I’ve known Robert and Walter Scott my entire life (33 years). My grandparents lived down County Road 222 in Walnut, Mississippi, and Robert would walk up the road to visit every day. I would see the brothers sparingly in the years my grandparents were there—only when my parents and I would visit a couple times a year. Usually, Robert would bring the mail or help my grandmother unload groceries.
Now my parents own the house and Robert still visits every day just to check in. At night he goes to his brother Walter’s house to keep him company. I try to visit home at least once a month to see family and I always go with Robert to Walter’s house to sit and talk.
“The Story of Robert and Walter” is an on-going photojournalism project. I’ve been documenting the brothers for 15 years through images, interviews and audio recordings. My goal is to capture a dying culture in a rural Southern setting and to document the Scott brothers’ experience of growing up poor and black in a predominantly white Southern atmosphere.
Robert and Walter’s father was a successful cotton farmer and well-respected in a community emerging from the years of slavery. They are the most interesting people, with a knowledge and intelligence about life sharpened by their experience of poverty. Robert says, “Money sure does make a fool outta people.” And he is right. Walter told me one day when the moon was a thin crescent hanging low in the sky that “that moon’s holdin’ water,” and sure enough, rain came the next day.
Robert just turned 83 and Walter is 87. They still go to the grocery store and keep an elaborate garden. Although it’s seemingly certain that somewhere down the line their ancestors were slaves, we’ve never spoken about it. Instead, we talk about the weather over warm Milwaukee’s Best beer and count how many cats are living under Walter’s house.
Robert and Walter have taught me so much about life and happiness. They are the most joyful people I’ve ever known. It just so happens (yes, randomly), we have the same last name. And I do consider them family.
WHERE ELVIS NEVER SLEEPS - HOLLY SPRINGS, MISSISSIPPI
A milestone for a normal person might be getting married or having a kid. For me, it’s becoming a lifetime member at Graceland Too in Holly Springs, Mississippi.
Approximately 50 miles from the real Graceland, in the heart of downtown Holly Springs, sits Paul MacLeod’s Graceland Too. He repeatedly touts that his goal is to resemble Graceland, not copy it; and for only $5 anyone, AT ANY TIME (24 hours a day even), can take a tour of Paul’s house. Paul says it’s been visited by over 500,000 people, including many famous actors with the most recent being Ashton Kutcher. (Although I’m fairly certain that’s the same sentence he told me when I last visited over 4 years ago). If you can believe it, Muhammad Ali has been three times as well as Steven Seagal.
If Graceland were on acid it might resemble Graceland Too. Paul is the most extreme Elvis fanatic in the world. I could say this with the utmost of confidence even if I had no idea who Elvis was.
Who else has a closet filled with thousands of Reader’s Digests with paper clips bound on each page where Elvis is mentioned? A notebook with hundreds of TV scripts—each only special because Elvis was spoken of? (I opened a Full House script where lovable Uncle Jesse was Elvis for Halloween.)
Paul has over 32,000 notes about Elvis being mentioned on TV. That’s nothing if you’ve seen his backyard: it’s been completely transformed into “Jailhouse Rock”—how Paul sees “Jailhouse Rock”—a visitor favorite being the electric chair.
Paul is an elusive guy. He’ll explain at the beginning of every tour how he found $750,000 in the trunk of his Cadillac (he seems to find lots of money) and decided to follow his dream of collecting Elvis memorabilia. He was married and had a son, Elvis Aaron Presley MacLeod. His wife gave him an ultimatum: Her or Elvis, so he gave the Misses “a million dollars” and told her to hit the road.
Being my third visit, I got to take my photo with a pink guitar, belt and leather jacket in front of Paul’s Elvis shrine. I also recieved my own lifetime membership card to Graceland Too. Each visit is now free for me. (Paul said if I lose the card it will cost me $5, which sounds fair enough.)
Every lifetime member’s photo goes up on Paul’s wall. I’m up there now, too
“Dreams Come True At Graceland Too” — Paul MacLeod
Lindsay Scott is an East Nashville based photographer, writer, drinker, and ponderer. Born in Memphis, Scott at an early age took an observer’s role to her surroundings…You can find Lindsay on any random night, porch sitting with a side of storytelling and a camera in hand…
“Yeah it only takes about five hours to get there”. That’s what everyone I talked to said.
