Sunday, February 26, 2012

in honor of Mike Mullins

post #74
      This past week has been tough.  One of the greats in our area up and had a fatal heart attack, and he was only 63.  Mike's main job, one he had had for the last 34 years, was as the Executive Director of the Hindman Settlement School  in small but vital Knott County, Kentucky.  A thousand people came to show their respect and love at either or both the visitation Wednesday night and then the funeral on Thursday.  Many were related to him.  Even more felt like family, either as a member of the staff or as part of the school's annual Family Folk Week, annual Appalachian Writers Workshop, or the Dyslexia Program. 
      So today's post may be more Appalachia than photography, though of course I am sharing photos, as usual, even a few designed to be informal snapshots.   Since my main connection is as a friend of Mike and Frieda's and as a participant in the writers workshop, that is where my photos come from.  Mike, we all thank you for your vital generosity of spirit and for believing in the possible.

Mike Mullins -- welcoming, waxing eloquent, cajoling, explaining, admonishing, encouraging, and enjoying

and keeping alive the memory of his friends and writers workshop greats Jim Wayne Miller and James Still

This cabin is from the earliest days of the Settlement School.

scenes from recent writers workshops: 1) crossing the bridge over Troublesome Creek, going to class, with the cabin on their right

2) writer Anne Shelby with her Elvis umbrella, which happened to be in the back of her car.  I happen to like this photo!!

3) in the Great Room, looking toward the podium
4) an extra meeting, after lunch, of George Ella Lyon's class.  Notice the framed photo in the upper right corner, which will be in a later photo.

* * * * *

for those who know Mike and were not able to be at the funeral and burial

After the funeral, many of the writers gathered briefly for music and fellowship on the porch of the HSS main building, feeling the gaping hole of Mike's not being there.  The weather turned out to be springlike, despite the February 23 date.  In fact, the electricity had been off in Hindman for the three days before, because of Sunday's wet snow storm, the day Mike died. 
I went inside that building.  In the Great Room, things were mostly empty, but the two rocking chairs were right there, in front of the fireplace.  This is when having a camera helps to center me, and now I can share that feeling I had in that moment when I was there by myself .

The dining room was also empty Thursday, except for the shadows of all the people brought together, thanks in large part to Mike's persistence over so many years.  I know the tables will fill up again with new words, anchored by our deeply rooted affection and appreciation, but it is a gift to have known the place infused with Mike.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing these lovely images and memories, Ann.