In the early 1960s a little girl named Julie Carr stood before the mirror in her family hallway. Her mother, Mary Helen, whom most everyone in Brookhaven called “Babe” watched Julie admire herself and was amused when the child asked, “Do you think God would mind if I became a movie star instead of a missionary?” The question surprised Babe. She considered her younger daughter a tomboy who was usually outside playing with neighborhood friends like Debra Norwood and the Gunter siblings, TY and Renee. “I miss the ‘unhurriedness’ of the town,” reflects Julie, whose last name is now Chadwick. “Or maybe that’s just childhood.” 
What Julie misses most about those days is “My family. And the big fireplace where Daddy always built roaring fires. I remember piling on the sofa with my dad, watching Perry Mason. Daddy loved to have a big Coca-Cola and he’d drop peanuts in it.” 
Julie’s father was Mike Carr, who was born in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. His father, “Big Mike” was a railroad engineer and his mother, “Mama Lucy,” worked in a dime store. “Daddy was the first in his family to go to college. He was a remarkable, self-made man. My mother grew up with the proverbial silver spoon in her mouth. She was a real Southern Belle from Centerville, Mississippi,” which was two miles away from Camp Van Dorn where Mike Carr was stationed during World War II. “Mother and Daddy met, fell in love, Daddy went overseas, and much of their courtship was through letters. Daddy came home on leave, had been accepted to the University of North Carolina Law School, asked mother to marry him, and my grandparents, Dr. and Mrs. R.J. Field, planned a beautiful wedding in a very short time.”        
Julie proudly acknowledges her grandfather’s role, along with his brother, in building the Field Memorial Hospital in Centerville, which remained one of the finest rural hospitals in the South. He was known to his grandchildren as “Papoo.” They called their grandmother “Mama Cake”. She was the youngest of ten and straight off the plantation, literally. The Field home would remain a central setting to the Carr family over the years, for when Mike and Babe moved to Brookhaven in the early 1950s to begin his law practice, “most weekends were spent in Centerville. There were six first cousins two years apart. Horses for everyone.” 
            One of those horses was a colt named Merryboy. He was given to the Carr family by Julie’s great-aunt in exchange for legal work. “I loved riding in Brookhaven,” proclaims Julie. “It was great fun to ride on Interstate 55 when it was a red dirt road, perfect for a good, long gallop.” She also loved swimming with the horse in the family pond.
Another life-long passion born in adolescence was music. Julie began taking piano lessons from Celeste Robbins when she was six years old and continued the practice through her senior year of high school. “Miss Celeste would exclaim, ‘Great Garden Seed!’ when I made a clinker.” She learned how to play guitar while attending Camp Desoto on Lookout Mountain in Alabama. She then occasionally played guitar and regularly sang in the choir at First Presbyterian Church where her parents were both deeply committed. “Daddy was a church leader, a true leader, and felt strongly about ‘stepping up’ in leadership positions. Everyone in the community, black and white, had a deep respect for him. He was District Attorney, and then Chancellor for all my life in Brookhaven and many years after.” Julie goes on to say that her father “had a real moral calling in the law. As a juvenile judge, he often required juvenile delinquents to go to Sunday school and church.” 
            Her father’s influence as juvenile judge also affected Julie’s social life. “One Halloween all the guys in my grade decided it would be fun and cool to egg houses, so they went to Wesson and robbed an egg farm. Daddy slapped them all on probation and took away their licenses. At Christmas Dance time, no one’s date had a license,” Julie recalls. “Girls were miffed at no ride, guys were miffed at no license.” As for Julie, she herself was “boringly straight while I lived in Brookhaven and a straight A student. Nothing else was permitted in our household.” Her favorite teacher was the “delightful and dazzling” Phyllis Spearman, who taught Spanish. The coach who influenced her the most was Linda Ebbers who ran the track program and lived across the street from the Carrs. 
            “Track was my sport,” boasts Julie. “I was very good and held the long jump record for many years at 17’8 3/4”. When our schools integrated, I was the only white girl on the track team, and I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed a team or bunch of girls any more than that team.” As Julie looks back, the school district’s handling of integration is what she appreciates most about Brookhaven. “I was in high school when schools integrated. There was one ‘white’ high school and one ‘black’ high school, and Brookhaven’s response was to put two grades in one school, the other two at the other.” She believes that the community had “much less turmoil than most communities” and adds that “It was many years before there was even a private school started in Brookhaven. No need for it.” 
            Julie’s father also felt strongly about equality for every person and led the vote to integrate Belhaven College when he was the school’s Chairman of the Board. “I am much more like my father than my mother,” confesses Julie. “I inherited his often reactive temperament, his energy, his dark eyes, and his fierce sense of justice and compassion for all people. My sister, Helen, better known as ‘Cakie’, is much more like my mother,” reasons Julie. “She’s a lover of all things beautiful. And Cakie is beautiful. She was Miss Brookhaven and a cheerleader. A perfect child born four years before me.”
