Monday, October 4, 2010

All The Blue Jays You Want

I grew up in a family of readers. Now, as a brace-faced, shy, stage-manager-of-the-school-plays-middle schooler, this did not do a great deal for my social standing but it did forever solidify my relationship with books. Two books in particular, Little Women and To Kill A Mockingbird. Growing up I forced my sister and childhood friends to "play" Little Women. I, of course always got to play Jo while Laura was forced to be Beth. Sorry Laura. But this is not about one of the many ways I used to torment my sister, it is about the way that To Kill A Mockingbird has attached itself to me as I have grown up. Last night as my roommates got ready for bed, I sat transfixed in front of our television watching the 1962 film version of the book play on TCM and thinking of the ways I could describe my relationship with a book.

 As a child I was fascinated by Jem and Scout's adventures with Boo Radley and began searching our backyard full of trees for presents that one of our neighbors might be leaving for me and Laura. Disappointment was the obvious result. Interest in history progressing, I then read the book with a new-found appreciation for what it relayed about race relations in the American South. However, it was not until a few years ago that I came to fully realize why I am so attached with this book. To Kill A Mockingbird is a part of me because my father is Atticus Finch.

Ok, this is clearly from the movie but you get the idea.
No, Gregory Peck is not my father's twin (though I do think there is some resemblance). I mean that my father is the same kind of man that Harper Lee's character was. Honest, possessing a clear definition and right and wrong, generous and modest, I grew up with Atticus Finch.  I also believe that Atticus (aka Dad) put forth a great effort to raise daughters that [hopefully] are open-minded, judicious, and kind. So as the movie ended last night and I felt the wave of homesickness rising up I was then immediately thankful that something as seemingly simple as a book can make you feel close to people that are far away.

In true Atticus Finch stlye, my dad is probably mortified that I wrote this so I won't go on and on with my favorite quotes, scenes from the movie. etc. but looking back I would tell my terribly self-conscious, mediocre-soccer-playing-middle-school self that she is lucky. Thanks for reading!


1 comment:

  1. I am a little new at posting comments on blogs, so if this posts twice, I apologize, but I am of course highly flattered by the comparison. Who doesn't like and admire Atticus Finch?! My father always reminded me a little of him. There is a scene in the movie when Tom Robinson has been killed and Atticus says he will go tell Tom's family. The woman from across the street, who was to then watch the two Finch children, says that there are some people who the world always seems to ask to do the really hard jobs, and Atticus is one of those people. My father was one of those people and it has always been something I aspired to do. Thanks Mary and keep writing. Dad.