Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Kathyrn Tucker Windham

My hero, Kathryn Tucker Windham, died one year ago today.  She had just turned 93. What a loss for me, the whole state of Alabama, and storytellers everywhere!

Mrs. Windham was in her late eighties when I met her, but I had been a fan of her books for many years before that.  She came to UNA for a program a few years ago.  Some said she wouldn't draw a crowd, but they were so wrong.  My granddaughters, one in kindergarten and the other in fourth grade at the time, went with their friends to the performance, and they all loved her.  After she finished telling stories, Mrs. Windham sat for hours and signed her books for everyone who wanted her to.  My granddaughters treasure their signed books, even more so since she has passed away.

When we sat on the porch on the hot summer nights of my youth, hoping to catch any stray breeze that happened by, we listened to Daddy tell stories.  Some of them he told so often, we could repeat them almost word for word.  If there had been choices, we would have preferred going to the movies or visiting our girlfriends.  Only a storyteller can understand how deeply I wish I had written all those stories down before I got the CRN disease (can't remember nothing, for the uninformed).

We lived through the years where we were too cool and sophisticated to sit still and listen to stories, but I am so over that.  In the last few years, I have grown to love this art of storytelling. Of course, my daddy and most of the other storytellers of my youth are no longer with us.

We have attended several festivals where Mrs. Windham was telling her stories.  I had the honor to meet her and speak with her personally.  We have missed her this year every time we have listened to stories.

You can hear some of her stories on YouTube.com.