RARA-AVIS: Southern names & recent buys

From: Moorich2@aol.com
Date: 08 Apr 2002

Bill Denton asked if JDM was exaggerating as far as southern names were concerned. Whether it be nicknames or real names, it is hard to exaggerate. When I was a reporter in Georgia I often interviewed the chairman of the state house appropriations committee, a very powerful legislator, by the name of James H. "Sloppy" Floyd. Everybody called him Sloppy, his childhood nickname both at home and at the capitol. He used it when he first ran as that's what people knew him by. Little roly-poly guy like Boss Hogg in the
"Dukes of Hazzard." He died and the legislature decided to name the newly built twin tower state office buildings after him and they became "The James H. 'Sloppy' Floyd Memorial Towers" and informally the state cafeteria at the top of one of them became known as "Top of the Slop."

Real names are also a bit different. I recall my Uncle Buren (last man named after Martin Van Buren) had a great friend named Birdis Tumlin. And then there was my great grandfather who decided to name five or six of his daughters after states of the union. Whether her name contributed to Aunt Tennessee running away from home is open to question but her sisters Indiana, Florida, Georgia, Helena Virginia and Louisiana all missed her and prayed over her until she returned thirty years later.

Anyway, that's not what I intended to write about. I was in Charlottesville, VA visiting my daughters at the university there and visited again two excellent bookstores. Among my prizes were several by Michael Collins, including 1988'S MINNESOTA STRIP, the true crime collection MURDER PLUS that features articles by Jim Thompson, Hammett, Gardner, Whittington, Halliday and several others. I also picked up several by Stephen Dobyns, a writer who has recently caught my eye. One I am excited about reading was one of his
"mainstream" novels but it looks very much in line with our focus. The title: THE CHURCH OF DEAD GIRLS. I liked the opening. Without giving anything away as to plot, are there any out there who have read this one and have an opinion?

Oh, and my apologies for the typo "Huggines" in the subject line of my message on the death of Roy Huggins.

Richard Moore

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