Cornerstone Traveler

Writing in New Patlz


            Hi everyone and welcome to another exciting and thought provoking issue of this bi-weekly newsletter, the CORNERSTONE TRAVELER.  Also available online at

To all my readers, I am sorry that this issue is a week late, but I had o deal with Christmas shopping and Christmas Cards and couldn’t deal with the newsletter.  Again I apologize.


mid-Hudson Valley news:  As I have written before, I am glad for the snowfall in the mid-Hudson Valley because we didn’t have the usual snowfall last winter and we had less than the normal rain fall this past spring, summer and fall so we were experiencing moderate to extreme drought conditions in the valley.  Thank God for the snow fall for this year.  We had more snow fall so far this season than all of last year.

I saw a deer on the road by the New Paltz High School on South Putt Corners Road.  I saw about six vultures feeding on the deer carcass with four vultures in a tree waiting for their turn for feeding.


observations:  I have been getting phone calls almost daily trying to sell be solar power.  I answer by insisting that they send me their solar power conditions in the mail, but they insist that is not the way they operate.  I explain then they are losers.

I was confronted with a man trying to sell solar power at Home Depot.  When I said I would not deal with him unless I saw printed information, he said that is not the way they operate.  Then I said they were full of crap and walked away.  I have come to the conclusion that some outfits are operating scams in regards to solar power.


sports:  NFL:  The Jets beat the Bill’s this past weekend 20-10, but still do not have a post season schedule.

The Giants defeated the Redskins by a score of 19-10.  They are a wild card team for post season play.  They will play Green Bay this weekend.

NBA:  The Knicks are 7 games back in the Atlantic Division of the NBA East with a record of 16-18.

The Nets are 15 games back in the same division with a record of 8-25.

NHL:  The Rangers are 3 points back in the Metropolitan Division of the National Hockey League in the Eastern Conference.  Their record is 16-12-1.

The Islanders are 20 points back in the same division with a record of 15-15-6.


other:  As with all previous issues of this newsletter, everything printed here is either copyright protected or copyright pending.

The history of P:&G’s follows this newsletter from 1900, when the building was first constructed to about the 1930’s

Following this history is a short story I wrote that I publish in each newsletter around Christmas.  It is called The CHRITMAS CAROL Ten Years Later.  I hope you like it.

Thank-you  – Rik McGuire
























                               HISTORY of P&G’s from the BEGINNING




            Travel back more than a century to the spring of 1900 as builder John H. Hasbrouck and his men construct a 50’ by 28’ building on the site of the current P&G’s Restaurant.  Look around and begin to imagine.

The first floor features a fountain with water softly falling into a cobblestone basin.  The exotic effect is enhanced with darting goldfish and blooming water lilies.  Palms set liberally throughout the room provide an air of privacy for those seated at the groups of small tables.  Patrons, dressed in their finest, sit chatting, sometimes courting and enjoying the establishments fine refreshments.

The upper story is a promenade, opened to all full view of sunset over the Shawangunk Mountains.  Live music gently eases you from afternoon into evening.  Welcome to the ambiance and hospitality of the Casino.

`The Casino’s owner, Mr. Steen had correctly envisioned the areas many tourists, summer boarders and trolley passengers stopping to enjoy the unique features of his establishment.  The terminal station for the trolley line from Highland is located just across Main Street.  It is said that Steen had patterned the Casino after the famous Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs.

On June 1, 1900 the Casino was officially opened.  That evening “a large number of people enjoyed the ice cream and the lovely mountain views.”  According to the New Paltz Independent newspaper.  Music was provided by a band which included a piano and several other instruments.  The Casino soon became famous for Saturday night dances held on the second floor of the open pavilion.  It was decorated with flowers and vines suspended from the rafters.  The crowds were so large that special late trolley cars were run to accomadte the guests and take the orchestra back to Poughkeepsie.

The electric power shut down at midnight, according to Independent writer Delia Shaw “… the time of closing and the departure of the last trolley (run by electricity) had to be reckoned with, but as was often the case, several folks ‘Missed the Last Trolley’… seems between intermissions the fellows would walk their girls down the street where numerous straw thatched summer houses were located on the banks of the Wallkill River and they were so preoccupied with making love by the light of the silvery moon that they forget everything”  Shaw continued.  “Saturday nights in New Paltz became a legend!  There was not a single hitching post available, nor an inch of space under any of the sheds of the five local hotels.  The Casino drew people from surrounding towns and they came via hay loads and 4 seated carriages, while some men even walked and carried their dancing shoes.  “Little Larry’, the shoeshine fellow, did a landslide business Saturday nights!  As did all the merchants and stores open till 9 p.m.”

