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.