Wow, who would imagine the popularity of this podcast. I actually had a “Podcast Party” with just family from Texas. We had heard so much about the podcast and lived so much of its story we just had to share it as a family. Here are a couple of pictures from the podcast party:
I think Brian Reed did an excellent job with this production but, I must admit it was my first and last podcast so far. As I said earlier I didn’t even know what a podcast was until S-Town. This podcast really turned out to be the Story of John Brooks McLemore, and Brian did bring out John Brooks true colors. “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”
I often wondered like most of y’all probably did too, what would John Brooks say about all of this? I imagine if he were still living there wouldn’t have been a podcast. After all, the things John Brooks wanted investigated went south and were proven untrue. I can’t even comment on what he would think about all of this, or what Mary Grace might think. I would love to let her know about the popularity of John Brooks and the things of his life story that would make her proud. There was a side of John Brooks revealed that Mary Grace knew nothing about. I believe some of the things mentioned would have embarrassed even him.
Mary Grace’s caregiver and I have made a special effort to keep all of this from Mary Grace. I was so afraid she was going to see someone wearing a tee-shirt with John Brooks’ picture on the front or see something on the news. At her age you never know the reaction it will bring. We do know if she talks much about John Brooks during the day she does not rest well that night. Like I mentioned, so much of the podcast is about the John Brooks she really didn’t know.
I am so happy that the world got to see the “brilliant” John Brooks, the kind-hearted John Brooks, the troubled John Brooks, the John Brooks that so many loved and the John Brooks that many learned to tolerate. It is so sad that this man of “genius” status was not able to function outside his, and I quote: “Prison of my own making”
I can’t even imagine living in John Brooks’ brain because being on the outside was difficult enough. He was like so many degrees above ADHD. Like Brian said: “He was exhausting”. I don’t know if anything at that point in his life would have made him happy. He definitely could not stay focused on one project. While in the middle of remodeling the home place he decides to design and build a “Maze”. I understand that it took 2 1/2 years and over $60,000 dollars.
As hard as it is, I want to believe that he took care of Mary Grace the best he knew how. One thing I do know, he did not know how to manage his or her money. It amazes me that after the podcast his finances received so much attention. I guess it was because so many seemed to think he was worth millions of dollars and could not believe that being broke might have been one of the reasons he committed suicide. I think that is exactly what John Brooks hoped everyone would think, (that he had millions). I believe John Brooks thought as long as he had money he would have friends.
I was shocked when I heard the news of his suicide but, not surprised. What did surprise me was he didn’t take Mary Grace with him. Was I saddened by John Brooks’ death? Of course, he was family. But, at this point my grief was shifted to Mary Grace.
As far as the podcast is concerned, there were several situations that I wish had been portrayed differently. And the foul language, there was just so much of it. I realize that my part of the podcast had nothing to do with John Brooks, but with Mary Grace. I also realize that my part of the podcast came down to “He said–She said”. But, this Blog has been all about what SHE SAID, so here we go. I probably have covered some of the following in my previous postings, but I am listening to the podcast again as I am writing this part of the blog–so I am going to jump right in and probably jump around a lot.
Chapter 1 well, this was the real John Brooks. What you see is what you get. On Brian’s first visit there was no hand shake, no how are you, no clean clothes, no invitation to come inside for a glass of “Sweet Tea”, no introduction to “Mama”, nothing. He was focused on showing off his property, beautiful flowers, trees and of course the maze, and he certainly had the right to be proud.
Here are a few pictures of the maze that I took in April 2012.
I told him he should open it to the public, but he said the liability would be too high. I said well at least let the school children come over for a field trip. We know that didn’t happen. One more thing that caught my interest in chapter 1 was the statement Brian made: “we go pass a big trailer and two old school buses, one yellow and one blue, their filled with lumber for John’s house that he is aging to get the wood as close as possible to what they used to built the house two hundred years ago.” I would think this clears up the mystery of who owes the trailer, buses and contents inside.
Chapter 2 revealed John Brooks’ kind heartedness, he sacrificed his skin to keep the Black Sheep tattoo parlor a float. It seems he spent $2,000 to $3,000 over the span of every couple of week, Wow, that will lower your cash account. And to think that John spent this money on tattoos, one of the things he hated about S-Town. I believe John Brooks called them a expression of hopelessness. One thing in the podcast I could relate to: John Brooks was not disappointed that the murder of D. Nichols did not happen, he was disappointed in the fact there were people that believed it was true and did nothing about it. The inaction. The acceptance. That is how I felt dealing with law enforcement while trying to protect Mary Grace’s assets. The inaction. The acceptance.
I am getting my first look into the relationship between John Brooks and Tyler. It would not be fair for me to say much on this subject. I do believe they cared for each other? Of course. Do I think they used each other? Of course. I believe that John Brooks thought he could help Tyler as he had others in the past. Remember, I am seeing this situation through the eyes of a family member who was only thinking of Mary Grace. I am thinking with the money he spent on a maze, tattoos, piercing, and legal fees for others he could have built a small comfortable home for his mother and himself. After all it was mostly her inheritance they lived on. Mary Grace told me years ago that she would never put her house and property in John Brooks’ name because he would sell it and put her in a nursing home.
In Chapter 3 I could feel and share the sadness expressed by Brian and the Goodson’s over the news of John Brooks’ death. And I can genuinely say I appreciated the concern for Mary Grace in the hours that followed. If I had not shown up it would have been a bigger problem because the state would then have had to locate the next of kin. There were enough people in Woodstock who knew there was family out there somewhere. Just saying, it would not have been as easy as they think to get Power of Attorney (POA) over Mary Grace.
I listened to Tyler reliving the day of Monday June 22nd and as he talks about John Brooks wanting him at the house all the time and John Brooks depended on him–well, I am sure he did but, I must wonder that in John Brooks mind he felt this is what Tyler was being paid for, (I am not saying it was right). Maybe John Brooks was thinking “since I am paying Tyler for his labor, legal fees, kids Christmas, tattoos, etc.” –who knew what John Brooks was thinking-right??
It is in this chapter I learn that I am white trash, a drunk, and good for nothing. Really??? Funny being that I don’t drink, (maybe a Pina colada once in a while) but I have never been drunk. I went to work the week after high school graduation, and saved for my retirement . I have always tried to do the right thing by others, respect my elders, be there for my family and friends when they were in need. I was so blessed to have a family that taught me the “golden rule”.
I have already explained the confrontation of when I first met Tyler at the house. I do not remember cussing, but I was probably talking with an elevated voice. I have also wondered, when we arrived at Mary Grace’s on June 24th, 2015 was the padlock meant to keep everyone out or was it really meant to only let one person in??? You can be assured I was not acting or trying to squeeze a tear out when we got to the hospital. Mary Grace did not tell us who Tyler was or how he was connected to her or John Brooks, and for sure, she did not mention going with Tyler to the lawyer’s office or going with him to make funeral arrangements. Actually, he told me his grandmother was going with him to make the arrangements.
Tyler found out that very day, the hospital would not release Mary Grace to go home with him. (in podcast he said it was the next day). It was that same night he went on Mary Grace’s property with Jake, (his brother) to start taking items.
During the podcast Tyler was pretty adamant about Mary Grace having pearls and diamonds and about the gold. I Wonder what happened to them because they were never found in the house while we were cleaning it out. Oh, that’s right–there were others in the house before us.
The funeral service deserves its own posting –coming up next.
Ok–Let’s keep talking.