By 1921 the Casino had changed hands and names, becoming the Blue Crane Inn.  Ads of the era read.

Big night at the Bleu Crane Inn

Dancing every Wednesday and Saturday evenings.

In the Chinese Hall-Good Jazzy Music.”


The cornerstone of night life in New Paltz continued to thrive.

In 1925, after 28 years of service, the Highland to New Paltz trolley company folded.  The demise of the trolley and the affordability of the automobile meant peoples outings were no longer confined to the trolleys narrow corridor.  /They could drive to any village hotel, restaurant or scenic spot that caught their fancy.  Indeed, New Paltz and the Blue Crane Inn lost their captive audience.  The Inn however continued to accommodate people well into the 1930’s.  Other establishments came and went until 1947 when it became Pat and Georges and was nicknamed the P&G’s that welcomes everybody.


















The CHRISTMAS CAROL – Ten Years Later


It had been a year since Ebenezer Scrooge had been confronted with the three spirits of Christmas and he was feeling very generous to all and especially to his clerk, Bob Cratchit.

Bob Cratchit was so pleased with Scrooge’s generosity that he invited Scrooge to have dinner with the Cratchit family in their new home that they could afford because Scrooge had been so generous with the salary for Bob.

Mrs. Cratchit was able to buy a goose that she specially prepared for their dinner with Scrooge. Everyone including Mr. Scrooge were especially pleased with the cooked goose that Mrs. Cratchit had prepared.  They were all enjoying the warm wine except for the children who were satisfied with the hot cocoa.

Then it happened, a Christmas spirit of health appeared behind Tiny Tim.

The Christmas spirit appeared to be a young woman with silver hair that came down to her shoulders.  There was a garland of beautiful flowers around her head.  She was clothed in a gold flowing robe with ruby sandals on her feet.  She just floated a few inches off the Cratchit floor when she whispered her command to Tiny Tim.

They all gasped when this spirit commanded that Tiny Tim rise from his chair at the table without his crutch.  Tiny Tim did as he was told by the spirit.  The spirit then commanded little Tim to walk around the dining room without his crutch.  Everyone gasped when Tim did as he was told by the spirit.

Before the spirit faded into the night, the spirit explained.  Tiny Tim.  You can now walk and experience life like everyone else.  But in the future you may be commanded to do something of importance for the spirits of Christmas.

And Tiny Tim naturally agreed to this request, demand.  Then she, the Christmas Spirit


disappeared from the Cratchit home and into the night.

It was ten years later when Mr. Scrooge was invited for yet another dinner by the Cratchit family.  As this had happened many times these past ten years.  Mrs. Cratchit had prepared a dinner of lamb, potatoes and beets that everyone enjoyed, especially Mr. Scrooge.

Mr. Scrooge was sipping his warm wine at the table next to Tiny Tim, though not tiny because he was five foot six and weighed one hundred forty pounds.

It had been eleven years since Ebenezer Scrooge had been visited by the three spirits of Christmas.  And as it was spoken by all in the community, he had learned how to keep the Christmas spirit.  In fact he kept the Christmas spirit all year long.

He learned that counting money was not a pursuit that should occupy him on a daily basis.  But rather the counting of friends and those people he could help with his wealth was a better pursuit.

His confrontations with the spirits of Christmas forced him to rethink his morals, values, integrity and humanness.

After they all sat down around the dining table, Bob Cratchit bowed his head and clasped his hands together.  “Let us thank the Lord for our good fortune, health and the generosity of Mr. Scrooge.

They all clasped their hands and bowed their heads; Bob began the meal time prayer.

“Lord.”  He began.  “We all thank you for watching over us all and helping us survive             another bitterly cold winter.  And we also thank you for Mr. Scrooge.  He has been so kind to us and everyone in need.  So.  Thank you again Dear Lord.  Amen.”


Everyone said Amen then looked up and to Tim as if expecting him to say what they all came to hear at each dinner after the prayer.

Tim only looked at each of them and smiled.  He then said.  “God bless us.  Everyone.”

After Tim said this they all passed around the plates of lamb, potatoes and red beets.

After Mr. Scrooge finished his meal, he drank from his cup of wine.  He turned to Tim

and asked.  “How is school, young man?”

Tim finished chewing the last morsel of buttered bread.  “School if very good, Mr. Scrooge, I really enjoy school.”

“How are you doing in arithmetic?”   Scrooge asked.

“Very good sir.”  Tim answered.

“Good.”  Scrooge said.  “And when you become of age, you can work for me.  Accounting my unearned wealth.”

Tim shook his head.  “I’d rather not Mr. Scrooge.”

“And why not?  You can ask your father.  I pay a generous wage for good work.”  Scrooge almost scolded.

“My favorite subject in school is literature.  I enjoy reading the stories, novels and plays of the great men.  Especially Cervantes, Defoe and even Shakespeare.  I even found a new writer from America, James Fennimore Cooper.

“And what could one of those pesky rebels write that is good?’‘ Scrooge harrumphed.

“Mr. Cooper wrote a novel about the Indians in the new world.  His book is called The Last of the Mohicans.”


Scrooge could only glower into his cup of wine.  “I suppose I should purchase and read that book if you think I would enjoy it Tim.”

“I know you would Mr. Scrooge.”

“I suppose you are thinking of maybe being a writer like the authors you just mentioned?”  Scrooge asked.

“Oh.  But I would like too very much, but first I think I should start my career writing about the awful conditions in the workhouses first.”  Tim said with down turned eyes afraid of Scrooges reaction.

“I suppose you know of the conditions in the workhouses?”  Scrooge asked.

“Yes.  I do Mr. Scrooge.  A friend of mine, Jimmy Curriers family have been forced into

a workhouse because his father couldn’t pay all the debts for his livery business.  And according to Jimmy, his parents are suffering horribly in that workhouse.”

“And how did he accumulate his debts?”  Scrooge asked sourly.

“His Father couldn’t charge the fares necessary to shelter, feed and shoe his horses.  The wealthy don’t seem it necessary to be generous when paying for livery around London and especially to the estates outside of London.”

“So you blame the wealthy for the indebtedness, do you young man?”  Scrooge demanded

“No sir.  I blame the general attitude in our society to keep the wealthy in our society affluent.  Let me ask you Mr. Scrooge   Where would this country be without the livery people like the Curriers or the chimney sweeps or the skilled tradesman?  Where would we be without these people?  Yet they are the ones performing almost slave like labor to pay off their debts.”

“So what is Jimmy Currier doing with his family in the workhouse?”

“He quit school and is working at a horse farm tending to and cleaning the stables of over twenty horses.  He only got that job because he had so much experience working with his father on their livery horses.”  Tim explained.

“So.  You want to earn a living writing in the newspapers and tabloids about these people

in the workhouses?”

“Yes sir.  I would.”  Tim said almost shyly.

“Then if you wish to write about these people in the workhouses, you should go and check out the working conditions for yourself.”

“I tried Mr. Scrooge, but they wouldn’t even let me past the front door.  It is almost as if

they are afraid to let anyone to see in workhouse and the people jailed  in those prisons.  And they are jailed for what?  Only trying to provide for themselves and their families.  It is a crime, if not a sin.”  Tim almost cried.

“Then tomorrow you and I will make a visit of a workhouse.  Then you can see for yourself the conditions.  Then maybe, write a newspaper piece that will be bought by the local newspaper in London.  Would that be acceptable?”  He asked Tim.

“Yes sir.  It would!”  Tim almost gushed.  “But can you get us into the workhouse?”

Scrooge just smiled.  “I can and I will because of my wealth.  Almost everyone will step aside if I ask them to.  And we should have no problem surveying the conditions in the workhouse.”


“Oh!   That would be grand Mr. Scrooge.”  Tim almost gasped.


The next morning, young Tim was awake before 7:00.  He dressed and washed in a special bucket of water that he heated on the house stove.  Then he waited patiently for the arrival of Mr. Scrooge.  But he could only pace back and forth in the kitchen, trying to step lightly so as not to wake his family.  He had donned his jacket so he could be ready to leave almost as soon as Mr. Scrooge arrived.  The wait was not long when he heard the hooves of a horse pulling a hack arrive at the Cratchit front door.  He immediately opened the door quietly and closed it just as quietly.  He saw that Mr. Scrooge had opened the side panel of the hack so that Tim could enter and sit facing Mr. Scrooge.  Tim’s back was to the back of the livery driver.

“The workhouse on Simkins Road.”  Mr. Scrooge ordered the driver.

“Yes sir.  Mr. Scrooge.  It will be about fifteen minutes so bundle up as it is colder than

usual this morning.”  The livery driver said.

When they arrived at the workhouse fifteen minutes later almost to the minute, Tim saw the shabbily constructed brick edifice that was the front of the workhouse and he shuddered at the thought of people laboring inside to pay off their debts.

Both  Scrooge and Tim stepped down from the livery hack.  Scrooge turned to the driver and asked.  “How much do I owe you my good man?”

“Just six pence, Mr. Scrooge.”  The livery driver said.

Scrooge reached into his long overcoat and pulled out a metal studded purse.  He reached in, sorted through several coins.  “Here is a shilling and have a good day.”  He saluted the driver.

“Why thank you Mr. Scrooge and I will be back here at ten to pick up both you and the young man, sir.  Just as you requested earlier.”

