The Bee Creek Blues & Meridian

Greta Gorsuch

The American Chapters series presents short stories in vivid and easy-to-read 500-word chapters, perfect for English language learners internationally, and adult literacy learners in countries where English is commonly used.

The Bee Creek Blues/Meridian

We are in Meridian, Texas, a real place, in the heart of ranchlands, hills, and wild country. Meridian is a small town with a diverse people who have come through hard times, and who work hard to preserve the community they love.

The Bee Creek Blues

It is 1934, in the middle of the Great Depression in America. There is no work, and times are hard. Adrian Cooper, a young African American college student from Ohio, has had to leave school because there is no money. He joins CCC Company 1827 to help build roads, dams, and parks. And he belongs to a rare “integrated” CCC company where African Americans work side by side with white Americans. CCC Company 1827 is sent to Meridian, Texas where it is hot, and the sun shines hard all day. The government wants them to build a dam, by hand, to bring water, and hope, to the ranchers and townspeople of Meridian. Not all goes smoothly. Some whites in Meridian don’t like the idea of African Americans working on the dam. Will CCC Company 1827 build the dam? Will Adrian ever go back to school? Will good times ever return? Follow Adrian as he works alongside his friends and rebuilds his future.


It is present day Meridian, Texas, and the Meridian Tribune, the tiny local newspaper, needs a new reporter. Young Mr. Bill Wells, fresh from the University of Texas, takes the job. Moving from the big city to a small town (Meridian: Population 4,445) brings some surprises, but Bill Wells reports on who he meets, and places he visits, and brings to life this small and diverse town. He battles alongside the townspeople to keep the local school open and encourages young people in town to learn photography. Written as a series of newspaper advertisements and stories, we follow young Mr. Wells as he begins to call Meridian his home.

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The Visitors

Greta Gorsuch

It’s June 1933. The rest of the United States seems to be falling to pieces, but in Little Wellington, Texas, the farmers, ranchers, and townspeople just want it to rain. They’re also concerned about some strange events, like a luxury car cruising around at night without any lights. A child’s ball that keeps appearing and disappearing all by itself. And then the outlaw couple Bonnie and Clyde pay a visit … with disastrous results. Can life ever go back to the way it was?

Lights at Chickasaw Point & The Two Garcons

Greta Gorsuch

Even native-born Americans don’t know the Deep South well. It’s a beautiful, deeply forested region, with diverse people and a long history. These stories set in Mississippi and Louisiana deal with two mysteries. How well do we know a place? And how well do we know our families?

Lights at Chickasaw Point
Brian Longfield is a campground host at Trace State Park in Mississippi. The campground is full of elderly Americans. Many of them have no money, and so they live in old trailers that are falling apart. Brian does his best to repair their old, broken homes, but Brian has his own problems. His beautiful wife is in a nursing home in a town nearby, and each day she slips further away. Then some strange things begin to happen. It begins with mysterious lights at Chickasaw Point, a dark and wooded and mysterious place across the lake. What will Brian find when he goes there one night?

The Two Garcons
Jeff Garcon’s parents have done something really crazy, and Jeff doesn’t know what to make of it. Leaving their home in Minnesota, in Jeff’s junior year of high school, they move to Jeff’s father’s hometown of Monroe, Louisiana. For the first time in his life, Jeff, who is white, is in the minority.

But things get even more interesting. On the first day of school, Jeff is surprised to meet Corey Garcon, who shares his name, and who is African American.

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Living at Trace

Greta Gorsuch

Brian Longfield’s life has somehow gone in the wrong direction. His wife has died, and he wonders whether he will ever feel happy again. But life does go on, and in unexpected ways. Now he works as a campground host at a beautiful state park in Mississippi, and spends his time helping families at the campground.

Strange things happen at the park, too. Brian finds a small, hungry dog left behind by a family and takes him in. And that is not all the family left behind. The father dumped his oldest son, 14-year-old Tellman, in a nearby town without food or money. Together with Park Ranger Jack Madison, Brian tries to find Tellman’s evil father, Dave Sykes, who still has Rio, Tellman’s little brother.

But when Dave Sykes does return, something shocking happens.

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Summer in Cimarron & Lunch at the Dixie Diner

Greta Gorsuch

Summer in Cimarron
Rhonda lives in a small, old trailer at the Cimarron Highway Motel and Trailer Park. She doesn’t have a car, she doesn’t have a refrigerator, and she doesn’t know anyone. But Rhonda knows trouble. Her husband left her for a woman he met on the internet. He also took Rhonda’s money. But something about the beautiful, lonely, mountain town of Cimarron begins to pull at Rhonda. There is something about the fresh air, the mountains, and of all things, a young black bear who visits the trailer park one night. Rhonda makes friends, and then she makes a decision that will change her life forever.

Lunch at the Dixie Diner
Andrea is no one special. A night nurse in a city an hour away, she drives to work at sunset, drives home at sunrise, washes her truck, and then visits her mother Miley at the Fairfield Nursing Home. And pretty much every day in her life is the same. Some days Miley doesn’t know who Andrea is or why she’s visiting, but every week they still have lunch together at the Dixie Diner. But even though Miley is old and losing

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The Storm

Greta Gorsuch

Cecilia Hunter lives in Sunflower, a little town under the big West Texas sky. She runs a home health care business for the elderly. Cecilia visits her clients, cleans their houses, and helps them run errands. At the end of the day, she visits sweet Mrs. Lee, who tells her in a strange voice that “a storm is coming.”

That night while driving home, Cecilia encounters a desert storm. Terrible wind and rain force her off the road for a while. But in the days that follow, Cecilia sees another storm brewing. Mrs. Lee’s son and his family are moving back to Sunflower. This should be happy news. But Mrs. Lee’s granddaughter Anita is acting strangely. Something is wrong.

And then the real storm comes, beginning with a terrible fire. Will Cecilia and the Lee family ever be the same?

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Cecilia's House & The Foraging Class

Greta Gorsuch

Cecilia’s House
Cecilia lives in tiny Sunflower, Texas. There aren’t many jobs in a country where the towns are small and far apart. But Cecilia has built a good house-cleaning business with her business partner Franny. But one day, Cecelia drives over to visit Franny, who has been sick. When she gets to Franny’s house, a police car is waiting with flashing lights. What Cecilia learns next will change her life.

The Foraging Class
High school student Shana can’t believe she has to spend her Spring Break on a camping trip at a Texas state park, attending something awful called a “Foraging Class.” The class will teach them about eating things that look like grasses and weeds! But she has no choice. So Shana, her mother Alice, and best friend Kristen drive off on their adventure into the green pine forests of East Texas. Then everything changes one night, deep in the park. And none of them will ever see the world the same way again.

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Greta Gorsuch

Greta Gorsuch has been teaching EFL and ESL for over thirty years. She conducts research on reading fluency, discourse intonation, testing, and teacher cognition. She’s been writing fiction for some time, but has only come out into the open with it recently. She thanks the many landscapes she has seen and the many people she has met for her ideas.