Growing up on the water
By now I’m sure you are all stormed out, especially the people who actually had to deal with Isaac and all his rain.
The strangest part of this week, for me, has been the fact that Isaac hit the same day as Katrina. As a South Mississippi native who grew up in Long Beach, right there on the water, August 29th is sacred. You don’t mess with it. Every year I remember what we all went through that day in 2005.
I was messed up for many months after Katrina.
I wasn’t on the coast when it hit. My parents were. We didn’t lose our home — THANK GOD. Still, the loss those of us felt who just called the Mississippi coast home was extremely strong.
I was in my last semester at Ole Miss.
Long Beach :: it was this bad
The day before it hit my parents finally decided to evacuate. They would be so embarrassed that I’m telling this story, but the chaos I felt was so terrible. The visual image I have now is pretty funny, though funny it was far from that day.
My parents picked that day to not communicate. Mom, Dad and Steven (little brother) were all in separate vehicles. Dad wanted to drive north to his parents house in Waynesboro, MS in central MS (still hit VERY hard), Mom wanted to drive east to her Mom’s house in South Alabama on I-10 which was jam-packed. Poor Stevo was just stuck somewhere on the crowded road between the two adult lunatics. Here is the kicker. For some reason their phones wouldn’t let them successfully talk to each other while driving. They could only call me and then I would call the other parent to negotiate their evacuation plan. It’s true. No clue why. Mom was threatening to break off the Brown family evacuation train and go to her mom’s house alone! Sitting — 6 hours away– at the kitchen table in our crappy little college apartment, I truly felt everything I’d ever known was falling apart. I knew, and I think many other people knew, in those hours that this was the real deal. All the false alarms we’d experienced growing up on the coast were over. The gig was up. We’d lived our lives hearing about Camille and — at that moment –36 years later it was our turn.
This Wednesday morning I woke up to the above text message from my college boyfriend who is from Jackson, MS and also a lover of our state. The fact that he doesn’t mention Katrina is funny. It’s understood. He gets it now, but the night of Katrina, after we knew what had happened, he picked the silliest fight with me as we sat in the quiet dark of my powerless Oxford apartment. I don’t have a clue what it was about. Probably a girl or politics. He has long since made up for that. About six months after it hit, he lived on the coast for weeks volunteering just down the road from my house. There is a part of me that thinks he did it because he saw how hurt I was over the loss. His parents gave me this painting of the Biloxi light house that I still treasure.
My good friend Kate Taylor just this month reminded me of another strong post Katrina memory. September of 2005, just weeks after the storm, she and I were at this Oxford Film Festival party on a balcony on the square. We were care-free and chatty. Stumbled upon this man who was there promoting a film I remember nothing about. The storm came up in conversation. Mississippi came up. I don’t remember what he said, just that what he said broke my heart. Sure I was already emotional. Sure I’d probably had one or two too many glasses of wine, but I let that poor man have it. Had to have been just about the worst Mississippi tourism pitch ever, but boy was I passionate about it. Kate Taylor grew up in the Delta and was right beside me as we told that Mississippi hater exactly where he was and where he could go.
I went home that night and cried harder than I’ve ever cried. That kind of cry where you can’t catch your breath, you know? Where you ask lots of questions out loud. Kate Taylor texted me a picture of that man’s business card she found the other day while moving.
Just months later I graduated and moved back to Long Beach. That was just four months after the storm. It was a hell hole. Awful. Terrible. Depressing. Everyone was like the walking dead. We had the collective wind knocked out of us and it wasn’t going to come back for a while. I couldn’t take it. I bailed. Made the decision to move back to the comforting dream world of Oxford and left the next day with one bag and Belle and Sebastian’s (a band) syrupy sweet pop songs taking me all the way north. Mom and Dad understood. Though, I had a lot of guilt about it for a long while. I could have helped, but I was instead totally paralyzed. I’ve since forgiven myself. We all handle grief differently. That’s what it was, grief. Even though I hadn’t lost a home or a loved one, everything I knew and had loved was gone — from the structures, businesses to my favorite fishing pier I always went to alone once I started driving–one at bottom of blog. I’ve never told anyone about this guilt. I suppose seven years is long enough to hold it in.
There was also a lot of good. All the people who showed love and support for the coast. My bosses at WTOK-TV in Meridian who sent me and a crew down to the coast for the first 5 anniversaries with a live truck.
Long Beach 2007 :: HW 90/beach behind me. Houses lined this street
Sidney came to know Long Beach through the years ::
The last one I covered they sent me alone with a camera and car. Mom and I had so much fun. I was a one man band (doing it all), but she functioned as my (terrible) camera woman. She drove the tiny cavalier while I rode in the passenger seat, camera and tripod in hand, ready to hop out and grab an interview or shot. When I say she was a terrible camera woman I mean it. Her job was to stand to the side of me while I did the interview. I wanted the person I was interviewing to look at her and not straight into the camera as they would if they were looking at me. Problem is..she would get so in to what the person was saying that she would start saying things like :
“oh my” “ohhh” “you poor thing”
All while they were in the middle of sentences. It took me forever to edit her comments out — at times they just had to be included!
I’m so thankful my General Manager Tim Walker and News Director John Johnson saw the value in sending me to my hometown every year. In fact when I started at WTOK in May of 2006, my first story to air on the news was a three-part series on the first anniversary. My first professional story was about Long Beach and the people I knew. Very special to me.
16-year-old Lindsey did some serious thinking on this pier (rebuilt in this photo)
Seven years later Mom and Dad have moved about 40 minutes north of Long Beach to Stone County partly because of the constant threat of another Katrina. We’ve come to really love that part of South Mississippi. Stone County — Pearl River County and all the beautiful rural roads between them that we didn’t know much about growing up. I don’t go to my real home often, at all. I still see it like it was. I see people on facebook talk about the changes, but I still see our main drag, Jeff Davis, like it was on the day I rode on the back of a convertible as homecoming queen. The way I remember it from driving around having just gotten my driver’s license. Passing all those houses in Pass Christian as I day dreamed.
Love my water
I have to say — I’m still pretty protective of the coast (MS in general). Through my job I’ve learned to be very quiet when people say things I don’t like, disagree with or want to yell at them over, but you talk bad about my Mississippi and this little small town girl will as nicely as possible remind you it’s my home or if I’m outnumbered, as I often am, say nasty things about you to myself.
— Felt good to write this. As always :: everything I do is accompanied by music. As I write this.
I don’t talk politics.
You can ask my close friends and ex-boyfriends (I usually made them mad) :: I’m very politically minded, but keep or try to keep my mouth shut pretty much ALL the time, especially at work or in public which includes facebook, twitter and my blog. You’ll notice. There isn’t a “politics” category on my blog.
1. I’m a journalist and feel seriously that my opinions must stay out of my work. Not everyone agrees. What they do is their business, though I plan to stick to it.
2. Politics can be and often is driven by emotion and passion. I know how mad I get when people walk around either telling me I’m wrong or acting as if everyone shares their political opinions. Goodness knows people do it.
However, since the media has turned our First Lady’s wardrobe into a constant human interest story the last 4 years, you know — WOW Michelle Obama loves J-Crew — Watch her ROCK a cardigan — who knew she would DARE wear Marc Jacobs to a fundraiser — OMG look at her slender arms, I feel clothes/style are free game.
So, while people are making these very immediate ruthless comments on twitter dissing Paul Ryan’s music choices, looks (can you really call him ugly?), and speech length — I’ll scratch my need to join in by focusing on something no one can realistically get mad at me over. Fingers crossed……
Here we go :: The GOP ticket wins the female style category.
Janna Ryan’s green dress. Elegant. Classy. Traditional. Perfect.
Another one ::
Not to say I don’t have detractors. This is life.
The Boston Herald calls her Wednesday night choice, “Smart but safe”
What do they want? More of a designer edge? An up and coming design star? Fishnets? More bobbles?
Then you take the very glamorous 1949 born Ann Romney. Lovely.
I’ve always thought Michelle Obama did a fantastic job representing the United States style-wise. (Really, who cares) I’ve always been curious the routine her people go through putting the outfits together. I’d like to see her team in action. It’s clear (to me) more attention has been placed on her wardrobe than with first ladies in the past. Seems like a true concerted effort.
Still, my vote is with the GOP.
There we go folks, my chance to publicly talk politics with everyone else tonight.
There have maybe only been like 2 times I’ve turned friends on to new music.
It’s not that I don’t talk about music a lot, clearly I write about it all the time.
It’s just that most of my close friends are already music freaks and ::
1. already know about the music I would tell them about
2. Decidedly don’t like the same music as I do
So, my level of influence is very small. Tuesday night, though, I helped a friend discover a new favorite band and I feel like a million bucks.
This was a facebook friend on lindseybrown-news I had never met :: An Action News 5 at 4 viewer. I simply wrote (a lot, I guess) about this band I adore called “Wild Nothing” coming to play in Memphis for the second time in two months. I’d first heard them in April while roaming England alone for a week. It was playing in this sweet vintage dress shop on the southern coast. Thinking I was discovering some new (to me) British indie band, I asked the cute little shop girl who it was. Can’t think of a better souvenir to take back to Memphis with me than a fun new band. With the name scribbled on a piece of paper in my purse — I found some wireless and looked them up. Turns out they aren’t British at all. They are actually from what some might consider the south :: Virginia. I don’t consider Virginia very southern, but for the sake of claiming them in this blog I’ll make an exception.
Having never heard them :: a facebook friend I had never met showed up and enjoyed the show. He took tons of photos and even snapped one of me glistening with sweat after dancing around alone for an hour.
Yep, that’s sweat :: and crows feet I was unaware of, though I always like women with wrinkles. Adds character?
After the show he said, “It’s like I’m watching the cure back in 1989.”
Oh, my heart skipped a beat. This dude knows nothing of my mild obsession with Robert Smith since age 12. If I’d gone without cure level stimulation since ’89 and one night randomly stumbled into a show where the music even remotely reminded me of it, I would be so very happy.
With Tim and looking 12 :: (note to self) angle hides crows feet.
I suppose it’s a little obvious to compare any synth-laced — dream pop to the cure, but this guy meant it and said it with such excitement and thrill. I’m so happy for him! Plus, I happen to agree. Wild Nothing’s songs make me just as giddy as I got while dancing around my bedroom to “inbetween days LISTEN” Sure, they aren’t the only ones replicating the sound, but as more and more do it and do it right, I’ll love them, too. Pitchfork just today gave their new album an 8.3. Mighty impressive. For comparison they gave the much loved Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix by Phoenix an 8.5 back in 2009 and who doesn’t love dancing to that one?
So, here’s to Wild Nothing, my forever love robert smith, his hot make-up, dancing alone at a small bar, my boss letting me work day shift so I could go, Tim finding a new band, wearing a floral dress with my bulky boots and feeling like I’m 20 again — until next time.
I even bought a t-shirt with the album art (below) on it. I don’t even wear t-shirts.
By the way, the band’s newest album NOCTURNE just came out tuesday. The title track is as sweet at pie. Album download just $9.99 on amazon. Click HERE to listen to my favorite on this one.
Hold on to it best you can.
Her mystery, unique sounds and dark nights will be gone for another year soon.
I know it’s still hot as hell in my parts of the deep south, but my memories tell me it’s all fading.
I’m sitting on my porch a little longer. Really listening. Really making sure this summer makes a mark in my memory of summers long gone from me.
