Monday, June 4, 2012

Picnic in the Park, Reading at the Diner (and a little about work)

Today started off with a brief intro to the office (copy machines, codes, printers, logins, etc.) before we actually met with our supervisor to speak in depth about our projects for the summer. For Diana and I, that meant a crash course about what kinds of information we're looking to present about the Jewish communities in the towns we're researching as well as a tutorial about historical research methods including how to make census records useful to us (ie: if the guy's name is Joseph Meyers, but his father was born in Kentucky and his mother in Indiana and he's a farmer in Oklahoma--but if both his parents are from Russia and his kids are named Esther and Moses, and his native tongue is "Hebrew" [ie: Yiddish, since no one spoke Hebrew in the early 1900s] then he's a Jew).

Our supervisor, Dr. Stuart Rockoff (director of the ISJL history department) introduced us to all these really cool history resources I didn't know existed! Like the 1937 Jewish population study completed by Dr. Harry Linfield. The first community I'll be working on is the Jewish community of Ponca City, OK. We make our first roadtrip out to Oklahoma in about a week and a half!

For lunch, the entire office went to on a picnic at a park nearby--I think is called LeFleur's Bluff, but might be wrong (it was right on the Pearl River, and right behind the Mississippi Children's Museum). In any case, a couple of us took the opportunity to wander the trails, and it was the first time I've ever really seen marsh/swamp.

On our way back we caught sight of this snake hanging out in a "river" created because of last night's storm--which did not wake me up.

For dinner we went to Brent's, a local diner with an old-timey feel. It's right next to McDade's, one of the non-Krogers groceries in Jackson, and both were featured in various scenes from The Help. Though the movie came out a while ago, people in Jackson are still talking about: not many movies are actually filmed down here (though much if it was filmed in Greenwood, MS).

On the first Tuesday evening of every month, Brent's Diner hosts play readings by local playwrights/actors from the Fondren Theater Workshop. This evening was a play by (Pittsburgh-native) Bret  Kenyon called "Open Mic" and it was fantastic.  The one-act won an award early this year from the Mississippi Theater Association. 

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