__MAIN_TEXT__
feature-image

Page 1

APRIL 2020

OXFO R D

Local

S T A T E of M I N D

MINI OXFORD ICONS, KINGS OF CARTOONS, B LU E D E LTA J E A N S & MO R E


APRIL 2020 | INVITATION OXFORD

1


2

INVITATION OXFORD | APRIL 2020


APRIL 2020 | INVITATION OXFORD

3


4

INVITATION OXFORD | APRIL 2020


APRIL 2020 | INVITATION OXFORD

5


I N

T H I S

I S S U E

APRIL 2020

22

DEPA RTMENT S

EVENTS

ON THE COVER

12

Letter From the Publisher

70

League of Women Voters

16

Digital Details

72

Sacred Harp Singing

20

Small Talk

74

TedxUniversityofMississippi

22

Recipes: Bottletree Bakery Sugar Cookies

76

Comedy Night

84

Out & About

88

I Am Oxford: Randy Weeks 78

20

6

INVITATION OXFORD | APRIL 2020

78

Taste of Oxford

80

Oxford Date Night

82

Theatre Oxford Meeting

Spring is here, and blooming flowers and budding trees are appearing all around us. Invitation Magazines photographer Joe Worthem captured the feelings of hope and new life that are inevitable during this season and important for us to hold onto in the coming weeks. This month, look out your window, dig in your flowerbeds or explore your yard to keep that feeling alive. PHOTOGRAPHED BY JOE WORTHEM


APRIL 2020 | INVITATION OXFORD

7


F E AT U R E S FE ATURES 26 Felicia’s Butterflies

Some butterfly species are on the decline, but one Mississippi woman is on a mission to save the monarchs and educate others.

30 Mississippi Denim Royalty An interview with Blue Delta Jean Co. founders about how family and history have influenced their growing company.

38 Built to Host 38

Careful design choices create intimate spaces within the grand scale of this Oxford home.

44

44 Small Town

50

62

With a knack for history and storytelling, artist Lee Harper brings old Oxford to life with new 3D dioramas of beloved places like Smitty’s and the Hoka.

50 “Family Field Trip”

Find more than 75 family-friendly activities and adventures in a new book by local author and educator Erin Austen Abbott.

58 Ducked to the Nines

A shared love of the outdoors and a conviction that the world deserves better shirts gives rise to men’s clothing company GenTeal Apparel.

62 Remember the Ryatts 58

8

INVITATION OXFORD | APRIL 2020

In the heyday of newspapers, cartoonists were kings. Hear from a descendant of J.P. Alley and Cal Alley, who also studied under Pulitzer nominee Marshall Ramsey.


APRIL 2020 | INVITATION OXFORD

9


10

INVITATION OXFORD | APRIL 2020


APRIL 2020 | INVITATION OXFORD

11


26

L E T T E R from the P U B L I S H E R As we face the COVID-19 virus and its consequences in our community, it’s important for us to continue to support one another in a way that is sustainable. I learned this lesson firsthand in 2005 when I worked for the Federal Emergency Management Agency as a public information officer in response to Hurricane Katrina. During that yearlong employment following the crisis of Hurricane Katrina, I learned two valuable lessons. First, telling someone to ignore their fears in times of crisis only creates more anxiety for the person. Rather than dismissing their concerns, take a moment to listen to the person who is worried or ill. Keep in touch with them. Send them a text message, or call them on the phone. Check

FOLLOW US

12

INVITATION OXFORD | APRIL 2020

on them often. Social isolation can lead to serious problems not related to this virus. Goodness abounds around us all the time. We know, because we have told the stories of Oxford’s amazing people for more than 13 years. And we will continue to do so. Be sure to check our website and social media platforms so that you can stay connected with Invitation Oxford in the days and weeks ahead. Secondly, I learned that the crisis doesn’t last forever. When you’re in the middle of it, you may feel like it will never end. The days can drag on and on, and even basic tasks might sometimes seem impossible. Times like these are hard emotionally, economically, professionally and in many other ways. And after the crisis subsides, things may

@INVITATIONOXFORD

|

be different than they were before. But the circumstances will not last forever. While we’re learning to navigate through this situation, let’s keep looking for the people and the stories that make our community one of the best. I am confident that when we emerge from this crisis, we will have an endless number of inspirational stories about the people of our community to share with you. In the meantime, look to our social media platforms where we’ll be sharing information about local resources as we hear about them. Thank you, as always, for your loyal support.

RACHEL M. WEST, PUBLISHER

@INVOXFORD


PUBLISHERS Phil and Rachel West

EDITORIAL

EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Emily Welly EXECUTIVE EDITOR Allison Estes CONTRIBUTING EDITOR Leslie Criss OPERATIONS DIRECTOR Mary Moreton CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Erin Austen Abbott Lanie Anderson Maggie Crouch Abbey Edmonson Sarah Hooper Michael Newsom COPY EDITOR Ashley Arthur EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Abbey Edmonson INTERNS Emi Hayes Ashton Logan

OFFICE

BUSINESS MANAGER Hollie Hilliard DISTRIBUTION Donald Courtney Brian Hilliard

ART

CREATIVE DIRECTOR Holly Vollor STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Joe Worthem CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Paul Gandy Jessica Richardson Megan Wolfe CONTRIBUTING ILLUSTRATOR Eden Flora SOCIAL MEDIA COORDINATOR Janie Poulton

ADVERTISING

ADVERTISING CONSULTANTS Alise M. Emerson Leigh Lowery Lynn McElreath Moni Simpson Whitney Worsham Anna Zemek ADVERTISING DESIGNERS Paul Gandy Becca Pepper Hallie Thomas ADVERTISING INFORMATION ads@invitationoxford.com

MAIN OFFICE 662-234-4008 To subscribe to one year (10 issues) of Invitation Oxford or to buy an announcement, visit invitationoxford.com. To request a photographer at your event, email Mary at mary.invitation@gmail.com. Invitation Oxford respects the many diverse individuals and organizations that make up north Mississippi and strives to be inclusive and representative of all members of our community.

PLEASE RECYCLE THIS MAGAZINE

APRIL 2020 | INVITATION OXFORD

13


14

INVITATION OXFORD | APRIL 2020


DIGITAL DETAIL S

|

NOTEWORTHY

|

RECIPES

|

FE ATURES

|

EVENTS

|

I AM OXFORD

D I G I T A L details E XC LU S I V E LY O N L I N E

C a l l i n g a l l Br id e s a nd G ro o m s!

INVITATIONOXFORD.COM

social S N A P S

C a r to o n L e g a c y

We’re doing our best to keep our children engaged at home! Where do you turn for online entertainment and education? Share your favorites on social media and tag us or use #invitationoxford. Here are some of our staff picks:

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram this month to take part in our #weddingwednesday giveaways, including free announcements to be published in our June/July bridal magazine. Want to be sure your wedding is in the pages of Invitation Oxford? Place an order for your custom announcement now at invitationoxford.com.

We are thrilled to include artwork by renowned cartoonists Marshall Ramsey and Cal Alley in this magazine. Read more about one student’s unique experience in Ramsey’s Ole Miss class starting on page 62. Visit invitationoxford.com for more vintage Alley cartoons and a complete Q&A with Ramsey. DOODLE TIME Children’s author, illustrator and Kennedy Center artist in residence Mo Willems is offering daily Lunch Doodles, guided drawing activities for kids. Find episodes online at kennedy-center.org/education/mo-willems.

Fr id ay Fo o d Blo g

R a ndy We e k s

Chocolate brownies by Glenn Hunt

Randy Weeks

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram so you don’t miss our Friday food blog posts. From weeknight suppers to after-school snacks to holiday feasts, we’ve got ideas from regular contributors and local celebrity chefs that are sure to spice up your recipe rotation.

Turn to page 88 for this month’s I Am Oxford interview with Randy Weeks, whom many locals know from his regular spot on the City Grocery balcony and his column in The Local Voice. Read the complete interview with Weeks at invitationoxford.com.

