Monday, April 8, 2024

Looking Back by Jan Scarbrough

My mother was a reader. When she died, I found several notebooks filled with titles of the books she'd read. Recently, I typed a manuscript she wrote in 1987 about her early life.


This is what she said to begin her memories:

Having just finished Carol Burnett’s book ONE MORE TIME which described what she could remember, I decided to put down what I could remember from my early childhood. I am sure that I could have remembered more had I recorded this when I was in my forties, instead of near seventy.


I found the details of her life in the 1920’s and 1930’s interesting. As a child, she was a reader too.


For a while at the Sears place, we took the Courier Journal. I’d read that paper. I read people’s used magazines when I could get them Read and reread the books from the small bookcase at Millport. I used the church library and public library while in Greenville. I’d try to find a place to myself to read.


In summer, I’d go to the tree in the orchard. Anywhere to get out of sight so a job wouldn’t be given to me to interrupt the fantasyland I was living. Once I hid my books in the hen’s nest and then under the mattress in the bed.


My mom only mentioned one book by name.


I continued reading. One book that was wonderful was THE GIRL OF LIMBERLOST by Gene Stratton Porter about a young girl collecting moths and had rooms in the forest. The setting was before all the woods were cut down to build houses and farms.


Sure, I’d heard the name of the book but didn’t know anything about it. I looked it up on the internet. For one thing, the novel was so popular that it was made into several movies.


From Wikipedia,

The novel was adapted several times for film, with versions released in 1924, 1934 and 1945. A 1990 made-for-TV version differed most from the original plot.

·      1924: A Girl of the Limberlost, starring Gloria Grey; produced by Gene Stratton Porter Productions, distributed by Film Booking Offices of America

·      1934: A Girl of the Limberlost, starring Marian Marsh; produced by Monogram Pictures

·      1938: Romance of the Limberlost, starring Jean Parker; produced by Monogram Pictures


In 2008 Nina left this review on Goodreads.

There is a line in this book that I carry on a card in my purse. "If you are Lazy and accept your lot, you may live in it. If you are willing to work, you can write your name anywhere" Gene Stratton-Porter is a gifted writer that writes of her beloved Limberlost swamp and the people that around it. As with her other books, there are characters that have extreme hardship and rise above them to become better individuals. Elnora Comstock is an impoverished young girl that feels unloved and earns much of her living by collecting rare moths from the Limberlost. You will want to start checking out books on the beauty of the swamp and all the natural resources therein. An amazing book that makes you wish for something more from this life, and a return to old fashioned values.


What about you? Are you a reader? Have you read any novels considered “classic”? If so, do you find them “old-fashioned” or can you relate to them today?



Julie Lence said...

Hi Jan: How nice your mom wrote down a lot of this for herself and for family. I doubt if my mom has. I wish my grandmothers had. There is so much that I would ask them today that I never thought to when I was young. Thank you for sharing with us, and the story about the moths sounds fun. Hugs!

Deborah said...

I wish my grandmothers had written down stuff like this! You are lucky. Thanks for sharing.

Liz Flaherty said...

I live an hour away from the Limberlost and grew up reading Gene Stratton-Porter's books. When you go to her house at Rome City, you feel like you're IN the books. I love your mother's writings.