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Vicksburg Write-Off 2023

Write-off: Growing up on Mulberry Street by Jeanie McVoy



Mulberry Street sign
Mulberry Street sign: Photo by Keith Phillips
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To me, Vicksburg means a plethora of imaginations through time, history and unique experiences.

I was born and raised here in Vicksburg. I’ve loved the history of Vicksburg. Reading a special issue of the Vicksburg Post of July 4, 1964, I learned of the Vicksburg columns in our architecture reflecting different suits of cards, the castle that was on Castle Hill showing the troops tents all around it, the changing of the river in the area where Grant tried to do so, and all the antebellum homes and ghost stories in town. I was fascinated by this.

When I was two years old, my father opened McVoy’s Tune Up Shop on Mulberry Street. My mother took care of the office, so naturally there I was. I was protected in that cinderblock building from the rest of the world. Memories included her reading to me from the Childcraft stories. My favorite was “Hansel and Gretel.” She read it to me so many times, that I actually learned to read by watching her fingers run under the words.

I would be fascinated by the trucks filled with corn kernels. They traveled up Mulberry Street, turning left on Veto Street and up the block to Washington Street. The corn would fall out and flocks of crows followed, gobbling up the corn.

One time I heard a strange hissing sound. I tracked down the sound to see my mother trying to shoo the largest snapping turtle I’ve ever seen out of the shop with a 2×4. It eventually left.

I had a pair of skates, (the kind you put on to your shoes).  They were so rusted up that I could walk up the slight incline in the building.  My sister offered to help with some WD-40. She helped alright. She delighted in watching me fall on my face as I started to walk up that incline.

We would occasionally go “downtown” by climbing the hill up to Washington Street.  We window shopped in the Valley, Morgan & Lindsey, Sears, J.C. Penny and my favorite store, Woolsworth. Every time you entered Woolsworth, you’d smell the popped corn.They also had the lunch counter in it. A banana split was rewarded when I made all As in school.

We also would walk to the waterfront to see the level of the Yazoo Canal and look at the Sprague. (I cried when that burned because it was like losing an old friend.)  I learned to avoid a certain area because that was the location of the Blue Room. Once the door was opened. It was dark inside with blue and purple neon lights. Then there was the row of houses that had red lights on them.  I didn’t know what that meant, although I thought they loved Christmas and kept the lights up all year long.

On our way home we’d pass Cedar Grove and I always imagined what it must have looked like inside.  At sixteen I had that chance with my first job as a tour guide. When bus groups visited we dressed in antebellum attire and showed tourists around the house.  On a few occasions I experienced some odd things.Once the house had no tours but I could swear I heard music playing in the ball room. I went in there to turn the music box ofbut it already was off. Another time, I thought one of the guides had entered a room upstairs, so I bypassed it and came back to it, only to find out that no one had gone in that room.

Growing up in Vicksburg include memories of the Sprague, the Blue Room, the red light district, downtown stores and supernatural experiences at an antebellum home and this doesn’t even cover the memories of the Military Park. I’m proud to call Vicksburg home!

Submitted by Jeanie McVoy.  Jeanie is a native of Vicksburg. She has served as Administrative Assistant of Trinity Baptist Church for 34 years.

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