Stuckey’s Bridge on the Travel Channel

Stuckey’s Bridge and yours truly will be on “Most Terrifying Places in America” on the Travel Channel on the dates and times below. Mark your calendar. Tell your friends.

Sep 30
11pm ET | 10pm CT

Oct 1
2am ET | 1am CT

Oct 4
2pm ET| 1pm CT

Oct 21
2pm ET| 1pm CT

Oct 25
12pm ET| 11am CT

I’m so excited!! I think the history of Stuckey’s Bridge is very compelling. Enough so, that I wrote a book about it. I’m glad the Travel Channel called me to do the show, as it means someone love the legend as much as I. Strangely enough, I seem to be the resident expert.

Check out my brand-spankin’-new audiobook of The Legend of Stuckey’s Bridge, narrated by the amazing J. Rodney Turner. I’m sooooo very pleased with it!!

It’s available at Audible, Amazon, and iTunes. Here’s a sample:

Dante Cicchetti 1924-2017

I usually write about my own blood family, but today is a special day. Today I am attending the memorial service of my husband’s grandfather.

dante cicchetti with great grandson alex jackDante Cicchetti (pronounced Seh-KEH-tee) was born 7 Dec 1920 in Italy. He was the third child of Nicholos Cicchetti and Maria Leonarda Scarlato. He had an older sister and an older brother. Following him was a girl born in June of 1924, and 11 Oct of the same year, the family landed on the shores of America in New York.

Through the early 1900s, many Italians were not treated well in Italy. I won’t go into the gory details, but they were used, starved, women were raped, men suffered, and most were desperate to escape. They did anything they could to scrape up enough money to book passage to America. America was in the middle of an industrial boom and needed laborers. Hardworking, desperate Italians fit this bill.

Not all were happy about the Italian boom. In the 1911 Dillingham report, propaganda reigned supreme, and most of the crime was blamed on Italians. This led to the Immigration Act of 1924 which barred most Italians from entering the country. I’m not sure how the Cicchetti family even got into the country, but standing by my husband’s side at his grandfather’s mass, I’m glad they did.

Following their arrival, the family found their way to Michigan and took up residence in the Detroit area. This is where Dante’s youngest sister was born in 1927.

In 1940, Dante served in the United States Navy as a Hospital Corpsman. He spent time in the Philippines and in Bermuda, among other places. I remember looking through the old photographs that line the walls at the Royal Naval Dockyard Museum in Bermuda, searching for his face, but I wouldn’t know a 20-year-old grandpa if I saw him.

bettylee joyce stewart and dante cicchettiDante married Bettylee Joyce Stewart 19 Sep 1942 and had five daughters and one son. The following decades saw his family expand to a host of in-laws, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. Dante and Bettylee traveled the world, they wintered in Florida, and they were by each other’s side for 66 years.


In 2008, he lost his bride and he was never the same. He missed her deeply and kept himself busy taking care of his home. Until the last few months of his life, he lived alone in his house, shoveling his snow, tending his garden, cutting his grass, and cleaning his gutters. Imagine the frustration of family members arriving at his house and finding 92-year-old grandpa on the ladder again.

He was an entertaining gent with tons of stories of his Italian family, raising his children, and traveling around the world.

He died 31 Dec 2017 following complications of surgery while repairing his broken hip. I’m surprised he didn’t break it many times before while climbing ladders.

Rest in peace, Grandpa. We love you.

cicchetti dante dog tag usn

Farming, Winning, Unpacking, and Catching Up

Holy cow, the last month as been NUTZZZ!

