F Oct 14
Oxford MS to Madison AL
Our route today took us from Oxford MS stopping at five towns before arriving in Madison AL. Here is the list:
• Pontotoc MS ~ A Tire Giant
• Tupelo MS ~ Birthplace of Elvis Presley
• Fulton MS ~ The Play Garden Park
• Tuscumbia AL~ The Hellen Keller Birthplace and Museum plus the Alabama Music Hall of Fame
• Florence AL ~ Birthplace and Museum of W. C. Handy
After Elvis we landed in Fulton MS to see the Play Garden Park. It was constructed in 2009 and includes a splash area, a gazebo, a play area, and a lot of cute smiling sculptures designed by artist Tom Otterness. There is an assortment of pennies and what appears to be a female birdhouse. Tickle didn’t like getting near any of them even when they were down to her size and smiling. Dogs!
A docent, Jennifer, toured us around the home and told us funny and interesting stories about Helen Keller. She explained how Ann Sullivan, at the the age of twenty, took this little animal and tamed her. The “ah-ha!” moment at the water handle is carved in marble. The original is the Smithsonian. There was a replica here. On the premises there is a stage where audiences can see the play of how Hellen learned to communicate with the outside world. Also, there are many tributes about the property in honor to Helen…a remarkable woman who lived a remarkable life.
While in Clarksdale, the day before, we saw a sign about W. C. Handy…the Father of the Blues. We heard that his birthplace was in Florence AL and we made a beeline to his museum. Blues had been around for a long time but he was the first ever to publish a song with the word Blues in the title: The St. Louis Blues, The Memphis Blues and The Beale Street Blues.
Next, we doubled-back to Tuscumbia AL to find the Alabama Music Hall of Fame. Why the switchback? The Handy Museum closed an hour before this one and we wanted to make sure we got there in time. We did.
The Music Hall of Fame is in a very fancy building with lots of well lit displays exhibiting costumes, guitars, a tour bus (from the group Alabama), photographs and more. It was unbelievable how many talented people came from Alabama. Too bad they did not allow photo-flash pictures to be taken. You haven’t seen enough, have you?