A fine storyteller died last weekend. Kathryn Tucker Windham grew up in Thomasville, Alabama and later moved to Selma, Alabama, my mom and dad's home town. I learned a little about Kathryn on a visit to Selma back in the 1990's. My mom had taken me on a grand tour of spots that she wanted to share with me of her town, one of which was Sturdivant Hall. A grand old home that has been restored. There was a gift shop in the old detached kitchen and cook's quarters out back where I found Kathryn's books on ghosts of Alabama. I brought back a book for my girls then realized I already had some of her books from other times my mom had visited Selma and brought them back.
My girls loved a good ghost story and Kathyrn's filled a spot with her collected stories. She was a storyteller, who learned this from her father. No TV or high tech gadgets to interfere with sitting by her father as he wove a tale. Thus was her beginnings of collecting and sharing stories from others that their parents or family had told them, passed on to any that would hear them. She has many books and up until her death at 93 was still receiving more stories. If one gives up the gift of storytelling and sharing of them, how many stories will die? How many will go unsaid? I guess that is why I write.
Maybe my family have too much to do than sit and ask me to tell them a story of when I was growing up or about their ancestors. Maybe I don't know how to share a story that makes them want to listen. Storytelling has to be drawn out and said slowly and clearly. I just know that the older I become the more that I wish I had my Nan to have shared some stories of her life. I wish I had any of my grandparents to have told me about their lives. Something that would let me understand who my ancestors were, what they did, who they married, who their children were and so on. I have fragments.
So the photos I have here are from another decrepit photo album of an old home in a box from my mom's house. I am not sure if this is the home my Grandfather wrote of that burned down that is in Marion Junction or this is the old homestead of Mud Hall between Marion and Marion Junction, though even that home doesn't exist any longer. Both homes have been replaced and my mom lived in the rebuilt one in Marion Junction till her father died. I just know that looking at these photos I am absorbed by the unknown. The old photo quality that doesn't have the sharpness of digital, let alone color, but what it has is a story. I don't know who the people are in the photo on the bales of cotton but I am sure they are relatives. Unknown but they are not forgotton...not by me.
Hearing Kathyrn's voice in the video brings up memories of the voices of Selma I have heard. I think of my Nan and her Southern voice...it calls me...I am sitting waiting for my story...