Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Mama and Magnolias

I'm not sure what it is about my Mama and Magnolias (her masterpiece aside). She and my father graduated from Wake Forest and she will quickly tell you they were there when the college was still at the old campus in Wake Forest, NC before it was relocated to Winston-Salem. In fact, they can remember the day the entire student body was loaded on buses and taken to the new campus for the groundbreaking where they heard former President Harry Truman speak at the ceremony. 


Although I never saw the old campus, I know from my mother's many reminiscences that there were "100's" of beautiful magnolias throughout. In fact from her description, it must have been a virtual forest, and as a child I was sure that was where the name came from - a forest of Magnolia trees owned by a Mr. Wake. (Which, after doing some research due to curiosity, not that I would ever question my Mama, I learned that it was truly named for the "Forest of Wake" being in Wake county North Carolina. Who knew?)

But the biggest deal was the Magnolia Festival held every spring and the crowning of the Magnolia Queen and her Court. I can remember her pulling out her college year books and showing me pictures of the Magnolia Queens and their court. And, they were beautiful women. But let's face it, southern women tend to be beautiful and I can assure you that the powers to be at Wake Forest (who ever chose the queen and her court) were going to pick the cream of the crop. Mama would wax nostalgic as she recalled the year Mary Jo (somebody - I never can remember her last name) won. Daddy always remembered her because of her red hair. 

What is it about men and red haired women? But, I digress.

Her junior year, my mama was part the Magnolia Queen's court. And her picture in the year book showed her even more lovely than the other ladies. As a little girl, although I never asked, (God knows I learned something from my lessons in "Betty Lane Gramling's School of Charm"), I always wondered why she wasn't queen. It wasn't until I was older that I learned she actually graduated a semester early and therefore was not there for her senior spring when the Magnolia Queen would have been chosen from her class. Of course, in my mind, there is little doubt, she would have had the title, only her academic excellence kept her from it. 

(God, I hate it when good grades prevent you being Queen. What a bummer.)





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