CALENDAR AND EVENTS

Have an exciting event coming up? Visit our website and share the details on our online community calendar. Photos from your event might be featured in an upcoming magazine! FOLLOW US

16

INVITATION OXFORD | APRIL 2020

@INVITATIONOXFORD

|

TAKE A YOGA BREAK Yoga meets storytelling in Cosmic Kids Yoga. Check it out to add some relaxation and mindfulness to your kids’ day. Find episodes on YouTube or at cosmickids.com. TOUR THE WORLD You don’t have to leave your home to see the world. Visit artsandculture.google.com for virtual tours of renowned museums, street views of famous landmarks and more.

@INVOXFORD


APRIL 2020 | INVITATION OXFORD

17


18

INVITATION OXFORD | APRIL 2020


APRIL 2020 | INVITATION OXFORD

19


DIGITAL DETAIL S

|

NOTEWORTHY

|

RECIPES

|

FE ATURES

|

EVENTS

|

I AM OXFORD

small T A L K INTERVIE WED AND PHOTO G R APHED DURING M A RV ELO US MO NDAY A RT C A MP A ND A RT ZO NE KIDS C A MP AT T HE P OWER H O USE

T YLER DARBY

ALICE CROMWELL

EDEN BASS

5 YEARS OLD

6 YEARS OLD

10 YEARS OLD

Are you an artist? At s c h o o l , y es .

Can you name a famous artist or painting? Pa blo Pica s s o a n d Ge o rgi a O’ Ke e ffe

OLIVE THOMAS

MURPHY JOHNSON

DREW SANDERS

8 YEARS OLD

4 YEARS OLD

4 YEARS OLD

Where can people in Oxford go, if they want to see some good art? Th ere’ s a m u s eu m on c amp us.

Are you an artist? Well, I am a painting person.

What are you planning to draw today? Kylo Ren f rom Star Wars

DA MIAN UREM A-MOTA

SABI DINIUS

M I L L E R N E E LY

7 YEARS OLD

5 YEARS OLD

8 YEARS OLD

What's your favorite medium to work in? Pa i n t an d m a r ker s .

20

What are you planning to draw today? Well, I a lrea dy did: a mer ma id.

INVITATION OXFORD | APRIL 2020

What are you planning to draw today? A unicorn!

Where can people in Oxford go, if they want to see some good art? Here!


APRIL 2020 | INVITATION OXFORD

21


DIGITAL DETAIL S

|

NOTEWORTHY

|

RECIPES

|

FE ATURES

|

EVENTS

bottletree bakery S U G A R

|

I AM OXFORD

COOKIES

BAKE AND DECORATE YOUR OWN CUTE AND COLORFUL EASTER COOKIES WITH THIS RECIPE AND PROFESSIONAL ADVICE FROM AN EXPERT OXFORD BAKER. RECIPES CONTRIBUTED BY CYNTHIA GERL ACH

|

PHOTOGRAPHED BY JOE WORTHEM

royal icing 2 tablespoons meringue powder 6 tablespoons warm water 22/3 cups powdered sugar Food coloring In the bowl of a stand mixer, with whisk attachment, whip meringue powder and water on medium speed until foamy, about 3 minutes. Change speed to slow and add powdered sugar in 3 parts, scraping down bowl each time. Change speed to medium and whip until stiff peaks form. Add more warm water ¼ teaspoon at a time, to adjust icing consistency. To color, transfer desired amount of icing to a clean mixing bowl. Add 2-3 drops of color, and mix on low to medium speed no more than 2 minutes. Repeat for each color.

sugar cookies 5 cups all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons baking powder ½ pound unsalted butter at room temperature

1½ cups sugar 2 eggs at room temperature 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

M A KE S ABOU T 3 DOZ EN I F USING 21/2 -3-INC H C UT TERS

Divide the dough in half, and flatten each half to about 1 inch thick. Wrap each half in plastic wrap, and chill 2 hours.

Combine flour and baking powder, and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed, beat butter and sugar 1-2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating about 45 seconds after each addition. Add vanilla with the last egg. Change mixer speed to low, and slowly add flour mixture in 3 parts, scraping down the sides of the bowl each time. Continue to mix until the dough pulls away from the sides.

22

INVITATION OXFORD | APRIL 2020

Heat oven to 350°F. Flour work surface and rolling pin. Lightly flour dough, and roll to ¼-inch thickness. Dip cookie cutters in flour before cutting each shape. Place shapes 1 inch apart on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Bake 9-10 minutes, rotating pan once, until edges are slightly brown. Allow to cool. Wait 4 hours before icing.

Spread icing on cookies. Add more powdered sugar to thicken remaining icing for outlining, if desired.

PRO TIPS from Gerlach Royal icing can drive the most seasoned baker nuts. The temperature of the water, the air temperature and humidity are all key factors. The process is not quick and easy, but the outcome, when executed properly, is fabulous! Keep a bowl of warm water handy to warm the spoon for transferring icing from one bowl to another. For better color, professional bakers use AmeriColor food coloring products.


APRIL 2020 | INVITATION OXFORD

23


24

INVITATION OXFORD | APRIL 2020


APRIL 2020 | INVITATION OXFORD

25


DIGITAL DETAIL S

|

NOTEWORTHY

|

RECIPES

|

FE ATURES

|

EVENTS

|

I AM OXFORD

WITH NATURAL HABITATS THREATENED, S O M E B U T T E R F LY S P E C I E S A R E O N T H E D E C L I N E . ONE MISSISSIPPI WOMAN IS ON A MISSION TO S AV E T H E M O N A R C H S A N D E D U C AT E OT H E R S . WRITTEN BY SARAH HOOPER

|

ILLUSTRATED BY EDEN FLOR A

n 2012, Linette Walters received an unusual gift from a friend: a tiny caterpillar. For the next few weeks, she watched it closely, as it did what caterpillars do. It ate. It grew. It made a cocoon. Then the magic happened: Days later, it emerged a butterfly, glistening wings ablaze in fiery orange and black. “From there, it was just ‘Oh my goodness!’” Walters said. Her humble little caterpillar, it turns out, was a majestic monarch butterfly. Known for their vibrant orange wings with fine black lines and white pinpoint details, monarchs are among the most widely recognizable. With no consideration that it might be a life-changing decision, Walters, then the manager of a nonprofit horticulture program, began growing milkweed in her yard. “For every butterfly, there is a plant that it has to have to lay its eggs on,” Walters said. “For the monarchs, it’s milkweed. So, I planted one milkweed in my yard in a pot, and the story began from there.” It wasn’t long before her one small milkweed became many large milkweed plants. Towering stalks with orange and red flowers turned Walters’ garden into a butterfly haven. “It’s cliche, but plant it, and they will come,” Walters said. “The only thing I do to encourage the butterflies is plant the plants that they need to lay their eggs. It is an amazing journey.” What began with one little caterpillar became a butterfly empire, and Walters found herself in the butterfly business. She sometimes has more than a thousand caterpillars under her wing. To protect them from predators, she collects the eggs and larvae and moves them to a screened enclosure, where they can grow in safety. Felicia’s Butterflies (Felicia is Walters’ first name) sells butterfly habitats consisting of either a monarch chrysalis or caterpillar in its preferred “plant materials” (seeds, flowers, leaves, etc.). A monarch caterpillar grows from the size of an eyelash to the size


of a pinky finger in just two weeks. Once it forms a cocoon, it takes about 10 days for metamorphosis to occur. Walters also grows plant materials and habitats for half a dozen other native butterfly species. Monarchs are migratory butterflies. Those we see in Mississippi spend the winter in Mexico, travel across the United States all the way to Canada each spring and summer, then return to Mexico in the fall. Of course, no single butterfly makes the entire journey. The migration happens over the lifespan of several generations. So the availability of native plant life all along the way is critical for nourishment, mating and nesting. Monarchs have a special relationship with milkweed. They can smell it from up to 20 miles away. They sip nectar from its flowers, lay their eggs on it, and the caterpillars feed on the milky sap. The sap is poisonous to birds and, as a result, so is the monarch. But the monarch is now threatened with extinction. The Environmental Defense Fund reports that the number of monarchs has dropped by 90% in the last 20 years. John Guyton, an associate professor of entomology with the Mississippi State University Extension Service says the loss of native plants is the main cause. Invasive plant species mimic milkweed but are poisonous to the monarch. And due to land eradication, herbicide use and mowing along the roadsides, the natural population of milkweed is on the decline and, thus, so are the butterflies. “When they don’t find the milkweed they need, they die,” Guyton said. “We have mature plants that are fabulous in this state, and the seed stock is still in the soil, but mowing is a problem. The ecosystem is a very, very complex thing. There is nothing out there that doesn’t have these insect-plant interactions. Getting rid of any one of these will have a huge ripple effect — and we’re starting to have a lot of those ripple effects.” Gentler mowing policies by highway


