Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Cofield on Oxford, The Run of the Place Part I

A long-ago walk on the Square was a care-free journey.
A long-ago walk on the Square was a care-free journey. Photo by Deborah Freeland

And run we did. Right up in Leslie’s Drug Store, headed for the Fountain.
A quick slow-down and straightened-up as we passed the stern Miss Lovejoy’s counter. Grade upon grade, hundreds of thousands of our elementary school shoe footfalls wore out the Jackson Avenue sidewalk, between the town’s old Grammar School and the Square. And as I went by, Grandpop Cofield’s ’2 bits’, flipped to me from the front door of his old photography studio, bought a lot of 1966 ice cream.
And from all points north, south and east, depending on the year’s season, here we came on our bikes, with our dogs. Our tennis shoes squeaked to a respectful halt for Miss “Stern”. Or our thickly black bottomed bare feet brought us to a soft slow of respect. Summers arrived and here we came peddling up either one of Lamar’s boulevards. Sporting squeaky clean feet, in semi wet cutoffs, dry Ole Miss football jerseys (real ones, game ones), towels around our necks and a few fully wet bills. When my fist full of soggy dollars dampened Madam Stern’s counter, there was neither love nor joy. Her look scared me so bad I squished George back in my pocket and did the only thing any Oxford kid would do when ‘on the town’ and faced with a financial hurdle…”can I charge it to my daddy?”
-John CofieldJohn Cofield is a hottytoddy.com writer and one of Oxford’s leading folk historians. He is the son of renowned university photographer Jack Cofield. His grandfather, “Col.” J. R. Cofield, was William Faulkner’s personal photographer and for decades was Ole Miss yearbook photographer. Cofield attended Ole Miss as well. Contact John at johnbcofield@gmail.com 
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