Harper Lee wrote a piece for McCall’s magazine in the December 1961 issue, titled Christmas To Me. The Guardian brought it back to life. The story is about a Christmas from her past in New York back in the 1950s. The events led to the creation of To Kill a Mockingbird and Go Set a Watchman.
Several years ago, I was living in New York and working for an airline, so I never got home to Alabama for Christmas – if, indeed, I got the day off. To a displaced southerner, Christmas in New York can be rather a melancholy occasion, not because the scene is strange to one far from home, but because it is familiar: New York shoppers evince the same singleness of purpose as slow-moving southerners; Salvation Army bands and Christmas carols are alike the world over; at that time of year, New York streets shine wet with the same gentle farmer’s rain that soaks Alabama’s winter fields. I missed Christmas away from home, I thought. What I really missed was a memory, an old memory of people long since gone, of my grandparents’ house bursting with cousins, smilax and holly.
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