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Sunday, Mar. 1, 2015

Library luncheon speaker is Southern to the core

Sunday, September 25, 2011

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(T-G Photo by Brian Mosely)
Good food, good friends and stories about a South that is fading into memory are on tap for supporters of the county's library.

Be sure to mark noon Tuesday, Oct. 4 on your calendar as the Friends of the Argie Cooper Library hold their annual box luncheon at Blue Ribbon Circle on the Celebration grounds, featuring Jimmie Meese Moomaw, author of Southern Fried Child ... In Home Seeker's Paradise.

Ticket prices for the event are $15 and are available at the front desk of the library, with proceeds going towards the construction of a new facility.

"Everyday life"

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Author Jimmie Meese Moomaw will be reading from her book Southern Fried Child ... In Home Seeker's Paradise during the upcoming annual box luncheon for the Friends of the Argie Cooper Library, starting at noon, Tuesday, Oct. 4 at Blue Ribbon Circle. The proceeds from the event goes toward the construction of a new library.
(Submitted photo)
Moomaw was born and raised in Brookhaven, Miss., and was named by her father 18 years before she was even born, growing up during the 1940s and 50s in the Deep South as the only child of alcoholic parents.

While she left Mississippi in the 1960s to attend graduate school, Moomaw never lost touch with her Southern roots. She taught communication courses at the college and university level for 40 years, but has now retired from teaching and has become a writer, political consultant and popular public speaker, living in Avondale Estates, Ga.

Her book, Southern Fried Child, is the account of an unusual experiences of an unusual child, and is a look at the social and political ways of a small southern town after World War II and before the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision, which marked the beginning of the end of racial segregation.

The memoir illustrates the closely held and unique Southern sense of place and family, with Moomaw saying "you might be tempted to believe that the Gothic characters you see in the movies with the bad, bad Southern accents are the products of the alcohol induced dementia of failed novelists turned B-movie screenwriters ..."

"But the South I grew up in was peopled with character like Lola in 'Elvis Pressley Junior Smith and Poot,'" she said. While they may have been stuff of other authors' fiction, "they were the stuff of my everyday life."

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"I don't know who or what I might have been if I had been born in Connecticut or Detroit," Moomaw noted, "but I am now certain that I am who I am in large measure because I was born in Home Seeker's Paradise and lived a Southern fried childhood, complete with horses, and 'heatherns' and whores, and parents who loved me both too much -- and not enough."

Lots of effort

Head Librarian Pat Hastings explained that the annual box luncheon has always featured authors, but has leaned toward those who are from or write about the South, noting that county legend Minnie Pearl (real name Sarah Cannon) was the first speaker.

Hastings said that the proceeds from the event will go toward a new library on South Jefferson Street, not far from its existing historic structure.

The thermometer sign in front of the library is already pushing 90 percent toward the goal of $1 million. At last year's luncheon, Ben Craig reported that the library has raised more than $1.5 million towards construction of a new facility.

In May, library supporter Helen Garner told county commissioners that the campaign for a new facility has about $1.9 million, including the $1 million pledged by the county and the estimated $300,000 in value of the current building, in cash and pledges towards the $3 million cost of the new facility.

"There's a lot of community effort and partnership to put this on," Hastings explained, adding that sponsors of the event get eight tickets each. There were 16 sponsors at last year's event.

The luncheon is also a chance for the Friends of the Library to add new membership, and even working folks on their lunch hour can come and take part in the event Hastings said.

"It's just a good get-together," she said.