On August 23, 1915, the heavens introduced a new member to the world, Mignonne Howell Caldwell. She was born in Magnolia, Mississippi to Mr. and Mrs. John T. Caldwell. Mama lived her first six years in New Jersey and Kentucky. After that the Caldwells moved back to Mississippi.
Mama said that her mother and father never really liked living in the North and were really glad to get back to the South. Mama lived the rest of her single life in Jackson. She entertained me so many times with memories of her childhood on 720 Gillespie St. As we drove the street, she would tell me where all her friends lived, where they would go to dances and play cards. Big Daddy, Mama’s father, was a semi-invalid and could not work, but Grandma taught voice at Belhaven forever and was the choir director at First Presbyterian Church in Jackson.
Mama graduated from Belhaven with a degree in English. That same summer she married my father, whom she met at a barn dance. She moved to Pickens and raised four wonderful children: Britton Hoover (Skipper) Maxwell Jr., Mignonne Maxwell (Tish) Knapp, Jen Maxwell Macy, and John Caldwell Maxwell. Most of the time we were wonderful. She joined the Methodist Church in Pickens where my father and his family were already members. Mama spent the next years being a great housewife and hands down the best mama. There are a lot of childhood memories that I will always cherish, but the most important one is of the family standing around the piano singing while Mama played all her favorite songs.
When Mama was 50, and after my father died, she decided to go back to college and get her masters in English at Mississippi College. She then taught English and Literature at Holmes Junior College for the next 15 years. She then decided to move back to Jackson and joined First Presbyterian. She later joined Brairwood United Methodist Church. She said she had too much Methodist while in Pickens to ever be a Presbyterian again. She truly loved the Briarwood family. The preaching, singing, and teaching really made her day on Sunday, and sometimes during the week she would sing a hymn that was played in Church. She was happy there, and I know that both Briarwood and her family are so blessed to have known this lady.
She passed away Monday the 27th at the age of 100. Graveside service was held on Thursday the 30th at 2:00 at Quiet Ridge Cemetery in Pickens, MS. Celebration of her life was held on Tuesday the 5th, 10:00 at Briarwood United Methodist. In lieu of flowers please make a contribution to Palmer Home for Children in Columbus, MS or French Camp in her name.