When I occasionally mention to people that I grew up in Mississippi I invariably get one of two reactions. First, and my favorite, is the image of me swinging in front of an Antebellum mansion while slaves pick cotton in the fields and the Mississippi river rolls by in the distance. Second, and least amusing, is the vision of me as a barefooted ragamuffin sucking on a hayseed in front of a sharecroppers shack in the Delta.

Neither image is accurate but rather something in between. Mississippi is a fabulous state filled with history and landscape, famous writers, innovators, entertainers and beauty queens. Miss Mississippi was once a mainstay of the top ten at the Miss America pageant. Far more interesting a place to have roots and ancestry than say Iowa. Not that there is anything wrong with Iowa but you get the idea.

Patrick was equally as eccentric as myself and we became fast friends. Two qwars adrift on the island of misfit toys. Patrick had the distinction of living in the esteemed neighborhood of Belhaven, two houses down from Armand Coulett conductor of the Mississippi Symphony, three houses down from Belhaven college where Lipsynka attended classes, and five houses away from the famous authoress Eudora Welty. Nice neighborhood, mine was better but that’s another story.

One day I hatched the brilliant plan to be Eudora for Halloween. An ambitious effort to say the least as she was not the most attractive woman. She was downright homely with a horse face and buck teeth a spinster a working women a photographer and a journalist. She was ever so famous and I would occasionally meet her in the produce aisle of the Jitney Jungle grocery store. She was an entirely accessible celebrity. I ran into her again the night her play The Ponder Heart debuted and she remembered me. That’s a fond memory.

Anyway so Patrick and I were sitting around on Halloween drinking and smoking. We were lit. I had decided that I wanted to be Eudora Welty and show up at her house dressed as her to do a little trick or treating. I thought it would be amusing that she would open the door to find herself on the stoop staring back. I imagined a whole short story devoted to the incident.

About that time Patrick produced a gray wig and some false teeth. Patrick was a wizard with makeup and he whipped up a concoction of cornstarch, Elmer’s glue and rouge. It replicated the delicate complexion of Ms. Welty to precision. Patrick of course was a dashing ghoul with a top hat and tails. We set out on our adventure.

We arrived at Ms. Welty’s estate around seven o’clock. The lights were still on and as we stepped up to her pseudo Tudor I could see her purse through the window placed neatly beside the sofa. We opened the screen door to knock when we saw a notice affixed to the door. We both silently read it then we looked at one another and had the same idea. Each of us reaching our hands out grabbing for the little note. I happened to be the quickest.

It’s signed in crayon!


  1. wonderful!! i love eudora welty!! great pics!

  2. I love your mince down memory lane. I've often thought it'll be nice to live in Little House On The Prairie country,(where ever that is) in a little wooden hut with ma and pa, and call my dad "Sir" whenever he scolds me for not doing the "chores"

  3. Fascinating! And, frankly, you looked just like Ms. Welty on that fabulous Hallowe'en!

  4. Oh, how I love Miss Eudora!

    Love this tale too!

  5. My father's family came from Mississippi and they were in the betwixt and between class too. My great aunt, after who I am named, lived in Tupelo and knew Elvis as a kid.

    I met the amazing Miss Welty near the end of her life, in New York. I was at Columbia and escorting her to a lecture hall where she was going to talk. We walked past a dumpster with a sign that said "Loose Trash" on it. Eudora turned to me and said, "Loose trash! That sounds racy!" I absolutely hooted with laughter.

    great story and fantastic pix. I would have stolen the note too!

  6. Larry - I love Eudora Welty too. She’s my favorite author besides Dr. Seus.

    Mitzi - I think Little House on the Prairie was somewhere in Iowa. I have the same fantasy but more like the uni-bomber. I want to live far away in the woods and never really have to see anyone again.

    TJB - The resemblance is uncanny. I’m thinking of working up a one woman show, something like ‘An Evening with Eudora’ or ‘The Eudora Monologues’.

    Jason - I read The Worn Path in sixth grade and it was my favorite story. I met her that year at a function held for students at the Old Capital and then again several more times after that. It’s pretty cool to meet living literary legends in person. I’m sure it happens all of the time in New York but Mississippi it was rather difficult.

    Elizabeth - Holla for the Mississippi gene stock! It makes for a more hardy individual. I love that you were able to meet her and shared such a funny story (thank you). We went back the next year and got another little note. This one was signed on one of her publishers index cards. I still like the crayon one best.

  7. I've got a theory about the crayon thinggie: My grandma used to use crayons to label the lids on the canning jars- I wonder if "some work" happened to be canning some peaches ? ? ?