Like a lot of people who grew up in the south, I never thought of leaving. It was home. The land in some ways was paradise for this child. It was magical it was strange it was innocent yes there was darkness but what childhood does not read like a fairytale or a quest.
The only places I visited before I was nineteen were in the south Mobile Alabama, and a number of other small towns in that state, Kentucky where a grandparent lived and New Orleans for one sad and life changing time.
How do you live in a small enclosed community and not just fade the answer of course is with books and magazines and that invention that made pictures move, movies and later television which I think my parents got our first one in 1953. There were three movie theaters for colored people in Birmingham then and when I go home I have to pass by to see if they are still there.One of them was convert to a church fitting in a way
What I love about books is that they are private and quiet. If you have the courage to withstand stares you could go to the library and check out any number of forbidden books filled with ideas and ways of life different than yours. Books share secrets when you are a child. Books with words that confirmed some of those silver and black images that flicker in the darkness. As a child I was a dreamer and books and photographs of a larger world was the fetish to began my dreams of other people,other places...something
On my last trip home I stopped in the little library in Smithfield that I had used as a child not to borrow a book but to check my email, to connect to the world that really is no longer so outside.
Two of these pictures were a from Southern Memories:Part One. The books stacked on the table was taken by Joanna Knox. The path through trees by Brenda Fayard. The third picture is by Jessica Hines for me they work together to tell a little story .I read and read, then I went out. I saw a road I saw beautiful things I flew away