IMG_20140507_075738760I moved from Michigan to Tennessee on May 1st. Whew, that was a lot of work! I felt kinda bad that I went to work on May 3rd for two weeks and left my trophy husband in Tennessee to deal with the movers, the dogs, and his new job, but I had to sit on a beach in St. Maarten and get paid. (I work for Norwegian Cruise Lines, if you don’t know.) So, trophy husband unpacked boxes as best he could and regularly emailed me pictures of the house. I was so happy to see all our stuff made it, but I must admit, my first thoughts were, “Hey, that doesn’t go there. Why would he put those things on that table? That other stuff should go there, and move those things to the other place.” LOL. Poor guy. Well, it was so cool to fly into Nashville on Saturday to come home. I’ve been home for two days and have most of our belongings sorted out. I’m still finding things we didn’t unpack when we moved three years ago, but it’s fun to go through it.

IMG_20140518_184641045In case you missed it, we now have a farm and poor trophy husband has a lot to do. While we were driving down from Michigan (eight hours in the car with two dogs panting and turning it into a smelly steam room), one of the six moo moos had a calf. I called her Peanut (standing on the left), which will be totally wrong when she weighs 900 pounds, but I don’t care. While I was away last week, we had the second calf. I named her Buttercup (laying down on the right). They are precious!!


While I was gone, Twister (the neurotic donkey) apparently went into the chicken enclosure and wouldn’t come out. He’s out now and back with his buddies, but he was a poor little loner for over a week. My house sits by the barn and the chickens, and I haven’t seen Twister since I’ve returned home. He may be a little freaked out by the whole experience. He’s hiding on the back of the property.

AOH%20cover_webAlso while I was gone, my book “An Orphan’s Heart,” was named as a finalist in the 2014 Eric Hoffer Awards. I’m tickled pink!








unnamedThe sequel to “Stuckey’s Bridge” is coming out in two weeks. “Stuckey’s Legacy” will hit the shelves on June 1st. While I was on the ship, I finished writing the third in the trilogy. “Stuckey’s Gold” is now in the pipeline and will be out in August. If you haven’t read “Stuckey’s Bridge” yet, get busy.


I think that’s all the news. I’m leaving Sunday for Bermuda for nine weeks, so I won’t be around until the end of July. Have a great summer and I’ll yack at y’all soon!

October Ancestry Challenge – Linda Faye Culpepper

oct ancestry challenge-001 October Ancestry Challenge 2013

23 days – 23 posts – 23 ancestors. I’d like to thank the folks who participated in the challenge. It has been a pleasure getting to know your ancestors. This will be the last installment in the challenge on my page, and thank goodness, it’s been…well…a challenge to come up with 23 ancestors. I’m posting a little early as I’m participating in a Halloween Blog Hop tomorrow. Stop by tomorrow for a creepy story and a chance to win a free Kindle of “The Legend of Stuckey’s Bridge.” Now, without further ado…

Ancestor #23 – Linda Faye Culpepper

I saved the best for last. ♥

MommaThis beautiful woman was my mother. She was born in 1944 in Meridian, Mississippi to Earl Culpepper and Ina Inez Burke (Ancestor #7). She had only one sister and no brothers.

She married my daddy (Ancestor #22) on August 15, 1960 when she was only 15 years old (the same age she was in this photograph). She said her father tried to discourage her from marrying at such a young age, but the woman I knew was always rebellious. When I was a baby, we moved to Tennessee for a while, but by 1966, the marriage was over, and we moved back to Mississippi and lived with her parents.

While she was a young working mother, she had a woman babysit me and eventually met his son. They married and we moved to Michigan. She went to school to become a nurse and worked for thirteen years in the cardiac unit of the local hospital.

The morning of November 17, 2000, she fell from the second floor balcony of her home when the railing broke. She suffered greatly from seven broken ribs, three broken vertebrae, a ruptured spleen, and a broken arm. After months of fighting, her body gave up and she died July 11, 2001.

She is buried at Resurrection Cemetery in Clinton Township, MI in the Angel Mausoleum.

Rest in peace, momma. I miss you every day.

Best April Fool’s Prank EVER!

Today, I was searching for an April Fool’s prank to play on my trophy hubby and was reminded of one I pulled a few years ago.

