Categorized | Editorial, Opinion

Spring break in a small town is not such a bad thing

The day-to-day inner-workings of being a member of the staff here at The Voyager have not been exhaustively documented in print prior to this issue.

Readers may be of the opinion that writers write words, editors edit words and the printers print the words onto the dry, gray paper you now hold in your hands.

However, there are times when we do so much more than these obvious yet necessary tasks.

Sometimes, we even have to pick up the mail.

Last year, I was tasked with picking up a few boxes of Steak n’ Shake inserts that were accidentally sent to our old distribution hub located in Monroeville, Alabama.

If you’ve never heard of the town of Monroeville, neither had I before I was assigned this task.

I did some research before the trip and found out Monroeville is the hometown of Harper Lee, the author of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” and Truman Capote, the famous author of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”

Two literary heroes of mine are from a small town just 90 minutes from my home.  Why I didn’t know this before is still a mystery to me.

I make the 90-minute drive up Highway 29 to Monroeville and immediately pick up the inserts at the offices of Monroeville’s local paper, the Monroe Journal.

While the purpose of my travels was business, I didn’t have much to do that day, so I hung around.

Five hours later, I had to leave because the museum I visited had to close for the day.  I could have easily been there for five more hours.

The “Old Courthouse Museum” was originally built in 1903 and served as the Monroe County courthouse.  The courthouse was converted into a part-time museum in 1968, which opened full-time in 1991. The museum features exhibits dedicated to both Lee and Capote, with an additional exhibit dedicated to the county courthouse itself.

However, the crown jewel of this isolated excursion was the courtroom. One step into the balcony seats, and I felt like I was completely transported into the film adaptation of Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

I sat in the front row of the right balcony seats where young Jem Finch sat as he watched his father, Atticus, try his damnedest to prevent Tom Robinson from becoming a victim of racism and corruption.  I walked down to the courtroom floor and sat in the witness stand located right in front of the judge, directly in the middle of the courtroom.  As I sat in that seat, I could see Atticus Finch and Tom Robinson to my right, and the legal representatives of the state to my left, with Bob Ewell sitting directly behind them, reeking of booze and smirking his bewilderingly creepy grin.

With spring break coming up next week, I’ve been contemplating about places I’d like to visit during the short reprieve from my duties as a student and employee of the University of West Florida and, yes, an editor for this paper.    The only thing I can think about is going back to a town that helped reiterate the magic of movies and the importance of imagination.

Monroeville isn’t what many would consider a “spring break hotspot,” but I can’t think of a better place to just “hang around” with nothing better to do.

John Strickland
Opinions Editor

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