Today, Cakie lives in Kenya and is married to a “dashing Greek she met while pursuing her classics major in Athens. Alex is an ambassador, and their lives are wonderful. Cakie loves the “year-round temperature climate, always being surrounded by exotic flowers and greenery, the easy access to incredible wildlife, the warm and friendly people, and the fact that every day is an adventure. Where else can you gallop a horse alongside a giraffe on the run?” But Julie adds that Cakie does miss her family, particularly her five granddaughters, two of whom live in Brookhaven. “Cakie’s son, Michael, his wife Kathy, and their daughters moved to Brookhaven several years ago and love living up the street from Mother and Daddy’s house. And Babe is delighted that Michael now sings in our longstanding Presbyterian church choir.”          
            Cakie also introduced Julie to her husband, Billy Chadwick, who at the time, along with his twin brother, Barney, was Cakie’s classmate at Belhaven. “They all had long hair, cut in a sort of ‘shag’ and looked like triplets from behind. When I was a senior in high school, Cakie fixed me up on a date with Barney. Shortly afterwards, Barney was hired as the teaching pro at the Country Club, and we’d do something afterwards. One day, Barney couldn’t come, and rather than canceling his lessons, Billy showed up and posed as Barney, and I went out with Billy, thinking he was Barney.”    
A year later, Julie left Brookhaven for Belhaven, following in the footsteps of Cakie, her mother, and grandmother. “Belhaven is a Presbyterian College,” explains Julie, “and we’re deep Presbyterians.” Her major was Music & Theatre, and she won the talent portion of the Miss Belhaven Pageant by singing and performing “Killing me Softly” on guitar. 
  Music was also part of Julie’s life outside of school. “Billy and Barney always had a band. We formed a trio and played throughout college and several years later. Billy was my closest friend for a long time.” She measures that their union “was inevitable” but admits that her parents were “skeptical of Billy’s long hair. Still, they adored him from the get-go. And when we finally got engaged, they were so thrilled that they didn’t even care he didn’t have a job in Oxford.” Judge Carr was also “thrilled” his daughter and her fiancé were moving to North Mississippi. “I decided to go Ole Miss Law School and I’ll never forget his delight when he hollered ‘Remember, Carr & Carr’ as I pulled out of the driveway and drove away.”
As for Billy, he also arrived in Oxford to attend the university and pursued an MBA degree. Four years later Julie Chadwick, who only lasted one week as a law student, was finishing up a graduate degree in Communicative Disorders, and Billy was Head Coach of the Women’s Tennis Team.  One spring Friday, he was in the locker room of the main athletic facility and overheard Ole Miss football legend Buster Poole say, “I’ve got the prettiest piece of land in Lafayette County, and I’m thinking about selling it.” Poole called it his “fishing cabin,” but really it was 160 acres of mostly woods on Highway 334.     
“We spent the weekend plotting how we might could swing it,” recalls Julie. “We knew we wanted to live out in the country and were looking for land.” Billy then “used his MBA degree for the first and only time” and sold 80 acres of property to his older brother. He then used that money as a down payment to Poole, who admired the Chadwicks’ moxie and let them finance the rest at a time when interest rates were over 20 percent. “When we were able to buy the land, Coach Buster literally threw in the house,“ remembers Julie, “you could see daylight between the walls.”
With a baby due in the winter, the Chadwicks asked their friend, an architecture student named Buddy Faulkner to inspect the dwelling. “His advice was to level it. But we couldn’t afford to do that,” recounts Julie. So, they worked all summer to make the house livable and moved in during the fall. Their son, Lyon, was born in February of 1983. “We all lived in the single bedroom.” Two years later they had another boy, Carr, and added two more bedrooms to the home. 
Billy thinks back to Lyon and Carr’s childhoods and declares, “Everyone should grow up on a farm. They were able to experience firsthand the love of nature. They grew up swimming in the lake, riding the ponies in the pond, and caring for every critter imaginable.” 
Julie agrees. “Raising the kids on a farm was a dream for me. They were my playmates in the woods. And our shared music always filled the house.” 
