Wickedly Witchy Women


Back In 2011, at a post-50th-year reunion gathering of the Southern High School Class of 1961 planning committee and others, the usual meeting place was haunted with tiny, long-nosed females dressed in basic black: ornamental witches were everywhere! The family room, in particular, at the Brooks residence had become a cauldron of activity for a coven of craggy-faced women with wicked intentions.

Barbara Ann Fultz and I took photos and asked Richard and Marcella Brooks for a full accounting of the eerie environment, where evil seemed to be lurking gleefully behind every corner and in each nook and cranny .
Below is Marcella's tale.  
        -- Jim Reed


In Marcella's words:

Richard and I have always loved Halloween. When we lived in a subdivision, we would dress up in costume on Halloween just to give out the candy to the kids. We were excited to see all the different costumes and the neighborhood kids. And some of their parents dressed in costume, too. Friends used to have Halloween parties, and that gave us a chance to dress in costume. I have dressed as a witch, Elvira, cowgirl, flapper, and an apple, to name a few. The parties were always so much fun.

After we built our new house in 1990, we hosted a Halloween party in our new pole barn. That was before it was filled with whatever is in there now. We decorated it with bales of hay covered with orange and black scarves, spider webs, rats, bats, snakes, and even made a graveyard with gravestones and other objects. About 70 people attended — all in full costume. It was fun!

In the middle ’90s, our daughter got into doing crafts. She made a witch, and I just loved it. I said, "I think that I will make one, too, and I did just that." That witch, along with another one that I made, is always on our mantel each Halloween season. I guess that is what started me collecting witches.

Shortly after that, I was visiting Madison, Indiana, and happened upon a small, quaint shop. There was an elderly man sitting where you could see him through the window. He was carving something, but I didn’t know what it was. Being curious, I ventured into the shop, which was at 409 W. Main Street. He was carving a Santa Claus. The shop was filled with Santas of various shapes and heights, posed with sacks, candles, bells, sleds, etc.

The proprietor’s name was Bruce May, and he called his business Folk Art By May. We struck up a conversation immediately. He was so easy to talk with, and loved talking about his Santas. Since I had collected Santas for several years, too, I had to have one. Well, that got me started buying his Santas. I think that I have at least 40 of his Santas now. I visited his shop about twice a year.

After a few years, I asked him if he ever carved anything else. He asked what I had in mind. And I said witches. Of course, he started carving witches then. I think my first witch of his is dated 2000. He made it to hang, and it is riding on a broom. He never carved many witches each year — maybe four or five at the most. They always sold quickly, and I always purchased at least one of them.




After a few years, I had the pleasure of meeting his wife, Dianne. I learned that while he did all the carving, she did the painting. She is a lovely lady, and I think of both of them as friends. She would call me when he had his witches carved and painted so that I could have first pick. I always tried to get one that was just a little different from the others. Of course, they are all unique because they are hand-carved.

Mr. May — who always replied "Call me Bruce" — was 82 when he died on September 19 of this year. He finished only my witch this year. Dianne called me on the Wednesday before he died to tell me it was ready for me to see. When I called Tuesday morning the 20th to tell her that I was coming to Madison, she told me he passed away the day before. That witch is the most beautiful witch I own. I will never forget Bruce May and our conversations together. Richard also enjoyed talking with him, as well, and did on many occasions.

Since the late 1990s, whenever and wherever we traveled, I have searched for witches. They have been purchased at craft shows, in gift shops, welcome centers, etc. And our daughter, Amanda, made the large wooden one that stands by our loveseat. Of course, I also always have my eye out for Santas.

Halloween and Christmas are my two favorite holidays.!

                                     -- Marcella




Contact Barbara Ann for more information!