Saturday, April 28, 2012

Dateline: Jackson, Mississippi - Day Two

The Reader
William Johnson
We did a quick driving tour of some other places near and dear to the heart of Eudora Welty. The house she was born in and lived in until she moved with her family to Pinehurst Street is located at 741 North Congress Street. From her front yard, a look to the right offers a view straight downtown and ends with the Capitol Building. Across the street is Davis Elementary School which she attended.

The two-story yellow house is now a law firm.

Next up we drove by the Lamar Life Building, Jackson's first skyscraper and home of Lamar Life Insurance Company. Welty's mother and father moved to Jackson after their marriage and her father worked for the company and eventually served as president. The Gothic building was erected in 1924. It is made of white stone and features a clock tower. Her father, Christian, oversaw its construction. Watch out for the gargoyles.

We drove by the public library appropriately named Eudora Welty Library.

On to the Mississippi Museum of Art which was a delightful experience. Here we saw an exhibit of African-American artists - painters and sculptors - from the collection of Walter O. Evans. Just in case you think this was not a literary excursion, let me just tell you that the painting featured on the poster for the exhibit was The Reader by William Johnson. It was my favorite in the show and we hit the gift shop hoping for a poster or postcard of it. There weren't any available but the nice young woman behind the counter told me to call or email the museum and it could be ordered.

Here also is artwork from the museum's permanent collection divided thematically into four sections: Mississippi's Landscape, Mississippi's People, Life in Mississippi, and Exporting Mississippi’s Culture.

We saw quite a few photographs by Ms. Welty. There were watercolors, oils, collages, sculpture, photographs, and even an acrylic armchair lit from within. We were duly impressed and spent almost two hours wandering the galleries. There were quotes all over the walls by Welty, Faulkner and other writers.

See I told you the visit was in keeping with our literary theme.

Next we visited Lemuria Bookstore. Lovely Lisa showed us to the Southern Writers section which was very well stocked. I found and bought a copy of Eudora Welty's The Eye of the Story which is a collection of her essays and book reviews. I also bought Every Day by the Sun by Faulkner's neice, Dean Faulkner Wells. It was highly recommended by Bill the Curator of Rowan Oak.

Rose bought Welty's One Writer's Beginnings and Wells's Every Day by the Sun.

And so to bed.

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