I am enraptured! Enchanted! Transported! By Kathryn. And She.
The first time I saw Kathryn Tucker Windham was circa 1984. My sweetheart and I had fled the stifling confines of Montgomery, Alabama for a refreshing jaunt to the Pecan Festival held near Monroeville. We hadn’t been there long when I spotted her. A white-haired woman in her late 60’s wearing a distinctive hat adorned with flowers, smiling with mischievous glee. She was telling stories about a ghost named Jeffrey to a crowd listening with rapt attention. “Hah! That’s your name!” I said to my very own (and very much ALIVE!) Jeffrey standing beside me. Never had I seen a storyteller entertain people like this before. I was ENTHRALLED! My Jeffrey had to drag me away after a while for I could have hung out there the whole time missing the rest of the festival and pecan goodies.
Thus, it was Kathryn Tucker Windham, one of the VERY BEST storytellers of all time, who first introduced me a full ten years early of what was to be my life’s calling! I remember nothing else of the festival, only Kathryn’s charming, southern voice rolling gently across the humid air to my eager ears.
Kathryn documented her long, story-filled life in several books and many, many, many storytelling venues. Those who witnessed her telling tales in person before her death at the age of 93 in 2011 were incredibly blessed. Incredibly!
I just finished reading her last book. >sigh< It was everything, and more than, I hoped for.
She: The Old Woman Who Took Over My Life
Oh my, my, my. She moves into Kathryn’s home and causes all kinds of mischief. The stories are so beautifully worded, and touch on the universal themes of family, childhood, aging, food, small town life, and more.
When I get this infatuated with a book, I’ll do immersive research related to the subject of my infatuation. I discovered a documentary from 1989 The Spirited Life of Kathryn Tucker Windham I very much enjoyed it. The video quality isn’t the best, but it does a fine job filling in biographical details about Kathryn’s life up to that date. I especially loved seeing the scrapbook pages her artistically gifted husband, Amasas made before his far too early death in 1956.
I also found her website Kathryn Tucker Windham and joined it. Her two surviving children write a blog together sharing further stories about Kathryn. It is excellent!
There is more! In her later years, Kathryn had a lovely friendship with a neighbor, artist Charlie “Tin Man” Lucas. Their friendship is chronicled in a documentary The Tin Man and the Storyteller. I saw it several years ago. It is excellent. I hunted all over for it, this is the only bit I could find! Darn.
I am only 53 years old, and yet, I have seen She lurking near my home. I believe She is casing the joint; considering it for future residence. Thanks to Kathryn’s book, I am forewarned and forearmed! When She inevitably decides to move in, I know She will bring a determined effort to shrink me, change my diet, and smirk at my old age foibles. I also know I’ll now be better prepared to manage the disruptions and changes She will bring into my life with dignity, and a healthy dose of ARTitude thrown in for good measure. I have been so blessed by Kathryn Tucker Windham’s words of wisdom.