50 Years Ago

2012 is the 50th anniversary of the movie, To Kill a Mockingbird.  I was 12 years old then and the movie made a huge impression on me.  When desegregation came to my Texas high-school in 1964, I was ready to accept the goodness of people who merely appeared to be different from myself and I was not disappointed.  Calvin Grant, Regina Grant and their cousins were the kindest, most honorable folks.  Calvin and I were in the same grade and we rode the same bus home from school and we struck up a friendship that most likely never would have developed if not for integration.

When my husband was stationed  at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC, we lived in apartments that had mostly African American families.  In fact, we were the only White couple!  And guess what - we were invited to join the apartment's bowling league; which we did.  And we had fun.  And we continued to learn that the amount of pigment in a person's skin does not make them different in the areas that really count: honesty, integrity, faithfulness, truthfulness - in other words: Character.

The amount of pigment has nothing at all to do with one's character.

Back to To Kill a Mockingbird.  Supposedly the final courtroom speech by Gregory Peck was done in one take.  In one take.  I find that amazing, considering we have politicians who can't speak a single sentence without a teleprompter!

Gregory Peck will always be Atticus Finch to me.  

The final courtroom scene.  Filmed in one take!

Another literary work that impressed me as a 12 year old was Rachel Carson's Silent Spring.

According Wikipedia, "The book documented detrimental effects of pesticides on the environment, particularly on birds. Carson accused the chemical industry of spreading disinformation, and public officials of accepting industry claims uncritically."  Hmmm - some things haven't changed so very much in the last 50 years, huh?

My parents came from relatively poor farming families and did things in the old ways, which means I grew up eating organic food from our gardens, and ate beef we bought from their friends who raised their own meat in rural central Texas.  Mama baked bread, pies & cookies and we seldom ate out or ate any processed foods.  There is only one I can remember: Kraft Macaroni and Cheese in the blue box!  I'll have to ask my 90 year old mom why that is the one thing she didn't make from scratch!

Because of my upbringing and Silent Spring, I've had an interest in doing things "natural".  Of course not always - but a lot of my decisions as an adult were grounded in those childhood influences.  

So, there you have them - two things from my twelfth year of life that made a huge impact on me.

Which childhood books and movies have affected your life?  I'd really like to know. . . there may be important works I'm not familiar with.  And there's always room to grow.  Even when 62!

Have a great weekend.



  1. I think I was older than 12 when I read Corrie Ten Boom's "The Hiding Place" . I'm not sure how it changed me, other than make me aware of a part of history that must have been a major issue in our fathers lives. The older I get the more I understand some of my Dad's characteristics that more than likely came from fighting that war and being of German decent. I have read many stories along this same line and just can't seem to put them down. My dad refused to talk of this time in his life, and I guess this is how I fill in the blanks.

    1. Nancy, I don't remember how old I was when I read "The Hiding Place", but still remember how God had good come from all those fleas! It is a very inspiring book. . . . .

  2. Vera, Please tell us your mothers answer to the Kraft Mac & Cheese question. I'm really curious.

    1. I asked mama yesterday about the mac/cheese. The bottom line? Store-bought cheese just didn't produce the yummy mac/cheese of her childhood and she decided it wasn't worth the effort to make it homemade. The blue box produced mac/cheese that didn't taste that much different from homemade using store-bought cheese!

      Oh yeah - we come from a long line of food Nazis!

  3. Truthfully. Ok..I shall be truthful here. :) I'm afraid I've been judgemental in an area that perhaps I should not be discussing publicly. I judged Marilyn Monroe. I saw her in "Niagara" and decided..then that she was a bit of a floozy because rumor had it that she didn't wear undies. Another one I judged was Shelly Winters. Again, the gossip of teens...and it took me many years before I realized..(not on a pantie or no pantie issue) not everyone THINKS alike. Not everyone stays chaste until marriage. The old "good girl, bad girl" thing was instilled in me pretty strongly. I raised four girls and three boys and I know they were certainly not saints, no matter how much training I did. Just a fact.
    I, perhaps, grew up? :)
    Later in life, it was John Steinbeck's East Of Eden that taught me a few things about people. Example: Pretty by no means makes a person good. :) Not by a long shot, NOR does it make them bad. Sort of the same way you learned about the color of ones skin.
    Sad that so many do.
    So.."Never judge a book by it's cover" pretty much covers one of lifes biggest lessons for me.

    Thanks for stopping by.. About the Geranium. I have NO idea where I got it or what the name of it is. I have had it for about six years. Maybe longer. It's a wonder that little bitty bit of it survived. When it gets large enough..and I mean this..and you still haven't found it...I will wrap a piece of it in dampened moss and mail it to you. :) I promise...and you can raise your own. :)
    Remind me..

    1. Oh Mona - thanks for sharing your heart! I know what you mean. As a young child I was not allowed to play with children from a divorced home. And guess what - my dearest friend for 30+ years had divorced parents and her mom married and remarried several times.

      Speaking of "growing up". . . my soon-to-be 91 year old mom recently commented about how stupid she was when younger. She was real particular about religious denominations when I was growing up. And after I was married, too! ;)

      I will keep looking for that gorgeous pale pink geranium, but if I don't I will be sure to remind you of your kind, generous offer!

      OK - I'm off to see what you're up to today!