Monday, August 2, 2010
Sunday, May 16, 2010
SketchCrawl at Oakleigh Mansion
The gracious antebellum home, Oakleigh Mansion, was the location of Mobile SketchCrawl 3. It was a setting rich in local history and subject matter for artists and writers alike -- our special guests for this event were members of the Mobile Writers Guild. 21 participants spent the day capturing their impressions of Oakleigh Mansion and the surrounding grounds.
Val hard at work
She sits amid the gallant oaks, awaiting the return of footsteps that will ring out as they traverse her hallways and dally upon her balcony’s which overlook quiet streets echoing the sounds of days gone by. Her statuesque elegance and classic beauty hints a “once upon a time” antebellum grandeur; her fading splendor, a clearly visible antecedence to her surroundings, as old as her memories which linger within the minds of her past, placing her wholly unto herself…
I see them and feel them, these residents of yesterdays she shelters within her soul, they, refusing to depart, a testament to her strength and endurance. Whispers of “Might I have the pleasure of this dance” greet me as I enter her doors and we dance, we dance to the tune of emotions that tug me this way and that as I stroll through her hallways, my footsteps echoing through the years of accumulated sentiments that satiate her entirety, and I linger…
I exit, feeling her gently caress my heart, begging me to remain, to immerse myself, to plunge deeper into her history and dwell within her ancient walls
I placate myself, searching with mine eyes the great pileated woodpecker I hear knocking upon the gallant oak as I leave her presence and traverse the length of her grounds, which echo her haunting call to stay…
Susan Cobb Beck
May 15th 2010
She Lingers Within
I enter through her stately doors, and I am immediately drawn to the second floor sitting room and I see her there. Her presence felt; a sad presence that drew me to her. She sits writing him of her day, missing his presence within the home. As she writes he has been gone for nearly and month, insisting upon boarding the schooner and escorting his mother who had come for the birth of her granddaughter, back to New Orleans from whence she had come.
They named the baby Savannah in his mother’s honor, Savannah being her birthplace. Savannah came into the world a rosy pink bundle of joy, topped with a head full of dark curls and most resembling her Spanish ancestors, although her eyes were as blue as the gulf waters surrounding Mobile Bay.
Marie missed her husband dearly, for now, except for the baby and the house servants, she was completely alone, once again dreading the long night, whose darkness invaded her being leaving her soul to feign her dreams, dreams of people and places she had never known. Yes, dreading these dreams she had, which caused her to long to travel, to journey beyond the walls of this seminary structure, which seemed to hold her prisoner. She longed to go to the places she read about in her precious books, books whose words where fodder to her imagination…
Mama Jo, Savannah’s mammy, was a tall lanky Negress and very opinionated; nothing like the mammy who Marie had grown up loving. She wished that her mother or her mammy were still alive, but both had died when she was only thirteen from pleurisy resulting from an outbreak of smallpox, which devastated their small colony, sending her here to live with her aunt and uncle.
In the background as she went about her chores, Mama Jo scowled, mumbling mumbo jumbo, which scared Marie, although she dare not mention this to Gerald, for Mama Jo had been Gerald’s childhood mammy and he loved her dearly! Therefore, Marie did not want to cause any strife with her worries.
Maries husband Gerald, was from New Orleans and a business associate of her uncle Henry who along with her aunt were on an extended trip to Europe. She and Gerald had met two years before at a dinner party, a debutant ball, thrown in honor of her 16th birthday at her uncles home Oakleigh and now since her father’s death, it had become her home, but it was a home, which craved that it did not receive, love…
She knew it was this house, which held her prisoner, a prisoner, who peered through the wavering glass and longed to be outside her walls.
Marie’s true home was north of Oakleigh about twenty-five miles upriver from Mobile at Fort Stoddard, Mount Vernon Landing. Her father was Colonel Lafayette, she had spent her entire 16 years there upon the watershed, and now she knew that she would never return, never return to the lush wilderness that she loves so.
Gerald’s schooner, caught in one of the hurricanes, which blew destructive winds of change, was pounded upon the rocky shores of Ship Island destroying the vessel, and now lay in a watery grave beneath the calming waters of the gulf. He would never return to her and those same destructive winds, which took his life, inadvertently took hers.
Those winds, which cause destruction, bring with them a tide of change, changing the landscape and hording the pestilence of disease, causing fevers and sickness that devastate the human body.
As the winds picked up, they opened the shutters enjoying the cooling southern winds, which cooled and removed the warm stagnant air, aerating the interior of the dwelling as Mama Jo chattered mumbo jumbo and now Marie waits, she lingers within, writing him of her day and awaiting his return…
She Lingers Within
By: Susan Cobb Beck
May 15th 2010
Sunday, April 18, 2010
They drew the barista. They drew other customers. They drew each other. But most of all, Mobile's first Drink and Draw (held on Friday, April 16, at Serda's) drew a crowd. Sketchers sipped beverages and filled pages with drawings as the evening unfolded.