An excerpt from Savannah’s Little Crooked Houses: If These Walls Could Talk
by Susan B. Johnson
Hard cover fiction- June 2007
The History Press; ISBN 978-1596292260



It is July 3, 1802, and you stand in the open doorway listening to the night sounds—the whimper of a child up in the sleeping loft, the rumble of distant thunder, the whinny of a horse from the stable down the street. Your hand rests on the door frame of the house you have occupied for the last four years, a sturdy cottage built of local heart-of-pine. Again you hear thunder and are glad for the promise of rain. Too many people, especially children, have fallen ill from the heat. You step out onto the low stoop hoping for a breeze, but not a leaf stirs, and the dust from the street hangs in the motionless air. In the neighboring houses—four-room cottages like yours—all lanterns have been extinguished for the night. Of the several thousand people in Savannah, it seems you alone are awake.

With a sudden crack of thunder, the sky opens, and the torrent pounds on the wooden shingles, gullies the rutted street. No houses will be ravaged by fire tonight, you think, grateful that your own family sleeps safely on their straw-filled mattresses. And with luck the rain will quell the pestilence that invites summer’s dreaded Yellow Fever. You take one step forward, breathe deeply of the new-washed air, and lift your face to the rain.