This month my book club gals and I read the classic To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee. I first read this in Ms. Habecker's 9th grade English class. I can still see her one shoe dangeling from her foot and jingling her change softly in her pocket as she read parts of this aloud to 20 14 year old girls. I remember the major plot points from the book from that year, I remember classmates discussing the civil injustice and Amy Schramm reading aloud the line "pork, Pooorkk," with exuberant tones. After this I never thought much about the book, watched Gregory Peck in the movie a few times and then rediscoverd it in a college Lit class. Again, I fell in love with Scout, Jem and Dill and felt sorrowful at Tom Robinson's demise, as well as Boo's solitary nature. I read this book faithfully each year in the summer for a few beach years and then moved onto other books and literary re-reads. Each time I became pregnant the name Scout rang out as a major contender...but as you know I have 3 sons and the name never was used.
Thankfully Teresa in book club picked this as our April selection, the main reason being to revist a classic we had all read...4 book club members also had Ms. Habecker. 25 years later we are tying to find that key to this book.
I wanted to really go back and feel the same sensation as that 9 th grade classroom so I took out of the library the audio version. Sissy Spacek is a fabulous actress and she made these characters come alive. I still enjoyed Scout and Jem and Boo and Dill but a major character made a lasting and first time impression., Atticus Finch. As a parent, so much of what he does in his quiet, unassuming manner could be life lessons. His way of acting in his home as he does upon the street, could be all the parenting handbook we all search for from time to time. He taught his children that a natural education is as important as a structured one. He allowed both children to grown into theirselves with dignity and a chance to speak thier minds. He also had some great advice for just living day to day that resonates in me"before I can live with other folks, I have to live with myself".