and county officials could have a significant positive impact. So can planting milkweed and other native flowering plants in your own yard. Walters is doing what she can to protect monarchs in Mississippi. In 2019, she purchased a piece of wooded land near Enid and moved Felicia’s Butterflies to its new, permanent home. She plans to develop a discovery trail and outdoor teaching space for ecology lessons as time and funds permit. Walters believes sharing information about and exposing people of all ages to the butterflies will encourage the habitat restoration that is so critical to the monarch’s survival. She sells her plant materials, butterfly habitats, caterpillars and chrysalises at seasonal markets. She is a regular at schools and garden clubs and loves doing presentations for kids. She also provides monarchs for butterfly releases, a lovely way to commemorate any special occasion, and one of her favorite events. “Butterflies mean so many different things to so many different people,” Walters said. “Renewal, hope, amazement.” For information on upcoming lectures, creating butterfly habitats, attending releases and more, search for “Felicia’s Garden” on Facebook or email Linette Walters at feliciasbutterflies@yahoo.com. Learn more ways to help by visiting edf.org/what-you-can-do-help-monarchs.

WHO

North Mississippi Medical Center Hospice Friends and Family

WHAT

Memorial Service and Butterfly Release

WHEN

2 p.m. May 17

WHERE

Harrisburg Baptist Church, Tupelo

28

INVITATION OXFORD | APRIL 2020

In May, friends and families who have lost loved ones over the past year will gather to celebrate their lives with a butterfly release. The commemorative ceremony takes place in the parking lot at Harrisburg Baptist Church in Tupelo. Those who wish to participate are asked to register by April 13. One butterfly will be provided at no cost to each family that registers, in honor of a patient who was served by the NMMC Hospice program. Additional butterflies may be purchased for release. North Mississippi Medical Center has the longest-serving program in the area, offering inpatient and home hospice care. For more information about the program or the butterfly release, call Sandra Gordon at 662-377-3296 or visit nmhs.net/hospice.


APRIL 2020 | INVITATION OXFORD

29


|

NOTEWORTHY

|

RECIPES

|

FE ATURES

|

EVENTS

|

I AM OXFORD

Mississippi Denim

Royalty I

n a place where family and history mean everything, Josh West and Nick Weaver have created a business that combines

the best of both. West and Weaver bought several old sewing machines from Lucky Star Industries in Tupelo and hired seamstresses whose families had been with the company for generations. Thanks to their talent and experience, Blue Delta Jean Co. in Oxford is the headquarters for 100% American-grown, Mississippi-sewn raw denim jeans. Continued on page 32

INTERVIEWED BY ABBEY EDMONSON PHOTOGRAPHED BY JOE WORTHEM

COURTESY OF BLUE DELTA

COURTESY OF BLUE DELTA

DIGITAL DETAIL S


APRIL 2020 | INVITATION OXFORD

31


At its Tupelo factory, Blue Delta Jean Co. employs several seamstresses who once worked for Lucky Star Industries. Blue Delta also purchased old Lucky Star machines that are now in use.

Continued from page 30 Q: How did Blue Delta Jean Co. get started?

WEST: I was working as an economic developer at the time and noticed a resource of highly skilled sewing talent in north Mississippi that wasn’t available in many other parts of the United States. I knew I wanted to use this talent pool to create a product, and after a few months of research, I landed on custom denim. After researching the storied past of the garment industry in Mississippi, I thought it could work. Jeans are the quintessential American garment, so denim was an easy choice. In 2011, we purchased the remains of a long-forsaken garment operation in Memphis, Tennessee, and moved the equipment to our studio in Mississippi. Seven months later, Blue Delta Jean Co. shipped its first custom jean.

Q: What is the connection between Blue Delta and Lucky Star? Josh West and Nick Weaver, founders of Blue Delta Jean Co.

WEST: Lucky Star was a longtime Levi’s 501 contract sewing operation in north Mississippi. They were a major employer for the area. Our first seamstress hire, Sara Richey, was one of their former employees. As we grew and hired more people, we brought in more of the former Lucky Star group. Now, with almost 30 sewing professionals, about 10% of our team is from the Lucky Star family. WEAVER:

The ladies from Lucky Star taught us how to make jeans. Without them, we wouldn’t be where we are. It’s nice to have hundreds of years of sewing experience in an 8-year-old company.

Q: Why are the ideas of family and history so important to you and to Blue Delta?

WEST: The history of north Mississippi’s sewing talent is one that is unique. When most garment production went overseas in the 1980s and 1990s, many areas lost their connection to sewing


APRIL 2020 | INVITATION OXFORD

33


entirely. Northeast Mississippi was able to keep this remnant of talent due to the furniture industry’s sewing needs. The history of places like Lucky Star are crucial to our success. We are benefiting from a strong workforce foundation that was laid years before we started Blue Delta.

Q: You are a company that makes 100% American-made products. Why is that important to you?

WEST:

It’s rewarding to know that your product is made in America. It was never an option for us though. We knew if this was going to happen it was going to happen in Mississippi.

WEAVER: There is real value in making things here. We are seeing more manufacturers reshoring, and I hope that trend continues. With buyers wanting shorter lead times and having a renewed focus on quality, I think we will continue to see more companies like ours pop up. Q: What are your future plans for Blue Delta Jean Co.? WEST: Our company has grown every year because people like our product. We try to focus on the product and give people the best experience possible. We have a factory in Tupelo and a studio in Oxford where people can visit and buy our products. We also have over 300 sales reps with partner tailors across the United States, United Kingdom and Canada. Our plan for 2020 and beyond is the same as it has always been. Make custom jeans that fit, and get better at it every day. It’s tempting to chase trends and products to make but we remain focused on getting better at the things we do well and that is custom jeans.

34

INVITATION OXFORD | APRIL 2020

Q:

What is your connection to Lucky Star Industries’ original owners, the Rousseaus?

WEST:

The Rousseaus and the Gibenses are Mississippi denim royalty to us. They have been supportive in many ways. It’s obvious they treated their former employees well and loved them because we hear so many stories from the Lucky Star days.


Lucky Star founder Charles Rousseau

COURTESY OF BLUE DELTA JEAN CO.

Lucky Star Legacy

Chris Rousseau recently visited the Blue Delta factory to share memories and memorabilia with Lucky Star legacy employees. “My grandfather, Charles Rousseau, started Lucky Star Industries,” Chris said. “They made Levi’s for 32 years, I believe. We had these factories. ... one in Baldwyn and one in Nettleton. I worked there in the summers as a kid from 15 on, and that’s how I knew Sara and Shirley, (seamstresses) that work for Josh and Nick. “It was like a family at Lucky Star. Mothers would get their daughters hired, grandmothers would get their granddaughters and sons hired. Nick and Josh bought some of the sewing machines out of the Nettleton facility when we were shutting it all down. “From the 1970s on, (my dad, uncle and grandfather) would hand these little pins to people for five-year, 10-year gifts, for loyalty of staying at that job. “I found these little gold pins with little diamonds stuck in them. If it was five years, it had five little diamonds stuck in there in little clusters. I also had a picture of the old Nettleton crew and a picture of the Blue Delta crew now, and I put them together with the pin in a little shadow box, and they loved it.” APRIL 2020 | INVITATION OXFORD

35


36

INVITATION OXFORD | APRIL 2020


APRIL 2020 | INVITATION OXFORD

37


DIGITAL DETAIL S

|

NOTEWORTHY

|

RECIPES

|

FE ATURES

|

EVENTS

|

I AM OXFORD

B U I LT TO CAREFUL DESIGN CHOICES CREATE INTIMATE SPACES WITHIN THE GRAND SCALE OF THIS OXFORD HOME. WRITTEN BY MAGGIE CROUCH

