Friday, November 30, 2012

Buzzards signal needed action for MIC

Mississippi Industrial College's Carnegie Hall and (left) Washington Hall. 

Ever since I lived in Holly Springs, Miss. In the 1970s I’ve been fascinated by the fading beauty of Mississippi Industrial College. When I passed by last week, near dark, two things immediately caught my eye.
Catherine Hall, one of the front campus residence halls, had been taken down. According to Rust College spokesman Adrienne Phillips, “It was unsafe, and we were afraid it would collapse.” Rust College purchased the property in 2008.

Buzzards look down from the roof of Washington Hall. 
The second attention getter was that the rooflines of the two remaining prominent buildings were lined with vultures!  Around here we call them buzzards. I kicked myself for not having a camera, so I returned about the same time of day this week, and there they were, looking down with arrogance as I walked quietly around the grounds of the vacant college.

A group of black vultures gather around Washington's chimney. 

In case you aren’t familiar with Mississippi Industrial College (MIC), it is located on the West side of Highway 7, across the road from Rust College. It was established in 1905 as a private college for African American students. It closed in 1982 after enrollment declined with the integration of local community colleges in the late 1960s.

The beauty of those original structures is magnificent. Carnegie Hall, the main auditorium and gathering place, was built in 1923 with funding from the Andrew Carnegie Foundation.  Carnegie, as well as Washington Hall which served as the administration building, were examples of Jacobean and Colonial Revival influence.

“We are trying to secure resources so we can shore up these structures until we can find the funding to restore them,” said Phillips.

We need to hurry. Maybe those buzzards are our warning. The buildings are full of decay, broken windows, boarded doors, a belfry that is open to the sky, trees growing from inside the structure and escaping through a window.  

Turkey vultures on their perch.

For more information on MIC, you can visit Preservation in Mississippi’s blog at or the Rust College website at

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Cousin Talk

We have this girl cousin routine down to a fine art.  I'm so jealous.  My childhood was filled with older boy cousins. I wasn't a spec on their radar.  My older girl cousins, who I thought were so cool, lived too far away....New York and Virginia.

So now when I get the grandchildren girls who are "7 apiece" as my daddy would say, here is how it goes. When they get in the car, they talk non-stop and giggle all the way to my house. We stop for pizza or cook whatever they want and they eat and compare portion sizes and demand special drinks such as Sprite with orange or cranberry juice and "crunched up ice."

"Do you want to take a bath one at a time or together?"  A collective "TOGETHER!"  That will end soon.  More giggling ensues. They turn on the bubbles in the tub and wash each other's hair using about a cup of shampoo each and wonder why I have a hard time getting the shampoo out.

Then it's off to bed to watch a movie and giggle more. As different as daylight and dark, one goes to sleep easily, the other not so.

My favorite part of the routine is the early morning. I hear them wake up and stomp around a little and then they dive under the covers and talk softly.  Less giggling.  What do you talk about when you are 7? They count missing teeth and discuss whether they are "girly girls or tomboys" and decide they are a mixture of both. I can't hear much from downstairs.  I can only tell it is serious cousin talk.

I call them for breakfast and all gets quiet.  You see, they are still "asleep."

Friday, November 9, 2012

Two Community Reminders!

Just a little reminder to plan to come eat Soup & Spuds with us Sunday, Nov. 11 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Senatobia Community Center.  Proceeds benefit FOSA's Spay/Neuter program.  I can't say enough good things about our local Senatobia-Tate County Animal Shelter (  They do a great job of placing animals in forever homes.  However, we need to educate the public about the need to be responsible pet owners and spay or neuter their pets to avoid unwanted animals.  I adopted Jilly almost three years ago. Someone had turned in two litters of 21 puppies!  Can you imagine. They were all beautiful.  She is such a joy.

Second item of interest:  Sycamore Arts is holding a juried exhibition at the Art Gallery on the Northwest campus. The show is absolutely beautiful! I enjoyed the reception last night with some of my favorite people.  Do yourself a favor and find a time to go.

Bill and Genell Clayton, Nancy Patterson, Terry and Joe Pegram. Genell's New York Beauty quilted wall hanging captured third place in the exhibition.
Three of my favorite people at last night's opening reception for the Sycamore Arts Exhibition on display at Northwest's Art Gallery. (L to R) Lane Tutor, Terry Pegram and Jo Ellen Logan. Tutor and Logan had works in the exhibition.