Marjorie Rawlings Home
For years we have driven highway 301 in Florida and each trip I saw the sign that said Cross Creek: Home of Marjorie Rawlings. I wondered what it looked like and with each trip I became more curious. This time I was determined to stop and find out for myself.
There were no cars in the parking lot when we arrived. We took the dirt path through the orange grove leading toward the house. I saw two ladies dressed in old fashion cloths and ask if the house was open. “No, it’s closed on Monday.” I felt like a balloon that had just had just been pricked with a pin.
“But, you can walk around and look in the windows if you would like to.”
“Thank you so much. I have wanted to come here for years.”
“Take your time and stay as long as you’d like.”
I was so grateful to be able to walk the ground of this Cracker style home where Marjorie Rawlings had written so many novels.
Painted white with forest green shutters, the long windows was just perfect for peeping. Several round braided rugs covered the time worn natural wood floors.
The furniture seemed to be the original furnishing in the home. The screened porch had a sitting room at one end with a daybed covered with a chenille bedspread. The other end of the porch held a round oak pedestal table. A manual type writer was situated on top of the table where the view was to the road in front of the house. The chairs were ladder back and the caning had been replaced with deer hide. Some of the hide was bear of hair and other spots still had the deer hair on them. This was the table and chairs that Marjorie Rawlings used to write.
The small bedroom had a crocheted bedspread on the bed. The closet still held her clothes. This was Marjorie’s room, there again with a view of the road. A treadle Singer Sewing machine was opened, a red pin cushion and a Kerr jelly jar, with old buttons in it, were sitting next to the machine.
A second bedroom had a small pieced quilt on the bed and was very neat and sparsely furnished.
The bath room had been added later, the claw foot tub was painted pink on the underside and the floor was covered with rose colored linoleum with yellow and turquoise flowers.
There were porches on all sides of the house. Some screened and some not. The back of the house had a big wooden bench complete with wash tubs, and the boiling pot was upside down in the yard.
A peek into the summer kitchen that was separated from the house by a breeze way, held a wooden ironing board with a pop bottle sprinkler top on it. A wooden bucket and an ice cream churn were sitting next to a wooden bench. A homemade clothes pin bag hung on the wall. The kitchen had an old wood stove and small table, along with cooking utensils of the twenties and thirties.
The garden at the back of the summer kitchen was complete with a high fence to keep out the wild animals.
I could see how Mrs. Rawlings had found the peacefulness to write in such a setting. I was just hoping that by some strange miracle of nature I could experience some type of osmosis, from walking where Marjorie Rawlings had walked and lived, would give me some talent, or just a fractions of the talent, that this Pulitzer Prize winner possessed.
I wanted to stay longer and soak up more of the atmosphere that her beloved home had to offer. It was wonderful to experience a step back in time to tranquility. I somehow think that Marjorie watched the road, as I do, wondering if it lead to magic places of if at any minute a new experience will come from the other way.
I went there thinking The Yearling, was her first and only novel. It was her third book. Her first was South Moon Under, 1933, in 1935 she wrote Golden Apples. The Yearling was in 1938. She cranked out six more books after that and then three others were published after her death in 1953 at the age of 57. Three of her novels were made into movies. Yet, she chose to never leave her home on the edge of Orange Lake where she had lived in her inspirations to write.
Things That Make Me Nuts
and Return To Tybee
Web site: www.annettebergman.com