Perhaps it’s only in a small town that Holiday Inn Express turns out to be a tourist attraction. Al always looks for a motel with free breakfast which puts Holiday Inn at the top of his list. Our family gatherings have often occurred in New Albany, MS, the birthplace of William Faulkner and home to Mama for her last years and to my sister Gwyn for all her adult life. It takes me by surprise each time we visit the New Albany Holiday Inn Express to see their lobby tribute to their native son. Décor and memorabilia grace the area with the walls filled with memorable quotes from his works. The selections pictured in this blog show just a few. (Sorry about the glare from the huge glass windows.)
A friend talked this week about her trip to see Faulkner’s home at Rowan Oak in Oxford. She knew nothing about his birthplace in New Albany or the treasure in the small town as it honors the author. Not all the residents doing the honor are actually fans of Faulkner, and few would want to take a test on his works. Nevertheless, they take pride in his contribution to the literary world far beyond the motel display.
Should you make a trip to Rowan Oak, be sure to add another thirty-five miles northeast to New Albany to see the Union County Heritage Museum with its Faulkner flower garden (www.ucheritagemuseum.com). With affiliations with the Smithsonian, the museum itself is worth a trip, aside from its tributes to Faulkner. Take their tour and let the museum staff point out the location down the street where Faulkner’s small frame birthplace house was located.
When you are finished, go for a walk outside where local garden club members keep order and have labeled the flowers and plants that grew in Faulkner books, creating atmosphere for his North Mississippi settings. Afterwards you can run by for a visit to the lobby of the Holiday Inn Express, or make reservations to spend the night if you are fond of breakfast.