A colored school stood here----one big room.
AT AGE 13 she and her 10 YR OLD sidekick--Linda Vickery-- rented the school for one night-- to produce a show. They prepared flyers announcing the big event--charged 25 cents admission---and PACKED THE HOUSE. (she-- modestly--wants me to tell you that this was before television came to Sondheimer) I cringed--fearing the worst. But they proceeded to Wow the crowd with baton twirling, acrobatics, piano playing and joke telling. To my utter amazement--THEY PULLED IT OFF. I WILL NEVER FORGET IT ---She went on to bigger and even gutsier things. Will cover one of them in upcoming blog. Having a sister so bold has always inspired me to be bolder.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Lilly Roosevelt was impressed enough to write a bit about him. Lilly got a small bear--roped him--ready for the president to shoot. But Hey---there's no sport in shooting a roped bear---Roosevelt ordered it released----IT WAS THE FIRST TEDDY BEAR. (and now you know)
Big as this was---It's not the local event that has influenced the life of every American.
I'm coming to that.
This is interesting too---just a few miles from my home---Poverty point Earthworks. Huge Indian mounds up to 70 feet tall---built a thousand and 300 years before Christ.
The center of a ancient culture---this formation---believed to be the figure of a bird one half mile wide.
There's the biggest mound---the head of the bird.
My brother---now deceased---State Representative for this area----He introduced legislation to preserve Poverty Point---got it passed and I'm pleased to report that it is now under consideration to be made a World Heritage site. (sorry about the picture--will try to get another)
Nice as this is---will not likely influence every American. I'm coming to that.
This has influenced millions of Americans---IT IS THE BIRTHPLACE OF DELTA AIRLINES----Tallulah, Louisiana.
You see it started out as a crop dusting company---right here---then began to carry passengers. read about it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Delta_Air_Lines
But wait! I have something even more influential to show you---something that Surely has influenced every American.
And here it is: Blooms arcade---completed 1925--(now being made into apartments) THIS IS THE FIRST SHOPPING MALL IN America---Tallulah, Louisiana. I shopped here when I was a boy. We are proud to have started malls.
Read about it : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tallulah,_Louisiana
BUT EVEN THIS HAS NOT TOUCHED YOUR LIFE AS MUCH AS THE NEXT ITEM FROM MY HOME AREA.
Let me be a bit dramatic---and tell the story this way: Cotton was the lifeblood of the southern economy--- very labor intensive-- so we imported slaves to do the hard work----millions of them. The difficult job of separating the seed from the cotton was solved by Eli Whitney's cotton gin--a great leap forward. Even so---cotton was labor intensive---Especially the harvesting of it. Picking cotton required thousands of (usually black) laborers who would pluck the fluffy stuff from needle-sharp bolls by hand---at the slow rate of about 250 pounds a day. For a long time no one could imagine how this process could be mechanized. And then---And then---just up the road from Sondheimer a very clever guy named John Rust began twisting a roughened nail in a cotton boll. The cotton wound itself around the nail and could be pulled out of the boll. BINGO!! the winning idea was born. Fast forward a few years and giant machines---with thousands of spinning "nails" are moving through 5 rows of cotton, extracting tons of the stuff in minutes----each machine replacing 500 workers.
See a picture and read about it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cotton_picker
The cotton picker---replacing 500 workers has caused social convulsions in my home towns and all across the South.. I will pick up the story in my next entry.
Eventually, I want to share with you some Sondheimer stories you may find hard to believe.
There is an overarching point I want to make from all this---stay tuned.