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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Rich (04/26/12)

TITLE: The Legends of Buckeye Annie
By Leola Ogle


“Hey kiddies,” she said, approaching the bench where my four-year-old brother and I sat waiting for our daddy to come out of the auto repair shop. I froze, stifled by the terror that arose in my throat. I swallowed, not sure if I should answer her. I’d never been that close to the legendary Buckeye Annie.

There she stood: old, wrinkled, toothless, disheveled and grinning from ear to ear. She shuffled a little closer and my heart thundered in my chest as my eyes frantically searched for my daddy. Maybe she wanted to eat us like the witch in Hansel and Gretel.

Abruptly she turned, shuffling off in her scuffed saddle oxford shoes. Perhaps she had seen my daddy as he stepped through the door, beckoning us to follow him. I climbed into the car scooting close to Daddy. “Buckeye Annie….she was going to…she scared me,” I whimpered, sniffling.

“Ah, she’s harmless,” he chuckled.

My friends were amazed. Buckeye Annie had never spoken to any of them. It was the ‘50’s and everyone in our neighborhood knew the legend about her. I’m not even sure her name was Annie. She was called Buckeye Annie because she wandered up and down Buckeye Road all hours of the day and night. Thin, bedraggled, she had a shuffling gait and toothless grin.

Rumor had it that her husband and son had been killed in a car accident on Buckeye Road and she wandered in search of them. It was also said that she owned the row of dilapidated apartments off Buckeye Road where she lived. The most incongruous part of the legend was that she was rich, hiding all her money under her mattress, and that she acted poor so nobody would steal her money.

As a child, I believed every word of it. I never questioned why she pretended to be poor to keep from being robbed if everyone knew her money was under her mattress. In my eight years, she was the only rich person that I’d ever encountered. In comparison, I thought we must be rich also.

I was eleven when we moved from that area to the southern part of town. Buckeye Annie was still wandering the street, still an object of ridicule and derision. Everyone talked about her riches, the amount of money stashed under her mattress increasing over the years.

I was a teenager when we returned to that area. I started attending a church on Buckeye Road where I had a radical encounter with Jesus Christ that would change my life forever. I got involved with the youth group and formed friendships that have lasted through the decades.

Buckeye Annie was still wandering the street, her shuffling gait slower than before. She was also wearing scuffed oxfords, perhaps the same pair. The rumors about her hadn’t changed.

She walked past our church often while we teenagers stood out front. Sometimes we snickered, but mostly we ignored her. I wasn’t afraid of her anymore, nor did I feel pity or compassion, I’m ashamed to say.

I had another close encounter with her on a Sunday afternoon. I was staying with the pastor’s daughter, Carolyn, and we decided to walk to a nearby diner. We never went there, mostly because we never had money, and it wasn’t a burger joint with a jukebox, or a malt shop that teenagers liked to hang out at.

We sat at the counter and ordered hamburgers. Buckeye Annie was sitting a few stools over from us. She cackled, flashing that toothless grin when the waitress sat down her plate of roast beef, mashed potatoes with gravy and corn. Our eyes widened, nudging each other when she took her glass of milk and poured it over the plate of food. She stirred everything with her fork, picked up her bread, sopping up the milk in between bites.

Although she pulled a wad of cash from her pocket, placing it on the counter before shuffling out the door, I knew the stories about her being rich weren’t true. That realization came much in the same way as when I understood my family was poor.

I’m not sure when Buckeye Annie ceased her wanderings. I realize now that she was just a poor, dejected soul. We were the rich ones, saturated with our Heavenly Father’s love. We could’ve shared that riches with her, had we only invited her into church.

Such a simple thing, but we never even thought about it.

**true story - 50 years later, I still remember exactly how Buckeye Annie looked.

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This article has been read 1091 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Marina Rojas05/03/12
Your story is moving, and it made me think of how many Buckeye Annies exist in my world that I overlook each day as I wonder through this life--

I think your words have moved me to reach out and touch the untouchable...to know a richness of those who are spoken of in the Beatitudes...

Thank you for your story.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 05/03/12
Wow this left a lump in my throat. You did such a wonderful job of describing Annie. I could picture her in my mind; she looked a lot like the person in my town who roamed the streets -Cat Crusher. My mom always scolded us when we called her by that name. She insisted we refer to her as Mrs. >>> I too wonder if I could have reached out to her. My mom was an excellent example to us and I know she dropped off food for her. I wouldn't be surprised if Mom told her about Jesus Your story really touched me and made me realize we can all do a little more. Soon that little will turn into something grand. Nice job.
C D Swanson 05/04/12
There was a lady in my neighborhood that could have been your Buckeye Annie. I still remember her to this day too!

Thanks for sharing this touching story

God bless~
Genia Gilbert05/06/12
I enjoyed this very much. You captured the character in a wonderful way and made all of think of people we've known. Great writing!
Hiram Claudio05/07/12
This story was so well written and conveyed a lesson we all need to remember. You painted the scenes so clearly, of Annie, of the town, of the impression and rejection everyone sent Annie's way ... so well constructed. Wonderful job!
Laura Hawbaker05/07/12
Good descriptive writing. I could "see" Annie in my mind and could feel the child's fear.
Edmond Ng 05/09/12
Enjoyed the read. How true for a fact that we are rich in our heavenly Father's love. We certainly ought to make every little effort we can to bring someone to Jesus. Thank you for sharing this. God bless.
Hiram Claudio05/10/12
Congratulations on your well deserved 1st finish and placing the EC as well!
Genia Gilbert05/10/12
Congratulations on your EC! Well deserved.
Edmond Ng 05/10/12
Congratulations on getting EC and first place at your level!
Allen Povenmire 05/10/12
Congrats on your winning entry! Your piece brought to mind a woman that roamed the streets of my hometown that were cruelly called River Rat. As kids, we tormented her, yelling mean things her way. God loved her and all those in her predicament as much as He loves the rest of us. So often, we let appearances stop us from ministering to those in need. Thanks for the reminder.
C D Swanson 05/10/12
Congratulations and God Bless~
annie keys05/10/12
Congratulations! VERY well done!