Lee’s new book is causing a real ‘buzz’

Published 5:42 pm Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Right up the road from Atmore in Monroeville, the folks there are abuzz about the renewed interest in their beloved famous author (or is it authoress?) Harper Lee, who wrote the classic book To Kill A Mockingbird.

The attention is not on that masterpiece, but a new book titled Go Set A Watchman. Lee ascended even higher in the publishing world this month when it was announced her new book would be released in July. She took the publishing world by surprise with this announcement, as scholars had no idea that such a work even existed. Since that announcement, Amazon states the book has become No, 1 in sales because of pre-orders.

While few details about the story are known, it already is expected to be a top seller. And, folks there can expect reading enthusiasts to visit their town in their travels. If you recall countless tourists made the trip to this Monroe County seat after TKAMB was released, just to learn more about our Southern lore and way of life.

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So all of us here in the Atmore area share in the excitement of this news. Who knows? This new book may captivate the country just like Lee’s initial offering did.

It also should bring recognition to many of Alabama’s other renowned authors, like Rick Bragg, Jeter Nasland and many others.

But, you know, Atmore can boast of a couple of accomplished authors, too, Bonnie Latino and Lou Vickery.

Bonnie’s beautiful work, Your Gift To Me, captures love, sadness and adventure from a military wife‘s standpoint. And, it so effectively resonates overtones of life in the South. I am also reminded of her comment to me following a column I wrote about helping unload an overturned 18-wheeler filled with Spam. I was surprised to learn that this particular canned food was a popular “dish” in Hawaii. She and Tom spent a lot of time there in military service.

Speaking of Bonnie, I always think of her well-liked dad, Bill Bartell. His frozen food lockers-plant was a favorite gathering place of old timers to spin tales and yarns from older days. Bill always kept the coffee pot hot for these spinsters and avid customers.

Lou Vickery, who ascended to the AAA level of professional baseball, has penned several books over the years. He has written on subjects from baseball, religion and humor to the Creek Indians.

I can remember back when he played on one of our exciting local championship teams. I can remember, too, sitting in the stands with his dad, Buddy Vickery watching him play baseball. I can also remember how popular Buddy was with his automobile customers. I can still hear him say from his Gerlach Motor Company post “Hey, Cap, come on in, we got a nice special just for you today.”

And as Lou continues today, do not be surprised if he writes a best seller based on all his outstanding accomplishments. He could easily fill full weeks of radio shows based on his baseball playing and travels.
Lou’s brother Bill was also an excellent baseball player, too. He played in the professional minor leagues.

Yes, Atmore can be proud of these two authors and we should all recognize them for their accomplishments.
In 1955, the postal department changed up some of our rural mail routes and eliminated the post offices in Walnut Hill, Nokomis and Bay Springs, Fla. Star Route B became the source of delivery for these two locations. A new route, Rural Route No. 4, was announced to take parts of current route Route 1 and Route 3.

The reason I mention these changes is because I sometimes drove for my uncle Arthur McGill Sr. who was assigned to Star Route as a mail carrier. A leg condition at times prevented his properly operating his vehicle and I was excited to help him drive. I had just finished high school. But the thing I remember was how his patrons would leave “goodies” hanging on the mailboxes for him. They left greens, eggs and even jars of homemade jellies. I wonder if mail route patrons still do this today for their carriers. I will have to ask my friend Ellie Bailey about this.

Wow, did you know it is almost time to change our clocks, watches and digital items back to Daylight Saving Time? Uh oh, I believe these digital items will reset automatically. Yes, it happens Sunday March 8, just 18 days from now. Seems like we just changed these times only a short while ago.

That’s it for this week. I will have more from Atmore’s past next week.

You can email Lowell McGill at exam@frontiernet.net.