his reality in Eldorado. Peter Pan was the Play…and Wendy touched Billy B.s’ hand as she passed through the audience of third graders…Billy B. was immediately in love…
After the performance, Chet said, ‘Let’s go to Carbondale and see what is going on at SIU?’ Jane agreed and noted that they could take the Gulf Transport Bus to Carbondale and that they could stay overnight at her sisters’ house, who lived there, and return the next day. ‘Let’s see a Play Performance while we are at SIU,’ said Chet. ‘I will have Neva J. purchase the tickets…it will be an awesome adventure,’ Billy B. exclaimed!
The Bus ride was its’ own adventure. There were several unfriendly faces and a few kind ones to greet the intrepid three. One elderly lady invited them to sit with her and she began to speak. ‘Where are you going,’ the old lady asked? ‘We are on our way to see a Play at SIU,’ answered Chet. ‘Why don’t you get off of the bus at my house in Murphysboro and I will fix you supper and then take you to the University in time for the Play, she asked? ‘That sounds like an excellent idea,’ Chet said. ‘Not so fast…Chet…my Sis will be waiting for us at the Bus Station,’ said Jane. ‘Thank you for your offer…mam…what is your name,’ asked Billy B.? ‘My friends call me Grimhilde…or WQ…for short, the woman replied. ‘This is my stop,’ said WQ. ‘Be seeing you,’ she called as she quickly walked away.
It was warm and the ride was long and all three of the Eldorado Explorers fell asleep… They awakened to the loud sound of the Buses’ brakes and the sudden stop. ‘Carbondale…’ called the dour bus driver. Jane and Billy B. and Chet exited the Gulf Stream Bus…but it still looked like the last stop…in Murphysboro. ‘I have been waiting on you kids,’ smiled WQ. ‘The Gulf Stream often stops twice at Murphysboro…not to worry…I will have you to your Play on time,’ laughed the wizened woman. ‘But what shall I tell my Sis…she will be waiting on us at the Bus Station,’ asked Jane? ‘Again…no worries…I drove my Studebaker to Carbondale…it is only seven miles away…and picked her up for…supper, ‘grinned WQ.
WQs’ home was unique in that it was all underground except for the front door which was made of ancient oaken wood that had been cut from the forest by John A. Logan himself. Logan was the most famous person born in Murphysboro and had been a member of the United States House of Representatives…and was called Black Jack…by his friends. He had been a Major General and had fought in the Civil War at the Battle of Bull Run. Soon…there was Janes’ Sis with a big smile and cutting herself a large piece of hot apple pie. ‘Murphysboro is famous for its’ apples, Sis said.
Dinner was to die for and the trip to SIU was quick and easy. As Jane and Chet and Billy B. were in line to purchase their tickets for the SIU Theatre Troops’ performance of ‘Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs’, Jane asked, ‘Where is my Sis?’ ‘Oh she was so sleepy from the apple pie that she chose to stay at my house and rest,’ answered WQ.
‘Let’s hurry and dress you for your parts,’ said WQ with an evil grimace of joy. ‘You mean that we are going to be in the performance,’ asked Chet? ”Why yes you are…you see we are short three dwarfs…and you three are just the right size,’ laughed WQ…