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Andalusia Farm Blog: Donor had met Flannery O'Connor | Arts & Culture

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Andalusia Farm Blog: Donor had met Flannery O'Connor
Andalusia Farm Blog: Donor had met Flannery O'Connor

Dear FO'CA,

I am enclosing my check for $50, and I wish I had a million to contribute. I am a 79-year-old widow (for 14 years), and I live on Social Security and a very small pension. But my gratitude and love for Flannery O'Connor know no bounds. It's funny, I had just said goodbye to a luncheon guest, Jeff Blake, who is also an avid O'Connor fan, when I found your request in my mail. We had shared our books and talked about O'Connor at great length.

He was fascinated with my photos of her, and the fact that I had visited her when I was a student at Wesleyan in Macon. He asked to copy them, and I was glad to let him do so. The photos were taken by Dr. Thomas Gossett who is mentioned in The Habit of Being along with his wife, Louise, and he sent them to me during the time that we corresponded after we had both left Wesleyan, up until the time of his death several years ago, of pancreatic cancer.

I first read O'Connor's story "Good Country People," while lying on a blanket out in my back yard in Decatur, the summer before I was to go off to Wesleyan. I believe it was in "Harper's Bazaar" magazine. I had been raised a Southern Baptist, and I was both fascinated and puzzled by this story. Was this author a man or a woman? Was he/she making fun of the South? Of religion? Later, I read A Good Man is Hard to Find and was delighted to understand a bit more about O'Connor. When I went to Wesleyan and learned that she lived a short distance away, I couldn't wait to go out there and meet her. And the opportunity to do so was provided by Dr. Gossett, and also another professor, Dr. Warren Gignilliat, who took his Writing Lab students out one day.

I remember having lunch at the Sanford house with O'Connor, her mother, and Katherine Anne Porter. I was paralyzed with awe, and I didn't open my mouth. But the talk around the table was very interesting.

(Continue reading on andalusiafarm.blogspot.com)

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