Saturday, February 4, 2023

Cofield on Oxford, The Run of the Place Part II

W Faulkner
William Faulkner’s statue looks out over Oxford Square.

Editor’s Note: This is the second installment of writer John Cofield’s series on growing up in Oxford.
Aw yeah we were little chargers long before Oxford High School was. We were happy with any terms of the deal, too. The deal of running all over the place with any number of active accounts. Charge it to Dad, Mom, Granddad, the studio, the Ole Miss box, our house, his house, who’s on 1st, what’s on 2nd and we didn’t know or care…all good. And we were more than happy with the deal of growing up in Oxford, Miss. It was a big deal.
A whole lot of people in this world never realize how good they had it until they’re 20-something years out, longingly looking back. But for the sons and daughters of Oxford, Miss., we knew our special time in real time. Our minds hold the memories and our hearts know that special feeling, that vibe that’s all Oxford’s, all ours. But don’t look for it in the history books. Our Oxford cloth is not buttoned down yet. It is alive and well and can be found still covering the heart of Oxford…right there where it was spun…on our Square.
Jack Cofield said many times that Oxford was the best kept secret in America. But by that hot July ’62 day, when the Laureate circled a hushed and humbled Square, and Jefferson’s creator went to his rest at Saint Peter’s, they knew about us. He built it and here they’ve come and no pen has rested since. Riding, walking or stumbling in drunk, Oxford has intoxicated many a wannabe something. Mr. Faulkner’s life and times is the magic for which they long. But it’s not that romantic and it’s not that elusive. It’s right there, where Mr. Bill’s tales spin outward from…on his Square.
John Cofield is a 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