Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Death of A Legend, Katherine Tucker Windham

When the Lord calls loved ones home, He leaves memories in exchange. IN the case of Katherine Tucker Windham, those memories will be accompanied by her WORDS. My heart is both saddened and joyful...Katherine Tucker Windham was called home. Ms. Windham was a living history for so many who grew up in the south. Her stories, recipes and tales weaved a tapestry that will forever blanket those who knew her  in comfort. On a personal note, those that know me well or read my blog regularly, know she was a great influenence in my life. I am blessed for the times our lives crossed. Her legacy will live on in future generations. Peace to you, KTW. You will be greatly missed, yet never forgotten.

(Photo taken in 2007)

Here is a post from long ago of my many meetings with Ms. Windham. This one was a coverage of her coming to our city and doing what she does best, Telling Tales!
  By Leigh B for The H City News, 2007

There were some lucky people that packed into the Helena City Hall on Friday, July 6. Many at the free but registration-required event probably didn’t realize the zenith of joy they would experience during the evening. Jane B. Holmes Public Library Director Victoria Ashford had something great in store. She arranged for the legendary author Kathryn Tucker Windham to come and speak or "tell tales" as Windham would say. Initially the event was to take place in the library meeting room, but with an overwhelming response, it was moved to city hall.
Kathryn Tucker Windham, a young 89, spent the evening recalling stories of days- gone-by with the sharpness of someone in their youth. It was as though listeners boarded a time-machine and were transformed back into the past. Today, she is one of America’s best-loved storytellers. Windham was born in Thomasville, Alabama in 1918, but today she calls Selma home. Windham is the author of 25 books, is a playwright, an accomplished photographer and popular public television and radio personality. Her ghost stories, which she first collected in Thirteen Alabama Ghosts and Jeffrey, have been favorites for generations. Her thoughtful and poignant stories about growing up and living in the South secured her an audience of all ages when she was featured on National Public Radio. Her commentaries are still heard every Friday morning at 7:30 a.m. on Alabama Public Radio.
Though ghost stories are what brought Windham her fame, she has also written several cookbooks and collections of stories recalling "the good old days" and is a renowned historian. Many in the historical community would agree that her work is documentation of Alabama’s social history. As interesting as her books may be, you really haven’t experienced Kathryn Tucker Windham’s greatest gift until you have seen or heard her "tell a tale." Windham offered listeners stories of yesteryear that were filled with humor and detail as well as words of advice ranging from, "If everyone would take a daily nap, the world would be a better place. Some people need to sleep longer than others" to the ever important, "Never! Never! Never put sugar in cornbread!" Mrs. Windham stood before the crowd and wove a tapestry of vivid tales for two hours which flew by much too quickly.
She was extremely gracious and took questions from the crowd before offering to sign books and calling it a night. Windham’s stories have a way of grounding us in some way. They remind us all of what’s important, of a vanishing way of life now being replaced with shopping malls, computers and answering machines. Windham views telling stories as a common thread linking each of us together. "All southerners are born to tell stories, we need to tell stories. We need to tell them more—a whole lot more, there is something about story telling that binds us all together," she said.
Mrs. Windham’s speaking engagement was made possible by the Jane B Holmes Public Library and its director, Victoria Ashford, the library staff and the following sponsors: FOX6 WBRC-TV, Publix at Crow’s Corner, Best Western - Riverchase Inn and ACE Hardware of Helena. Jane Boyd Holmes Public Library, located behind city hall at 230 Tucker Road, has a staff trained to assist you with your information needs. Drop by the library and practice what Mrs. Windham preaches, "If you can read, you can learn anything you need to know."


4thelove! said...

oh no....I never took the time to read or listen to anything she read or wrote..even after you told me so many times. I will be sure to do so this summer in memory of her and all the wonderful things you always said about her :) HM

Susan said...

She was truly a treasure and will be sorely missed. I love her stories and tales. Those of us who were born and raised in Alabama can certainly relate to them and her fabulous way of telling the stories. I loved your article and I know you'll treasure your memories of her.

Jan@southernjunkin' said...

A treasure, a great lady who will be missed by so many. She added so much to so many...

Jane said...

I wish I could have heard her stories. Treasures, like her, are so rare...
I'll be looking for her books.
Thanks for telling us about this wonderful woman.

Anonymous said...

I heard her speak many times and never was disappointed. What a treasure we have lost. Thank you Katherine for all the wonderful years you shared your stories with us.

jennifer said...

What a blessing that you were able to meet her and hear her speak in person. The south has lost an icon.

Stacey said...

I was lucky enough to hear her and meet her twice, the first time was just a few years ago and just last fall @the Birmingham Downtown Library where I took my 11 yr old to her her tell a story .... It's a memory I will always Cherish!!!!

Stacey said...

I was lucky enough to hear her and meet her twice, the first time was just a few years ago and just last fall @the Birmingham Downtown Library where I took my 11 yr old to her her tell a story .... It's a memory I will always Cherish!!!!