38

|

PHOTOGRAPHED BY JOE WORTHEM

INVITATION OXFORD | APRIL 2020


HOST F

rom watch parties for Ole Miss games to large-scale gatherings of 100 or more, Tom and Vicki Fowlkes’ home was built to handle a crowd. On any given evening, though, Tom and Vicki are more likely to be found relaxing on their enclosed backyard porch with their dog, Finn, enjoying the evening together. “For us, our favorite part of the house is the porch,” Vicki said. “We can cook, eat and watch ballgames and movies out there. Unless it’s bitterly cold, we can sit out there for a while because the heater and fireplace keep everything warm.” The porch is part of a U-shaped design that encloses the backyard pool, patio and hot tub. The custom bar and living room complete the other two sides and all three rooms open to the outdoors, providing an ideal setup for warm-weather parties. Creating a home that would work equally well for hosting a grand event or a quiet evening was the couple’s goal as they began the design and building process in 2017. For Ole Miss football games, close friends and family will come together to grill and watch the game. At Thanksgiving, a full gathering from both sides of the family can add up to nearly two dozen loved ones. And at Christmastime, they will host a company holiday party complete with a live band and hired bartender. Creating separate, ample suites for their three grown daughters and for guests was central to the plan as well. The couple collected hundreds of images online to visualize different aspects of features they wanted to include in their own home. They researched color schemes, floor plans and building materials, bringing all their preferences together into a single plan. To execute their vision, the couple hired Sid Coleman, a local builder who had worked with them on previous projects, and decorator Chancely Meredith, owner of Flower Bouquet + Interiors in Clarksdale. For the outdoor spaces, they worked with Lantz Foster of Madison County Rocks and Pools and with landscaper Joby Jackson. “They built the home around entertainment and family,” Meredith said. “The biggest challenge was creating that balance so it could fit a good amount of people but also feel like a comfortable home to live in.” This balance was achieved by incorporating both these goals

APRIL 2020 | INVITATION OXFORD

39


40

INVITATION OXFORD | APRIL 2020


from the beginning of the project. The couple created their own architectural plans, working closely with Meredith and Coleman to build a house that was multifunctional. “We built it out of a concept,” Coleman said. “Tom and Vicki gave me an idea for a floor plan, and together we designed the rest from there.” The experts helped them achieve their vision for their outdoor living space, too. “They helped us create an inviting and relaxing backyard and pool for large gatherings of family and friends,” Vicki said. “We use the space nearly year-round, and it’s one of our favorite places to be in our new home.” In designing the interiors, one of the biggest challenges the team faced was scale: Adjusting for the home’s scale added an extra step in the design process. The rooms were much larger than at the Fowlkeses’ prior home. Traditional coffee tables needed to be supersized in sitting areas, and light fixtures required more consideration than usual. “The chandelier in the foyer felt huge when it was sitting on the floor, but once it was hoisted up, it fit into the space so much better than I could’ve imagined,” Vicki said. “There was a lot of trial and error for me in the process of choosing fixtures. We even made mockups of some pieces to make sure they would work in the given space.” At the same time, the couple wanted to reuse as much of the furniture and wall decor from their previous home as possible. Vicki had sofas and armchairs reupholstered, and she reached out to Meredith for direction on how to make their old furnishings fit in the new, grander space. Continued on page 42

The Fowlkeses make good use of their yard and pool area for large gatherings of family and friends. The screened-in porch is one of their favorite spaces year-round. APRIL 2020 | INVITATION OXFORD

41


Continued from page 41 “I found when I brought things in here, they weren’t nearly big enough or didn’t fit in perfectly,” Vicki said. “That’s where Chancely really helped me out.” In addition to incorporating old furniture into their new house, the Fowlkeses worked with Meredith to bring in pottery, books and pictures collected through different seasons of their lives, as well as heirlooms from both sides of their family. With the new house as a broad, blank canvas, Meredith designed a perfect place for each treasure. “When I work with a client, it’s important to me to get to know them well, so I can understand exactly what they like and how to accomplish their goals,” Meredith said. “I want them to be happy living in the space and seeing it every day.” The couple also collaborated with Coleman to include custommade shelving and storage throughout the house, to make every inch of the house their own. In the dining room, the china cabinets are actually installed in the wall, with curved pedestal feet suggesting a free-standing piece of furniture. Likewise, in the master den, pedestal feet on the TV stand give the built-ins their custom character. “Guests in the home may not even realize that many of the custom cabinets are installed directly into the walls,” Coleman said. “Designing the specialty cabinetry was my favorite part of the project.” Another of the couple’s favorite personalized spaces is the “funky monkey” powder room. Nestled just off the living room, it’s lined with red wallpaper featuring monkeys peeking out behind vines. “This was Tom’s brainchild,” Vicki said. “He wanted to do something fun that people wouldn’t expect, and he just ran with it. It’s so quirky, and because the red contrasts with the whites and blues throughout most of the house, guests are always surprised when they open up that door and see monkeys smiling at them.” The couple moved into their new home in September 2018. After a few months of getting settled, Vicki said their house truly felt like home. “There were still a few walls to fill with art, but (now) it finally feels like it’s done,” Vicki said. “We definitely couldn’t have done it without our building and design team. We’re so thankful they were able to make our vision come true.”

42

INVITATION OXFORD | APRIL 2020


APRIL 2020 | INVITATION OXFORD

43


DIGITAL DETAIL S

|

NOTEWORTHY

|

RECIPES

|

FE ATURES

|

EVENTS

|

I AM OXFORD

Sm a l l Tow n ARTIST LEE HARPER BRINGS OLD OXFORD TO LIFE WITH NEW 3D DIORAMAS. WRITTEN BY L ANIE ANDERSON

O

|

xford is a seasonal locale for some and a permanent home for others. But whichever category you fall into, chances are you have plenty of attachment to, and stories about, your favorite places here — some of which may no longer be in existence. But never fear. Local artist Lee Harper is bringing “old Oxford” back to life through her 3D dioramas. Harper contributes artwork every year to the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council’s holiday ornament auction. This past holiday season, she decided to create a small 3D diorama of The Hoka Theater in memory of founder Ron Shapiro, who died in August 2019.

PHOTOGRAPHED BY JOE WORTHEM

“I always try to donate something really nostalgic,” Harper said. “With Ronzo’s passing, I thought this year it would be really neat to do a miniature Hoka, especially because the building doesn’t exist anymore. It’s so special to people.” After the auction, Harper received more requests for dioramas of the Hoka and other past and present places in Oxford. “A lot of Oxford people miss old Oxford,” Harper said. “That’s honestly the beauty of it: people thinking back to old Oxford.” June Goza saw Harper’s Hoka diorama and knew she wanted one. An Oxford native and Ole Miss alum, Goza remembers going


APRIL 2020 | INVITATION OXFORD

45


to the Gin, a popular bar and restaurant, in the 1980s. When the Gin closed for the night, she and her friends would head to the nearby Hoka for a late-night snack. The diorama in her home reminds her of the memories she made there in her 20s. “It just brings me joy,” Goza said. “I look at it and remember being at the Hoka and talking to Ron and hanging out with friends.” When Oxford resident Rob Church found Harper’s dioramas on Instagram, he requested one of Smitty’s, a diner once located on South Lamar behind Square Books. Breakfast at Smitty’s was a favorite for locals like Church, who frequented the diner with his friends in college. Smitty’s closed its doors in 1999, and Church wanted a tangible reminder of the Oxford Square he knew as a child and then a college student. “It makes me smile,” Church said. “It takes me back to a time when things were a little simpler and easier and more familiar.” Harper has a knack for history and storytelling, especially about old buildings, and these mini recreations are a perfect mix of her hobbies. She also enjoys meeting new people and hearing their stories. When she needed a visual of one side of a building long gone, she posted a call for photos on Facebook and found more people who had fond memories to share along with their pictures. “I have to do a little detective work to find pictures and images of the buildings to be able to get all of the angles,” Harper said. “Obviously, they don’t exist anymore, so that’s half of the fun.” Harper gets creative with the materials she uses to make her dioramas. A thrift store candlestick supplied a tiny angel bust for a diorama of an old chapel in New Orleans. The roof on the Hoka diorama came from tin coffee cups that once belonged to Oxford Canteen on North Lamar. “I don’t look at things as what they actually are,” Harper said. “I look at them as what they could be used for.” Harper will recreate any place a client requests. She recently made a house near the Square for a birthday gift and created a diorama for a couple featuring the old church where they got married. “Most people ask for these because of the nostalgia and sentimentality behind them,” Harper said. “That is the best to work on. ... something people have really fond memories of.” Visit Harper’s Instagram profile @leeharperoxford to learn more about Harper’s dioramas and other artwork.

