Storyteller weaves tales to MCC audience
Special to The Star
Oct. 25, 2001
After talking about an older brother's scare tactics and a green rubber swimsuit that didn't last beyond the first wearing, Alabama author Kathryn Tucker Windham asked a Meridian Community College Arts &Letters audience about their stories.
Windham weaved tales of her family and friends Tuesday night, capturing the imaginations of the audience in the McCain Theater while stressing the importance of stories and people.
Her father, she said, made her listen to people as they told their stories and then remember those tales. "I draw on those memories for 75 years now," she said.
Windham grew up in Thomasville, Ala., a small town on the Southern Railroad in Clarke County. She graduated from Huntingdon College in 1939 with a major in English and a minor in history. Recognized for her achievements, Windham earned three honorary doctorates.
A newspaper reporter by profession, Windham's journalism career spanned more than four decades, from the Great Depression through the Civil Rights movement.
She has been a member of the news staffs of The Alabama Journal, The Birmingham News and The Selma Times-Journal, winning Associated Press awards for her news stories and photography.
Windham has for many years collected true Southern ghost stories and folklore.
The stories, which were prompted by the ghost "Jeffrey" in her home, have been published in six volumes. She also has told them at hundreds of gatherings in this country and abroad.
National Public Radio listeners have heard Windham's tales in various programs, including "All Things Considered."
The stories she tells are not didactic.
They are simple, straightforward and intended, she said in an earlier interview, to do little more than entertain. Some say, however, they serve as reminders of what's important and of a vanishing way of life.