The fourteen year old girl who appears on the cover of this book was Katherine, the person around
whom all the other characters in this book revolve. Born at the turn of the 20th Century, she faced the transition
of being the daughter of a wealthy New Orleans doctor to being the single mother of three children at the height
of the Great Depression.
This memoir is told by the youngest child. Raised in a cultured environment, but driven by hunger
to go to work at the age of eight, his world was shaped before he was born by Mimi, his witchcraft practicing maternal
grandmother, and Dr. William J. Schmidt, his wealthy and talented grandfather. His survival was in part made possible
by Dr. Horton, the cranky country doctor who played God and Robin Hood in this small coastal town, his Aunt Thelma who
left the nunnery to become a successful executive in New York, his Grandmother Lola who lost the family fortune but gave
refuge to her daughter and her children, and his millionaire Godfather, H. Grady Meador, whose wife prevented her husband
from adopting his Godchild.
This story of four generations of a colorful and talented family spanning the Civil War, World War I,
the Great Depression, and World War II, deals with the social and ethnic evolution of this unique and colorful era of
Americana, and culminates with the narrator marrying his high school teacher. Set in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, and
New Orleans, Louisiana, a half century before these areas were devastated by Hurricane Katrina, William Karl Thomas has
written this memoir of his childhood with the same classic American prose style as his first memoir, "Lenny Bruce: The
Making of a Prophet," about his ten year collaboration with the most controversial comic of the 20th Century. With it
he has offered another very intimate and revealing slice of American history with all the good and bad, the agony and
ecstasy of growing up among the Genteel Poor.
Read the following
excerpt from this book.
(4.0 out of 5 stars)
So Revealing!! By Marco, April 30, 2014
Perfect book with Mothers' Day approaching. This story is about the author growing up in a small Mississippi
Gulf Port town,Bay St. Louis, with his Mother as a single parent. He includes photos; His Mother was beautiful
both physically and spiritually. Only a good author and excellent photographer can capture both. They were not
rich financially, but Katherine always made ends meet, and instilled values that do not suffer during depressions
or recessions. Town people are very interesting, include famous sculptor Richmond Barthe, and the author's High
School teacher that he wound up marrying (today she would be in jail). The book also takes us back and forth to
New Orleans where William spent a great deal of his life. A good read, and you get insight into the make up of
this man's world.
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