New Story: Riverside–the 56 Books of Frank Slaughter; Also, the Inn Where My Infant Daughter Fell out of Bed
The best-selling novelist of medical thrillers, Frank Slaughter, was a physician at Riverside Hospital, where my mother’s mother died. In the bed-and-breakfast beside his home, my infant daughter fell out of bed, unharmed, in the middle of the night.
You know the place, don’t you? Fans & Stoves? The antique store at Five Points in Riverside? If you don’t, you know plenty of people who do. What deep residual element of the city can’t you find at Fans & Stoves that might say something about who you are, or whom you are to this city?
Leaving the funeral home, I’m pulled to the old hamlet of Wesconnett–freed slaves, the Negro Leagues, arson, tiny tin-roof houses with tin foil in the windows, and the way Fishing Creek curves around to the dead-end of Transylvania.
Welcome to “Spazhouse” in Riverside, to the brilliant oddities of Roxanne Henkle, to a Venus de Milo worthy of Dadaism, to the sage advice of “the Pragmatic Villain,” to reminiscences of “the Hair Man,” to the
Don’t swim with the alligators. Avoid all contact with the soil. Avoid contact with water. Unless invited, stay away. Show your papers. You are not forgotten. This place is not what you think you see.
It’s the house Jacksonville’s greatest historic architect built for himself in 1908. It’s where he died poor and forgotten upstairs, 91 years old, in 1964. So no wonder Jefree Shalev and Carolyn Brass still feel Henry John Klutho here. They’re keeping him alive.