Thomas Clayton Wolf’s writing published after his death entitled, “You Can’t Go Home Again” and the “Hills beyond,” implies to me his strong connection to his place of origin.Edora Welty ,is a favorite southern writer of mine. Welty, is internationally acclaimed for her writing about her native Mississippi, she did not dwell on the dramatic.
Instead, she inspected the little things, like washing clothes, running away from home and the way people talked around the kitchen table. Welty saw her middle-class life as perfect material for her writing and she spent most of her years composing in the one story house her father built in Jackson where she dwelled almost all her life.
Webster’s dictionary describes the word home as “A dwelling place, a place of origin,” As we travel through life, I feel each of us carry a piece of home within our spirit; I suggest even Thomas Wolf never ventured far from the path leading him home.
Regardless of what we do, the title we hold, no matter how far we roam from our place of origin, I believe everyone is in search of that special placed buried deep within know as home. Our memories can become emotional links to our past returning us to the place we once dwelled. A friend once said to me that she liked driving through small towns because life comes straight up to the edge of the road. My love for porches is for the same reason; they expose us to the world but also shelter us from it.
Several years ago Joyce Davis Barns shared her memories of our hometown she writes; “I remember the lane where your grandparents lived very well. My dad, Caleb Davis, bought a piece of land just off the Artemus Road behind the Barbourville Cemetery and built a house. There was a big open field between our home and the railroad tracks. Our house was on a lane almost straight across the road from the lane you write about.
My dad rented pastureland from the McCormick’s to keep our cows. I was eight years old at the time. My brothers and I ran and played in the field when dad came to milk the cow. Ms Nanny McCormick was not only our neighbor, but also my favorite teacher. She helped with our Christmas play at the Church of God. I have many good memories of families that attended the church.
Yes, I remember the lane you write about, and spending time with Uncle John and Aunt Nettie Shorter. Their daughter Margery was one of my best friends. We played paper dolls and shared many happy days. I enjoy your memories and wanted to tell you they are like walking down memory lane taking me back to happier childhood days.” Millie’s thought for today: When we find a quite place inside our self where memories abound, we see our childhood in a new light: we might find a new understanding of who we are when we revisit our place of origin.
Many of the folks mentioned in this writing are no longer living…
Thank you Joyce Davis Barns for your memories.