Sadly, our company has gone back to Canada but it is nice to get back into a bit of a routine again. The first week of the month is always busy as the Dog's Home Auxiliary meets the first of the month and we're doing a big BBQ on Sunday to raise money for the home. Then my senior's association meets for dinner and meeting the first week of the month. We deal with community and political issues that relate to older people. Then the local book club meets the first week of the month but I think I am going to give it up as I have now joined my Class of 68 (Grand Ledge, Michigan) book club and am having great fun with that. Also it is not quite so prescribed as the one run locally in our wonderful Indie Book Shop.
This week I have really enjoyed pulling out the book To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee for the GL Class of 68 book group and am reading it.
I have seen the film with the wonderful Gregory Peck (1962) in it several times but had never read the book. No idea how I have gotten this far in life without reading it but it is a great book. I mean, what can I say about it that has not already been said.
I am enjoying the children, Jem and Scout, their hardworking father, Atticus who is a lawyer in the depression south (USA) representing a black man, wrongly accused of rape. The fall out for the children due to this case is as you would expect with several of the white townspeople not enjoying this situation at all. The racism is rampant. I don't enjoy books with racism as the thought of it is totally abhorrent when people are simply trying to live their lives and those of different race, religion, creed just won't let it happen. It is Scout (the young, about to be adolescent girl) and her older brother that bring the joy to this book.
Their neighbour Boo Radley, who never comes out of his house, is a constant source of curiosity and pranks and I remember living in mid Michigan in the 50's also having a house with an elderly lady in it who we were always fascinated with.
I remember Mrs. Wiseman. She lived alone in a neighbouring house in our small town of about 5500 people. She walked with a cane, stared at the children as we played near her house and the odd thing was she attended every funeral in the town. There was probably a funeral about twice a week. She could always be seen walking to the funeral home, in her black coat and heavy shoes, leaning on her cane. I don't think she knew all the people who had died but she attended their funeral. Now as an older person myself it is quite sad as she was probably just wanting some social interaction but as 10 year olds in the 1950's it was a lot scarier to us.
I remember as 10 year olds my best friend at the time and I went to her front door, rang the bell and asked her if we could do some work for her.To raise money for the movies of course, which at the time was 25 cents for children and 35 cents for adults. She invited us in, sent us upstairs to an old bedroom that was filled with newspapers and magazines and had us move them somewhere for her. I can't remember now. I remember we were overwhelmed by the old stories we saw on the front pages of the stacks of newspapers and knew those papers had been there since World War II and before.
Of course we were scared to death when we rang the bell on the porch, climbing the stairs was even scarier and we were convinced we would probably be locked into the room and no one would have any idea where we were.
We were old enough to know she wouldn't have eaten us. I have no idea what had possessed us but we did live to tell the tale and tell the tale we did.
Those were the days, when our parents threw us out first thing in the morning during our summer holidays and didn't expect us to return home until dinner time that night. The freedom we had was wonderful and no helicopter parents for us. Times have certainly changed but the book To Kill a Mockingbird certainly brings back those different, quieter times and I am finding the book very nostalgic in many ways. Living in mid-Michigan in the 50's and 60's I never saw a person of another race until I left for university when I was 18.
Like Scout and Jem did others have these people in their neighbourhoods that they were fascinated with as children?