Respite, Refuge, and Remembering

The author with her grandmother, courtesy of the author.

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Respite, Refuge, and Remembering

by Regina N. Bradley
Southern Cultures, Vol. 28, No. 2: Sanctuary

”People are still searching for refuge and peace in the South, and people are still fighting to provide it.”

My grandparents’ house on Hardup Road in Albany, Georgia, was my first understanding of sanctuary. Our house was not in Albany proper; we lived past the city limits in Dougherty County. Planting and grazing fields flanked us on three sides of our yard. And each trip “in town” was a mini-quest: my Paw Paw Eugene’s booming voice would announce, “We going to town today,” and we’d nod and get dressed and “ret to go,” because going into the city was an all-day adventure. It was too damn hot outside, for the most part, to sit on the porch when I’d visit in the summers, but we made our exodus from the house to the porch swing and rocking chairs when the sun decided we’d had enough. The screech of the swing was a welcome sound as I snuggled into Nana’s armpit and listened to the silence of country life. At my grandparents’ house, I didn’t have the weight of being the oldest child on my shoulders. I didn’t have to fight my siblings for the tv or attention. My grandparents’ house was my escape. It was my place of rest and recharging.