My friend and I were talking about addictions, and how many of us have addictive personalities/addictions lurking in our dna. I have always been grateful that because of the whole "mormon thing," I've always chosen not to drink. With our family history this is probably a good thing for me. I could very well see me as the mom sneaking a drink or two in between laundry loads. Just being honest. Anyway, I was thinking later that everyone has a way of esc
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escaping and I can tell you, mine is reading. When it's time to pick up one of my books on hold, I get positively giddy about hearing the sound of the library doors swoosh open and smelling the new carpet smell...heaven. When I have a moment to spare at home, I grab my book and scan as many pages as I can before getting back to life.
So on that note, the book I want you to read as soon as you can is "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett. Fabulous. Here is my Goodreads review:
Fabulous. I cannot recommend this book enough. It has stayed with me for days since reading, and caused me to ask many questions about my family's history in the south. A must read. There were a couple points in the story when it dragged just a bit, but still well worth it. The book is set in 1960, in Jackson, Mississippi. The civil rights movement is in full swing, tension everywhere in all walks of life is constant. The book centers on three of the most unlikely to affect things in such a major way: two black maids, and one smothered white woman from a priviledged family. They are fed up in their own ways, and end up taking a path that could be disastrous for them all.
A short review, I know, but I don't want to give too much away. I spoke with my mom afterwards and asked her about her memories of civil rights in the south. I also remembered, that among the pictures from Great-grandmother's house, was one of my great-aunt and uncle, snuggled up with an African-American woman under the big oak tree in the backyard. I did not recognize this person, and could not recall who it might be. In my naivite at such a young age, the thought of the person being part of the "help" did not cross my mind. I thought maybe it was a friend. The picture is set in the early forties. There are a couple others with this woman in it, but she is always hovering in the background, not really in the shot on purpose.
I had to get my courage to ask my mom about it, because for awhile I wasn't sure I wanted to know. Knowing how your dear relatives might have treated African-Americans is the kind of thing that can completely alter how you view them. I mean, yes, I get that times were different and there were accepted lines you didn't cross, etc. etc. But one can still hope that their ancestor was one of the kind ones.
All my mom could remember was that she did have a maid for a long time, and her name was Eva. She said she remembered that once a an African-American came to the front door and she made them go around to the back because that's the way it was. But she did say that Grandmother paid for Eva's social-security so that she would have that in the future, and that was something you most definitely did not have to do at the time, so I guess that was a good thing.
In the end we can't change what our predecessors did or did not do. The thing about family is you are related to people no matter what. You get the good, bad, and the ugly as well. All we can do is learn from the past and teach our children good and kind principles.
This book was wonderful, and really brought the civil rights issues in a very real and honest way. Great writing; beautiful, full characters. I felt like the characters were written so fully and so perfectly that I could pick up the phone and call one of them. That sounds really lame, but hopefully you know what I mean.