McComb, Mississippi

Last Saturday was beautiful: sunny, very low humidity, and actually honest-to-dog COLD. I drove over to McComb, MS (about a 3 hour drive); I was there last year but spent most of the time on the Bogue Chitto River and only went into town to have lunch at the Dinner Bell.

My biological father was born there, although he actually grew up in North Platte, NE and considered himself a midwesterner. I got a chance to look through the Pike County yellow pages while I was there last year; I didn’t find any Galbreaths but there were lots of Colemans, which was his mother’s maiden name. And in fact, when I was there on Saturday I saw a banner hanging outside of a banquet hall type place, advertising the “Coleman-Trantham” wedding. Could have been a distant relation! I was never close to my father’s family though; other than one of my cousins, I never felt like any of them gave a damn about me and my brothers once my parents got divorced. My grandfather might have, he seems to have been a sweet man, but he died when I was very young.

I was surprised at how run-down downtown McComb was. It reminded me of Detroit in miniature almost; like you could tell the neighborhoods had money once, and some of the houses were still nice, but there were a lot of decayed shells and overgrown lots. But McComb has a very low crime rate–it’s consistently rated as a great town to retire to–so it’s more like the money just moved to another area (up near the bypass maybe, or out into the exurbs), and the downtown was depopulated and is sort of genteelly falling apart in a polite southern way.

I shot a roll of 120 in my Diana and a roll of Fuji Superia in my Golden Half; these are just some shots I took with my digital Polaroid.

PICT0548, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

Old advertising murals can still be seen in many Mississippi towns, I saw some in Canton when I was there last year. Shame they ruined this by sticking a meter box over part of it, especially since I don’t think the building is even presently occupied.

PICT0550, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

This is the building the mural was on, most of the windows were broken or had plywood over them.

PICT0540, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

This was near the train station, there was a whole complex of buildings in various states of ruin. Some still had roofs and interior walls, and some were just the exterior walls and foundation.

PICT0543, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

Another mural. This was one of the main streets downtown, there are still businesses in some of the buildings.

PICT0546, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

PICT0547, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

This building fascinated me for some odd reason. Like, I couldn’t tell if it was still occupied or not. Some of the doors are bricked up, but that could just be due to how the interior space was re-organized. I also found it weird that an exterior staircase went from the second to the third story, but not down to the ground floor.

PICT0551, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

This is where I ended my day. This cemetery is ENORMOUS, you drive in and it just goes on for acres and acres. There’s also a park with a playground right smack in the middle of it, which I found delightfully morbid. I expected to find Wednesday Addams on a swing.

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