July 24, 2010 10:03:00 PM
Dai Waters Wilson and her husband, Tandy, hosted a wonderful dinner party at their home in Cady Hills for Virginia Lloyd Eselin and her husband, Tom. This was after the opening reception of Virginia''s inspired art exhibit, "Before and After The Storm," at the Rosenzweig Arts Center in Columbus July 15. Virginia grew up in Columbus but lived on the coast and lost her home and most of her artwork during Hurricane Katrina.
Her varied painting styles are most interesting and provoked easy conversation during the opening. Virginia prepared the delicious gumbo that Dai served, along with a wonderful salad, French bread and tempting desserts.
The McPherson clan was well represented at the party. Amelia McPherson and her cousin, Maura McPherson Thomas, were there. Maura lives in Birmingham where she operates SmithLakeRentals.com.
Anne Hardy enjoyed seeing so many of her dear friends there and everyone loved being around her. Other guests included family members Mike and Betty Waters. Also in attendance were Deborah Schumaker, Nancy (Lynn) Smith, Betty Dill, and Edwina Williams. After viewing so many of Virginia''s fabulous paintings, locals were touched to see one of the late Pat (Saunders) Carson''s canvases hanging in the Wilson''s dining room.
Claude and Elizabeth Simpson were there, along with their son-in-law, Olivier, and their grandson, Benjamin, visiting from Belgium. Claude was delighted to get the contact information for his favorite high school teacher, who happens to be Maura McPerson Thomas'' mother-in-law.
Exit stage right
Claude and Elizabeth gave a lovely dinner party for Brook Hanemann, who will be leaving her post as theatre instructor at Mississippi University for Women to pursue her Phd. at Louisiana State University. Brook was recently named the first chairman of the newly-founded Tennessee Williams Tribute Foundation and will continue to work with the festival.
Brook just returned from Italy, where she spent a week at the Academia dell''Arte with theatre students from the W. Peppy Biddy started this program a few years ago, and Brooke raved about her experiences there. In addition to taking classes, she enjoyed touring the amazing country. When asked about preferred restaurants, she commented that the students'' favorite place to eat was in the school cafeteria, where everything was freshly-prepared and delicious! Check-out Brook''s Facebook page for stunning photos and her captivating descriptions.
Claude prepared an old family recipe for alligator stew, which seemed much more Italian than Cajun. The Simpson''s grandson Benjamin, was there. Also attending was Deborah Schumaker.
Deborah was recently feted by friends at J Broussard''s after the announcement that her last novel, "The Air Between Us," had garnered the 2010 Mississippi Library Association''s Author''s Award for fiction. Deborah''s novel, which is now in paperback, was published by Harper Collins.
Her good karma kept coming the very same day as she learned that her next novel, "The Secret of Magic," had been picked up by Amy Einhold at G.P. Putnam. Amy has her own imprint with Putnam and brought out "The Help" and "The Postmistress." Amy will also be Deborah''s editor for this production.
Both of Deborah''s novels take place in Revere, Mississippi, a fictional town that reminds us of Columbus. When they make the movie version of either novel, it should surely be filmed right here!
Ralph Null and Fred Kinder hosted Walter McKay''s 80th birthday party at their house July 17. More than 60 people from around the country honored Walter, who was stunned that his friends made the effort to attend from such places as Palm Springs, Calif., Arlington, Texas, Atlanta, Vicksburg, Tupelo and Greenwood.
Among local guests were Mother Goose, Rachel George, Trudy Gildea, Father Jim Carlisle, Jim DelPrince, Larry Feeney and Charlie and Janice Bond. A Southern-style barbecue was served.
Over 100 descendants of Turner and Edith Oden gathered in Starkville this weekend for their third reunion. This was the first time the reunion was hosted in Mississippi. Family members came from all over the country, including South Dakota, California, New York and, of course, Chicago and St. Louis.
Friday night the Meet and Great was held at the Gillespie Street Center. Saturday the family toured the Billups-Whitfield Place, where Turner and Edith raised their family. One of the highlights was seeing the site of the old Billups Chapel, where so many of their ancestors attended church and were schooled.
The Billups-Whitfield Cemetery was another point of interest. The family is hoping that the Golden Triangle Airport will make an effort to restore and protect their sacred ground. After visiting the old home place, the family rejoined for a picnic and games at the American Legion Post 240 in Oktibbeha County. Local families included were the Lucy Oden (Charles) Petty family, the Nora Oden (Robert) Petty family, and the Anna Oden (Lemon) Taylor family.
Bob Raymond is a retired French teacher. His e-mail address is [email protected]