Saturday, August 27, 2011

In Praise of Hush Puppies

Everyone I know is talking about The Help. The book, the movie, what you loved about them, whether they are a fair account of the way things were, on and ON. I read the book in three days and won't go another weekend without seeing the film.

But what I can't stop thinking about is how much that story aligns with my own family history. We never lived in the South, but my dad was raised in Mississippi in the 1960s: you do the math. It's fascinating to hear people talk about the movie and the book as if they were alien tales, because they really aren't. You want to know the Skeeters and the Hillys? You head to my dad's front porch in Red Banks and it will come to life. Ten minutes there and you will learn about the African American staff that raised up and supported the Harris family--Mama Lillian, Toad Frog, Doodle and Chubby. Toad Frog might even stop by. No kidding.

So as I untangle what it means to be part of this very complicated and...complicated...piece of American history (one that extends much farther back than the 1960s), I'm really enjoying the element of at least *knowing* my history. Very few people can trace their family roots the way I'm able to--back to Reverend William Harris of Bedford, Virginia, born in 1780. This website has all the juicy details from then until now, including some fascinating information on Harris soldiers in the Confederate army. Wowza.

No comments: