The Mockingbird Has Passed

19 Feb

Harper Lee


When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow. When it healed, and Jem’s fears of never being able to play football were assuaged, he was seldom self-conscious about this injury. His left arm was somewhat shorter than his right; when he stood or walked, the back of his hand was at right angles to his body, his thumb parallel to his thigh. He couldn’t have cared less, so long as he could pass and punt.

When enough years had gone by to enable us to look back on them, we sometimes discussed the events leading to his accident. I maintain that the Ewells started it all, but Jem, who was four years my senior, said it started long before that. He said it began the Summer Dill came to us, when Dill first gave us the idea of making Boo Radley come out.


Thus begins one of the truly iconic American stories. A story everyone should read—-many times. I know I have.

And now Harper Lee is gone. As a fellow Alabamian, it feels as though I’ve lost a family member.

So long, Harper. You will be sorely missed.



1 Comment

Posted by on February 19, 2016 in Writing


One response to “The Mockingbird Has Passed

  1. dearaggie

    February 20, 2016 at 10:34 am

    A lovely tribute. I, too, read Mockingbird many times and read Watchman, which I think is also noteworthy. For its critics, I think we’re too quick to judge people of the past by our present understanding and sensibilities. Our history was our history. We need to acknowledge it and learn from it, not pretend it didn’t exist. Will future generations, who hopefully have learned more about themselves and each other, look back on us as as bigoted, intolerant and hypocritical because of beliefs and perceptions widely held now? Let’s hope they are more forgiving. It’s easy to be critical from afar when you’re not intimately involved in the situation.
    I’m so glad Harper Lee witnessed the publication of Watchman before she died.
    Nancy G. West



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: