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The city of Brookhaven will always be home base

Recently my husband and I attended the funeral of my dear aunt, Mrs. W.L. “Velma” Taylor in Brookhaven. She was an active member of the community there and many will remember the impact she made. She was married to William L. Taylor and they had two sons, Harry — who still resides in Brookhaven — and Jimmy, who lives in North Carolina.

Through the years, Aunt Velma hosted the annual Love family reunions for us at her home, the Old Brooke Place. Her legendary skills as a hostess were unbeaten and Brookhaven became home base for those of us from Mississippi as well as several other states. The hospitality that she and the people of your city extended to us was unmatched. It will always be “home base” to us.

Following the graveside service, Velma’s daughter-in-law Lynn Taylor asked Velma’s very talent granddaughter Lara Taylor if she would like to play the street piano in memory of her grandmother.  Editor’s note: The “street piano” is located outside Downtown Music Academy on South Railroad Avenue downtown.

Lara played “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and “What a Wonderful World” as my sister Melinda, Lynn and her husband Harry, and Lara’s partner Patrick celebrated the life of this wonderful woman and the impact she had on our lives. Lara’s notes on your street piano echoed down “main street” and across the railroad track as we remembered our children growing up, family reunion by family reunion.

Thank you for providing the setting for this moment that will shine in our memories.

Brookhaven will always hold a piece of our hearts. Thank you, kind citizens.


Becky and Sam Wilkes, Mathiston, Mississippi