Cliffside Native Publishes Novel
Leonard Jolley, a native of Cliffside and a 1967 Chase High graduate, has written a novel titled “Soul of Clay.” It’s based on lives of residents of a southern mill town in the ’70’s, a town that is rapidly fading away.
Here’s the description from the publisher:
Mill Creek, North Carolina, is faced with annihilation when its sole employer and landlord, Caesar Textiles, reverses a decision to sell company-owned houses to its employees and even threatens to raze the town. Many townspeople speculate that the company’s motive lies in its refusal to deal with the request of a mill employee who wants to purchase a house on Main instead of the “colored” street where he lives. As the boundaries of the 1960s village are encroached upon by the world outside – television, rock and roll, the civil rights movement, drugs, and the draft – Clay Coleman struggles to become a man. At night, Clay plunges into the forbidden world of rhythm and blues offered up by his idol, DJ John R, over the “black” radio station, WLAC. His heartaches with every song as he obsesses over his pudgy object of desire, Irene. When best friend, Fletch— cool, popular, and everything Clay is not—turns Clay onto marijuana, it’s love at first toke. Clay desperately tries to make sense of it all as his town and his life threaten to fall apart around him.
Sound familiar? And does the company name “Ceasar Textiles” ring any particular bell?
One reader comments:
“His descriptions will bring back memories to all those who have ever worked in a cotton mill, from shift work to living in a small town where one could walk if needed to buy groceries, pick up the mail, or go to church.” — Ron Condrey
He’s the son of Fay and Emma Sue Horton Jolley, and the younger brother of Jerry. The family lived first on Cliffside Street then on 1st Avenue (behind the Memorial Building).
Leonard graduated from Gardner-Webb University in 1971. He lives with wife Pam in Irmo, SC. Now retired, his lifetime career was in the state’s social services department.
You can purchase his book from Amazon.