Alabama is strange and gothically beautiful. A charming place to encounter, but a contentious place to live. At least for me. So I left, but do like remembering.
The Gulf of Mexico is only a few hours away. Summer vacations at Destin or Pensacola Beach. The sand there is soft and fine and white. The gulf waters are lighter and vibrant like the Carribean waters southward. This contrasts with the deep blue, navy color characteristic of the Atlantic on the East Coast as well as the Pacific Ocean on the westcoast.
We’d invite our neighbors, the entire Cole family. Sadie and I were the same age-specifically, being in that thrilling 13-17 yr old range, where you are so excited to be seen and see. People were there year round because it was the cheapest family get away going, often referred to as the Redneck Riviera. My hair likes to curl in general. But, with salty water, hot breezes and 95% humdity, my hair would curl the way I wished it would everyday. Strong memories of walking the beach, feeling my hair blow in the coastal breeze, and being thrilled about how glamorous I surely looked.
The beach was good, you could be and act like yourself. Tuscaloosa required a bit more work. Sadie’s family did not “have a church” and my family, we were lower middle-class transplants upon arrival. There were the rich folks and there were the really poor folks, but not a lot in between.
Tuscaloosa is the center of high society for the state. Population just shy of 80,000. I remember hellacious springs that brought in the Azalea bush season. A staple of manicured landscapes. Ours were pink.
My Mom loved dogwood trees. They bloom quickly and lose their petals even quicker. The dogwood flower is symbolic of Christ’s crucifixtion (most everything in Alabama ends up being about Jesus though), accounting for much of their local popularity. We planted one when my grandmother died.
The Black Warrior river running alongside the heart of Tuscaloosa.
This historic trellis bridge on Black Warrior river demarks Tuscaloosa from Northport. Barges and tug boats frequent the water. There is a 3 mile river walk nestled into the shore of the river, and the University of Alabama is across the street. When classes are in sessions, students traditionally setup hammocks between two trees and study there. UA is a football, party, society schmooze school for the elite. There is an old joke that men attend the university to get an MBA degree (Master of Business Admin) while women attend to pursue their MRS degree (find a husband, get married) and so from Miss to Mrs. Gross, right? That is why this gal prefers to use no title before Casey, but when pushed, I always go with Ms. Just for mystery, ya know!
Best restaurant in the state. They do ribs with white bread. That is all. But the way they do it makes anything else seem unnecessary.
This is the University of Alabama.
This is the university during any given home football game.
Too many people for me, but they seem to have a real good time.
This was the safe place for punks, goths, and plain ole’ rock n’ roll animals like me.
Outside of Egan’s, it seemed masks got melted on faces and gender roles became horrific molds to be fit.
Tuscaloosa society gals, begin preparing in high school with debutante balls, antebellum societies, and finally culminating into rushing a sorority and hoping they let you in. Rock n’ roll animals like me, avoided the feck out of these parades.
Spent a lot of time in this theatre. Remains my favorite theatre to this day.
This is Moundville. The peoples who built the land up so and lived here, were one of the most complex civilizations of their time. I majored in Anthropology, so I spent summers doing archeaology fieldwork for class credit. Totally not as romantic as it might sound, but who doesn’t like digging around in the dirt from time to time.
Tuscaloosa gets dozens of tornadoes every spring. The twister in this picture resulted in one of the most expensive (to rebuild) disasters in US history, following right behind the hurricane damage.
After shot below.