My daughter was fresh out of college and in the midst of looking for a teaching job. She sent out a gazillion resumes and went on a bazillion interviews. She was substitute teaching at different schools on a daily basis, and her phone was ringing off the hook.

We still had a home phone at the time, and though she used her cell phone for nearly all business activity, the occasional caller would ring the home phone.

So, on April 1st, I wrote a phone message and left it on the kitchen island for her.

It read:

“Mr. Lyon called about a job. He wants you to call him back. (248) 541-5717.”

She was all excited, anticipating a new position. I could hardly keep from laughing in her face.


If you dial that number, you will hear the other person say, “Hello. Detroit Zoo.”

L1244047867detroit zoo

“May I please speak with Mr. Lyon?”

You will hear the person on the other end say, “Excuse me?”


hahahahahahaha – I’m still laughing.




Ancestry – or – Why I Am So Jacked Up – Parents and Grandparents

That title is a total fabrication. In reality, I come from strong, sturdy stock. My ancestors hail from England, Ireland, Scotland, and places of incredibly hardy men and women in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama and Mississippi. I’ve studied my ancestors for about 25 years and have built up quite a collection of information, pictures, certificates and documents. I need a place to put all this stuff. How about here?

Let’s start with mom and dad…

Father: Andrew Frank “Andy” Crane II 1940-1994. Andy was born in Mississippi and died of complication of a pituitary tumor removal in Tennessee at the age of 54. He married my mom in 1960 at age 19. They divorced when I was small, and he married another woman and had 2 sons. I have no full-blooded brothers or sisters, but I do have 2 half-brothers from his second marriage, along with 2 sister-in-laws, 3 nieces and 2 nephews.


Mother: Linda Faye Culpepper 1944-2001. My mother was also born in Mississippi and was 15 when she and my dad were married. She gave birth to  me at age 18. After their divorce, she moved to Michigan with her second husband, dragging me to the snow and ice. She made her living as a nurse. She died in Michigan following a fall from her balcony at the age of 56.



Andrew Frank “Frank” Crane I 1903-1979  and Margaret Azalea Pickett 1919-2006

Frank and Azalea were both born in Mississippi. He died in Mississippi at age 76, and she died at age 87 in Florida while living with her daughter. Grandpa Frank was the strong, silent type. He was quite a bit older than his wife, and as I remember, was already retired when I was small. “Miss Crane” (she would not allow us to call her “grandmother”) was a nurse. I don’t remember much of them due to my move to Michigan. I only saw them on summer vacations, but spent most of my time there with my cousins (who lived next door) and Miss Crane’s mother (who lived next door to my cousins).  Grandpa Frank was married previously and had two boys and two girls in the 1920s and 1930s. He and Miss Crane had one boy and one girl in the 1940s. The girl, my aunt, had three daughters (yes, the cousins who lived next door). Sometime in the early 2000s, my aunt and Miss Crane moved to Florida. Frank is buried in the family cemetery in Mississippi, and Miss Crane has a headstone there also; however, her ashes remain with her daughter in Florida.

Apparently, Ms Crane was not the most “domestic” woman in the world. I heard a story that my mother went to the house and found Ms Crane “mopping” the kitchen floor by using the hose from outside to “wash” it and mopping it out the back door.  😀

Grandpa and Miss Crane

Frank with brothers Horace T. and Thomas Jackson “Tommy”

Earl Wilmer Culpepper 1914-1994 and Ina Inez Burk 1915-1975

“Papaw” and “Mamaw” were both born and died in Mississippi. They married in 1937 and had 2 daughters who were 7 years apart in age. I seem to remember my mother saying there was either a boy stillborn between them or that she was the twin of a stillborn boy. I can’t find any documentation of this, and there is no one left to ask.

My aunt married and had three boys. While my aunt was delivering her third boy, my mother babysat the older two boys. They were 2 and 3 yrs at the time. After spending a week with two toddlers, my mother said, and I quote, “I will never, ever have children.” Nine months to the day after the third boy was born, I was born. Never say never.

