Friday, May 15, 2015

"I have a vivid picture in my mind..."

------------------------ [excerpt] ----------------

...Visitors would go out of their way to drive by and take pictures of it, and of Lady's house, and if they could, the automobile that went with the house, a custom-built Minerva landaulet -- the talk of Pequot Landing.

I have a vivid picture in my mind of how the heavy doors of the carriage house would be swung open, and out would roll this peerless marvel.  We would stand around in the driveway where the Negro houseman would observe us solemnly as he flicked a turkey duster along the gleaming hood, one guarded eye watching for Mrs. Harleigh's rippling reflection in the curve of a gleaming fender when she would come out of the house.

...And there would be our neighbor, Mrs. Harleigh, seated easily and gracefully against the soft upholstery, masses of flowers in her arms to take to the cemetery.  I was sure that a word my sister, Ag, was always using must have been invented for her:  exquisite. 

She looked almost regal, always smiling, yet with sad dark places around her eyes; always with a warm nod that made you feel important -- which is to say, happy (sometimes calling out to admire your Colonel Tim McCoy badge); always with a smart hat and spotted veil tilted over her brow, her suavely gloved fingers describing friendly feathery motions through the air, as though a bunch of knockabout kids were the delight of her life; always calling "Hel-lo" in that musical voice.

------------------ [from Lady, by Thomas Tryon - 1974]


----------------- [excerpt] --------------

The Radley Place fascinated Dill.  In spite of our warnings and explanations it drew him as the moon draws water, but drew him no nearer than the light-pole on the corner, a safe distance from the Radley gate.  There he would stand, his arm around the fat pole, staring and wondering.

...A Negro would not pass the Radley Place at night, he would cut across to the sidewalk opposite and whistle as he walked.  The Maycomb school grounds adjoined the back of the Radley lot; from the Radley chickenyard tall pecan trees shook their fruit into the schoolyard, but the nuts lay untouched by the children; Radley pecans would kill you. 

A baseball hit into the Radley yard was a lost ball and no questions asked.

----------------------- [from To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee - 1960]

Reading part of Lady, I was reminded of To Kill a Mockingbird -- I am not sure why.  Maybe because both are written as if from a child's viewpoint....


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