Last week I attended a teachers' workshop in Monroeville, Alabama, Harper Lee's hometown, on how to teach her novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. That book has found its way deep into my heart. Lee based her fictional town, Maycomb, on Monroeville, the town where she grew up next door to writer Truman Capote, after whom she modeled the character Dill Harris.
Much of Monroeville has changed since Lee and Capote were children. Both their homes are gone; her family's lot now houses Mel's Dairy Dream; the site of his summer home now is just the stone foundation. The jail on the courthouse square has been remodeled beyond recognition and now houses the Monroe County Human Resources department.
But the courthouse is unchanged. Universal Studios came to Monroeville when it was filming the Academy-Award winning movie based on Lee's book. They recreated every last detail on a Hollywood set. I've watched the movie nearly as often as I have read the book - perhaps a dozen times. As readers of the book know, the dramatic height of the novel is the trial of a black man falsely accused - and convicted - of raping a white woman.
So you understand why, when I walked into the courtroom, I nearly burst into tears. Tears of joy that a writer could create such a world from the confines of her imagination. Tears of joy that the world she invented a half century ago still makes its readers laugh, and cry, and rail for justice that still eludes us.
Linking with Amanda.