“That should be quite sufficient, my young man.”   Scrooge said as he led Tim to the front door of the workhouse.

When they escaped the outside cold and entered the heavy front door, they were met by a

burly, heavily bearded man with a wooden truncheon in his hand.

“Your business here?”  He growled.

“We’re here to check out the working conditions of the people here and how my tax money is  being spent.”  Scrooge said.

The bearded man shook his head.  “I’m afraid that is not possible sir, unless you have a

special permit from the workhouse superintendent.”

“Who is the superintendent?”  Scrooge demanded.

“Mr. Thomas.”  The guard replied.

“Tell Mr. Thomas I want to see him immediately.”  Scrooge growled.

“I’m afraid sir that Mr. Thomas is not here at this time.  He is at home.”

“When do you expect him to arrive here?”  Scrooge asked.

“Not until noon.”

“Okay.  You tell Mr. Thomas that Mr. Ebenezer Scrooge asks, no demands that he send that special permit to me at my residence today.  I live at 13 Mulberry Street.  And I expect to hear from him today with that permit.  And no later than three this afternoon.”


“I will forward your request to Mr. Thomas as soon as he arrives Mr. Scrooge.”  The guard said.

Scrooge shook his head.  “It is not a request.  It is a demand.”

“Yes sir.”

Scrooge turned to the front door.  “Come Tim, there is an inn just down the street.  And we will wait there for the livery hack.  There we can stay warm drinking hot tea.”

“Of course Mr. Scrooge.”  Tim said.

They walked out the door and with their heads buried in their coats to keep the chill from their faces, they walked to the inn maybe one hundred yards away.  They both breathed a sigh of relief when they felt the coal fired stove warmth of the inn.

They sat on wooden benches across from each other, separated by an old scared wooden table.

“What was your impression of the workhouse, young Tim?”  Scrooge asked.

Tim shook his head.  “It was cold in there, though not as cold as outside, but still cold.  And I fear for the people working in that cold.”

Scrooge nodded.  “Yes. It is was cold in there and I too fear for the people working there.  But we should see the conditions tomorrow when we return.  Now we will just drink our tea and wait for the livery hack at ten, a couple of hours away.”

They sat drinking cup after cup of hot tea and talking about what they knew of the working conditions in the workhouse on Simkins Street.  After they finished their third cup of hot tea, Scrooge pulled out his pocket watch and saw it was near ten.  “We should finish our tea, pay up then head back to the front of the workhouse to get the livery hack.”  Scrooge said as he paid the bill for their cups of tea.  And left a generous tip.

They both bundled up in their coats and trudged out of the inn to the front of the workhouse.  Again they buried their faces in their coats to keep the chill from their faces.

The livery hack arrived almost exactly at ten.  Scrooge and Tim entered the hack when Scrooge said.  “To the Cratchit house on Baker Street,”

“Yes sir.”  The livery driver said.  Fifteen minutes later they exited the livery hack and

Scrooge paid the driver another shilling.  The driver was very much grateful for the generosity and said.  “I’m at your service at any time Mr. Scrooge.”

“Be at my house at seven tomorrow morning.”  Scrooge said.

“Yes sir.  Mr. Scrooge.”  The livery driver said as he drove away.

They entered the Cratchit home to find Bob Cratchit sitting on a chair sipping a cup of tea.  He smiled and asked.  “What did you learn from the workhouse?”

“Nothing.”  Scrooge growled.  “The guard wouldn’t let us by unless we had a special permit from the workhouse superintendent.”

“So what happens now?”  Bob asked.

“I demanded that the superintendent send me that special permit to my home today.  Three the latest.”  Scrooge explained.

“And if he doesn’t?”  Bob asked.

“Then there will be hell to pay!”  Scrooge almost shouted.

Bob Cratchit looked to his son.  “What are your plans?”


Tim could only shrug.  “I’ll just wait patiently for the permit.  Just as Mr. Scrooge has to wait.”


At noon, Mr. Thomas arrived at the workhouse and went directly to his office.  He was satisfied that one of the workhouse servants had already stoked his private coal fired stove and it was pleasantly warm enough in his office that he could remove his overcoat.

Before he could sit behind his desk to determine what work should be done by the

workhouse labor, the guard knocked on his door and entered at Thomas’ command.

“Yes.”  Thomas asked.  “What do you want?”

The guard stumbled to speak because he feared to get Mr. Thomas angry.  “A Mr. Ebenezer Scrooge was here early this morning to check the working conditions of the workhouse sir.  He was with a young man.”

“Did you let them in?”  Thomas demanded.

“No sir.  I explained that they will need a special permit from you.”

“Who was the young man?”