We arrived in Story, Arkansas, eight hours after leaving Nashville. Granted, we hit traffic. And someone had to stop and pee a lot. But, much to our delight, our cabin (aka condo made of wood) was well-equipped to handle all three colorful personalities in our camp. We had everything we needed to eat and drink, which is what we’re always mainly focused on doing.
But this trip was also about digging for crystals. Arkansas has the largest reserve of quartz next to Brazil (Brazil being number 1). Lake Ouachita (WAH-SHEE-TAW) — the lake our place was near — features one of the biggest crystal veins in the world. There’s also a very rare jellyfish frolicking in the water.
The story goes that the Army Corp of Engineers made this lake for its hydro-electric power, water source, and wildlife conservation. But another reason was to preserve the crystal underneath it. There’re many uses for quartz — and as we’re rapidly depleting our natural resources — it’s no wonder the government wants to protect this gemof a lake. After all, we use quartz in everything from watches, microphones, radios, and computers. And some people just think they’re pretty — which is why we’re here.
After a lengthy search online for the best mines to dig, we found Gee and Dee’s, an old ma and pa shop where you can pay to dig your own crystals. We got up Saturday morning and and called to let Gee and Dee know we were heading their way. After about a 15 minute phone conversation, Dee told us that the mine was shut down but we could dig in their front yard. Sounded weird but ok. We still wanted to get back in that mine and dig.
We arrived at Gee and Dee’s greeted by two sweet dogs and Dee herself. She called me Antarctica although I was certain she was talking to Renae, my friend who was sporting a faux polar bear vest ensemble (perfect for mine digging).
The yard was beautiful. It was like Superman’s crystal cave threw up on a yard. But we also wanted answers. Why couldn’t we dig in the mine?
Dee explained that back in late June of 2010 there was a flash flood that came through early one morning and killed at least 20 people while they were camping in the Ouachita State Park. Noted as the Albert Pike Flood, it caught national headlines and President Obama even offered federal help. The national attention shed light on the mines there, as well. So, the government came in and implemented new codes and laws for the miners making it impossible for the “working man’s miner” (Gee and Dee) to adapt and conform. That’s another way of saying that the couple didn’t have the monetary resources to make huge scale changes to abide by the new regulations and stay open. Dee was even caught digging on her own land and fined.
Nobody was getting in that mine. With heavy hearts we combed through Gee and Dee’s yard collections grabbing anything that even slightly interested us. We learned from Gee about the nature of the rocks and how they form, about the history of their mine, and what the future holds for them.
“I will have to sell my mine to the government — that’s all I can do,” Gee said.
There was a sound to his voice that made you feel what this man was going through. Having mined for 54 years that’s all Gee knew. He said crystals were more addictive than cigarettes (they both smoked a pack each while we were there). He had a true passion for mining — you could see that plain by the marks on his hands. I knew came to realize all this when I saw the huge heart-shaped crystal he pulled and carved for Dee. This was a gentle man in love with his life and his rocks.
The visit ended with Gee showing us his private collection in the back shed. We bought some sacred pieces there, said our goodbyes and were soon on our way.
Aprons have always been a backdrop in the culture of the kitchen. Mostly worn by women, aprons have evolved to provide people all over the world with a layer of protection against mess and dirt. Aprons are used in food service, carpentry work, the medical field, hair salons, construction and even mechanical work. There is not much history known about the origin of the apron. Paintings dating back to the 1300s depict women in aprons, but we really don’t know precisely when and where the apron was invented.
Since 2006, Carolyn Terry of Iuka, Mississippi has owned and curated the world’s only apron museum. With over 3,000 aprons, she is proud to explain where some of her most prized collections have come from. Estate sales, donations, and her private collection cover the walls and racks of the right side of the store. On the left side, aprons and vintage collectables are for sale starting as low as $3.00. Each apron has it origin and date received on it for collecting purposes.
Carolyn is most proud of her Claudia McGraw aprons. Claudia, from Black Mountain, North Carolins, had a popular tea room where she hung some of her hand made aprons on the wall. Within hours of hanging them they all sold. She became one of the most popular apron makers in history providing aprons for Greta Garbo, Eleanor Roosevelt, Amy Vanderbilt and many others. (Searching online for a Claudia McGraw biography is not easy.)
What makes the mystery of the apron so interesting is how the information is found only through talking to an apron enthusiast. If you Wikipedia apron you don’t get a historical account, timeline or specifics.
Stories passed down through generations and memories are what we have as origins for this piece of clothing known as an apron.