Sunday, June 3, 2012

A Driving Tour of Jackson

Last night and today were very much a day of introductions to Jackson specifically, and the culture of the South more generally.


1. Sunday in the South is like Shabbat in Jerusalem. Nothing is opened. Except for the hippie-dippie "Rainbow Co-op" which has free memberships for students with college IDs.

2. Everybody knows Macy Hart, and not just folks from Jackson. Macy is the president of the Institute. But he was (for all you camp people reading this) the Jerry Kaye of Camp Jacobs down in Utica, MS. He was the director for thirty years before making the Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience and then the Institute his full-time job. Nearly everyone I've met who heard I was going to be doing Jewish things in Jackson this summer said to pass along regards to Macy (including the president of the Princeton Alumni Association down here).

3. Jackson is a tiny city. And by "tiny" I mean that, on I-55 (yes, Chicagoans, I-55 goes through Jackson in it's way to New Orleans!), you can cross the whole city in about 15 minutes.

4. This is not a walking town, and neither is it a public transportation town. While that is unfortunate (and I plan to walk down the middle of some of the sleepy streets in the area I'm living), Diana and I (the other intern with whom I'm living this summer) have full use of the Institute's minivan for the summer. (Lucky for me, I actually know how to drive minivans! In fact, they're the only kind of motor vehicle I know how to drive!) But, we've been told, if we want to go to New Orleans for a weekend (yes) we have to rent a car (no) or take the train (yes).

5. Lemuria Books is an independent bookstore that we stopped in, and it is the only other bookstore I've ever been to in my entire life that comes anywhere near having the same kind of nook-and-cranny/labyrinthine wonderful layout that the Seminary Co-op bookstore in Hyde Park does. For some wonderful pictures of the Seminary Co-op, check out the Tumblr of my friends Eleanor and Merrill, who are doing a cross-country tour of independent bookstores. (For pictures of Lemuria, you'll have to wait, but I plan on going back).

6. Jewish Geography is alive and well, even down here where I thought I knew no Jews. Turns out that the house I was hosted at my first night down here used to be rented by one of the outgoing two-year post-college Education fellows--who, in college, was roommates with my cousin Eric! Not only that, but this same fellow was also roommates (in that house) with a counselor of mine from camp--and one of the current residents of that house is a friend of a friend who I've actually met a couple of times. Small, small world. My roommate is also, it turns out, a friend of a good friend from camp.

Other than that, today was our first day at work which consisted of short presentations by each of the departments at the Institute to introduce us to the work that everyone else is doing. Plus, of course, a tour of Jackson that included the street where many scenes from the movie The Help were shot--and many other things, which I won't write about till I go back and really get to find out more about them.

For the second summer in a row I have been very lucky to live with another intern(last summer: interns) who I really like. We even have the same ring!

Hopefully I'll get to walk around and take some pictures soon, since I know that picture-posts are better than written posts.

1 comment:

  1. V cool to hear about your situation. Thanks for the deets.