From Andalusia (yesterday’s post), my pilgrimage continued into downtown Milledgeville to visit the Flannery O’Connor Room at Georgia College. We parked by the front campus and walked across to cut through the main part of the campus to the library. There were, of course, lots of students on the lawn and even a class in session. It was a perfect day, as you can see from the photo, and everyone apparently wanted to be outside enjoying it. I spent four years on the campus more than 30 years ago, but from this view, it was as if no time had passed. Front campus looked the same.
I just had to look over to my old dorm, Bell, and get a photo before heading to the library. I spent lots of time in the rocking chairs on that porch, hanging out with friends, waiting to go to the dining hall, or just watching people come and go. Spring was always a wonderful time on the campus because as youngsters, we had lots of energy and loved being busy and out and doing something, nearly anything. The porch was a great place to plan, to meet, to set off from.
But Bell was not our destination today. The O’Connor room was. I wondered if I could find my way there without having to ask directions. I spent so much time in the library when I was in college that a kind of homing instinct kicked in. We walked straight to it. Well, actually we walked straight to the Georgia College Museum, which is where the library was (and is now right next door).
The Flannery O’Connor Room is very different from when I was in school. It’s much larger and has much more to see. Back then, it seemed about all that was there were the manuscripts and the self portrait Flannery painted of herself with a pheasant (I think that’s was bird it was). Now there are photos, yearbooks, first editions of her books, a different painting of Flannery’s, a Barry Moser print of Flannery, her typewriter (the one at Andalusia isn’t the real thing). And more.
From the museum, we went to lunch and then to poke around the cemetery. Memory Hill Cemetery is at the end of Liberty Street. I remembered from my days in Milledgeville that it seemed appropriate that your body made its last trip down “Liberty” Street. And I remembered where Flannery’s grave is – from the front gate, take the first left, and her grave is next to the front fence. I didn’t remember that it was by a light pole, but it is. Just in case you drop by to look for it.
I think every writer’s grave I’ve ever visited has had some memento left on it. This one was no exception. There were a scarf and some rocks (a couple with notes) and coins and rosaries. I don’t leave mementos at writer’s graves, but I do like to stop by and pay my respects for their life’s work.
This cemetery is a pretty place with lots of old graves. If I’d had more energy, I’d like to have looked around more, but my stamina isn’t great yet after the cancer treatments. And we still had one more place to visit – the subject of my next post.