Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Eudora Welty

Eudora Welty's memoir of growing up in Jackson, Mississippi is full of charm and the quiet sense of life at the beginning of the twentieth century. She was growing up in the South while E.B. White was enjoying his childhood in the North.

I wonder if I will get to see the clocks that Welty writes about so fondly. I have a photo of her sitting at her big wooden desk. It graces the cover of my copy of The Writer's Desk by Jill Krementz. There sits Ms. Welty in profile with the soft light of morning shining in the three windows behind her. Her bed, which sits in the foreground, has rumpled white sheets as if she just rolled out of it. The floor lamp is on and she is at work.

I can't wait to see this room. To smell this room. To absorb this room. I hope it looks as if the writer has just stepped out to the kitchen for a cup of coffee and will be back at any minute. By that I mean I hope whatever institution runs the house as a museum has not fussed too much with furniture and belongings. The website assures me that the house is just as she lived in it.

When I visited Carl Sandburg's home, Connemara, in Flat Rock, North Carolina, I was struck by the fact that it looked as if he had just gone out for a walk. Books were piled on shelves, papers were stacked, I think there was even a coffee cup sitting on the kitchen counter. (I may be imagining that.) It was so much more of an experience than seeing rooms filled with "furniture that is from the period when so-and-so lived." A re-creation only, not the real thing.

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