Copyright © Janice Tracy, Mississippi Memories

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Where Do I Begin?

Mississippi is such a beautiful state, from its wooded hills and rich Delta land along the mighty river of the same name, to its sandy beaches that parallel the Gulf of Mexico. And it has such a rich cultural history. When I sat down to write the first real post on this new blog, I asked myself a very direct question: Where do I begin? The answer to my own question was obvious. I would start at the beginning.

For me, the beginning was a small Mississippi Delta town where I was born, a place so small that only a few people in my entire life have ever recognized its name. Those people, of course, were all from Mississippi. I had always believed the name of that town was of Indian origin, like so many other Mississippi towns and counties. Little did I know that many years later, I would find accidentally find out the name was actually an Italian word that means "beautiful island." To me, this information seemed very, very strange, at least for a town in the Mississippi Delta. Interestingly, two other small towns nearby also have Italian names. After searching many places for the answer, I have yet to find out how these towns were named.

Although we moved to the big city from the Mississippi Delta when I was only nine years old, I still have a fairly good recollection of those early years. I recall that our family was a farming family, with the exception of my father, who worked "in town." He drove away to work each day in a new, shiny car, while my grandfather drove a tractor and worked to keep his cotton crop growing. Later, I would learn that my father was one of only a handful of his family who had resisted the occupation of "farmer." I recall my mother and my grandmother working on sunny days in their vegetable garden, and my mother caring for the colorful flowers she grew in our yard. And I remember early summer fields of tall green cotton, with large blooms of yellow and pink, and fall fields of brown stalks that had been stripped of their fluffy white fruits. I also learned from watching my grandfather and those who worked for him that farming was very hard work, with hours that began at dawn and often ended in darkness.

I will never forget my early childhood years in the Mississippi Delta. Those years gave me the foundation for who I am today. And in order to know where we are going, we need to remember where we have been.

1 comment:

  1. Janice, you've written a very interesting account of some of the memories of your childhood. I could just see you running around in between those rows of corn.

    I'm glad you like my new blog. I do need to do some more work on it, however.

    Look forward to reading more of your Mississippi Memories.