Antebellum v. Antebellum

One thing I’ve been thinking about with the absence not only of Allenwood, but of any cultural memory of where it was, is that it reminds me a little bit of them tearing Jim Reeves’  house down. Evergreen Place was one of the oldest, if not the oldest still-standing sites in Davidson County and now it’s gone with only a Home Depot to mark its passing.

And yet, Two Rivers still stands and Cloverbottom and Belle Meade and so on. We do a much better job of keeping the grand houses from the 1850s and 1860s standing than we do the culturally more significant homes a generation or two older than that.

I have to tell you, I wonder about that–the impulse behind saying “this is worth preserving” and “this is not.”

We obviously do a terrible job of talking about slavery in this country in general, but it seems to me that there’s something to be said about our nostalgia not for the days of slavery, which stretched from colonial times up through the Civil War, but for a specific decade of slavery.

I’m suspicious of the truncated view of history. It makes me wonder what was going on in, say, 1820 that we’re encouraged to ignore it.


I Have Turned to Pith Readers for Help

My efforts to locate Allenwood have been a bust. So I’ve turned to Pith readers. How I will gibe this with my not reading the comments at Pith, I’m not sure. But I’m glad to add “horrible weeping crotch-wounds” to the tags.

If I had to venture a guess as to why Allen and Houston separated, I think she was probably not in love with him. She was 19. He was 35. He was a friend of her parents. Not that those factors are insurmountable, but it’s easy enough to imagine that she might have wanted to marry someone closer to her own age. And he did seem, at least sometimes, to suspect that she was in love with someone else.

He was also a drunk. And I have to imagine that the combination of him being a drunk and her not being immediately in love with him was probably pretty damn volatile.

A lot of folks seem to think her not actually being in love with him would have been enough, but I just don’t think so. Not at that time. I mean, she was 19. I doubt anyone thought she was in love with him. It was a good political fit. No, there had to, I think, be some second thing that made her parents not send her back to him. And perhaps an unpredictable drunk was it.

I don’t know. But that’s my guess.