Eudora

When I was a student at Millsaps College I knew Eudora Welty lived down the street.  But I was going to be a teacher, not a writer.  My interest was in the desegregation of the public schools and addressing the myth of separate but equal.

Even though we read “Why I Live at the P.O.” in English class, the idea of its author being a few blocks away was not connecting.

Now forty years later I write.  And continually assess what that means.  So as I drive through Jackson on my way home from the Mississippi Pilgrimage, I quickly turn down Pinehurst.  I’ve seen pictures of this house.  I’ve walked by it unknowingly.

It’s across from Belhaven College.  The Visitors’ Center is next door.  I park the car and enter the center.  The only way to get inside her house is on a tour and the next one is to begin in a few minutes.  I pay my five dollars.

We watch a short film of the lady who was once my neighbor.  I listen to her talk about writing and immediately connect with her thoughts and experiences.  She’s a mesmerizing storyteller.

Then we tour her house.  There are stacks of books everywhere. On sofas, tables, piano benches and bookshelves.  The tour guide is telling about her life and I’m busy reading the spines of the books.  What did she read?  Who did she read?

In addition to learning what she read I was impressed with where she wrote.  A lovely breakfast room with windows overlooking her backyard gardens is where she began her day.  Upstairs in her bedroom, large windows faced the Belhaven campus.  This is where her desk is and where she spent most of her day writing.  What a great observation point!!!  Watching the comings and going of students.

I left her home, inspired by the visit with my new friend. 

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