It is the small simple things of life that bring us peace.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Spring 2014 Road Trip - Day 4

(This post is lengthy, but trust me I did cut it down.  I'll have more details on some of these places in the weeks to come.  I think I have picked up a lot of "blogging fodder" on this trip!)

Camellia in Eudora Welty's garden
Last night I had prepared a list of places to go today.  I've been in and out of Jackson all my life, but this would be the first time I've been on my own and could decide where I wanted to go.  Since I only had one day (at least for now) and I had many places to go I decided that I did need to do some planning.  Plus, I knew that I needed to check the hours that each place would be open! I loosely based my day on the 101 Mississippi Places to See Before You Die list found on the Preservation in Mississippi blog.

My first drive took me down Highway 51 from Ridgeland.  I reminisced about the days before I-55 when we would drive from Alexandria and travel up 51 from Highway 84.  It was tedious, but coming into Jackson meant that usually we would be stopping for gas and sometimes to eat a meal or just pick up something.  On this morning's little journey I passed through the little neighborhood of Fondren, squealing with delight at its quirkiness!  I could hear my Daddy's voice telling the that I needed to have my eyes and my head examined, but I loved it!

I wished fervently that Daddy was in the car because he could have answered all my questions about what is this and what is that.  I think that I passed by the Bailey Jr. High that is on the 101 Places list, but I'm not sure.  I did pass by Millsaps College, one of the institutions that my parents wanted me to consider when choosing a college.  If they had brought me here and showed it to me I probably would have chosen it!

My first stop was the old Capitol Building.  I had been here several times before, but wanted to come back as I always loved it and the exhibits.  As I walked up I remembered that my last visit was in December 2003.  The first plaque that I read spoke of Katrina's damage and subsequent restoration.  Upon entering the building I was greeted by a delightful lady that explained that after Katrina everything was changed.  Now the exhibits focus on the building itself and the events that took place inside.  We had a long conversation (turns out she has a cousin that lives close to me and she had visited San Antonio) about preservation.  Just as in San Antonio, it was a group of ladies that led the fight to preserve the Old Capitol after the New Capitol was built and abandoned the old building.

I enjoyed the exhibits, although I had issues with the open ceilings looking down into the chambers and the entry hall as the railings were very low. A light clicked on when I saw a picture of how the building looked in the 1960's - the stucco had not been reapplied after the 1959 renovation so the red brick was exposed on the second and third floors.  That's it, I thought!  That is why I kept thinking that this building was different when I was a child - it was different!

The Old Capitol Building as seen from East Capitol Street.  Just to note that I've decided that power lines, traffic lights and road construction are part of the permanent landscape, so I don't worry about trying to avoid photographing them!

After a visit to the War Memorial next door my next stops were down East Capitol Street.  The weather was warming up a bit and the day was beautiful.  I always am amazed at the cleanness and pristineness of Jackson. I did not see one piece of trash anywhere and only one vagrant!  Walking along I snapped pictures of various buildings, including the Governor's Mansion and the Lamar Life Building which is under renovation as well as several others I need to research.

I came to St. Andrews Episcopal Cathedral and skirted around the construction to get up to the front steps.  As I went around to the side to make pictures I ran into a lady that asked me if I would like a brochure about the history of the church. Yes, please I answered and then she led me into the sanctuary of the church!  I was totally speechless! And breathless, too!  She chatted for a few minutes and then went on her way.  Two guys were working on some of the wood work and she told one of them to answer any questions I had!  I think she was an angel because I would never have had this joy if I had not run into her!

Douhlie catches a little sun!
This building was completed in 1903.
My next stop was at Eudora Welty's home on nearby Pinehurst Street.  I don't know what the values of these homes are, but it is my kind of neighborhood!  Her house has been on my list of places to visit for years; my parents and I had always tried to squeeze in a visit but it never worked out.  Today it didn't work out for me to make the 3 p.m. tour time because I knew I needed to move on, but I did enjoy the well-planned exhibits in the visitor center in the house next door and purchase some books and a poster with one of her pictures of the ruins of Windsor.  I had picked up a biography several years ago at Square Books in Oxford and thoroughly enjoyed reading it.  As I viewed the exhibit and read the quotes from her and her writing I had to think that she had taken many of my thoughts and turned them into words.  I'm anxious to read the books and get to know her better.

As I walked through the garden I couldn't help but think about her and her mother and the wonderful hours they had spent here.  If I lived in Jackson I would definitely get involved with any group that helps tend this space.  The camellias were still blooming and daffodils were popping up.  Spring is just about to burst forth!

Continuing on I stopped at the Mississippi Crafts Center.  I had always enjoyed visits to the old center many years ago.  I still have a beloved coffee mug that I bought there!  I picked up a pottery centerpiece type plate (photo to come later) and some soaps made here in Mississippi.  There was a little of everything to delight my eyes.  An early supper took the form of catfish at a local restaurant that I love (I only eat catfish at this restaurant, no where else, ever!) and then a drive along the Natchez Trace and the Reservoir.

As I pulled into this scenic overlook I had a sudden realization that I had been here before.  In fact, it was almost 35 years to the day.  The husband and I had taken our almost one-year old son to see my grandparents and we had stopped at this overlook while going up the Trace.  I have a picture of little son and me standing in these trees.  As I pulled away from the overlook I had the strangest, oddest feeling that I'm not sure how to describe.  Time is strange, isn't it?

1 comment:

  1. It is always interesting to see something through the eyes of another, whether it is known to you or not. My visits to Jackson have always been about work, and short-lived without much exploration time, so it was good to see your perspective.