Thursday, March 15, 2012

Eudora Welty: and then I saw a baby bat belch

If you ever find yourself in Jackson, Mississippi, be sure to visit The Eudora Welty House. It's a terribly charming place, mostly because Eudora gave it to the State of Mississippi while she was still living and had plenty to say about exactly how she wanted it preserved. Apparently, she didn't want a “house about her” but about literature and the arts.

All her furniture and things are there: her favorite reading chair, her box of tissue, her electric type-writer that she did not like because "it waits on you– as if drumming its fingers while you think." None of her numerous prizes and recognitions are on display, she kept them in a box upstairs. The one exception is her
Raven Reader of the Year Award given to her in 1985 by the Mystery Writers of America. That seems really appropriate because every flat surface in the house is covered in books. There are piles of them on tables, chairs, couches, little nooks, etc. Her nieces remember that that's how it always used to be in that house: you literary had to push books aside in order to be able to sit down.

The house is surrounded by a beautiful garden that, in the warmth of the Mississippi sun, looked and smelled divine. Both Eudora and her mother were avid gardeners. Eudora's favorite flower was the camellia.

For many years, Eudora and her mother shared the house with Miss Fannye Cook, head of the Mississippi Wildlife Museum and noted conservationist. The Welty family remembers many stories that involve Miss Cook and have to do with such things as finding hawks and owls and various little creatures in the refrigerator. One day Fannye found a baby bat in the house. Eudora remembers
I helped her hunt for a baby bat in the window curtains, and found it. She asked for a little warm milk, fed the baby bat from a medicine dropper, and then I saw a baby bat belch.

Source: IMAGE


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  1. Till now I didn't read anything of Eudora Welty. But she is on my list and after this absolute fantastic sentence "and then I saw a baby bat belch" I really have to go in the next book shop and buy something of her. I love the sentence. ;) Thanks for posting.

  2. MrsCoffee:

    I am sorry it took me a while but I just wanted to say that your note right here is the reason why people blog about books, I think. There is something so satisfying to recommend an author or a book and know that your impressions really resonated with someone. THANK YOU for giving me this joy.

    I haven't read much of Welty, just a few of her short stories, but visiting her house and hearing little stories like this one about the baby bat really made me want to get to know her work better.

    P.S. I look forwarding to enjoying your blog. I think we have very similar reading tastes!