46

INVITATION OXFORD | APRIL 2020


APRIL 2020 | INVITATION OXFORD

47


48

INVITATION OXFORD | APRIL 2020


APRIL 2020 | INVITATION OXFORD

49


DIGITAL DETAIL S

CEL

“ FA M

EBR

I LY

AT E

|

NOTEWORTHY

IP D TR FIEL

|

RECIPES

|

FE ATURES

|

EVENTS

|

I AM OXFORD

& ING SIGN IVITIES AC T KIDS RIL 4 S . AP M . P OOK 1 RE B A U SQ OFF

FA M I LY F I E L D T R I P D I S C OV E R M O R E T H A N 7 5 FA M I LY-F R I E N D LY C U LT U R A L AC T I V I T I E S A N D A DV E N T U R E S IN A NEW BOOK BY LOCAL AUTHOR AND EDUCATOR ERIN AUSTEN ABBOT T. WRIT TEN BY ERIN AUSTEN ABBOT T

|

ILLUSTRATIONS PROVIDED BY CHRONICLE BOOKS


W

ith the Double Decker Art Festival coming up, we will be surrounded by opportunities to enjoy art, food, music and culture. But every time we step outside the front door with our kids, they are learning about the world around them. When I was a very young girl growing up in Oxford, my mom would pack up our station wagon and take my brother and me out on a long road trip each summer. We’d wind through the South, slowly making our way down to Florida. Sometimes we’d stop in New Orleans to eat beignets and slurp Vietnamese noodle bowls or ride through Atlanta, stopping for fried chicken and fresh peach pie. I would spend the hours in the car staring out the window, observing, daydreaming, and snapping mental images of all the places I wanted to come back to and visit one day. Every trip was different, as we rarely took the same route to get to our yearly destination. When we arrived in Florida, we’d spend our days at the beach, then gather around a large table at night, enjoying peel-and-eat shrimp, laughing and talking. Usually we were joined by family friends from abroad — people from countries I hadn’t yet visited. These friends taught us foreign words and phrases, and sometimes they prepared dishes I wasn’t familiar with. It was during those meals that I learned some of the Southern staples I took for granted, like sweet tea and hush puppies, were not on menus around the world. Those meals — full of new languages, tastes, and customs — made the world seem so much bigger to me. It was those early years and my experiences with travel and culture that informed many of the decisions I made in the decades that followed. It also shaped how I went on to raise my own child. Our goal is always to make each day feel like a field trip — fun but with learning involved. My new book, “Family Field Trip” is full of ideas and tips for cultural experiences the whole family can enjoy, whether you’re at home, exploring your neighborhood, or taking a vacation. It’s a resource for raising kids who will grow into empathetic, curious, well-rounded citizens of the world. APRIL 2020 | INVITATION OXFORD

51


E X C E R P T S F R O M “ F A M I LY F I E L D T R I P ” R E P R I N T E D W I T H P E R M I S S I O N F R O M C H R O N I C L E B O O K S

H OW TO C E L E B R AT E NEW FOODS, EXPAND YOUR CHILD’S PA L AT E , & S TA R T A S U P P E R C LU B

we help them become comfortable with traditions that might be different from the ones they’re used to and we improve their understanding of what makes the world such an amazing, rich place.

When I was a child, I went to a summer camp that prided itself on hiring international counselors. There were staff members from two dozen different countries, and each Tuesday, we celebrated International Day by eating traditional breakfasts, lunches, and dinners from one of the foreign countries. We also signed up for games and crafts commonly found in that country, and for the evening campfire, we gathered to learn songs, dances, language, and other customs that were common to the country of the day. I loved International Days at camp so much that I use them as inspiration in my own home today — starting with food! Exposing children to cultures from around the world isn’t an overnight process. It requires planning, patience, and time, but I promise you that it will be worth it. When we teach children about cultural diversity,

EXPANDING A C H I L D ’ S PA L AT E These days almost every restaurant has a children’s menu, but I very rarely order from the children’s menu for my son. Children’s menus usually have the most flavorless and unhealthy options — the choices are often processed, high in sodium, and full of refined sugars and fats. Some people were shocked to hear my son ate spicy Indian dishes or sushi early on, but it’s because we never treated food as something that he shouldn’t like, and we didn’t wait until he was older to introduce certain foods. Try to avoid assuming that your children won’t like something. My husband and I always say, “It’s only weird if you make it weird.” Continued on page 54

S TA R T I N G A S U P P E R C LU B My family and our friends have visited places like Vietnam, France, Spain, Peru, and more — without ever leaving our home. Through our supper club dinners we try foreign dishes, learn simple phrases, and dance to traditional music. Supper clubs are a great way to bring world schooling into your own home. Here’s a guide to starting your own. Figure out where you’re “going”: First, pick which country you’re going to explore during the supper club meal. Use a globe or map to locate the country that you want to feature. Plan your guest list: It might just be family or you might include other friends with children. Plan your menu: Next, decide which dishes you would like to make. Try making something that you have never made before. Supper club is about expanding your outlook and tasting new flavors. Make a shopping list: If you can’t find everything at your usual grocery store, try a local international grocery store or specialty market for less common spices and ingredients that you might need. If that isn’t an option, turn to an online marketplace. Gather some books: Head to your local library and check out all the books you can find on the country that you are featuring — these could be art books, travel guides, or cookbooks. Have the books on hand so you and your guests can browse through them during the evening.

52

INVITATION OXFORD | APRIL 2020


APRIL 2020 | INVITATION OXFORD

53


Continued from page 52

FROM SUPER BLOOMS TO SUPER MOONS, M AKING SPACE FOR WONDER We live in a time where children are often so rushed, from school to activity to activity to dinner to bath to bed. But opportunities for wonder are all around us, all the time. You just have to be open to it. There are so many everyday things that you can do with your children to instill wonder, whether while traveling or at home, to encourage them to be curious about the world. Building wonder into daily life can be as simple as slowing things down and making room in the day for your children to be still, observe the world around them, and ask questions. For example, when you are in the car, encourage your children to look up at the sky. Often on road trips, my son will tell me he just feels like looking out the window for a while. I catch him making note of the trees, the clouds in the sky, the birds overhead. I can read the wonderment on his face, and seeing it through his eyes gives me so much joy. When we travel, we love to get up early and take our time walking around and exploring a new place, not rushing from one thing to the next. Sometimes we’ll even watch the sunrise as we listen to the sounds of a place greeting a new day. Continued on page 56

54

TRY THIS:

TRY THIS:

F I N D I N G W O N D E R A S A N A D U LT

D AY O F Y E S

Here’s a little practice to help you get into a wonder mindset: Think back to your childhood and something you were curious about. For example, I used to spend a lot of time wondering about clouds, birds, and dreams. I would think about where dreams go when you wake up, or what it would be like to lie on a cloud or fly like a bird. Think back to what gave you that sense of amazement. Now think about how to apply that to children when you travel. What little details can you point out to them to foster a sense of wonder? Maybe it’s the way fresh snow hangs on a tree, or a flock of birds migrates across a city park, or holiday lights sparkle at an outdoor market. Do not be afraid to slow down. It’s OK if you don’t pack in every sightseeing excursion on a trip. Stay curious and make time for wonder.

Next time you have a free day together as a family, plan a “Day of Yes.” In this activity, inspired by TV producer Lindsey Weidhorn, each family member gets to pick something fun to do and everyone has to say yes, then the next person picks something and everyone says yes, and so on until everyone has a chance to pick an activity (all suggestions are within reason, of course). It could be getting an ice cream, visiting a local museum, or going to a movie. It’s a great way to try new things as a family, and children will enjoy coming up with their own fun ideas (and hearing you say “Yes!”).

INVITATION OXFORD | APRIL 2020


APRIL 2020 | INVITATION OXFORD

55


Continued from page 54

MAKING ART AND DESIGN FUN, APPROACHABLE, AND INSPIRING You don’t have to be an artist or a designer to teach your children to appreciate art and design. Helping your children develop a love of art and design encourages them to consider the deeper meaning of things, fosters observational skills, and allows them to consider different perspectives. Cultivating art appreciation in your children from a young age will open their minds to abstract concepts — a skill that will stay with them into adulthood — and provide opportunities to discuss history, materials, perspective, and artistic movements.

