Across the Creek

Across the Creek: Faulkner Family Stories

Jim Faulkner
Copyright Date: 1986
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt2tvhz9
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  • Book Info
    Across the Creek
    Book Description:

    Across the Creek, a collection of affectionate reminiscences, adds to the common lore about William Faulkner and his community. Jim Faulkner recounts stories abounding in folklore, humor, family history, and fictionalized history, and these offer an insider's view of the Faulkner family's life in the small southern town of Oxford, Mississippi.

    A sense of adventure and misadventure colors these personal accounts. "Aunt Tee and Her Two Monuments" explains the mystery of why the town has two Confederate statues. "Roasting Black Buster" tells how Faulkner's hired man by mistake killed the prize bull for a family barbecue. "The Picture of John and Brother Will" recounts how Phil Mullen happened to take his well known snapshot of the famous Faulkner brother novelists--John and William--one of the few pictures ever taken of them together.

    Here in this entertaining book are more family stories about a major American author whose life, family, and writing have generated continuing appeal and ever-renewed appreciation.

    eISBN: 978-1-60473-764-6
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. ix-xii)
    Floyd C. Watkins

    A writer of personality, family, and character who spends most of his years and days in his community comes to know the people, and they come to know the stories about the writer almost as well as he knows his place. William Faulkner and Oxford, Lafayette County, Mississippi, knew each other well. The county and Faulkner’s fictional county, Yoknapatawpha, are not the same place, but the similarities are so great that the distinctions have never become precisely clear, and they never will.

    Faulkner and his books have been discussed critically and biographically about as much as any other twentieth-century author....

  4. Preface
    (pp. xiii-2)
    Jim Faulkner
  5. Roasting Black Buster
    (pp. 3-16)

    President Roosevelt was well into his second term in the White House, and the country was creeping out of the Big Depression, not as fast as some of our leaders would like us to believe, but it was. There were WPA projects and other government programs that gave people jobs, and you’d see tenant farmers riding to town in homemade buses and then riding back that afternoon after quitting time, back to their little hillside farms. The CCC camps around the North Mississippi hills were giving boys and men barracks homes like they would know later when they were mobilized...

  6. The Picture of John and Brother Will
    (pp. 17-25)

    In July of 1949 Phil Mullen, the editor of the weekly newspaper in Oxford, took a picture of John and Brother Will standing together in our front yard. It was the first picture to be taken of just the two Faulkner boys since a traveling photographer came through town and posed them on their ponies in front of Big Dad and Nannie’s house on Second South Street and later in the parlor after Nannie and Granny scrubbed them till their faces shone like polished red apples. The main reason Brother Will was in our front yard was that the grass...

  7. The Battle in Bailey’s Woods
    (pp. 26-34)

    We played hard in Oxford when we were growing up back in the 1930s, not with store-bought toys but with things that we made ourselves after getting ideas from the Saturday morning picture shows that always had Westerns with our favorite cowboys, like Tom Mix and Hoot Gibson and Ken Maynard, riding across the prairie chasing and shooting the bad guys and Indians. We didn’t really have good and bad guys in Oxford. The town wasn’t that big and we weren’t worldly wise enough to be bad, so we would choose up sides or identify ourselves by the name of...

  8. First Guns
    (pp. 35-52)

    The Christmas tree sat in the corner of the living room, towering almost to the old high ceilings and spreading out at the bottom to fill that part of the room. It was tied at the top to both walls to keep it from falling off the stand made of crossed pieces of wood picked up from some scrap lumber pile. Lint cotton from the downtown gin that had been running since cotton picking time covered the floor under the tree and was piled against the trunk to make it look like white soft snow. The tree was decorated with...

  9. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
  10. Solo
    (pp. 53-60)

    In good old lazy Oxford during the summers in the early 1930s children made their own entertainment, and just living and being contented were the main interests. It was a good time for little boys still a few years away from their teens yet, playing in the woods and around Rowan Oak. Brother Will, my uncle, had bought his home just two or three years before; and with part of an advance payment from MGM, he bought a Waco Cabin airplane. He kept it in Memphis because there was a hangar to protect it from the weather when it was...

  11. Saturday Night at the Pelican
    (pp. 61-73)

    Our farm, Greenfield, is about seventeen miles east of Oxford on Puskus Creek in Beat Two, Lafayette County, Mississippi. Back in the 1930s the road out our way had just been graveled, and it was the only graveled road around. The others were still dirt, so we called this one “The Rock.” If people wanted to go to town they had to pick a dry sunny day because there was a mile of dirt road across Puskus Creek bottom from Greenfield to the Rock. Our mile of road has been graveled now, but then it was dirt, or worse than...

  12. Reading Maps
    (pp. 74-83)

    A bell clanging at the back door broke the quiet of a lazy summer Sunday afternoon while I was sitting in the kitchen drinking a cup of coffee and trying to wake up from my nap. It had to be Double Dip, because nobody can time my getting up from a nap or anything else the way he can, and nobody can clang that bell like he does, either.

    Double Dip and Ammonia live in a house out in the back and down the hill from our house, and they have lived on the place and worked for us for...

  13. Aunt Tee and Her Two Monuments
    (pp. 84-93)

    Oxford is built on a square with the courthouse in the middle. The founders of the county determined the boundary lines according to the distance a man could travel by horseback or wagon from his farm to the courthouse—leaving at daylight, tending to his business, and returning home before dark.

    My family came to Oxford long before the turn of the century. Grandfather was the first one. He had two sons—“Big Dad,” who was really my grandfather, and Uncle John—and one daughter, Auntie. We called her Aunt Tee. Big Dad was the oldest; then came Aunt Tee,...

  14. Grandfather Crossing the Creek
    (pp. 94-103)

    Grandfather’s house is an old two-story house with four white wood columns on the front porch. It sits in a grove of cedar trees back off the little country road that used to be the main road from Oxford to Memphis. This is the same road that General Nathan Bedford Forrest rode down the night he slipped around General A.J. Smith’s right flank and made his famous raid on Memphis. Grandfather was with him on that ride and nearly all of his other raids and battles, too, until he was shot in the leg at Franklin trying to protect Hood’s...