The lifelong friendship has lasted almost one-hundred years. One black, one white; both born and raised on Hickory Hill in the shadows of slavery, in Illinois, where slavery was illegal. Their end plan was to live out their last remaining days together, after their husbands had passed. So far it’s been thirty-six years of living and remembering the romance of life, and memories shared. Since it was built many people have come and gone through the gates of Hickory Hill, but if they were people of color they usually left in chains to be sold into slavery in Kentucky, or traded out as payment of debts. A well trained slave was as good as cash, sometimes better. It was a way of life that didn’t die easily.

Today, Lilly hoped the trip to their childhood home would help put all of Celeste’s jumbled memories back in order, but moments after they arrived Celeste had a massive stroke. The chaos of her mind quickly takes her back to the story days, where she and Lilly learned the history Hickory Hill, their history, and the history of the people who made Hickory Hill what it had become. Hickory Hill tells stories of the 1840 salt plantation in Southeastern Illinois, officially named Hickory Hill when the cornerstone was first set. It is now owned by the State of Illinois, and is more commonly known as The Old Slave House.