“I don’t know sir, but I know I denied him entrance once before about a week ago.”  The guard said.

“Good, that will be the reason I will deny Scrooge the required permit because I don’t know who the young man is.”

“Mr. Thomas.  Mr. Scrooge demanded the special permit be delivered to his home by three this afternoon.  You know Mr. Thomas it is not a good idea to irritate Mr. Scrooge because he is so well admired by everyone in the city.”

Thomas sat back in his chair and thought.  He then reached behind him for a sheet of paper.  He took a quill from a drawer in his desk dipped it into an ink well and scribbled on the paper.  After he finished writing, he read over what he had written then signed his name at the bottom of the paper.  He folded it and handed it to the guard.  “Have this delivered to the residence of Ebenezer Scrooge and do it immediately.”

“Is this the special permit to allow him entrance?”  The guard asked..

Thomas shook his head.  “No.  It is my explanation why he cannot have the permit.”

“He’s not going to be happy.”

“I don’t care.  As I explained in the note, he has no business here and I don’t know who the young man is.  That is reason enough for me to deny him entrance into this workhouse.”

“Yes sir. I understand, I just hope Mr. Scrooge understands.”

Thomas shook his head.  “Whether he does or doesn’t, is of no concern to me.  Tell me how are the workers doing on the rope weaving for that ship company?”

They should be completed by mid afternoon Mr. Thomas.”

“Good.  I have another contract from a textile company in London and as soon as they are finished with the ropes I want them on the textile job.”

“But Mr. Thomas, they have all been working twelve hour days on those ropes with little time for rest or anything.  And many of their hands are raw from working on that hemp.”

“Just see that it is done.  They are here to pay off their debts.  The only way they will pay these debts is for them to work and work.”


“Yes sir Mr. Thomas.”  The guard said as he backed out of the office.

After the guard left, Thomas sat back in his office chair and imagined the extra money he was making with the labor from the workhouse.  He should realize substantial pay from the work the workhouse debtors were doing for the ship company and the textile company who got use of his laborers in the workhouse.  (Debtors prison) Because the labor cost in the workhouse for the textile mill and ships company was a tenth of what they would have had to pay for similar labor in their regular workforce.  And Thomas was paid a good percentage of these savings.  He could only smile at his imagined earnings.


Scrooge left the Cratchit home by three that afternoon after enjoying a lite lunch prepared by Mrs. Cratchit.  The walk to his home was more than the usual fifteen minutes because of the bitter cold and the wind in his face.

When he got to his home, he saw a folded paper stuck in the door jamb of his front door.  He took it, putting it into the pocket of his overcoat thinking it was the special permit from the workhouse superintendent allowing him and Tim entrance into the workhouse.

He went directly to his huge coal fired stove, stoked it with fresh coal, lit it and waited for the warmth of the stove before he could shake off the chill of his home and  remove his overcoat.

It was after he felt the warmth of the stove that he pulled the note from the pocket..

He scowled at the written explanation by Thomas why he and Tim were not allowed to

see the inside of the workhouse.  Scrooge knew the reasoning of Thomas was bogus because

Thomas wrote that only elected and special people were allowed to examine the conditions of the workhouse thus Scrooge and Tim were not allowed this status.

Scrooge could only crumple the note in his hand then throw it into the coal fired stove.

He stomped back and forth thinking of how he could breach the superintendent’s edict.  He also feared telling Tim of the superintendent’s decision not to allow them entrance into the workhouse.

Scrooge went to bed that night wondering how he could overrule the superintendent’s decision.


That night as both he and Tim slept, a spirit of Christmas appeared in their dreams.

The spirit of Christmas appeared as a shabbily and ill dressed street man who looked

obviously homeless as he was so scruffy.

The spirit of this Christmas gestured with his finger that the dream spirit of Scrooge should follow him.  And naturally Scrooge complied with the spirits request, almost demand.

“Where are you taking me?”  Scrooge had to ask the spirit as he held the spirits sleeve.

To the home of young Tim.  He is asleep now and his spirit should be able to follow us. The spirit whispered.

The next Scrooge knew he was floating over the building where he knew the Cratchit family lived.  The guiding spirit and the spirit of Scrooge descended through the roof of the building to young Tim’s room.  Young Tim lay comfortably beneath a heavy blanket with his head resting comfortably face up on a pillow.  To Scrooge, he looked so peaceful in rest.  When suddenly the spirit of young Tim rose from his corporal body.

The spirit of young Tim looked down on his physical body then to the Christmas spirit and to the spirit of Scrooge.

“I’m not sure what is happening Mr. Scrooge.”  Young Tim said.

“Fear not young man.  You are just experiencing what I experienced many years ago when I was visited by the three spirits of Christmas.”  The spirit of Scrooge whispered.

