Day 12: Meeting Scout

21 Feb

Harper Lee died yesterday, and I have so much I could write about.

Like: my love for To Kill a Mockingbird, the epic road trip we made one afternoon to Monroeville, the naming of our Scout.

But, instead, it reminded me of the day we met the woman who portrayed the character of Scout in the movie version of To Kill a Mockingbird.

So this is a story, not about Harper Lee, but about her amazing creation–a creation who, I believe, will last through the centuries (or as long as people read).


If I remember correctly, I was a having a bit of a hectic day. McKenna and Delaney (my now 24- and 19-year-olds) were still in school and had research they needed to do at the public library downtown.

I was tired (I certainly remember how three kids at home made you feel very tired most hours of the day), and I tried to look on the bright side of things and not regret the sleeping-in I could have had on a Saturday morning.

I was quickly, though, taught a valuable lesson that I already knew was true: Don’t get in a negative state of mind, lest you miss the joys coming your way!

When we arrived at the library, we soon realized that some big event was going on.

A few quick looks around and we realized that it had to do with the fact that April was To Kill a Mockingbird Month in our county (they were sponsoring the book with sort of a county-wide “book club,” encouraging people to read or re-read it and to celebrate the book for its lasting importance).

To Kill a Mockingbird is by far my favorite book of all time, is Gary’s first or second favorite, and all the girls (well, except Sydney at the time) have read it. The book is beautifully written, has some of the most beautifully crafted characters ever; and, most importantly, teaches the most life-affirming lessons.

We also love the movie and have watched it more times than we can count! (We all get goosebumps just talking about the scene where Gregory Peck’s Atticus walks out of the courtroom and Scout is instructed to, “Jean Louise, stand up. Your daddy’s passin’.” She realizes, then, what a man-among-men her father is.)

And, if you didn’t doubt our love for it, we seriously considered naming Sydney “Scout” after the book’s amazing main character; although we didn’t officially give her the name, we (and most of her friends) still call her Scout most of the time.

I walked over to one of the tables displaying brochures and bookmarks and told the man standing there, “This is my little Scout.”

He smiles and tells us that the “real” Scout will be here soon. Mary Badham, the actress who played Scout in the movie when she was 10-years-old, would be doing a lecture at the library about her experiences in the movie. I began beating myself for not knowing all of this was going on; I would have so been on the first row to hear her!

Then, from the door came the prettiest lady who looked JUST like Scout from the movie (even though she was probably 55 to 60-years-old at this time). She stopped to talk to a few people, then walked right over to Sydney and kneeled down beside her.

I told her that she is “our Scout,” and she said to her: “Well, hello Scout. I’m also named Scout,” and then went on to compliment her on her pretty dress (she was wearing her favorite red-and-black dress with crinoline under it… yes, my Scout has to wear a Sunday dress just for a trip to the library!), telling her that she had a dress almost just like it when she was little.

Sydney thought she was just a nice, friendly lady and surely couldn’t understand why I was so gah-gah over her. I chatted with her for a few moments, but then she was on her way!

Needless to say…it was an absolute thrill and a memory I still treasure to this day.

Years later, as I think of Harper Lee’s passing, I think of the random moment I had with part of her amazing literary creation.

Long live Scout. Long live Harper Lee.


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