Justin Murphy

Justin Murphy is a graduate of the Master's program in magazine, newspaper and online journalism at Syracuse University. Born in Rochester, N.Y., he did his undergraduate work in linguistics at the University of Chicago and taught historical linguistics at Vilnius University in Lithuania. He also has an interest in baseball history, and writes for www.seamheads.com and the Society for American Baseball Research. Murphy currently covers county government for The Citizen in Auburn, N.Y.

This is Our Freedom
All That Lingers
A Gift Given

Justin Gets a Ringer

Photo by: Juliette Lynch

When Juliette and I rattled up to Jerry's yard Sunday for our second visit, we found him spending his Sunday afternoon as they're meant to be spent: playing horseshoes with his brother and cousin out in the sun, with two overgrown puppies racing around the yard. "We don't know all the rules, so we just play country horseshoes", Jerry admitted, taking a pull of water from a brown bootleg jar.

The beginning

Photo by: Juliette Lynch

After almost a week of traveling, unpacking, cleaning, chasing goats, and making about 6 one-hour trips to Walmart, the ten of us went to meet up with our stories for the first time. With left, right, left directions to Jerry's house, Justin and I wove our way through Republic, Wauconda, Chesaw and the abandoned mining town of Bolster. Our drive was a bit like "through the woods to Grandmother's house we go," as we round through all the road's twists and turns until the path opened up into a lush, green valley between hills dotted with evergreens.

Pancakes, prayers ...

Photo by: Steve Davis

After a pair of two-hour round-trips to Chesaw in as many days, Juliette and I were content with today's assignment, a Memorial Day pancake breakfast just a few miles down the road. It was a fundraiser for the Republic Volunteer Fire Department; the firefighters flipped elderberry pancakes and monitored frying eggs and ham where the firetrucks usually park.