Unless otherwise noted, the Kathryn Tucker Windham blog is written by her daughter, Dilcy Windham Hilley.
My brother, Ben Windham, was the meanest big brother on the planet. He teased me mercilessly and forever damaged my inner child. He rocked us zealously at the top of the Ferris wheel. He played horrible tricks on me and made me be the decoy for the enemy when he and his buddies had clay ball fights in the woods behind our house.
I adored him.
Mother often left me in his care when she had errands to run or business to attend to. Not for long stretches. Just long enough for Ben to torture me with my own ignorance.
On one such day when Mother was out buying groceries, Ben called me to the kitchen to participate in his newly discovered “magic trick.” He took a glass from the cabinet and told me to light three kitchen matches, blow them out, and put them in the glass. I obeyed every wicked order. He then got a broom from behind the kitchen door and had me climb on a stool and hold the glass with the burned matches against the ceiling. I was riveted.
He put the broom handle under the glass and had me climb down and hold the broom so the glass didn’t fall. Then he left the kitchen.
I pleaded with him to come back and help me, but all I got was evil laughter from down the hall. I balanced that broom handle under the glass until my little sucker arms could bear no more, and I let the glass fall and shatter all over the kitchen floor.
When Mother returned, I was crying and sweeping up glass with the very broom that caused my situation. Between sobs, I told her every detail of the vile incident. She never turned from unpacking the groceries. She said, “This should be a lesson to think before you do what people tell you to do. The sooner you learn that, the better.”
My mother knew a lesson taught.
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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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