By Jennifer Watts, Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park
There once was a non-profit friends group. At first they were a board of three. They were getting on in years and hated all things fundraising, so their gentle but naïve ED pushed them to add more members to the board. So with revised bylaws in hand, they became a board of seven.
One day the Chairman of the Commission they supported introduced them to his friend, Jezebel. The seven were immediately smitten with her blonde hair, short dress, and beaver teeth. When the ED looked at her, however, she could see gaping dead eyes, rotting hair that clung to her pallid skin, and bones that eerily jutted out from beneath her clothing. Jezebel introduced herself as a fundraiser who loved the Commission’s historical parks so very much and wanted to help them with their funding woes. She spoke breathlessly of the amazing well-attended events, big donors with whom she was personal friends, and corporate sponsorships that would rain down upon the seven and their cherished parks. She assured them that her monthly fee would come directly from the money she raised, while the ED stared in terror. A contract shimmered into her hand, and she smiled beguilingly at the seven. The chairman fell over himself in his haste to sign up with this beautiful stranger. The ED tried to interject that maybe they should take a moment to read the contract before signing it in blood. But her warnings were in vain. The seven headed home, very pleased with themselves, their new friend, and all the good this magical fundraiser would do for the parks.
The ED, left alone, shivered and decided she would try to make the best of it. Maybe she had mistakenly perceived those cold dead eyes. She walked back to her office. Sitting on her desk, as though it had appeared from nowhere, was an invoice for $1,500 from Jezebel. She ripped the invoice to shreds and threw it in the trash. How had it gotten there? The blood wasn’t even dry on the contract yet! She decided she’d had enough and left for the day.
The next morning when the ED arrived at work, she opened the door to her office to find that each shred of Jezebel’s invoice had become a new invoice for $1,500 – payable immediately. Before she could process this, her phone rang and she answered to find the foundation chair screaming at her for not cooperating with Jezebel. Then her assistant ran in to inform her that Jezebel was downstairs to see her and get some “information” to help with fundraising. The ED told Jezebel that it was not a good time – and to make an appointment to come back later. Jezebel left and the phone rang again. Another of the seven screaming that she better cooperate with poor sweet Jezebel, or else.
The ED met with the seven, showed them the contract guaranteeing Jezebel $1,500 a week, a litany of expenses, and some pretty crazy confidentiality privileges. She asked where they thought the money for this would come from. “Jezebel will raise it!” they chimed. Then they admonished the poor ED for being combative.
The next morning, Jezebel appeared in the ED’s office again, with a stack of invoices and expense receipts. She promised that some checks would come soon. The ED wanted to believe her.
Months went by. Jezebel haunted the ED at every turn, while the seven gushed that Jezebel was doing such a great job. No checks ever came. Jezebel began harassing the ED for more payments. “I’ll tell the seven” she threatened! “I’ll cry, and I’ll tell them the most horrible things so they fire you!” And the ED believed her because she clearly had some kind of hypnotic power over them. But there was simply no money to pay Jezebel.
Three days later, the ED was found smothered beneath a pile of writhing, screaming invoices, surrounded by empty bottles of her only remaining comfort – vodka, rum and tequila.
The Alabama Historic Ironworks Foundation is proud to support the projects and programs of Tannehill and Brierfield Ironworks Historical State Parks. Specifically, the Foundation facilitates the continuing historic preservation and interpretation of the historical sites at both parks, funds programs to connect visitors of all ages with their industrial heritage, and encourages further research and publication of topics of importance to Alabama’s industrial and frontier history. Together these parks serve over 600,000 annual visitors with access to low-cost outdoor recreational and cultural opportunities and 5,500 students from local area school with educational programming.