My mother wisely warned me many times against “kicking against the pricks,” by which she meant the inevitable barriers we face in life, not the male appendage. She would have been horrified by that association.
I have the historian’s skeptical view of the past and of the vestal virgins who attend it so assiduously. Their reverence seems to depend on a net of lies and denials. But when I touch the soft feathers of my mother’s hat, preserved for seventy years, I understand a little of what the other women in the family feel.
Both houses, uninhabitable due to size in both cases and dereliction in one, will continue as housing for myths, the myths that always throng around fortunes and obscure most of the facts about the fortune-makers lives.
This morning I found a faded copy of a newspaper photo, certainly from the old Society Page of a Richmond Virginia daily, showing a group of three young people, two men and a woman, marching down Monument Avenue in that city, the broad magisterial artery where the greats of the Confederacy are memorialized in huge marble statues.
As I prepare for publication next month, I face the daunting task of listing all the material I’ve used in The Blue Box, many letters, speeches, bills of sale, wills and genealogies that were stored in the blue box itself.