The next that the spirits of young Tim and Scrooge knew they were in the confines of the workhouse on Simkins Street, the workhouse they tried to enter earlier that day.

The Christmas spirit took them to the areas where the people slept, those people who were in the workhouse trying to pay off their debts.  The spirits of Tim and Scrooge saw that all the laborers were sleeping on thin straw stuffed mattresses with just a scant flimsy blanket to keep the chill off.  Most were shivering uncontrollably from the cold.

Both Tim and Scrooge had to turn their heads away from the wretchedness they saw.

“This is a horrible way to live to pay off one’s debts.”  Young Tim whispered to Scrooge.

The Christmas spirit turned to them and said.  You don’t have to whisper.  No one can hear or see you or me.

“Why are you showing this to us?”  Scrooge asked.

It is the only way you will see the conditions here in this workhouse and this workhouse is no better or worse than the countless others in this country.  The Christmas spirit explained.



“What do you expect from us?”  Tim asked.

From you.  The Christmas spirit said, pointing to Tim.  I expect a good piece of journalism that will be printed in a London newspaper.  And from you Mr. Scrooge, I expect you to use your influence on the newspapers to get Tim’s written work published in a widely read newspaper.

“I will do my best.”  Scrooge promised the Christmas spirit.

“And I will write the best piece of journalism ever written in the London newspapers.”  Tim promised.

Good.  The spirit said.  Now I will take you back so you can rest and wake to a new day for the people.

“What of that character, Mr. Thomas?”  Scrooge asked.

His greed and inhumanity to his fellow people will be dealt with rather harshly.  The spirit explained.

The Christmas spirit disappeared into the night after Scrooge and Tim’s spirits were released back into their physical bodies.


Both Tim and Scrooge woke the following morning with a renewed sense of being .  They knew what their obligations were to the spirits of Christmas.

That morning, after he woke, Tim immediately grabbed a quill with an ink bottle and several sheets of paper to write what he and Scrooge had witnessed in the workhouse with the aid of the Christmas spirit.


He had  several sheets of written work when his family awoke for the family breakfast.  He had been writing at the kitchen dinner table when his family entered for the family breakfast.  He took his written work to a side room where he could finish his work.

His mother and father implored him to have breakfast, but he declined explaining how he had to write of the workhouse in London.

Bob Cratchit asked.  “How can you write of them if you have never been allowed entrance?”

Tim looked up to his father and smiled.  “Mr. Scrooge and I were visited by a similar

Christmas spirit that had visited Mr. Scrooge those many years ago and showed him the true spirit and meaning of Christmas.”

“And you saw….?”  His father asked.

“The true and real conditions of the workhouse on Simkins Street.  It is brutal and horrible.  Worse than I could have imagined.  The Christmas spirit demanded that I write a journalistic piece that will be published in a London newspaper.  And with the help of Mr. Scrooge it will be.”  Tim bent down to write more of what he had witnessed in the workhouse.

By dinner time, Tim threw his quill down in disgust.  He had written and rewritten his impressions of the workhouse, yet there was something missing with what he wrote and he was at a loss to know what it was.  His mother called to him and said he should at least have dinner with the family.

Tim reluctantly agreed and pushed himself from his makeshift desk.


At dinner he gobbled the sandwiches and soup until his belly felt full.  He helped his brother and sister clean the table and wash the dishes.  He then went back to his “desk” in the other room, reread his last written piece.  But just as before dinner it was the same.  There was something he needed to know and thought that only another trip to the workhouse would reveal what he needed to know.  He knew that the guard at the workhouse would not allow him entrance.  He also didn’t know how to contact the Christmas spirit to bring him there.  Thus he was at a loss on how to complete his assignment for the Christmas spirit.

By ten that night he had a difficult time just keeping his eyes open.  It didn’t seem to matter how much hot tea he drank, his mind was just too fatigued to function.  He thought that sleep was not only necessary, but mandatory for his over taxed mind.

He crawled into the warm caress of his bed with a heavy blanket providing needed warmth.  He had already changed into his bed clothes before he laid under the blanket.

He closed his eyes and sleep immediately took him to dreamland.

He didn’t know how long he had been asleep when something woke him.  It could have been a few minutes or a few hours.  He just didn’t know.  All he was sure of was that something forced him to open his eyes and exit dreamland.  The waking was so unexpected that he couldn’t remember the dream he was having.

He had been lying on his back when he had awakened and he saw a radiant glow on the ceiling of his room just above the door to his room.  And floating below the ceiling glow was the beautiful Christmas spirit with the same silver hair and a garland ring on her head


with beautiful flowers.  He saw she held her left hand up, as to gesture for silence and the

index finger of her right hand was to her lips.

