Two weeks after moving to Alabama I heard Monroeville mentioned on the radio in connection with Harper Lee, author of To Kill a Mockingbird. I was floored. I LOVE this novel and I hadn't remembered that it was set in Alabama. It led me on an internet search and I discovered..
1. Harper Lee is alive and well and still living in Monroe County
2. Lots of other great novels and authors have Alabama roots. Among them... Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe - Fannie Flagg, Forrest Gump - Winston Groom, and F.Scott Fitzgerald, Author of The Great Gatsby and his wife Zelda.
3. Monroeville, Lee's Maycomb, was only 2 hours away from Dothan,(Although it was two hours to the middle of nowhere and not exactly "on the way" to anywhere except the Lousiana border, but my family didn't need to know that..."
|The magnolia leaf wreaths on the courthouse doors were exquisite.|
|The courtroom is the exact room Harper Lee used to sneak into as a child and watch her father. It's also the model used for the set in the Movie "To Kill a Mockingbird".|
|Boo Radley's Tree. Apparently the exact tree is no longer in existence, but no one seemed to know the exact story on how/why. Notice all the treasures Jem and Scout found in the tree.|
Twenty minutes into our trip Dean paused the audio book and sheepishly admitted to never having actually read the book..... wait, what? yes, you heard right, Dean never read To Kill a Mockingbird. 'How is that even possible', you ask? 'It's un-American!', you exclaim! I turned my head to the window. There may have been tears.... He passed 10th grade English due in part to Gregory Peck's phenomenal performance in the movie.
I hope some day, in their own 10th grade English classes, my kiddos might remember a hot summer day in Monroeville. To Kill a Mockingbird was the first novel that really resonated with me that wasn't written by L.M. Montgomery.
After his confession our little detour to Monroeville basically turned into a trip just for me. The kids had no idea why I kept "oohing" and "ahing" and making them stop for pictures. And Dean just followed me around and indulged me. We had "Radley Burgers" at the little cafe across the street. Pretty much the only 'touristy' thing you can do here.
And then we got in the car and drove two hours back down the same little highway listening to Sissy Spaceck's beautiful Southern drawl as she told us all about Jem, and Scout. Atticus, and Boo Radley. And hate, and love, and justice, and ultimately, redemption.