Oxford: A Trip to Rowan Oak – I
We left Jackson early Thursday morning thinking we were prepared for our short trip. S and I both wrote down names, addresses and even phone numbers of places we wanted to see. We were armed with my brownies and our trusty guide book – “Off The Beaten Path: Mississippi”. What we weren’t prepared for, however was the rain. It rained on and off from Thursday until Sunday. Of course it completely stopped Monday morning when we were heading back to Jackson… We were also a little weary of the places we were supposed to be staying at. The bed and breakfasts turned into their own mini adventures.
Oxford, Mississippi, is “a postcard-pretty college town and literary center” – it’s also the best place to retire in the South (if you’re thinking ahead). I’m so glad I finally got to see Oxford. My mentor Conerly’s from there and I heard so much about that charming little town from her. When I first moved to Jackson she drove down to see me laden with Southern literature (Faulkner, Tennessee and Welty, plus “Coming of Age in Mississippi” by Anne Moody). Conerly’s one of the people who encouraged me take the Fulbright assistantship I was offered — even if it meant a year in Jackson, Mississippi. She talked about how this would be a unique learning experience, especially if I looked at it from an anthropological perspective. I guess she did tell me that it would be a challenge but she slyly skipped over the gory details. I digress. Point is, I’ve been in Mississippi for about nine months and it wouldn’t have made sense to leave without seeing William Faulkner’s home… Also, my friend S wrote her masters thesis on Faulkner. I was going to Rowan Oak with an expert!
We got into Oxford a little before noon and found the bed and breakfast where we were staying. It was on Van Buren Avenue, a block away from the Square. A pebbled driveway led to a small parking lot on the side of an early 19th century-looking house; white columns and a wide porch with the essential (Southern) rocking chairs. It’s all very, “I’ma fix y’all some sweet tea”.