Huh.  I thought for sure those brilliant Herzog memes would get some fan mail.  Oh well.  This morning, I thought I would just commemorate the “Suttree Walk” some people from my grad Appalachian Lit class took yesterday.  It was great fun.  A couple months after reading Suttree, we finally made it happen.  (I’m avoiding working on my syllabus & lesson plans & random infuriations for Pedagogy, currently.)

We started at the plaque in Market Square that has a quote from Suttree on it.  Mostly it’s about putrefaction.  The putrefaction and green slime in the gutters on 1951 Market Street.  Also the street preachers, and the “pariahs adorning the sidewalk”—remembered that line.  Oddly, I had never read that plaque before, even though I’d probably walked on it five hundred times.  Anyways—we checked out the tromp-l’ouiel of the old Market House painted on the Miller Building, and then headed to the southwest corner of Market Street and Union, which, Dr. Hardwig informed us, street preachers have favored for decades.  This was probably where the street preacher who was “blessed” with a turnip took that tasty bite.  Preaching to all the market-goers.

We walked over to the Post Office, a building Suttree slipped in and out of on occasion, and where the goat-man grazed his goats on the lawn.  (And was run off by a cop.)  There was the old courthouse with its handy clock, and the old jail.  We tried to imagine what Front Avenue must have been like, with its row of shops and businesses, before Neyland Drive and Calhoun’s.  Down at the waterfront we gazed at the space between the old train bridge and the Gay Street bridge—Suttree’s fishing-grounds, where his houseboat probably was—and Dr. Hardwig apologized for not being able to take us to Michael’s (the Native American guy who caught the massive catfish) cave, which is apparently to be found via the Scottish Rite Park.  Over yonder was the junkyard (where Harrogate found the eyeball), and ragpicker’s abode (under the Henley Street bridge).

We passed the former stinking marshes, where Mother Jones and Ab Jones lived.  (Still stinks.)  Made our way up toward Hall of Fame and Hill Street, where there had been a varied and vibrant African American community before it got … moved?  Don’t know that story.  Would like to.  But coming up that hill, looking at the Women’s Basketball H. of F., you can see where Harrogate got into his ridiculous pig-killing escapade.  And the guy who owns the pig comes out looking for it—ha—one of the funniest parts of the book.

Speaking of Harrogate, we went in through some parking garage and climbed over a fence and got into Harrogate’s digs underneath the Hill Street viaduct.  Would you believe that “pillbox” is still there, and still—from the looks of it—occasionally inhabited by other migratory folk.  Maybe not so much has changed in 60 years.  We stood around for a few minutes thinking about the Harrogate’s pigeon-electrocuting set-up, and looking down to the river through the “aisle of arches.”  Which I guess refers to the Henley bridge, but this one has arches, too.

Back up on Gay, we saw the hotel (former hotel) above the Bistro where Suttree and Joyce hung out, and Dr. Hardwig wished we had time to see the hotel they moved to from this one, down near Regas.  But anyways, we saw where Comer’s Pool Hall was, above the revamped East Tennessee Historical Society, and we learned how the statue of the guy in a rowboat was not meant to be Suttree (thank god!), among other things.  Actually, Dr. Hardwig said that Hank Williams died in our very own Andrew Johnson hotel.  Did everybody else know this?  How come I had no idea?  I kind of feel bad about this.

So that’s basically the short version of the walk.  Apparently, the last one Dr. Hardwig went on lasted three hours.  Whew.

Dr. Wes Morgan, who, according to Dr. Hardwig, “knows more about Cormac McCarthy than anybody else in the world,” also audited this class and did some lecturing on Child of God, Suttree, and old Knoxville / old East Tennessee.  I thought I’d post a link here to his website in case anybody was interested and wanted to see some other Suttree sites of interest here in town.

Ok, now I’m going to slaughter that Pedagogy stuff.

Lastly, Marshall and I are going to see Chicago tonight at the OR Playhouse.  So exciting.

 

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