...where every woman over 50 is TOP DOG!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

50 Women Over 50: Harper Lee

The list is endless. Women Only Over Fifty (WOOFers) who lead vibrant, meaningful lives and just seem to get younger every day.

What can we possible say about Harper Lee that hasn't already been said, written about, published? She wrote one - count 'em - one book. Oh, but what it book it is! To Kill A Mockingbird, Pulitzer Prize winner, 1961 and Academy Award winning film in 1963, became my favorite book the first time I read it, and it still is.

Nelle (pronounced Nail in her South Alabama hometown, Monroeville) was as much a tomboy as narrator, six-year-old Scout. This is one of the reasons I so identify with the book. Jane Hybart, a childhood friend writes that, during a softball game, she intercepted a ground ball hit by Nelle and was set to tag her out at first base. Instead of letting that happen, Nelle plowed right over Jane, knocking her flat. "Like a freight train," Jane recalled. Nelle was also wild about football, and played center on her hometown 4th grade football team. My kinda gal!

I found Harper Lee's insecurity about her writing, refreshing. Reading through the early years of her life, it was easy to see the huge influence played by her supportive father; even if he did think giving up law school to move to New York to write, was an "unpractical profession." He thought she'd be much happier staying in Alabama writing for the Monroeville Journal. Had it not been for the encouragement of an old friend, Truman Capote, perhaps she would've backed out and the world might never have read, "He would be there all night, and he would be there when Jem waked up in the morning." (I still get chills when I read this final sentence)

Harper Lee was and, according to all accounts, still is her own person; a small-town, Southern girl who took a chance moving to New York to pursue her dream, when staying in Alabama, writing for the hometown newspaper, would've been the safe choice. Every time I re-read To Kill A Mockingbird, I thank her for that decision.

To learn more about Harper Lee, I'd recommend Kerry Madden's biography, Harper Lee: Up Close Amazon


For more Women Only Over Fifty thoughts & stories:

WOOF available through Amazon and Echelon Press!

Accentuate The Pawsitive!


pamojamo said...

Aaahhh, great way to start my day. Mockingbird is one of my all-time faves.

Eileen Williams said...

A remarkable woman--not only for her writing chops and the critically important message of "To Kill a Mockingbird," but also for her strength, spirit, and daring at a time when women weren't honored for those attributes. Harper Lee is a great selection to be named as a WOOFer 50!

Mary Cunningham said...

So glad WOOF got your day started in a good way, Pam!

Couldn't have said it better, Eileen. She's an amazing woman and author.

Patricia Cruzan said...

To Kill a Mockingbird was one of my favorite books. I also saw the movie. Both were awesome.

I admire Harper Lee's courage.

Mary Cunningham said...

No argument here, Pat. Thanks for stopping by!

Diana Black said...

Mary and I have long admired Harper Lee and been moved by "To Kill a Mockingbird." Each of you has beautifully voiced my feelings and thoughts, so all I'll add is...

"Hey, Boo."