I guess all of us have whips of memories from our childhoods, vapors of places we can picture seeing when we were small. Cafes where we stopped and ate that for some reason stuck in our minds. May have never seen the place again. May not even remember where it was for sure.
Tennessee Williams evidently had such memories of places around Clarksdale from the few years he lived there as a child. His grandfather, Walter Dakin, was the rector of St. Georges Episcopal Church after he moved to Clarksdale from pasturing in Columbus, where young Tom, later to change his name to Tennessee, was born. In Clarksdale, Tom lived with his mother and sister Rose in this house, the church's parsonage, along with his grandparents.
Lore has it he was familiar with this place, now known as Uncle Henry's on Moon Lake. Things are considerably quieter here nowadays than in it's heyday, when Uncle Henry's was, among other things, a casino and night club.
George Wright is the manager, chef and, as he puts it, just about anything else at Uncle Henry's now. And George says the Moon Lake Casino has shown up in a number of Tennessee Williams' plays.
George Wright said, " He talked about the shoot out on the dance floor between the Wainwright boy and somebody else and the Wainwright boy died on, in an ambulance on his way to Memphis on Highway 61."
And Blanch DuBois remembered sweeping across the dance floor at the Moon Lake Casino in 'A Street Car Named Desire.'
Vapors of memories of a childhood landscape transformed into a life of their own under the skill pen of a master writer who took the Moon Lake Casino and re-wrote it into the stage where some of his drama was played out.
It's a lot quieter now. George says the quietness of it is what he likes.
"When I open my front door in the morning I'm looking out at that lake and it's like looking at a frame through a camera. And you just get everything like that through the door. And I just sit there and have my coffee and I just look out," said Wright.
And the days of this being the Moon Lake Casino are just a distant memory. Like a cobweb memory from childhood, from a long time ago.
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