Not surprisingly, the heart of their home is what the Chadwicks call the music room. The space is centered by a baby grand piano that previously lived in the Carr house in Brookhaven. It is surrounded by vintage guitars, basses, and Julie’s new and beautiful harp. Above it is a vaulted area that holds Carr’s drums, and there is basket full of children’s instruments under the piano. Julie says, “It was our second big addition.” ​​​​​​​
“The house was originally a tenant house, over a hundred years old,” Billy reveals. “We found newspaper for wall insulation dated 1905. It had two rooms and a kitchen. We’ve been adding to it for the last forty years, using the same the original structure with re-claimed materials like heart pine floors and beams and wood planked walls. It’s a very organic house.” It is also surrounded by rich land. The Chadwicks plucked oak leaf hydrangeas, ferns, beauty berry, and buckeye from the woods and planted them in the beds that surround the house alongside black-eyed Susans and daisies that were transplanted from Billy’s parents’ home in Jackson and English dogwoods from Julie’s parents’ yard. Their garden produces lettuces, greens, blueberries, and thornless blackberries. There is a creek and a spring-fed lake that Julie calls “the best swimming hole in Lafayette County.” They swim in it most days between spring and Thanksgiving. 
Behind the house stands a barn that is home to three horses. Julie is thankful that they are part of her routine throughout the day. “Looking out the window and seeing them play in the pond is my favorite vision.” She also loves to ride on the property’s trails that “usually follow old deer trails or an old logging road.” 
Julie also used her horses for hippotherapy at the North Mississippi Regional Center where she was a speech pathologist for thirty-three years. “Using horse movement as a modality can really provide good therapy support across the spectrum. NMRC supported my being trained and certified and built a lovely space on campus for our program.”
Julie was also busy in those days helping Billy become one of the most successful coaches in Ole Miss history.  He won the NCAA Championship titles in both singles and doubles in Men’s Tennis. “Julie was the secret to our success,” confesses Billy. “We created a family away from home for the players, and Julie was the heart of it.” The Chadwicks recruitment trips to Sweden, France, England, and South Africa assembled an international team that won five overall SEC Championships which tied football coach Johnny Vaught’s university record. 
Billy retired in 2016. Julie followed in 2018. Since then, there has been more time for music. Billy, Barney, and Julie have reformed as The Chadwick Band. They perform mostly in the pubs on the Square in Oxford alongside percussionist Ricky Burkhead. The band was slated to play the 2020 Double Decker Festival before it was canceled. Covid also nearly canceled Julie’s “highlight of every year, a Christmas Eve performance of our friend Bonnie Rideout’s arrangement of Greensleeves. Lyon is a beautiful violinist and is at the center, joined by Carr on bodhran, nephew Hudson on mandolin, me, Billy, and Barney on guitar. We carried the tradition from our wonderful, diverse church in Jackson to First Presbyterian in Oxford. When church was virtual during the pandemic year, Carr and his true love, Kate, put together a wonderful video of the rollicking jig to share with the church, family, and friends. It was our best Christmas gift.” ​​​​​​​
The most important part of Julie’s life nowadays is spending time with family. Both Lyon and Carr live in cities, Nashville and New York, and Julie loves how they relish being back in Oxford. She particularly savors how Lyon and his wife, Toni’s daughter, Harper, has taken to the farm. “She loves riding her horse, jumping in the lake, and being in the woods. She’s learning about trees and critters. Growing up in Nashville, she could be in danger of becoming a city girl, and we love to get her on the farm as much as possible.” Julie also has high hopes that her newborn grandson, Treeby, will appreciate the treasures Mississippi has to offer. Carr’s son was born during the late summer in New York City. Julie and Billy were there in Greenwich Village to welcome “Tree” home from the hospital and help their son and Kate adjust to parenthood. The boy was named after Kate’s maternal grandmother in the United Kingdom, and her mother, father, and sister plan to make the trip across the Atlantic to meet their new grandson. Julie hopes they will come to Oxford for what may be Tree’s first visit to the beloved farm.   
Nothing would make Julie happier than for Babe to be part of that celebration. She now lives in Oxford and has for over a decade. “My father died many years ago, and Mother stayed in Brookhaven, but it was getting increasingly difficult for her, and she never liked being alone. Twelve years ago, she needed emergency surgery. It made sense for her to come to Oxford where we were for the procedure, and then it just made sense for her to stay here. Leaving her home and friends in Brookhaven was terrifically wrenching for her, but she backed her ears, moved to an assisted living facility, and has done a wonderful job making a new chapter in her life,” claims Julie who adds, “Mother has hosted a bridge table in her apartment for many years.” ​​​​​​​
Within Babe’s apartment are many mementos from her life in Lincoln County, including her wedding album and framed photographs of her late husband with his daughters and grandchildren. One prize collage of pictures was taken at the annual Harvest Ball when Julie was Queen. “I think I was a senior in high school.” Among the images is a “wonderful picture of my escort Billy, with long hair, a very scruffy beard, and a ridiculously wide-lapeled fitted green suit, looking like a leprechaun.” Below that snapshot is an even more magnificent photograph of the young and beautiful Queen standing proudly beside her father, mother, Mama Cake, and Cakie. She may not have been the movie star the little girl in the Carr hall daydreamed of being, but, boy, she has shone brightly.     ​​​​​​​
Back to Top