Mamaw was a seamstress at the local shirt factory, and Papaw work in the shipping department. She was a fabulous cook, which is what killed her. She died of complications following open heart surgery at age 59. Papaw married a lady from the factory after Mamaw’s death, and we kind of lost track of him after that. He was pretty involved with his new family (the lady had 2 teenage daughters still at home).  He loved to fish and hunt and play his guitar and drink. He died following a stroke at age 80. Mamaw and Papaw are buried next to each other in Newton County, Mississippi.

Story: Not only did Papaw like to fish and hunt, there is also a story that he liked to walk down to the swamp in the dark and catch big frogs. I guess one day when he returned, Mamaw was not happy with him for some reason, perhaps just wondering where he had been. So, to show her what he had been doing, he dumped the bucket of live frogs on the kitchen floor. I can just imagine big frogs jumping around the kitchen.

Papaw and Mamaw

Me and my 3 boy cousins with Mamaw and Papaw

Coming Soon: Ancestry – or- Why I Am So Jacked Up – Great Grandparents

Featuring – The Great Grandparents!! Don’t miss the stories of  the Irishman, the Choctaw Indian, the moonshiner who went to prison for murder, a picture of baby grandpa, and the sad, sad story of the young woman who died three months after her 10 month old son died. Was it suicide, medical negligence, or as the death certificate says, acute melancholia?

Stay tuned…

Bats In My Belfry!

Last night I learned what to do when a BAT gets in your house.

First, the whole family (husband included) crouches down to the floor and shrieks like little girls every time it flies by. And, let me tell you, that little thing flies very, very fast, and my family shrieks very, very loudly.

Second, daughter stands on the front porch with the door open, calling, “Here bat, here bat.”
(Yeah, maybe that’ll work…and she’s the smart one of the bunch.)

Third, everyone grab a weapon!!!
Towel, Broom, Bed Sheet, Couch Pillow – check, check and check.
Now, don’t actually use the weapon. If the bat comes near you, crouch down, cover your head with the weapon, and shriek loudly. This will screw up the bat radar and cause it become disoriented and fly away. (Well, that’s the plan anyway.)

Finally, after it flies out the door, look for it for a half hour, because no one actually saw it fly out the door due to hiding behind sheets and towels and brooms and all that crouching and shrieking.


That was quite an interesting event. I wish I had pictures.

The Golden Child

Since Boo was born, he’s been The Golden Child. Everything the kid touches turns to gold. No effort, no worries, just pure luck.

When he was in second grade, he came home with one of those Morley Candy order forms to raise money for school. He had it in his desk for three weeks, and the night before it was due, he finally brought it home. For every $50 he got in candy orders, he would get in the drawing for the 9 lb chocolate easter bunny. I felt sorry for him, so I bought $50 worth of crap. The next day, the kid comes out of school carrying the damn 9 lb chocolate easter bunny.


The Golden Child


Last week he started college. He’s getting his degree in digital animation.

cory ferris

He took classes during his senior year and over the summer at the local community college, so he only has to take 4 classes per semester for 3 years to graduate, except for 1 extra class we need to squeeze in there somewhere.

Last night he called to tell me he showed his 2D animation instructor one of his drawings, to which the instructor said, “Who put you in my class? Why are you in my class? This is what the advanced 3D animation class is working on.”

After a lot of drama with 2 instructors and his adviser, they put him in the advanced class and gave him the credits for the 2D class. They didn’t know how to go about giving him the credits, because in the words of the adviser, “we’ve never done this before.” But I guess they got it figured out.

The Golden Child doesn’t have that extra class to squeeze in now. And, now his instructors know he’s good. One of the graduates from last year got a job as an animator at Pixar, so I can see where this is heading….

Here’s his pictures:

cory mustang 3

cory mustang 2cory mustang 4