I can listen to Interpol’s Turn on the Bright Lights, Leif Erickson specifically and remember what these hot nights are all about. Remember listening to the record over and over as I drove from Long Beach up to Oxford for the return to school. Remember going to the Interpol concert alone the summer I interned in Tampa. Met some interesting Colombian fans and joined them days later in Orlando. Why Orlando? It was only an hour away. I don’t know. I was 20. At 25 and a wee bit heartbroken all I could do was walk, so I put my cd in my disc-man (yep old school – only 3 years ago – have I ever told you how many ipods I’ve lost) and walked walked walked the quiet neighborhoods at night. Got pretty fit in the process. This record has followed be through summers the last 10 years. It came out in 2002, August actually.
So, this blog starts my final internal push to save summer.
Enjoy Leif Erikson with me. The dark :: haunting vocals are best with moonlight.
LISTEN :: LISTEN :: LISTEN – Around 3:12 my heart breaks every time. In a good way.
–as a side note. The song “untitled” on this same record is so amazing I can’t even write about it. Listen and fall at your own risk.
I have no clue who to ask.
I need a reward. Well, not yet. Not even close, but I’m working hard to achieve a personal goal which I won’t be getting into in this blog, but what I am getting into is the reward. Typical, right?
Instead of focusing on the hard work and dedication required of me to hit said goal I instead focus on the goods. Though, it’s like they say. Keep your eyes on the prize. You know?
I have a general idea of the reward. Not my typical loves travel or food, instead I want something to keep and something I can reward myself with in the next two months as that’s the amount of time it’s going to take.
I’ve decided my treat will be a purse/bag/tote.
I typically don’t believe in spending a lot on a bag because the ones I use normally get thrown on the concrete while I do interviews or stand-ups for work, but on this occasion I can have what I want.
I want one that is classic. One that when I’m old and possibly daughter-less (what a dreadful thought) a young lady will see it at my estate sale and want to love it and keep it for many more generations.
– Needs to be classic
-Would like it to be used (you know how I love things with history)
-large enough to hold make up bag and small notebook
-real, don’t do fake — well maybe just fake spray tans
-don’t want lois vuitton, don’t like looking like everyone else
So, here are my questions ::
1. What do I want? I really need help with this. I don’t follow designers, fashion or what’s really in style. Nor do I really care, but this means I don’t even know my options.
2. What are some websites that sell real designer handbags. I’m so paranoid about buying some lame knock off by accident.
If only it were that easy.
Searching “rustic beach house in Florida or Alabama” has gotten me nowhere.
About a month ago my dad, a man who despises travel, said, “Odd (my nickname), what would you think about taking a family trip to the beach?”
Dad is most comfortable at his home. Not to say he doesn’t love all the things most people enjoy doing on a vacation — eating, drinking, campfires, fishing, fantastic porches :: he just likes to do those things at the year round vacation house on the lake he built for himself.
So, when Dad makes a suggestion like this I follow his desires to the detail.
He told me he doesn’t want to stay in one of those skyrise-30 floor condos with generic porches. In fact, he doesn’t want a condo at all. Since I will be coming from Memphis and the rest of the family would be driving from South MS we are thinking gulf spots no farther east than Destin.
I know exactly what he wants. He grew up in South Alabama and went on vacations with my grandparents to stay in simple beach houses/cabins. Nothing fancy. Just time spent outside.
He hasn’t said it, but I think he wants the vacation from his childhood. Evenings spent on the porch. The ability to just walk outside and hit sand — to hear the roar of the ocean from the rental.
Nothing fancy. Nothing trendy. Not one of those mass-produced condos that looks like a plastic playhouse on the inside.
Those are the NOs. Here are the WANTS
-screened in porch or just a porch in general
-a nice table outside where we can have lazy meals
-a good spot for lounging around all day reading
Sounds pretty simple, right?
I’ve yet to find what I’m looking for or anyone who seems to have stayed in a place like we are looking to find.
We will be vacationing from October 11th – 18th.
If you have any ideas on how to get out of cheesy beach condo hell :: please pass them along.
I had just been thinking about how I’d love a jar (really a lifetime supply) of my Grandmother’s (Mamma B) sweet pickles.