No one can see or hear me.  Only you can.  But your family will hear you talk and become curious who you are talking to.  So just whisper real low.  The Christmas spirit cautioned.

Tim just nodded that he understood.

I will take you back to the workhouse, as you think you should and maybe I can show you what you need to learn to finish your journalistic paper.  The Christmas spirit said in a melodic voice.  You just need to take hold of my hand and I will take you there.  But it will be about ten hours in the past so you can see and learn how the superintendent operates the workhouse.

Naturally Tim took her hand and the next he knew they were floating above the workhouse superintendent at his desk.

There was a knock on the door and a well dressed man entered the office with a bulging satchel in his hand.  “I trust that the money from my textile mill will be enough for your workers to complete the task we have contracted with you and the warehouse for.”

Mr. Thomas took the satchel and placed it on the floor beside his desk.  “I will count it later, but if it is the agreed upon price then everything should be completed to your satisfaction.”

“When will the work be completed for the task we had agreed upon?”  The textile man asked.


“I will let you know by tomorrow afternoon at the latest.”  Mr. Thomas said as he

pulled the satchel behind his desk.  “When you leave, tell the guard that I wish to be undisturbed for at least an hour.”

The textile man nodded and backed out of Mr. Thomas’ office.

After the man left and with the door closed, Thomas hefted the satchel to his desk.  He reached into the satchel and took out bundled bank notes.  He counted the bank notes, separating them into two piles.  For every four bank notes he counted, three went to one pile and one to the other.  An hour later, one pile of notes towered over the other.  Thomas took the taller tower of notes, counted them and placed them carefully in his personal satchel.  He then took the ledger from his desk and noted the count of the smaller tower of notes into the ledger..  The ledger had a column for a company’s name, another column for the projected work hours and a third for the price of the workhouse labor.

Thomas took a second ledger out of his overcoat and noted the higher of the two towers of money in it.  He secreted the secret ledger back into his overcoat.  He then clapped his hands and smiled with happiness with his newfound wealth from the textile mill.

“What’s going on?”  Tim asked the spirit.

The superintendent charges each company a certain amount and he takes three quarters of this amount for himself.  Thus making the workhouse debtors, laborers, work that much longer and harder to pay off their debts.

Tim tried to slap his head, but couldn’t because he was only a spirit.  “That is what is missing for my newspaper piece.”


The Christmas spirit only nodded her head.  Yes.  It is, but you needed to see it so you

can write it.

“I will finish it tomorrow.”   Tim promised the spirit.

The Christmas spirit said.  Of course you will, but first I want to bring you to the Christmas spirit that took you and Mr. Scrooge to the workhouse the first time.  I think you will learn more when he explains his life and death in this workhouse.

“I’m ready.”  Tim said.

Good.  It won’t be too long we just have to wait until that spirit brings Mr. Scrooge to our meeting.

“Mr. Scrooge?”  Tim asked.

The spirit nodded.  Yes.  He will be needed to make certain your piece is published in a major newspaper and not just a tabloid.

It wasn’t long until Tim saw the spirit of Mr. Scrooge being pulled into the workhouse by the scruffy looking spirit who had taken the two of them to the workhouse the previous night.

Scrooge saluted a hello to Tim when the spirit released him to see Tim and his angelic spirit.  “Hello Tim.”  He said as he raised his hand in recognition.

Tim saluted hello back.  “I think Mr. Scrooge that these spirits want to tell or show us something.”

“That is?”  Scrooge asked.

I will show you.  The scruffy spirit explained.


The next Tim and Scrooge knew they were in the bowels of the workhouse on

Simkins Street.  But they could see it was many years in the past because of the clothing

worn by the workhouse laborers.  They saw the body of the scruffy spirit lying on a thin straw stuffed mattress coughing and hacking uncontrollably.  Tim and Scrooge watched as the man on the mattress breathe a last breath and die.

“That was you?”  Tim asked the spirit.

Yes.  Like the Currier family I was trying to pay off a debt for my livery business.  But I died in that workhouse and I became one of the spirits that try and guide people away from money and greed.  As I am sure you know of Mr. Scrooge.

“Yes.  I do.  Though I wish I didn’t.  Scrooge said.

“You died in the workhouse?”  Tim asked.

Yes I did after about five months of toiling for industries in and around London wanting cheaper labor which they got in these workhouses.

“But you died there.”  Tim said.  “How?”

It was so cold and damp that I caught a cold that turned deathly and I died there with many other debtors who also died in those cold and damp confines.

“That is horrible.”  Tim almost cried.

Yes it was and still is.  The scruffy spirit whispered.  But it can change if you write about it and have it published in a leading London newspaper.

