Thursday, May 28, 2015

In the Shadows of the Past

On our trip through middle Tennessee we stopped in the town where my family lived in 1966-1967 when my father was sent to Vietnam. I was 10 years old that year and the oldest of five children. My baby sister was born during my father's tour of duty. We lived in a tiny two-bedroom house within walking distance of this Civil War mansion. As a child I played on these grounds and waded in the nearby creek. It was a working plantation prior to the Civil War and was going to be torn down when the city decided to restore it in the 1960's, the time that we lived here. My grandparents lived on the same street several blocks away in a ramshackle old Victorian house with high ceilings and creaky floors. My brother and I would walk for miles from our little corner of the universe, never realizing all the history that was right in our back yard. The poor black neighborhoods that I remember as a child are gone, replaced by housing projects. How many of their ancestors worked the cotton fields of the plantation? We will never know. My grandparent's house and many others on the street have been restored to their original grandeur. Old is new again. There are stories on these grounds that have never been told.