|The Crown Princess of Hungrytown Hollow
The Crown Princess of HungryTown Hollow
If you're a casual reader and just want to take a peek at the book, try reading a couple of pages starting on page 34 "We have wonderful family stories...."
I have been reading your book which just arrived, and I couldn't wait to tell you how wonderful it is. I just love it. It is a superb story of family and so delightfully written—I couldn't wait to tell you how interesting and entertaining it is. You have written a gem. Thank you for sending it to me—all my family will enjoy it because it is so good—and because you, a descendent, have written it so well and have befriended my children and me, in so many ways through the years. The New Yorker would love to tell your story.
I went out on errands yesterday and then treated myself to a three hour drive on the Parkway to see the laurel in full bloom. It is my spring epiphany and I never miss it.
I didn't get home until after 7, had groceries to put away, packages to undo, all sorts of mundane, et cetera. I was on my way to bed at 10 when I discovered an envelope from Sequoia Aircraft. TREASURE!
I had no idea your book was finished and ready! I read it from cover to cover immediately. You'll be surprised, no doubt, to find that it was a total tearjerker for me! It was mostly the pictures—the darling young ones of you and the so-handsome ones of Alan. (You know I considered him an auxiliary husband—mostly because he ordered me around when he visited! I had a difficult time serving my two masters—but I loved both of them!) What a strong family resemblance you carry, all of you. Ti, Lyn and Bro are visible in all of their forebears. I think I saw your mother only twice, but I knew I was in the presence of character honed and polished by life. She'd be so happy to know that you've done this book for her descendants. And how happy you must be that Alfred has the skill and talent and interest to produce such a fitting remembrance. Yours was, of course, a labour of love. It must be tremendously satisfying to hold that lovely volume in your hands.
Thank you more than I can say. Best love and grateful thanks,
Dear Aunt E,
I am positively overwhelmed! Thank you so much for this beautiful book. Now at long last I truly understand how all the people whose names I've read (Lizzie my darling wife) or heard about (Jean Dinwiddie Weldon) or actually knew (your father) fit together! It was so much fun reading the book that I couldn't put it down. I note that you wrote it some years ago. Does this mean that you may actually be working on a sequel? ("...my married life, which is another story.") It would be wonderful to continue this to include your generation and the next two after yours. I loved the mentioning of names I recognized, like Beau Pinkerton, but it was such a tease because then I wanted to know more about him, and what happened to his sister whom I knew in Cambridge?
What you did that I found extraordinary was transform those very dry genealogical charts into living human beings. Writing about things like the pass from Lincoln to get to Richmond from Baltimore, or the yard full of tree stumps housing poisonous snakes. That made those long ago people so real! And of course you tantalized the reader with all that you didn't mention -- for example the list of the three women Alfred Harris was married to. What must their lives have been like, especially the poor lady who "hath done what she could".
How I loved reading about your mother! For some reason as a little girl I called her Mumma, though I have since often heard her referred to as Grandma. I always called your father Pops and he did intimidate me! I wouldn't make a peep at the dinner table when he was at the head! I can even remember Mollie bringing the most wonderful food up the stairs from the basement kitchen.
But what I remember most was how special your mother was. She treated everyone as if we were each very important, and that was a remarkable feat when you consider how many people were running around Ingleside in the summer. One day when I was about nine she said "how'd you like to go berry picking with me?" and I jumped at the chance, all alone with Mumma! We walked for what felt like hours up the side of a mountain, and we picked and picked. It must have been blackberries. In any case I was feeling very worn out when she turned to me with a twinkle in her eye and said "do you feel like a swim?" Well of course I did, I was hot and tired. She took me to a little stream, it wasn't more than a trickle, and she took off all her clothes and lay down across the stream like a bridge. I did the same. And the water washed over us in the most wonderful cooling way, I remember thinking that this was the best "swim" I could imagine. I cherish the memory of that day.
What was strange about that memory was that it didn't feel like an elderly lady and a little girl, it felt like two friends. What a remarkable trait of hers to be able to make me feel like that!
Lots of love to you dear Aunt E,
You'll need an appendix! Penny's story is a delight.
Au naturel was the only way to take the cold water of Piney River. We partook often....
At Bellevue there was always a ladies' afternoon dip in the culvert. Everyone faced outward in a circle as changing into bathing suits was done. I fear I was caught peeping more than once....
A lady in Lynchburg fell heir to her young granddaughter during a divorce. Once, when called, the granddaughter said she couldn't come as she had no clothes on.
"Never mind," said grandma, "your body's the same as mine."
"Oh, no!" exclaimed the young one, "you've got fur on you!"
I've had another look at your book—another sniff at those dear young faces and the dear remembered ones.