Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Traveling down memory lane in Alabama

I graduated from JO Johnson High School in May of 1979. My folks gave me a horse trailer for a graduation present. As soon as I graduated, I loaded up my worldly goods and moved to Colorado. And I haven't been back to Alabama until today.

J O Johnson High School 
It was an interesting trip back in time. The glimpse of the rockets at the Air and Space museum brought tears to my eyes and a thrilled gasp from Shawn, who was driving. Huntsville is a whole lot bigger than I remembered, or maybe it's grown a bit in the last 32 years. It's also a whole lot more agrarian than I ever realized. I was fascinated with how memory works when I remembered street names and found my way from my old high school to our old house. We only lived there two years, so I wasn't sure if I'd be able to find any thing or recognize it. I did.

I remember sitting on the concrete under the white pillars in front of the school with Lisa Hilburn after she'd drank so much carrot juice the palms of her hands were turning orange. I remember running on the track to the left of the school in the early mornings. I remember high centering somebody's vw bug on the dividers in the parking lot. I remember getting to go up on the roof to see a fly-by of the new space shuttle piggy-backed on a 747.
Our old house on Wayne Court.
  I remember walking to school in the mornings and the smell or the little farm along the walk way...

Which got me thinking about memory paths and life choices. That's a lot longer thought train than one blog post!

However, I realized that the relative of Miss Melody's who I portray as a living history character, based on her diary, Miss Martha Mills, moved from Lancaster County Georgia to Stone County Arkansas in 1859. This is the path we are taking. To see this land, quickly through a car window, and imagine a group of young families making this journey by wagon and on foot... it adds to the depth and realism with which I can share Miss Martha's memories.

Now I really should help Shawn navigate. He'd been driving through a pouring rain for several hours. We are about 29 miles from Canoe Lake Farm and our new herdsire.

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