A Deep Sense of Place

When I hear someone say that Homewood can be reduced to its people and not its architecture, landscape, history and culture as well, I have to ask some questions. Better yet, it's time for Southern History Graduate School 101, and it starts with W.J. Cash and C. Vann Woodward. It's time, like William Faulkner's fictional Quentin Compson, to "tell about the South."

"The Mind of the South" was written by Cash, a non-academic and a non-professional historian, but he examined the South of his day with laser-like precision. This book has been required graduate school reading ever since. One of the concepts about the South he put forth was the "sense of place" — from the architecture, the landscape, the soil type, to the terrain and the regional differences in architecture and the differences in accents that separate someone from Charleston from someone from Hattiesburg — that had all been jealously preserved by its inhabitants. To this day, the New York elites like to bottle and sell and examine this essence. I've lived in many places, and people remain fascinated. And if they have the good fortune to visit Homewood, they never forget it.

Why do you think our regional cuisine is featured so prominently on a national level? Ask John T. Edge at the Southern Foodways Alliance.

The South and Homewood have changed and thankfully so in many respects. None of this is brought up to exclude anyone from outside of the South because you all have enriched us. And it is a fact that people all over the nation can still have a strong "sense of place" in certain pockets here and there. But the sense of place is why people have always gravitated to Homewood — it's distinctive people who are formed or transformed by this place and all that entails.

The National Historic Register eligibility was granted the Bridges' Pink House and Secret Garden under Criterion B for its association with Georges and Eleanor Bridges and Criterion C for the structural and landscape architecture. That's the house and the gardens, ya'll, and everyone who has ever walked by that place already knew this in their hearts.

Time for some fried green tomatoes from my garden, some peas, homemade mac and cheese smothered in eggs, butter and cream, some slaw and fresh corn on the cob. And if someone wants to bring some tamales or Boston baked beans or Texas brisket (make it "moist") to the party, then come on and sit a spell on the front porch! Do you like mint or lemon in your sweet ice tea?

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Birmingham, Alabama 2019