Growing up in a small town fosters feelings of community through shared experiences. In this episode, Georgia Taylor shares her memories of Macon, Mississippi during the 1930s, 40s, and 50s. She recalls the government-issued coupon books used to ration commodities during WWII and how her mother would buy groceries one day at a time. It was a time when people didn’t lock their doors and grocery stores would delivery your food and even put it in the refrigerator for you.
As teenagers in a small town, Taylor and her friends found ways to pass the long summers, together. She recounts the good times at the Dreamland Theater, dances at the American Legion Hut, getting sunburned at Choctaw Lake, and trips to her grandmother’s farm. One of Taylor’s favorite places was Farris Brook’s Book Store. She recalls buying ice cream there and how the children would sit on the floor and read comic books.
When Choctaw Indian Chief Cameron Wesley was arrested for murder in 1939, the story made national headlines. Taylor discusses Wesley’s two trials: the first in a Mississippi court and the second under Choctaw Tribal Law.
Steeped in tradition, the holidays are a source of vivid childhood memories for many. This week's episode is a compilation of some of our favorites: three Mississippians from very different backgrounds share their stories of that special time of year.
Lou Mallory of Natchez grew up in South Georgia, the daughter of a sharecropper. She remembers having little money at Christmas, but never feeling poor.
As a girl, Ellen McCarley would ride the train from Port Gibson to Vicksburg to go Christmas shopping with her mother. She recalls her mother’s Christmas parties as having something for everyone.
Charles Wright would travel with his grandmother each Christmas to their family gathering in Bude. He describes the large spread of food and the atmosphere of Love.
Happy Holidays from the Mississippi Moments family to you and yours!
PHOTO: Robert C. Waller collection, USM Archives
In 1918, F.S. Wolcott began using Port Gibson as Winter Quarters for his Rabbit Foot Minstrel Show. In this episode, Jimmy Allen explains why Wolcott’s show was different from other Minstrels. He also describes how a typical minstrel show operated.
As a bookkeeper in his father's Port Gibson car dealership, Allen had first hand experience dealing with Wolcott. He learned that when it came to Wolcott, the squeaky wheel got the grease.Wolcott eventually formed a partnership with his competitor, F.C. Huntington. In this podcast extra, Allen recalls how that partnership led to a warrant for Wolcott’s arrest.
The Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi was established in 1977. Its mission was to investigate, document, interpret and teach about the American South. In this episode, Ann Abadie recalls the Center’s first public event. Abadie also discusses the Center’s most ambitious project: The Encyclopedia of Southern Culture. She explains how one section of that publication inspired them to form the Southern Foodways Alliance.
No study of Southern Culture would be complete without the Blues. Abadie remembers how Bill Ferris, the Center’s first director, brought Living Blues Magazine from Chicago to Oxford.
Lou Mallory of Natchez grew up on a small farm in the Red Hills of Georgia. In the episode, she recalls how the family barely survived raising cotton, but were happy none the less.
She explains that her father used to make syrup from sugar cane as a way to earn extra money. She remembers eating a lot of syrup when there was not much else.
Mallory learned to sew her own dresses out of necessity. She became a seamstress as an adult and her tailor shop was a Natchez fixture for 45 years until she retired in 1998.
(photo of sugar cane mill: The Florida Center for Instructional Technology, Univ. of South Florida)
Ellen McCarley grew up in Port Gibson, but sent summers with her family in rural Claiborne County. In this episode, she recalls helping her mother load the car with food and supplies for the weekly trip to the old homestead.
Much of their time was spent at a favorite swimming hole on Bayou Pierre creek. McCarley remembers catching rides there on her uncle’s Model T and eating tomato sandwiches.
Although conditions were primitive by today’s standards, McCarley explains that summers in the country provided her with simple pleasures and cherished memories.
Martin Huggins grew up on the family farm in the Biggersfield community near Rienzi. In this episode, he shares his memories of Grandpa Huggins including his remarkable way with the livestock.
This episode has it all: car-surfing goats, the dreaded cane of justice and 12 year old chauffeurs--you know, typical farm life.
Anne Hall Wagoner Norris began working for Holiday Inn as a secretary in 1960. She recalls how the small Memphis company provided many educational opportunities for its employees. With the training Norris received, she was able to advance in the field of Public Relations and obtain her pilots license which she used to compete in the women's air racing team sponsored by Holiday Inn. Her extensive travel during thirty-two years with the company took her to more than thirty foreign countries.