Where do you go in your mind? When you need a moment of peace or comfort or happiness or clarity, what scene does your mind’s eye play for you? Even as adults, our imaginations can help us–if we exercise it.
Hold up. Wait a second. I have an announcement to make. A big one.
The other day, out of nowhere, the famous and feral mustache cat jumped on my lap! I couldn’t believe it. I know many of you told me it was only a matter of time, but I couldn’t imagine that cat would ever trust humans enough.
He didn’t stay long. Just testing it out. Look at his little face, so uncomfortable.
So, yes, I guess one can tame a feral cat. Patience, kindness, love. Mustache Cat is definitely still wild, but loving and sweet. That’s my BIG news.
In other news, I’ve got a daughter starting to look at colleges. I recently took her to the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. We have somehow, some way reached that period in time. Not sure how that happened.
At the restaurant in Chapel Hill:
She spent the day at the school, touring and attending some classes. I had planned to go to a parent program; I really did. The university was offering us parents a chance to learn about admissions, loans, acceptance rates and everything else a parent might need to know.
But. You see.
When we looked at my phone to find a place to eat the night before the program, local interesting places kept popping up. One place was the Chapel Hill Museum. They had a James Taylor display! JAMES! James Taylor’s father was a professor, then Dean of the Medical School at UNC, so James spent much of his childhood in Chapel Hill, NC.
From the museum’s website: “Carolina On My Mind: The James Taylor Story: A comprehensive exhibition of the life and work of James Taylor, one of Chapel Hill’s favorite sons, the exhibit includes his actual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame trophy, the Grammy for the Hourglass album, photographs and documents from his early life in Chapel Hill and a video documentary theater.” http://www.chapelhillmuseum.org/Exhibits/Ongoing/JamesTaylorExhibit/
I had no choice. I would be going to see the JT collection while other parents sat in an auditorium. My daughter knows my love for James’ music, so she supported my “skip.”
The next day, I dropped my daughter off at the college campus and followed my google map to the museum. I couldn’t find it anywhere.
Well, this was just crazy. How could an address be missing?
I took out my phone and checked the photo of the museum. I had driven right by that building. Problem was that it was no longer a museum. Where could the museum have moved?
So I went to the Chapel Hill Visitor’s Center to find out where the museum was.
The woman working there looked at me with a funny look on her face, “Um. It closed years ago.” My heart sank.
She pulled up the website on her computer and said, “Did you not see the note at the top of the screen?” She read it out loud to me: “The museum has closed, but please enjoy our website.”
No, I most certainly did not NOTICE that NOTICE.
“So, where’s all the James Taylor stuff now? Where’s his Rock and Roll Hall of Fame trophy? And his Grammy? Where are the photographs and documents from his life in Chapel Hill?” I pleaded with the woman.
“Wow, you must be a big fan! I’m sorry, but I don’t know what happened to all that,” she said, “It’s been years since that museum was open. But I do know where you can get some fantastic Indian food.”
That sounded pretty good. I mean, if I can’t delve into James’ life, then I might as well eat. I followed her directions and wound up at a superb Indian restaurant, Curry Blossoms Cafe.
As I enjoyed my lunch,
I returned to the museum’s website to see what all I was missing. I noticed a James Taylor quote that spoke to my heart and soul:
“What I remember most about Chapel Hill is the landscape. I tell my kids that we were pre-TV and there was a lot of empty time there, slow weekends when you just walked in the woods and found whatever you could to kill time. There was this long, uninterrupted time to let your imagination grow. I believe that was an important part of whatever creative life I’ve had.”
I mulled his words over in my mind. I recalled similar times in my own childhood.
- empty time when I played in the woods or the creek beside our house
- slow weekends when we’d hang out at a friend’s house and talk for hours on end
- walks in the woods at the end of our street–where the older kids in the neighborhood said the “pig man” lived
- killing time on nothing much
- uninterrupted time where you can hear your heart beat and your mind think
These things help your imagination grow. They help you lead a creative life.
Exactly. These days I long for that. I missed SLOW, EMPTY, UNINTERRUPTED TIME.
I was having that now. Slow, empty, uninterrupted time. I drank my chai and chilled.
And then I got an idea: I was going to find James Taylor’s childhood home. I was going to find the place that he sang about, the place that formed him, the place where he played with his dog, Hercules. I wanted to experience and see where where he was talking about when he sang, “I’m gone to Carolina in my mind.” I wanted to find Morgan Creek he sang about in “Copperline.” (btw, here’s a link to my favorite version of that song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QAaAhi37IHg.) James’ parents built the home in 1952- (James was born in 1948.) They sold it in 1974 when they divorced.
I wondered how I could find the address for his old house? Some quick googling on my phone led me to the address, 618 Morgan Creek Road. It was listed on the real estate site Zillow. It sold in 2016 for $1.66 million. https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/618-Morgan-Creek-Rd-Chapel-Hill-NC-27517/50036243_zpid/.
I finished up my chai and headed out. Google directions took me to the neighborhood, but I had a heck of a time finding the house. I drove around and drove around, determined to find it. I cranked up the JT tunes and enjoyed the experience.
Found the right road long before I found the house.
His house shares a old drive. The yard was expansive.
When I made my way down it, I recognized the house from the real estate website I had seen. Holy ground, My Friends, holy ground.
Now, if you’ve known me for any period of time, you know that I’m a rule-follower. The driveway was blocked by a sign on a cord that read in LARGE NOTICE, “Private Property.”
I stood in the driveway on my side of the cord and gazed. What a great place to grow up. Or grow down.
The yard was vast, bamboo and pine trees, wide open spaces and woods, a creek somewhere. 24 acres of space to grow an imagination.
“Can’t you see the sunshine? Can’t you just feel the moonshine?”
I got back in my car and turned back on my favorite James Taylor tunes. My all-time favorite is “The Secret ‘O Life.” “The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time. Any fool can do it. There ain’t nothing to it…” Can they? Can any fool enjoy life? Is it that easy?
So, no, I didn’t see James’ or his 7th grade report card, but I experienced James maybe even more deeply. The ambiance of his childhood home moved me. I was glad I came.
Until next time, Friends, savor the flavor of life!
Lots of love, The City Farmgirl, Rebekah
Some interesting links:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQH_OycMM3k (a video of the property. What I would have seen if I hadn’t stopped at the sign.)
An article I read (@http://www.justluxe.com/travel/charlotte-news__1964225.php) says that these two purchased it. I wonder what they’ll do with it. I wonder if they’ll be my friends and let me visit. http://www.artnews.com/top200/james-keith-jk-brown-and-eric-diefenbach/