Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Selma, Alabama

Days on cruise:  229

This post is not about the Great Loop. Unless you know us personally and are interested, this one would be good to skip.


Cathryn’s 4 grandparents lived most of their lives in Selma, Alabama, situated on the Alabama River (above), and both her parents were born and raised there. Cathryn made dozens of trips to Selma (from Texas where she grew up) to visit grandparents and has many fond memories of time with them.


When we drove our truck from Seattle to Florida last January to close on the purchase of Next To Me, we planned to stop in Selma on the way. The schedule didn’t work out. When we were in Demopolis two weeks ago, only 50 miles from Selma, we planned to rent a car and spend a day there. We learned there aren’t any car rental agencies in Demopolis; the closest one is in Selma!


Finally we rented a car yesterday in Fairhope, drove 3 hours to Selma, and spent the night in a motel (watching election returns late into the night).



We drove to the sites of both of Cathryn’s grandparent’s homes, though her father’s home has been torn down and turned into a church playground and parking lot (above). But the top of the retaining wall along the sidewalk, on which Cathryn used to walk as a child while holding her grandmother’s hand, is just the same.



Her mother’s family home remains little changed from the last time Cathryn saw it 30+ years ago. The current owner has been there 20 years and invited us to walk the property.


Cathryn’s grandfather had a machine shop out back, and a life-long dream of building a river paddleboat, and actually constructed the paddlewheel, helm and pontoons. The paddlewheel still sits in the yard, though the grandfather who built it died almost 40 years ago.


We went to Live Oak Cemetery where many of Cathryn’s ancestors are buried and found a couple dozen plots of her extended family. The cemetery is full of gigantic live oak trees dripping with Spanish moss.


Finally we took in a little Civil Rights history by walking across the Edmund Pettus bridge and visiting the Voting Rights Act Museum. It was an interesting coincidence, visiting here on the day after our first black President was re-elected.




The visit evoked lots of feelings and memories from another time, especially of feeling much loved by four grandparents! Tonight we’re back on the boat in Fairhope.

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