Front Porch: Winter 2010

Enrico Caruso, examining a bust of himself in 1914, courtesy of the Collections of the Library of Congress.

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Front Porch: Winter 2010

by Harry L. Watson
Southern Cultures, Vol. 16, No. 4: Winter 2010

"The South's diversity not only has room for 'High Culture,' it also shelters a range of vernacular cultures that Mencken barely recognized. As a result, the meaning of 'southern cultures' is far more fluid and unpredictable than he and many others recognize."

I never knew my mother’s mother, a woman so distant from me that I think of her as “Miss Lucy” rather than “Grandmamma.” But I do know a lot about her. She was a college graduate, when that was still a rare thing for a country girl, from one of our very early state schools for women. She agonized that her schoolteacher’s job (and then her marriage) had utterly exiled her from childhood and college haunts to the North Carolina boondocks. She fiercely believed in books and late-Victorian “High Culture,” and passed her creed intact to my mother. One of her legacies was a tiny phonograph collection that Mom saved when the old house had to go.