SAMPLE LESSON PLAN: MUSEUM EXHIBIT S C AV E N G E R H U N T You can adapt this plan to work at most exhibits and educational spaces, including aquariums, historical sites, planetariums, and more.

ACTIVITY: Spend some time on the museum website to view their visiting exhibitions and permanent collection. Then make a list of scavenger hunt items, and create a printout for each child with open-ended descriptions, such as “Find a painting that is mostly blue” or “Find a piece of art with fruit in it.” Include a few finds for each room of the museum to keep them engaged throughout the whole tour. For younger children, you can include a picture key. Have a small prize at the end of the hunt for all children, as there doesn’t need to be a “winner.” For example, you can buy a treat from the museum gift shop or a new set of crayons. If you are visiting a museum while out of town and don’t have time to print the instructions for the hunt before your trip, you can use the hotel business center to print your materials.

56

INVITATION OXFORD | APRIL 2020

ERIN AUSTEN ABBOTT Erin Austen Abbott is a writer, early childhood educator and former traveling nanny. She writes about parenting, art, crafts, design and more on her lifestyle blog, ameliapresents.com. Stories about Erin’s work have been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Real Simple, Mother Mag, Design*Sponge and more. Her first book, “How to Make It,” was published in 2017. She lives in Water Valley with her husband and son.


APRIL 2020 | INVITATION OXFORD

57


DIGITAL DETAIL S

58

|

NOTEWORTHY

INVITATION OXFORD | APRIL 2020

|

RECIPES

|

FE ATURES

|

EVENTS

|

I AM OXFORD


Ducked to the Nines A SHARED LOVE OF THE OUTDOORS AND A CONVICTION THAT THE WORLD DESERVES BET TER SHIRTS GIVES RISE TO MEN’S CLOTHING COMPANY GENTEAL APPAREL. WRITTEN BY MICHAEL NEWSOM

B

lake Dubinski and Brice Noonan never saw exactly what they wanted when they shopped for clothing. In September 2014, they started talking about a concept for better performance polos and button-up shirts. “Brice and I were tired of the overly ‘preppy’ look and brands labeled ‘Southern This’ and ‘Southern That,’ that produced the same products in different colors season after season,” Dubinksi said. “So we wanted to create something that was a representation of who we were and what we valued in clothing: great fabrics, earth-toned colors but nothing overly bright, innovative technical features and modern but simple designs.” Their vision included a blue-winged teal logo, which would adorn quality materials in eye-catching colors. Noonan saw it as a chance to launch something big. “While I appreciate well-made and cleverly designed clothing, I saw an opportunity to develop a lifestyle brand for which the brand name itself explicitly describes that lifestyle,” Noonan said. “Swap out an ‘e’ for an ‘a’ in the name, design a logo that accurately reflects a male blue-winged teal, resplendent in its breeding plumage, and the ball was rolling.” “The blue-winged teal logo serves as the final touch that connects our line to those with an affinity for the outdoors and provides an additional differentiator from other brands,” Dubinski said. The founders met in 2013 when Noonan was a biology professor at the University of Mississippi and Dubinski was working on an MBA degree. (Noonan still teaches biology, and Dubinski is now an

|

PHOTOGRAPHED BY JOE WORTHEM

instructor and entrepreneur in residence at the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.) They quickly became friends, and almost as quickly began working on developing their clothing brand. The hunt for fabrics and the manufacturing business were new to the two, who had no previous industry experience. Everyone has to start somewhere though. And although they had not much beyond a logo and a mutual appreciation of well-made clothing when they started GenTeal, they did have a crystal-clear vision of what it could become. They wanted the right fit, but also the ability for a shirt to stand up to both time and wear. They also wanted colors that stand out. The GenTeal color wheel has pastel blues and pinks, as well as rich purples and blues with catchy names like “luau pinstripe,” “marlin,” “snapper,” “glacier” and other hues that give a nod to the great outdoors. The company also makes youth polos and men’s sport shirts, shorts, hats and accessories. With the learning curve, it took about two years to develop the line. Since the official launch of the company in February 2016, Dubinski thinks they’ve really found the right combinations of fabrics. “I think we have achieved our vision through features like the sewn-in collar stays in our polos and our partnership with ‘brrr Cool Tech Fabric,’” Dubinski said. The founders believe one of the reasons their shirts are getting a good reception is that they have important details that distinguish them. Besides fabrics and colors, the look, feel and functionality of the clothing stand out from others on the market.

Blake Dubinski, Stan Shanks and Michael Shanks at Landry’s, GenTeal Apparel’s first retail partner. APRIL 2020 | INVITATION OXFORD

59


COURTESY OF GENTEAL COURTESY OF GENTEAL

60

INVITATION OXFORD | APRIL 2020

“Our performance polos are our best sellers, and we firmly believe it is because of the unique color schemes, fabric and little features such as the collar stay that prevents the collar-curl common to most performance polos,” Dubinski said. They don’t get together too often these days, but the growth of the company has provided Dubinski and Noonan with some amazing opportunities. “As the business has grown, it takes up a considerable amount of time outside of our obligations to the university,” Dubinski said. “However, GenTeal has allowed us to travel to some spectacular places and meet some great people. This spring we will be doing a photo shoot in the Bahamas, and this summer we will be traveling to Thailand.” Since GenTeal spread its wings, the company has grown from being carried in just six stores after an apparel show to premiere the line, to nearly 100 stores in August 2019. Gentealapparel.com offers free shipping, returns and exchanges, but for those who appreciate the advantages of shopping in person, Landry’s on the Square in Oxford carries the brand. “Landry’s on the Square was our first retail partner and has played an influential role in growing our brand,” Dubinski said. “We are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to work closely with Stan, Shannon and Michael Shanks (there), which allows us to talk through potential new additions to the line as well as get their direct feedback from customers.” They’re betting on the idea that they can keep preaching the gospel of quality and uniqueness to boost the GenTeal brand in the coming years. After all, it’s still a young company, with young leadership. They plan to expand to areas outside the South, and with each season, they will aim to add two to four new items to their line. The GenTeal Apparel clothing line includes sport and performance shirts, shorts, swimwear, hats and T-shirts adorned with the company’s blue-winged teal logo.


DIGITAL DETAIL S

|

NOTEWORTHY

|

RECIPES

|

FE ATURES

|

EVENTS

|

I AM OXFORD

Cartoons by Cal Alley

Remember the Ryat ts I N T H E H E Y D AY O F N E W S PA P E R S , C A R T O O N I S T S W E R E K I N G S . T O D AY T H E R E A R E J U S T A H A N D F U L . I N V I TAT I O N M A G A Z I N E S E D I T O R I A L A S S I S TA N T A B B E Y E D M O N S O N I S D E S C E N D E D F R O M C A R T O O N R OYA LT Y J . P. A L L E Y A N D C A L A L L E Y, A N D R E C E N T LY S T U D I E D U N D E R P U L I T Z E R N O M I N E E M A R S H A L L R A M S E Y. WRITTEN BY ABBEY EDMONSON

|

I M AG E S CO NTR I B U TE D BY T H E EDMO N S O N FA M I LY A N D M A R SH A L L R A M SE Y

M

any people don’t know who their ancestors are, let alone what they did in their lives. I’m lucky enough to know a little about both, and what my ancestors did was pretty cool. My great-great-grandfather was J.P. Alley, an editorial cartoonist for the Commercial Appeal in Memphis, Tennessee. He won the Pulitzer Prize in 1923 for one of his cartoons. J.P.’s son, Cal Alley, continued his father’s legacy at the Commercial Appeal, and he developed a comic strip called “The Ryatts.” The characters in The Ryatts very closely resembled the Alley children, the oldest of which, Jerrianne, was my grandmother. We have pictures of Cal and his family all over our house. His anecdotes, based upon daily events in their lives, are an endearing window into my family’s past. My great-grands’ cartoons had influence in the age before the internet. J.P. in particular often tackled issues considered taboo in the South at the time — such as the anti-hate-group cartoon that earned him the Pulitzer. Growing up, I knew that both men’s work held some sort of significance, but I was too young to fully appreciate it. Continued on page 64

62

INVITATION OXFORD | APRIL 2020

Cal Alley with his wife and children in their kitchen. The cartoon of the children on the wall behind them was drawn by Alley.