As a kid I just didn’t understand why she would want us to eat these things that weren’t even sour and salty like the big ones we got at baseball games. Those adults were so wacky. You couldn’t even get me started on why my dad put salt on his watermelon, blah, or that hot sauce on greens.
Can’t remember when I realized those pickles were outstanding, but I would polish off a full jar in one sitting. This is still the case.
Now, Momma B isn’t a woman of fuss. There were no fancy stickers on the jars — forget ribbon. They just said pickles. Syrupy sweet with seasoning I’ve never even been able to identify.
I saw on facebook of all places that Williams & Sonoma stores across the country were having free classes on pickling. The timing was perfect considering the time is right for our ancestors to have put away their fresh fruit and veggies for the winter and that Williams & Sonoma has a fantastic line of expensive canning supplies that I didn’t even know existed. Did you know it’s suggested you have a proper extra deep cannng pot? Or some way cool metal arms you stick down in the water to remove the boiling jars? Yea, I didn’t either, but I do now. The ingredients aren’t pricey, but all the extras I’m going to want will be!
We made dill pickles, sweet relish and dilly beans (crispy & perfect for bloodies).
I went into it thinking the class would just be a neat way to pass the time on a slow sunday morning, but I now know I can do this.
The principles are the same for fruit jams, chutney and preserves.
Don’t be shocked when you get cans of who knows what from me for the holidays. Don’t worry :: I’m trained.
I can’t think of a better tribute to Memphis, the city I’ve lived in a year now, than to send the Bluff City a love note. A note from the heart. Not only has the city given me a year of opportunity, excitement, hard work and fun, but her people this week were very very very kind to my Momma. That I won’t forget.
Anchoring and reporting M-F I see all sorts of bad and scary things. I can’t count how many murders I’ve covered. Pointless-violent crime is a daily occurrence, so imagine my fear when I got done anchoring an hour and a half of news this past week to see that my mom had left four voicemails on my phone.
The first said, “I’m going to take the bus to your neighborhood. Then walk the rest of the way.” OMG!!!
Me – “she’s what” “what has happened” “what is she doing”
Mom has, for the most part, always lived in small towns. Sure, crimes happen there, too, but not like Memphis. Her terribly crafted voicemails told me nothing about what happened, only that she was in a bad situation and needed a ride home. What was worse :: her phone had died and I couldn’t get back in touch with her. Plus, I had to go right back to the set and anchor another 30 minutes of news with no way to use the phone. I was so nervous the entire show. I knew my mom was smart, but what was she going to do. Not to mention it was at least 100 degrees outside.
My radiator had burst when she was a good distance away from my house buying quilting materials. From the moment the coolant spewed from my car the good people of Memphis were helping my mom and melting my heart.
Neither one of us ever had to worry.
Two people in the Hancock Fabrics parking lot ( Quice & White Station ) told my mom she had a leak and shouldn’t try to drive the car. One of them told her about Ron Archers Auto Care on the other side of the parking lot. Once she made it over there, the employees made her feel relaxed. They took care of the car, let her use their phone ( since hers had died ). When she couldn’t get me on the phone, since I was anchoring, the owner took her to the MATA bus station down the road.
Alright, this freaked me out. My mother doesn’t know how to use public transportation. She doesn’t even know the roads/neighborhoods in Memphis. Again, she had to rely on the kindness of strangers to find her way. Picture her walking up to the stop with a giant bag of that puffy white quilt batting you fill the blankets with.
Some young teenagers helped her figure out which bus to get on. Two of the kids, a male and female, told the bus driver where she was going and sat near her to make sure she didn’t get nervous or miss her stop.
Her ordeal could have been very bad. Despite the negative I see all the time, I’m full of pride at the kindness Memphians showed my sweet mom.
Moving here was a dream come true. I love my job. I love my life. Thanks to the people of Memphis for bringing me into your lives every day at 4 and 10. Oh, my momma says thanks, too!