We took one day for a long drive of touring, it turned out to be about 250 miles. But it was all very interesting. We hope our stories about touring inspire others to get out burn some gas/diesel. For us as full-time RV’rs, we regard this as a commitment to the lifestyle. Since we don't drive to work, nor do we sit around the campfire and twiddle our thumbs. We stay busy with activities and seeing this great land of North America. We are asked all the time, don’t you just hate the high cost of fuel? Yes, especially when one regards diesel was at one time looked at as “junk” fuel. And it used to be sold at about ½ the cost of gasoline. I digress.
Anyway, on this day we had breakfast in Harlem, GA, birthplace of actor Oliver Hardy. See our previous entry for this town and the museum for the comedic team of Laurel & Hardy. A Laurel & Hardy festival is held each first weekend of October. We departed Harlem heading southwest to Milledgeville. We wanted to see the former GA state capital building and the old governors mansion. We found both but will have to come back as the capital building is also a museum of Georgian history. Milledgeville was the 3rd of 4 capitals for the state of Georgia, 1808 to 1865. The building was taken over in 1879 by the Georgia Military College which occupies it still today. Many other buildings have been built forming a campus with few equals. It is a beautiful campus.
Next stop was the focus on our tour for today. The Uncle Remus museum at Eatonton, GA. This little hamlet was the birthplace of Joel Chandler Harris, the world famous author, folklorist and creator of the Uncle Remus stories. The following is quoted from a brochure.
Joel Chandler Harris, 1848-1908 was born in utter poverty in Putnam County. Although being poor presented the youngster with many hardships, it imbued him with a tender shyness so extreme that it actually became an attractive asset and followed him all his life.
Putnam County was a land of cotton, large plantations, slave-holders, wealth and plenty. Private schooling was the fashion of the day and Joel Chandler Harris was able to attend school through the generosity of his neighbors who recognized his potentialities.
One of the young boy’s favorite spots was the old Eatonton Post Office, because the postmaster would give him discarded papers and magazines to help satisfy his active and hungry mind. One of his visits to the Post Office, Joel read an advertisement for a “printer’s devil” in the first issue of “The Countryman”, a newspaper published by Turnwold, a local plantation. He immediately made application and was hired at age thirteen.
At Turnwold, Harris began his lifelong friendship with animals and with the plantation Negroes whose folklore would later fill his writings. Fortunately, the youngster was associated with such colorful slaves as “Uncle” George Terrell and “Uncle” Bob Capers. They had a gift for story-telling which Harris was later able to capture.
Harris’ apprenticeship ended abruptly in 1864 when a wing of Sherman’s army invaded Putnam County. War had brought poverty to all, including Turnwold, forcing the ambitious youth to move on and seek his place in the world.
The works of Joel Chandler Harris are not limited to the tales of Uncle Remus. Stories of the “Old South” and Reconstruction Days take their place among his masterpieces. However, the folk stories, with their inimitable characterizations of Br’er Rabbit and Br’er Fox and “all de critters” have never been equaled.
The Uncle Remus Stories have been translated into at least 27 different languages and have given pleasure to children and grown-ups alike.
Harris died in 1908 at his Atlanta home, the Wren’s Nest, now a shrine devoted to Harris.
Our drive around town showed us they have a “thing” for Br’er Rabbitt and found many colorfully painted ones in the doorways of businesses.
On our way home we ran across a fun "drive" called "the famouse author" drive. It was about 6 miles long running in a circle and covered the plantation where Joel Chandler Harris served his printing apprenticeship at "Turnwold" and a surprise to us was home sites and a church attended by authoress Alice M. Walker. Here's alittle about Alice M. Walker; Born in 1944, soon she wrote a best-selling novel called "The Color Purple" and won the Pulitzer Prize and was turned into a film directed by Steven Speilberg and turned into a musical by Oprah Winferey and Quincey Jones. Soon Walker wrote a few more poems:"Poshe Secret of Joy"(1992)"The Light of My Father`s Smile"(1998). Reviewers complained about the novels that they had reached a New Age. Alice also campaioned for whites and blacks to be treated equally, she wrote a new poem called "The Way Forward is With a Broken Heart.
We enjoyed seeing the plantation Turnwold and seeing more of the countryside. We returned home tired and thrilled at all the prospects of reading material.