Though not connected to a phone line or WiFi, a vintage repurposed wind phone has recently been placed in a quiet location in the woods surrounding Hattiesburg’s Lake Terrace Convention Center’s walking path, beckons visitors to make a call. The wind phone was gifted to the Center by Hiram and Melissa Kelly-Hill of Petal in memory of their only child, Nikolai Hill, who passed from a sudden and silent pulmonary embolism on Jan 7, 2021.
The wind phone is available to anyone needing to talk to someone who cannot hear them. Whether connecting to a loved one who has passed, sharing a secret, or speaking a frustration, the wind phone allows the caller the privacy and solitude to make their call. The belief is that the wind will carry the caller’s message to its intended recipient.
Moved by their significant loss, Hiram and Melissa learned about other wind phones across the United States and thought the ability to “talk” to their son over the wind phone would give them a little peace. They wanted to share this idea and concept with the people of the Pine Belt, so they selected a vintage rotary phone and worked with Pine Belt Impressions to create the wooden cabinet base for the phone, which is emblazoned with a message that reads:
Whispers in the Wind
This phone is unlike any other…
It has no service and is not connected by WiFi or wires…
Take a pause from the everyday world, take time to connect by calling those that have passed. Talk to your loved one again- reminisce and share your feelings and memories.
Let the wind carry the goodbyes you never got to say.
May this phone help you move forward, knowing that the wind is always here to help you connect.
“When the Hill family talked to us about placing their wind phone near the lakes at Lake Terrace, we were honored,” said Rick Taylor, Executive Director of the Hattiesburg Convention Commission, which manages the Lake Terrace Convention Center. “The peace and serenity of this area make this installation a wonderful way to help people in their grieving and healing process,” continued Taylor.
Itaru Sasaki created the original wind phone in the Iwate Prefecture of northeast Japan. Mr. Sasaki’s original design has received more than 30,000 visitors and has inspired wind phones to be created worldwide.
Nikolai Hill played trumpet in the Petal High School’s marching and jazz band and graduated in 2020. He completed one semester at The University of Southern Mississippi, where he was a cadet in the Air Force ROTC and created the concept design for Detachment 432’s current uniform patch. Nikolai was employed at The Lucky Rabbit for almost two years, where he shared his love and passion for all things vintage. Nikolai could connect with strangers and would often stop and speak to anyone about antiques, a bygone era, or his prized possession, a 1964 Chevy Corvair.