Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Teeny Business Brings Pleasure

Mississippi has given me a license as a creator of hand crafted jewelry. I'm really a hobbiest in the field of jewelry, shared by hundreds of thousands of true artists. However, I feel I'm in the arena doing my best. I have two customers, one that is tried and true. I receive enough orders per year to justify having a license. If I look for additional wholesale customers, I'd never have the opportunity to spend the earnings advancing my learning.

But it's the sharing of my interests that I enjoy the most. I give a few lessons now and then to neighbors, friends-- but a recent visit to a retirement home gave me the boost I needed to continue working. I shared my enjoyment of Precious Metal Clay with a group of 15 older citizens who in their younger days bought their good jewelry from jewelry stores. I showed them how I make fine silver pendants and pins. They were attentive and asked questions. Four want to make something for themselves, and I'll return in March to give them one lesson.

The idea that they can play with a blob of clay, roll it out, press a rubber stamp or using their fingers, form a pattern, is what intrigues these four ladies. That's what interests me, too. Any woman can create her own jewelry in a few hours with a tad of patience.

One attendee was a gentleman whom I recognized as just wanting to be entertained. He listened quietly, but made a beeline to the front after the demonstration and wanted to share his hobby with me: writing prayers. He boasted he'd written more than 95,000 prayers, and handed me a copy of one. I've not made that number of jewelry items, so I know he's far more inspired than I. Too, he's a few years older. It was a lovely thought to share with me.

I always joke at these demonstrations that I am going to be the Granma' Moses of jewelry making. And I want those present to remember this in 20 years so they can boast they knew me when...

The next time I have to complete my income tax form for all the wholesale work I do, I won't complain, because this business is leading me in directions I enjoy.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Oo--ee, Eli Showed His Stuff

Every Mississippian who could, remained glued to his television set Sunday night to cheer for the NY Giants during the Super Bowl game. I'm not, but I watched like others to see Eli Manning and his NY Giant teammates win the game. Only father Archie and mother Olivia are Mississippians, but father and sons are seen in many advertisements that are published and broadcast in our state, reminding us that they still feel connected. The sons attended Ole' Miss at Oxford and Eli is helping establish a children's wing to be named after him at the University Medical Center in Jackson.

Who got the free tickets from Eli to attend the game? Despite each player having 15 free tickets, Eli had 70 friends, some from high school and a few from Ole Miss plus a few friends of the parents. What a cheering squad! Unknown, but suspected, were the thousands of us cheering Eli, as we did with Peyton, only a year ago.

A recent update: The house in Drew where Archie lived, and the one I passed by for nine months, is now being renovated and will be a museum with photos and memorabilia. Green Street, where I boarded, will be renamed Manning Street. Whatever else happens in Drew is anyone's guess. It's not a growing town. The Delta just isn't the same anymore...

Sunday, February 03, 2008


The summer of August, 1954, I graduated from college, packed my belongings and headed to a Delta town that seemed eons away from my home in Jackson, MS. I had been warned in school that if I wanted to teach in the city (where the best salaries were) I'd have to serve time in smaller schools. Since I interviewed with only one superintendent, I had one job offer. My salary was $150 per month.

Back in my seventh grade history class I should have learned more. I knew the outline of the state (always on our tests)and I knew we had a delta area because of the flooding of the Mississippi River, but I didn't know of any familiar towns in this area. Too far from Memphis and Jackson. So this first job location was on foreign soil for a 20 year old.

I taught English to seventh graders. With the shadow of the superintendent hovering over us five new teachers, I despaired that I couldn't teach without his presence. My supporter was the librarian, a citizen of the town, who gave me lessons on better understanding the superintendent.(Many years later I would be appreciate his guidance.) Every afternoon I'd leave the two story building and meet her downstairs at the school door, and we'd walk and talk across the playing field to her house one block away. On pleasant afternoons her little 5 year old son would come skipping to meet his mom and walk with us.

Not forgotten are that sleepy town of Drew, the lovely Mrs. Manning, whose little boy became known to everyone as Archie Who, and the wonderment of my slight brush with a future successful football player who produced two more renowned players--Peyton and Eli.