Miss Eudora Welty lived most of her life here at what was her parents’ home, 1119 Pinehurst. Today, it’s a museum at which you can view her writing desk, the books on the dining room table, the upright Steinway. It’s a National Historic Landmark today. While I’ve read many, many of her works and know little things like she did her shopping at Jitney Jungle No. 14 (it’s a McDade’s now), she preferred Maker’s Mark, and she liked the redfish at Bill’s, for whatever reason I just have never made the reservation to come see her home. I will soon.
…and Bill, he’s a character:
Here’s Miss Eudora talking about ‘A Worn Path’:
…and it always makes me smile to recall that when she worked for the WPA and collected recipes, she wrote in her manuscript for ‘America Eats’ among the stuffed eggs and Hotel Vicksburg potato salad that “Yankees are welcome to make these dishes. Follow the directions and success is assured.”
She’s buried here, next to her brother who passed away as a baby before she was born. In ‘One Writer’s Beginnings’, she recalls a moment as a child with her mother after she found a little box with two polished buffalo nickels in a bottom bureau drawer.
“No!” She exclaimed in a most passionate way. She seized the box into her own hands. I begged her; somehow I had started to cry. Then she sat down, drew me to her, and told me that I had a little brother who had come before I did, and who had died as a baby before I was born. And these two nickles that I had wanted to claim as my find were his. They had lain on his eyelids, for a purpose untold and unimaginable. “He was a fine little baby, my first baby, and he shouldn’t have died. But he did.”
The quote on the front of her monument is from ‘The Optimist’s Daughter’: For her life, any life, she had to believe, was nothing but the continuity of its love.
The memory is a living thing — it too is in transit. But during its moment, all that is remembered joins, and lives — the old and the young, the past and the present, the living and the dead.
As you have seen, I am a writer who came of a sheltered life. A sheltered life can be a daring life as well, for all serious daring starts from within.