(Unless otherwise noted, the Kathryn Tucker Windham blog is written by her daughter, Dilcy Windham Hilley.)
Mother and Harper Lee were not longtime friends. They first met in August 2003 at the Alabama Academy of Honor where Mother was being inducted.
To Mother’s astonishment, Harper Lee, long a member of the esteemed Academy, had nominated her for inclusion. “I had no idea she knew who I was!” Mother said upon receiving notification.
They would become fast friends after that hot August day in Montgomery. They shared correspondence and an interest in almost everything. When Miss Lee became more bound to her assisted living quarters, she often would send for Mother to “come entertain me.”
Please come to see me, Kathryn. My life here is Hebrews 13:8….
Mother liked to take Miss Lee something for entertainment purposes when she made her visits to Monroeville. She’d take newspaper clippings or a copy of a new book she’d written. On one occasion, Mother took some of her recently unearthed photographs from the 1940s and ‘50s to show her. Miss Lee was delighted and asked if she might have a print of a particular photograph to hang in her sparsely-decorated sitting area. Mother, of course, was happy to oblige, and, the next time she visited, she and Miss Lee drove a nail in the wall and hung the picture.
A few days later, a note from Harper Lee arrived in Mother’s mail. It read:
18 November ‘08
My dear Kathryn:
Eudora Welty’s photographs are famous, but your one
picture of the lady with the rooster beats her whole
collection. It’s wonderful!
Much love from your Biter
(“Biter” was a term of endearment that’s a story for another day!)
“Woman with Rooster,” along with other limited edition photographs by Kathryn Tucker Windham, are available on this website.
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"Some people are important to intellectuals, journalists, or politicians, but Kathryn Tucker Windham is probably the only person I know in Alabama who is important to everybody."
–Wayne Flynt, Professor Emeritus in the Department of History at Auburn University.
Ben Windham & Dilcy Windham Hilley
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