It was a trip of charming beauty and southern hospitality and laughter as well as prickly goosebumps because of some of the coincidences that seemed to occur . . . take this picture, for example. Honestly, the sky was eerie looking–and my DD was there to confirm this, take photos, and be equally surprised when the photos looked nothing like the real sky.
And before we even approached the town of TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, we’d been listening to Sissy Spacek’s reading of it and, it seemed, that every time she mentioned a town, we’d see a sign for it. Sure, we were in Alabama where the story takes place, but still . . .
Then, in Birmingham, I get to meet Kerry Madden, who wrote the YA Up Close HARPER LEE biography (which I bought, had her sign, and have already finished reading — EXCELLENT!). She mentions the new BBC documentary but it’s just aired and I missed it and we figure it won’t be on Netflix yet, if ever … more on this later.
And when we go to Capitol Book & News in Montgomery, AL, it’s right next door to Huntington College, where Harper Lee started college AND it’s the bookstore that gave Harper Lee her major Alabama book launch.
Anyway, as we drive through the gorgeous countryside passing cotton fields, old churches, horses, etc., I’m starting to wonder if I’m on the wrong road because signs are few and far between and my nav system seems to be having trouble finding satellites. All of a sudden, an old billboard for Dees Cash & Carry pops up. Link Dees was the man in TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD who stood up in court to support Tom Robinson and stood up to Bob Ewell in order to protect Tom Robinson’s widow. And I know we’re on the right road.
When pass the Mockingbird Cafe and I know we’re almost in town. :o)
When we stop for gas, I notice the man at the pump next to me. And guess what? He’s in the video at the courthouse about Harper Lee, “Miss Nelle” to locals. And the other video in the courthouse? It’s a continuous showing of the 1962 movie of TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD — when we walk in it’s at the part we just finished hearing Sissy Spacek read. Goosebumps.
And that BBC documentary? Not only did I get to see it, I got to meet a lot of the people in it. :o)
AND I got to do school visits at the Excel School (great students! great teacher! great questions!) as well as Monroeville Junior High School (more wonderful people) which is the old high school which Miss Nelle herself attended.
There were even more coincidences, too numerous and/or personal to mention. Let’s just say, I feel oddly “homesick” since having left. This place is definitely worth a pilgrimage . . . more coming in next post.