“I’ll finish it tomorrow.”  Tim promised.

I know you will.  The spirit said.  Now I will take both you and Mr. Scrooge back to

your bodies.

The next Tim and Scrooge knew they were waking from a deep sleep in their own beds.  But what they both saw earlier was firmly etched in their minds.  They both knew what was expected from them from the spirits who showed them the wretchedness of the workhouse and how it could be deadly.

Tim dressed and went immediately downstairs to his make shift “desk” in the side room.  He took the quill, dipped it into the  ink bottle and started writing.  It was almost uncontrollable and he didn’t stop until he had a small stack of written words on the side of his “desk”.  By the time he had finished, his family had risen from their beds for the family breakfast.  He reread what he had written and nodded with satisfaction.  He then went to the table to have breakfast with the family.

His family saw how happy he was and asked why the change.

He just said that he had completed a journalistic masterpiece that would be printed in a London newspaper.

Tim showed his journalistic work to Mr. Scrooge.  After he had read what Tim had written, he nodded his satisfaction.

“I will talk to the people in the newspapers and make certain that this printed in a newspaper or tabloid.”  He promised.

It was two weeks before Tim’s journalistic work was printed in a major London newspaper and the reaction from his written work was almost immediately embraced by everyone who had read it.


Just about all were concerned how the workhouse superintendent had earned extra money from the work of the workhouse laborers

The parish officials were especially concerned because they saw that just one man was making substantial personal gain from the workhouse laborers and they were not included in this windfall.  So they naturally had to investigate this money.

But the newspaper editors ran with this money from the debtor’s prison and the parish officials were out of luck to see an increase in their income.

And as it turned out, Mr. Thomas was forced out of his position as the workhouse superintendent and was forced to work as a common laborer in a textile mill.

Mr. Thomas no longer had that extra income from the various mills that required the labor of the workhouse debtors and was forced to take what he considered substandard living conditions from what he used to live in that he paid for with workhouse labor.

A few months later, Mr. Thomas had been forced to pay off his debts in the workhouse, the same workhouse he lorded over for years before he was caught pilfering money from the debtor’s pockets for his own personal gain.

He never imagined how cold and damp it was in the workhouse.  He only knew of the warmth of his office, above the workhouse laborers.  He saw how at his past direction that the coal fired stove was barely stoked for heat for the laborers in the workhouse, to save money on coal and thus giving him that much more money.

Thomas was forced to work in the bowels of the workhouse in the cold and damp confines of the workhouse.  It wasn’t long before he caught a severe cold that turned to pneumonia where he spent his last days coughing and hacking uncontrollably on his thin straw stuffed mattress with only a flimsy blanket to keep the chill from his feverish body.  He eventually died in that workhouse.

Mr. Thomas was forced to wear and drag the chains of greed he had forged when he lived as the superintendent of the workhouse.  And it was a heavy and cumbersome chain on his spiritual body.  Just as it was for Jacob Marley, who had haunted Scrooge those many years ago before he was visited by the three spirits of Christmas.

Thomas appeared before Scrooge as Scrooge lay in bed, waiting for sleep to overcome him late at night.

The spirit of Thomas implored upon Scrooge.  How can I free myself from these chains?

Scrooge just smiled.  “You have to realize how you put money and greed over the conditions of those who worked hard to pay off their debts and then maybe you may be released from the chains you had forged in your life, being greedy.

And I can do this how?  The spirit of Thomas pleaded.

“That is between you and the spirits of Christmas and the spirits of those who died in your workhouse in deplorable conditions.  Can you do that?”  Scrooge asked the spirit of Thomas.

I’ll do my best.  Thomas promised Scrooge.

Scrooge shook his head.  “It is not to me for you to do your best.  It is to those souls,  spirits who died under your supervision in the workhouse.  It is only from them you can ask for forgiveness.”

That is all?  I just have to ask for forgiveness from those who died in the warehouse?  They must be kind now as spirits.

Scrooge chuckled.  “You may have to do more.”

I will if I must.  The spirit of Thomas promised.

Tim Cratchit had become a much sought after newspaper contributor because of his newspaper piece on the deplorable conditions in the country workhouses.

He was asked to write more of what he had witnessed in the workhouse (prisons).  His answer was if they wanted to learn more, all , the parish officials had to do was investigate the workhouses themselves.

Tim had taken it upon himself to write short stories in a monthly magazine of the conditions of the poor in Great Britain.  His stories were widely read by almost everyone in the country including the royalty.

And that was how Tim lived out his years, writing stories of the aged, infirm and the poor, who Ebenezer Scrooge once said.  “Should die and decrease the surplus population.”


9:26 p.m.



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