APRIL 2020 | INVITATION OXFORD

63


Black and white cartoons by Cal Alley. Color cartoons by Marshall Ramsey.

Continued from page 62 I remember seeing J.P.’s cartoon on a wall at a Smithsonian museum, but I didn’t stop to think about how impressive that truly was. Cal said in his biography, “Producing a cartoon requires 10 hours and 20 minutes — 10 hours to think of an idea and 20 minutes to put it on paper.” The nature of editorial cartooning requires most sketches to be done on a day-to-day basis in order to ensure their timeliness. He carried his drawing materials with him everywhere, on holidays, vacations, even when he went out to dinner. My great-grandmother used to say that drawing was his whole life. I had never paid much attention to editorial cartoons, and I didn’t know the history of the art at all. I figured my artistic genes came from that side of the family, but that was pretty much all I knew about it. It wasn’t until the fall of 2019, when I was given an amazing opportunity through the School of Journalism and New Media at the University of Mississippi, that my eyes were opened to the wonderful world of editorial cartooning.

J.P. Alley at his drawing board.

64

INVITATION OXFORD | APRIL 2020

Marshall Ramsey is a well-established editorial cartoonist and editor-at-large for Mississippi Today in Jackson. He’s also host of the MPB Think Radio show, “Now You’re Talking with Marshall Ramsey.” A two-time Pulitzer finalist, he graciously agreed to come to Oxford once a week to teach a class on editorial cartooning, and I was lucky enough to be in it. Some people may question why I decided to take a class on a form of media that seems to be dying out. As Ramsey told us on the first day, only a handful of cartoonists are left in the world, and one of them was standing in that room. I knew I had to take the class, both for the sake of my family history and because I was genuinely interested. But I was nervous. I remember that first day of class very well. Ramsey had us go around the room and explain why we wanted to take the class. On my turn, I bashfully recited my family story. He asked the names of my cartoonist relatives, and when I told him, his eyes lit up in recognition. “Oh, those are some of the greats,” he exclaimed. “You’re, like, cartoon royalty!” Continued on page 66


APRIL 2020 | INVITATION OXFORD

65


Continued from page 64 That statement gave me all the confidence I needed to proceed. It made me proud, and I wanted to make Cal and J.P. proud, too. I do possess some semblance of artistic ability, but I’d never attempted to harness the wit and skill necessary to create an editorial cartoon. Luckily, that semester we had a gold mine of topics to inspire us. Each week, four other young women and I came to class with a finished cartoon that took a stance on a newsworthy event. And each week, Ramsey welcomed us with snacks, a lecture and a visit from a figure in the journalism world. I didn’t understand how deep cartooning really goes until I took Ramsey’s class. Cartooning is so much more than drawing something funny. It’s about making a statement on a subject that you have an opinion about and making that statement clear enough that other people are able to understand your viewpoint. That’s the main takeaway I got from Ramsey’s class. Artistic talent doesn’t matter if the message is not clear. Cartoons have the power to bring different Marshall Ramsey

66

INVITATION OXFORD | APRIL 2020

viewpoints to the table, and I think that is beautiful. Historically, cartoonists were really powerful. Back in the 1800s, many people couldn’t read. But they could open up the newspaper and there’d be a drawing they could visually relate to. They were still popular in the 1960s and ’70s. Then newspapers started cutting costs and stopped hiring cartoonists. At left, cartoons by Marshall Ramsey. Above, “Why pay a staff cartoon by Abbey Edmonson. cartoonist $90,000 when you can buy syndicated cartoons for $15 a week?” Ramsey said. “They don’t have anything to do with your local community, but who cares? That was one of the things that helped speed up the demise of cartoonists working for a newspaper. That said, I think that visual communication still matters.” Ramsey is adamant that, although newspapers have taken massive hits in recent years, cartooning is here to stay. As long as visual commentary is relevant, cartoons will be around. The trick is learning how to monetize it. “The thing is, a few years ago, newspaper business changed,” Ramsey said. “I guess that’s a nice way of putting it. OK, it’s imploded. I was caught up in that, of course. … The good news was, it pushed me out of my comfort zone and made me go try new things. Some days I feel like I don’t even know where I am because I’ve got so many balls up in the air, but I love it.” In addition to cartooning, Ramsey participates in events around the state, interviews people on television and radio, and writes books. In today’s climate, the internet is king. If you aren’t putting your stuff out there, then people won’t see it. It’s no longer like it was in the days of J.P. and Cal Alley when editorial cartoons were featured on the front page. “They reflected the time and the place that they lived in,” Ramsey said. “Those guys — and I’m not just talking about your relatives — but those guys back then were like little quasi-celebrities. It was a big deal to be a cartoonist at that time. You usually had the best salary in the paper next to the publisher, and it was a good way to make a living. To be a cartoonist was to be royalty. And I guess in some ways, you are royalty.” I certainly hope I can live up to those standards one day. Who knows? Maybe someday I will use my knowledge of the new media world to bring an old form of media — editorial cartooning — back to its former glory. For now, I’m happy just knowing that my family has made a mark on the world, and I’m pretty proud of that. See more vintage Alley cartoons like “The Ryatts” and read the complete interview with Marshall Ramsey at invitationoxford.com.


APRIL 2020 | INVITATION OXFORD

67


68

INVITATION OXFORD | APRIL 2020


APRIL 2020 | INVITATION OXFORD

69


DIGITAL DETAIL S

|

NOTEWORTHY

|

RECIPES

|

FE ATURES

|

EVENTS

|

I AM OXFORD

LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS PHOTOGRAPHED BY MEGAN WOLFE

The 100th birthday of the League of Women Voters was celebrated Feb. 18 at The Lyric Oxford. Attendees enjoyed hors d’oeuvres, birthday cake and live music in celebration of the 19th amendment and the women’s suffrage movement. 1

2

3

4

5

6

1. Sharon Schreiber, Ruth O’Dell, Pam Malone and Becky Kelly 2. Carolyn Lott, Abi Rayburn and Alex Ritchie 3. Emily Hilliard and Deatrice White 4. Meridith Wulff, Alice Ricks and Claire Byrne 5. Maureen Maher and Mary Ousley Owen 6. Kynnedi Taylor-Henry and Ellen Meacham 7. Fernae Ellard and Dollie Tidwell

70

INVITATION OXFORD | APRIL 2020

7


APRIL 2020 | INVITATION OXFORD

71


DIGITAL DETAIL S

|

NOTEWORTHY

|

RECIPES

|

FE ATURES

|

EVENTS

|

I AM OXFORD

SACRED HARP SINGING PHOTOGRAPHED BY MEGAN WOLFE

Singers from all over the nation made a joyful noise at the 40th annual Oxford Sacred Harp singing and “dinner on the grounds.” The event took place March 8 at the Powerhouse. 1

2

3

4

5

6

7

1. Caroline, Jenny Blythe and Logan Green with Matt Bell 2. Erropeth, Sophia, Samantha and John Gardner 3. Glenn Keeton, Lisa Geist and Nicholas Thompson 4. T.K. and Linda Funderburk 5. Earl Ballinger and Jen Murray 6. Judy Candle and Theresa Westmoreland 7. Hattie and Eli Baker 8. Anne Steel, Linda Boulton and Mark Tew

72

INVITATION OXFORD | APRIL 2020

8


APRIL 2020 | INVITATION OXFORD

73


DIGITAL DETAIL S

|

NOTEWORTHY

|

RECIPES

|

FE ATURES

|

EVENTS

|

I AM OXFORD

TEDxUNIVERSITYOFMISSISSIPPI PHOTOGRAPHED BY JESSICA RICHARDSON

Ten speakers of different backgrounds took the stage for TEDxUniversityofMississippi Feb. 29 at the Ford Center to share their stories in eight- to 12-minute segments. TEDx is a grassroots organization centered around ideas worth sharing. 1

2

3

4

5

6

1. Jeff Jackson with Nancy and Kirsten Dellinger 2. Kendal Outwater, Taylor Walker, Carsen Fair and Carson Crum 3. T.J. and Renee Wofford 4. Cristina Avonto and Ari Lugo 5. Marty and Sue Fino 6. Alison and Sophia Doyle 7. Maisie Smith and Kaitlin Wilhoit

74

INVITATION OXFORD | APRIL 2020

7


APRIL 2020 | INVITATION OXFORD

75


DIGITAL DETAIL S

|

NOTEWORTHY

|

RECIPES

|

FE ATURES

|

EVENTS

|

I AM OXFORD

COMEDY NIGHT PHOTOGRAPHED BY MEGAN WOLFE

Stand-up comedian and actor Mo Alexander entertained a crowd March 3 at Harrison’s. Alexander is a professional touring comedian and has appeared on several television shows, including “Hart of the City” on Comedy Central. Comedy Night takes place on Tuesdays at Harrison’s.

