Museum Moments Thursday, March 17, 12 noon at the Union County Heritage Museum, will feature Robert Hamblin, Faulkner Scholar Emeritus of Southeast Missouri State University.
Hamblin, who grew up in the Brice’s Crossroads area, was instrumental in the creation of the Center for Faulkner Studies at the University.
The University houses the L.D Brodsky Collection of Faulkner Materials, including the Blotner Papers which Hamblin was instrumental in collecting.
Since his retirement, he has published several volumes of poetry, as well as a book of fiction, Memories that Bless and Burn, which was published in 2021. In this work of fiction set in the 1950s, childhood playmates in Mississippi grew up to find themselves on opposite sides of the racial conflagration, during the early days of integration. Years later, one of them, now a civil rights lawyer, returns to his boyhood home to confront unresolved issues from his complicated past. It is reviewed as a heart heartrending story of loss, brokenness, guilt, and possible redemption, that invites comparison with the political divisiveness of the present day.
In another novel, A Spool of Thread, an unusual friendship begins.
In 1951 Evelyn Russell, middle-aged wife of a Mississippi sharecropper, uses a spool of thread and finds written on the empty spool the name and address of Paula Tillman, a young cotton mill worker in Maine. Evie writes to Paula, and thus begins a two-decade pen-pal friendship between the two women. Structured around the letters the women exchange over the years, A Spool of Thread recounts the experiences of two families who never meet, but are linked by their shared joys and challenges, heartaches and triumphs. The thread of the novel is the fragile and precious thread of life, woven into a story celebrating our common humanity.
Hamblin’s poems fill more than one volume. One of them is We Smile as We Go. He says, “Old folks live a lot in the past, and when you read these poems you’ll know why. They’ve learned that the restorative and redemptive power of memory enables them to deal with aging, loss, sadness, and grief. In remembrance of loved ones, friends, and times gone by, the elderly live again. This book is a celebration of life and its many passages.”
Museum Moments is made possible by the Community Partners of the museum and the New Albany Garden Club, who will prepare a free sack lunch for attendees. The museum is located at 114 Cleveland Street in New Albany. Call for more information 662-538-0014.
Jill Smith, Director
Union County Heritage Museum
114 Cleveland Street
New Albany, MS 38652