PERSONAL BAGGAGE
A Tale of Marriage, Medicine and Murder

Why did you include the trip to Columbus, Mississippi?

Answer

I included the trip to Columbus, Mississippi because I saw this mini-vacation as the point at which Penny’s attitude toward her husband changed and as the time when she finally realized the importance of her southern heritage. Penny’s great-grandmother, Mrs. Augusta (Sykes) Murdock, was a Memorial Day Lady whose portrait hangs in the Old State Capitol Building in Jackson, and about whom Francis Miles Finch, in 1867, wrote his poem, “The Blue and the Gray”.

In the last chapter of PERSONAL BAGGAGE, Johnny says, “Heroes are just regular people who rise to meet the circumstances at hand.” Penny’s great-grandmother’s heroic act was that she did not let prejudice stop her from leading the way to decorate graves of dead northern soldiers with flowers after she and the other women had placed bouquets on the graves of southern heroes, including the grave of her own husband, in the Friendship Cemetery of Columbus, Mississippi.

Search result for 'Columbus' in PERSONAL BAGGAGE

Chapter 10: Chapter Ten
"...Penny fetched her glasses and leaned over the sheets. The paper was The Columbus Mississippi Tri-Weekly Index, dated Tuesday Morning, July 23, 1888. The part Johnny had read was on another page under the heading “A Peep Into The Past.” It was an article about the reunion of Confederate veterans, which had been held in Columbus, Mississippi during the preceding week. ..."
"...uncle distributed his books around the family. Mom Nichols told me the house where her grandmother lived, and where she spent a lot of summers, is still standing. I’ve got too many balls in the air to swing it right now, but sometime we might drive to Columbus and try to find it—that is, if you’re game.” ..."

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Chapter 20: Chapter Twenty
134.
"... Need Time Off!” Johnny squinted and inhaled; he exhaled and studied his bowl. Looking up, he replaced his glasses and lifted the cereal box. “We talked about going to Columbus to see if we could find your great-grandmother’s house. Would you still like to do that?” Penny propped her ..."

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Chapter 21: Chapter Twenty-One
"...Johnny had said that they would leave for a mini-vacation in Columbus around four this afternoon, spend two nights in a motel, and have two days to explore. Penny phoned the veterinarian’s office, then invited Zac into the car. The dog could have his yearly checkup and vaccinations while they were gone. She considered purchasing mice to feed ..."
118.
"... Johnny pulled Penny to her feet. He slid his right arm around her waist and elevated her chin with his left hand. “Now, we’re going to forget it. Erase hospitals from your mind.” He kissed her lips, then pulled away. “Have you forgotten our trip? We’re driving to Columbus today.” ..."

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Chapter 22: Chapter Twenty-Two
2.
"... to Penny, sitting beside him in the passenger seat. “Did you pack your camera?” “I’ve got it; and this morning after I took Zac to the vet, I went to Sack and Pack and bought a map of Columbus.” “Sounds like we’re all set, then.” Johnny activated the headlights as they ..."
17.
"... occurred to her for years: my husband loves me. It was nearly 10 o’clock when they checked into the Holiday Inn in Columbus. Penny, propped up with pillows, attempted to read while Johnny studied the map, but both of them were worn out. “Let’s stop at the library in the morning and ..."
"...“Your great-grandmother was born in New England and when she was a year old her father, Abram Murdock, moved the family to Columbus and found work rebuilding the railroad. He traded with the Choctaw Indians, and then later he operated a silver mine. The house he built, Elizabeth Augusta’s childhood home, was torn down around 1880 by her second husband, Gideon Warren Cox, to make room for the present house, ..."
37.
"... cups. “That’s right, and her second husband, a pharmacist, had also fought in the war. When the war ended, Warren Cox heard that an old pharmacist in Columbus needed an assistant, so he came here when he was thirty years old, found a beautiful war widow, and married her.” Penny sat ..."
44.
"... think that it’s entirely possible.” After breakfast, Johnny dropped Penny at the Columbus Library while he filled the car with gas. She carried The Seven Siblings to the desk and opened it to display the picture of the old house. “It’s only a few blocks from here,” the ..."

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"...with a significant snap, and she looked down a long concrete hallway illuminated intermittently by yellow light bulbs which dangled on cords from the ceiling between pipes and connections of varying sizes. The air in the tunnel was cool and damp, reminding her of the riverside tunnel in Columbus. There was an eerie quality to the light, but it was bright enough that she could tell where to bend over to miss bumping into low pipes, and as she walked, she could see the floor well enough to avoid stumbling. ..."

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"In a story of evolving relationships, Margaret McMillion breathes life into her characters, especially Penny, who must find..."

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