The Southern Paradigm
“Here at the Mississippian’s southernmost point of native soil, one had to recall what inland Mississippi was like, how people in its small town (or even in larger towns like Meridian and Jackson and Columbus) related inward to family life, kinfolks, old friendships and hatred. How hospitably newcomers were welcomed but how slowly accepted. Once I heard this remark: ‘The H—–‘s haven’t lived here but for thirty years, but look how everybody likes them!’ In talk of the outside world, not much was to be accepted, nothing could be trusted to be ‘like us’. There were Yankees ‘up there’. “
Elizabeth Spencer’s account of small town life on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Very much like most areas of the South. Litlle ole’ Pensacola or even Cahaba Heights. It was all the same. People knew each others’ stories and family history. There were no secrets in these towns. Every event involved one or more members of the town and one or more had a story about the event—no matter what it was. Pretty soon a story somewhere in between the variations would be accepted as common knowledge. We were all open books.
As crazy as it sounds today, it was refreshing. It kept people aware of their reputation, standing not only their own but their families. What kept you from acting a fool was the story to be told the next day. Today, we all keep our doors and mouths shut. The skeletons are all buried as deep as possible unless they are big enough to be drug out in a scandal someday. People can’t be gauged by their appearance or their activities as they are hidden under facades. Progress? I don’t know about that.
PS Check out my blog for justice…..Conjuringjustice.com or Conjuringjusticeblog.com