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NORTH CAROLINA L I T E R A R Y RE V I E W

wise, we will find our own ways to return North Carolina to greatness and take our inspiration from Alex: “If the roof is okay in North Carolina, our life is going to change.” Let me repeat that so that they can hear it in Raleigh: “If the roof is okay in North Carolina, our life is going to change.” Watch us raise the roof. We have some leftover nails and wood from the R.A. Fountain General Store, built to last. Now I return to Archie’s poem on “Alligator’s Holes,” where he mentions all the small towns where he grew up and end it this way: “Lord, we wish we were in Fountain.” Thank you, Alex and Elizabeth. n

EMILY HERRING WILSON’s books include The Three Graces of Val-Kill (University of North Carolina Press, 2017), North Carolina Women (University of North Carolina Press, 1999), and the editor of Two Gardeners: Katharine S. White and Elizabeth Lawrence: A Friendship in Letters (Beacon Press, 2002). She is a recipient of the North Carolina Award for Literature and the John Tyler Caldwell Award for the Humanities. She lives in Winston-Salem, NC.

ALEX ALBRIGHT earned a BA from UNC Chapel Hill and an MFA in Creative Writing from UNC Greensboro. His book The Forgotten First: B-1 and the Integration of the Modern Navy (R.A. Fountain, 2013) won the 2014 Willie Parker Peace History Book Award, given by the North Carolina Society of Historians. His other honors include the 1991 Jack Kerouac Literary Prize; the 1998 R. Hunt Parker Memorial Award for his significant contribution to North Carolina literature, given by the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association; the 2007 Roberts Award for literary inspiration, given by the Friends of Joyner Library; and the 2012 Brown-Hudson Award, given by the North Carolina Folklore Society. In 2018, he will retire from a long career teaching in the Department of English at East Carolina University.

ABOVE Elizabeth, Alex, and Silas Albright in Washington, NC, 2008

IN MEMORIAM: THOMAS E. DOUGLASS adapted from remarks by Alex Albright J.Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, 2 November 2017 Among the indelibel memories I have of Tom Douglass is the incredible presentation he made when applying for a job here – one that Lillian Robinson later told me was the best she had ever seen by a job candidate. In it, he wove a complex and fascinating narrative about Southern literature and its landscape, war and memory, centered around a Faulkner passage from Intruder in the Dust: For every Southern boy . . . not once but whenever he wants it, there is the instant when it’s still not yet two oclock on that July afternoon in 1863 . . . and it’s all in the balance, it hasn’t happened yet, it hasn’t even begun yet, it not only hasn’t begun yet but there is still time for it not to begin.

I think of that passage now, and of the time before Tom’s cancer began, and of the time that he knew it but 3

kept it to himself, and of the loss his family has suffered and will continue to suffer. And of the absence I feel in knowing that he’s not in this world, that his Erwin office light has been extinguished – if ever you were an evening visitor to our part of old campus, it seemed, you’d see that light shining. But I also think now of him coming to my office in the old Austin City Limits and asking if I thought maybe NCLR would be interested in something on Seamus Heaney, who’d recently won the Nobel Prize for literature and was scheduled to be in Chapel Hill to deliver the commencement address at Carolina. Well, I asked him, how do we connect him to North Carolina, other than with what seemed a rather random connection via that impending commencement address. So he explained it all to me, how Kinston native Henry Pearson had

William Faulkner, Intruder in the Dust, 1948 (New York: Vintage, 2011): 190.

COURTESY OF ELIZABETH ALBRIGHT

her life. We fought all the way about the best poem by Elizabeth Bishop and the best route. I have never had a better friend than Linda, and now I have Alex. Are we surprised that it was Alex Albright who brought Linda home to Eastern North Carolina in a day of tributes at the R.A. Fountain Store we will never forget? Jan Hensley was there, of course. Isn’t he everywhere? At the end of the day, Ed and I (and Heather Ross Miller) spent the night in Elizabeth and Alex’s wonderful old house. If I had a recent inheritance from my father, as Alex did when he bought the Fountain properties, I would have bought the house next door and stayed forever. Elizabeth and I would have coffee every morning, and sometimes we would take a road trip to Raleigh, wouldn’t we, Elizabeth? Alex and Elizabeth have done a beautiful thing: they have restored history, and if we are

North Carolina Literary Review Online 2018  

A literary review published online annually by East Carolina University and by the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association.

North Carolina Literary Review Online 2018  

A literary review published online annually by East Carolina University and by the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association.

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