Magnolia Drive


This Pandemic has been incredibly hard for everyone. I personally spent almost four weeks hospitalized with Covid and Covid Pneumonia and was not expected to pull through it. That experience has really challenged me physically, but even more so spiritually and emotionally. The question I find bouncing around in my head almost constantly is: Why did I receive the absolute miracle of living through it and others haven’t? The easy answer that I give myself is: God has more for me to do and purpose left for me on earth. Whether or not that purpose includes me writing all of this remains to be seen.
One distinct side effect of this life-threatening illness and its recovery has been reflecting on all of my life and wishing — almost aching, for a time machine and to re-visit the past. For me, the past is a very happy childhood and high school experience in Jacksonville, Florida, followed by an unforgettable 4.5 years in college.
I always felt that I was a little “late to the party” when I transferred to the University of Alabama in 1995. I had spent my entire freshman year at Florida State University and had pledged and initiated at the Chi Omega Sorority (Gamma Chapter) before figuring out that I was at the wrong school and needed the kind of SEC football college experience that I had always heard my older sister talk about. She had attended the University of Alabama in the late 80s, early 90s when Gene Stallings was still the head coach. She had the good fortune of being a student there for the 1992 National Championship. It didn’t take much convincing for me to decide that Alabama would be a better fit, so I transferred as a Sophomore and made plans to affiliate with the Chi Omega (Nu Beta) Chapter as soon as possible. Although I missed out on living in Tutwiler Dorm, making memories with other freshman, going through rush and bonding with the women I would later call my pledge sisters, transferring was one of the best decisions that I ever made.
For those lucky enough to have been in college in the 1990s, you know what unique times those were. They were the years leading up to a world-wide technical revolution. Landlines were not only necessary but the only means to make a phone call for 99% of the population. Those were the times when the internet was still new and so was having an email address. We couldn’t Google things we wanted to know. We couldn’t Youtube how to do something. We didn’t stream our music or movies. We didn’t have GPS to find our way. We didn’t have cell phones or devices with apps to do EVERYTHING we needed or social media to help us “stay connected.” We still took pictures with cameras but had to wait patiently to see them after they were developed. We still physically went to stores to buy things.
As basic as all of that sounds, I would give up all of the technical conveniences of the world we know today just to re-visit those years and the awesome simplicity of it all. What I wouldn’t give to be back there, in a quieter, more carefree time, like those years spent in Tuscaloosa and especially at 901 Magnolia Drive. There, I met some of the most amazing women I have ever known. There, I truly felt a sisterhood beyond my family’s tree. There, I made some of the best memories that deserve to be preserved and enjoyed. This book is not only my way of transporting myself back to Tuscaloosa, Alabama in the 80s and 90’s, but it is also a collective book of memories from contributing writers and friends.
To all of you who were so helpful and willing to share your memories, I say a humble and heart-felt thank you. I consider all of us who were young adults during those times some of the luckiest people on the planet. We were alive to really know and appreciate life before Nick Saban was Alabama’s head coach, before all of the social media craze, before cell phones were like oxygen, and before Covid-19 and all of the politics of today’s world took its toll on us as a nation. We are the people who can still ROLL with the times, but have one foot in the past and the other in the present to help today’s youth understand how we got here.

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