Thursday, January 20, 2011


Playbill photo from the Internet

I’m buried up in historical stuff for the next few days---Google is my new Bee Eff Eff. I don’t know why these things captivate my imagination, and I don’t know what will come of these, but a broken gravestone---if there ever WERE a grave, and a why-was-it-there, as well as a “noble” benefactor and ardent fan, and all the little flickers of imaginings---cliched though they be---that clutter my brain as if I were writing the story---I feel as if I’m reading a history book amongst the quiet fallen leaves and sinking plinths of that far-ago place.

Perhaps I’ll find something---perhaps not. But this dreary snowy time is being lightened by a search amongst tombstones and long-ago departeds, of all things. Another time, another place, and the intervening century and-a-third fall away beneath my clicking, searching fingers and eager eyes, to reveal old newspaper bits, little-read books, faded playbills. I’m in---snowed in, as it were, accepting of this day’s seclusion, and finding it a gift for the searching.

A hundred and thirty-three of those hot Mississippi Summers, the grudging, umber Autumns, the meager tastes of snow and ice and cold---those have all passed like flying leaves over this resting place (if it indeed IS the place of rest), with no word of these people, this Mother and Child, the former fame dissipated in the interval, with mention only in small obscure volumes and yellowed reviews in papers long out of print.

These are not Paxton People, to be made out of whole cloth or the patchworks of People-I’ve-Known; they were living, breathing, vital human beings with interesting lives and talents and the fleeting fame of theatrical folk of the day, working with the likes of Edwin Booth and Sousa as they toured the country’s towns. Even Rodney, Mississippi, now melting into the Earth, had an Opera House to boast, and the air of the era is intriguing to think of.

Lots of other Home things to see to, and ordinaries to tend, for Life calls amidst this gentle quest amongst the dead, and I answer---reluctant to put down and let go, but I must answer to the everydays.

Moiré non, perhaps, as things progress.


Tonja said...

Precious memories---
The new,and the old;
Warm up your heart,
As well as your soul.
Responsibities call,
And away you must go...
But soon you'll be back,
There's much more to know.


racheld said...

Awww, Tonja!! Did you write that?? It's lovely, and perfectly apt for how I am right now. This other thing is just calling me, and last night's supper dishes are STILL IN THE SINK!

And so many other things I should be doing.

Thank you for the poem---these aren't even MY memories, but it's entrancing.

Southern Lady said...

Wow, I just visited two of my favorite ladies in one spot ... and their talent and imaginations never fail to inspire me.

Tonja, your poetry is delightful, and Rachel, your words in tribute to those gone before us, but not forgotten ... were eloquent and thought-provoking, as always.

Jeanne said...

Rachel, I haven't forgotten your story of history to tell. I am now going to read all you have written from today that I have sadly missed. My cousin leaves in the morning and I will start reading in the morning with the luxury of time for myself. Smile!
Hugs, Jeanne