1

2

3

4

5

6

1. Allen Kurr and Nolen Hill 2. Mo Alexander with Chandra Massey 3. Michelle Bright with Tyler Gillespie 4. Elizabeth and Scott Burklow 5. Mary and Denver Bridwell with Connor King 6. Sedrick Robinson and Shawn Snow

76

INVITATION OXFORD | APRIL 2020


APRIL 2020 | INVITATION OXFORD

77


DIGITAL DETAIL S

|

NOTEWORTHY

|

RECIPES

|

FE ATURES

|

EVENTS

|

I AM OXFORD

TASTE OF OXFORD PHOTOGRAPHED BY MEGAN WOLFE

The 13th annual St. Jude Taste of Oxford, presented by Next Gear Solutions, took place Feb. 20 at The Jefferson Oxford. Guests enjoyed culinary specialties prepared by renowned chefs from the Oxford area. 1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

1. Hugh Brown, Garret Gray, Lee Harris and Tatum Brown 2. Todd and Susan Abbott with Blair Hull 3. Margie Green Schloesser with Robert and Jacquelyn Gage 4. Charles Lawing, Peter Costa and Leslie Davidson 5. John and Brittany Durfey with Katie and Ben Busching 6. CiCi Rutherford and James Young 7. Rusty Mathis with Kenny and Kaytee Hazlewood and Ayers Spencere 8. Nichole and Lily Baker with Kelly Shinall 9. George and Samantha Slade 10. Preston Thomas and Len Reeves 11. Andrea Spencer and Ann Morgan Graham 12. Harry and Lassie Flowers 13. Mark and Jo-Shannon Hartnett

78

INVITATION OXFORD | APRIL 2020


TA S TE OF OXFORD

continued

11

12

13 APRIL 2020 | INVITATION OXFORD

79


DIGITAL DETAIL S

|

NOTEWORTHY

|

RECIPES

|

FE ATURES

|

EVENTS

|

I AM OXFORD

OXFORD DATE NIGHT PHOTOGRAPHED BY MEGAN WOLFE

Comedian Ted Cunningham entertained couples with a night of laughter and fun at the third annual Oxford Date Night. The event, presented by Chick-fil-A, took place Feb. 27 at the Powerhouse. 1

5

2

3

4

6

7

1. Lena Davis, Carly Horton and Jeanne Miller 2. Gilbert and Denise Woods with Josh and Betsy Brown 3. Brittanni and Randy Bundren 4. Jamie Petty with CJ Miller 5. Jordan Wadley with Marquazia Pegues 6. Mack and Courtney Clements 7. Steve and Janis Fielder 8. Austin and Isabelle Carter

80

INVITATION OXFORD | APRIL 2020

8


APRIL 2020 | INVITATION OXFORD

81


DIGITAL DETAIL S

|

NOTEWORTHY

|

RECIPES

|

FE ATURES

|

EVENTS

|

I AM OXFORD

THEATRE OXFORD MEETING PHOTOGRAPHED BY MEGAN WOLFE

Theatre Oxford’s annual meeting for general membership took place March 3 at the Lafayette County Multipurpose Arena. Attendees discussed the upcoming season and voted on new board members. Learn more about the community theater organization at theatreoxford.org.

1

2

3

4

5

6

1. Julie Fanton and Jackie Daniels 2. Jim and Marge McCauley with Wanda Ikeda 3. Bud Fanton and Kate Lechler 4. Richard and Marilyn Frey with Annabelle Harris 5. Dave Bell and Ayla Gafni 6. Gail Tapscott, Joe Atkins and Kate Meacham

82

INVITATION OXFORD | APRIL 2020


APRIL 2020 | INVITATION OXFORD

83


DIGITAL DETAIL S

|

NOTEWORTHY

|

RECIPES

|

FE ATURES

|

EVENTS

|

I AM OXFORD

OUT & ABOUT CONTINUED ON PAGE 86

C o nve r sat io n w it h C he f E dwa rd L e e

1

2

M E N T Wo me n’s C o n fe re nc e

4

3

Br uc e Ne w m a n S hout O ut Pa r t y

5

6

1. Shanna Flaschka and Edward Lee 2. Ava Medley, Caitlin Parks, Marin Craig and Nickolas Horton 3. Elisha Bryant and Carlynn Crosby 4. Robin and Heather McMahan 5. Jessica Perkins, Marla Aaron and Kristy Bridgers 6. Haley Carradine and Josette Nelson 7. Bruce and Joletta Newman with Cam May

84

INVITATION OXFORD | APRIL 2020

7


APRIL 2020 | INVITATION OXFORD

85


DIGITAL DETAIL S

|

NOTEWORTHY

|

RECIPES

|

FE ATURES

|

EVENTS

|

I AM OXFORD

OUT & ABOUT CONTINUED FROM PAGE 84

Ve lve t M a g a z i ne L au nc h Pa r t y

1

2

3

T he S i p p W i ne Ta s t i n g Eve nt

4

5

6

1. Iveta Imre, Annie Sharp and Deb Wenger 2. Alexi Alonso and Jenny Ritter 3. Jenna Martel, Isabelle McLeod and Anna Lauren Kornegay 4. Sally Kate Walker and Claire Kiamie 5. Sawyer and Taylor Wheatley 6. Johnny Liberti and A.J. Kiamie 7. Darby Dixon, Elle Harris and Kenzy Taylor

86

INVITATION OXFORD | APRIL 2020

7


APRIL 2020 | INVITATION OXFORD

87


DIGITAL DETAIL S

|

NOTEWORTHY

I

|

RECIPES

A M

|

FE ATURES

|

EVENTS

|

I AM OXFORD

OX F O R D R A NDY

WE E K S

R

andy Weeks is a licensed professional therapist with a master’s degree in church music and sociology, and a flair for goth Western style. This month marks the third anniversary of his column in The Local Voice, View From the Balcony. We caught up with Weeks on said balcony, where he held forth on the virtues of conversation, inspiration and friendship.

Q: How did you set up shop here on the City Grocery balcony? A: I started coming up here on a regular basis about five years ago and started meeting people. And it felt like home. So it didn’t take me that long to really be comfortable here. I live in an apartment and don’t have much outside time like I used to. So part of what the balcony has done for me is give me outside time. And great conversation. Q: Have you made a lot of friends here? A: Oh yeah. Dear, dear, close friends. Q: What inspires your column? A: Sometimes there’s a real specific

thing that I want to write about that happens up here that we all watch together. Sometimes it’s just something I’m going through myself. I’ve had plenty of failings in my own life, so I try to come from the perspective of somebody who knows what it’s like to fall flat on your face in public and then have to pick yourself up.

Q: Sitting up here overlooking the Square,

talking to people, making friends, has that informed your practice in any way? A: Everybody you meet expands your experience of life and understanding. Probably the way it’s influenced my practice the most is just by allowing me to be more authentically myself. And that translates into

88

INVITATION OXFORD | APRIL 2020

everything. I don’t take myself too seriously. I’ve sat here on more than a few nights where I’ve had people sit here laughing their asses off, and the next person who sits here will end up crying. And it’s one of the ways I know what a lucky and blessed man I am. It’s a great privilege, and I don’t take it for granted at all.

Read the complete interview at invitationoxford.com, and look for a collection of Weeks’ View From the Balcony columns published by The Local Voice and Vox Press later this year.


Profile for Invitation Magazines

Invitation Oxford - April 2020  

Invitation Oxford - April 2020  

Profile for invoxford
Advertisement

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded