NOTE: Tapestry is now a one-hour program and heard the first Friday of each month at noon.
Growing up in Thomasville, Alabama in the 1920s provided Kathryn Tucker Windham with much of the material she would use in the tales she is famous for. Her memoir, Spit, Scarey Ann, and Sweat Bees: One Thing Leads to Another, recalls a childhood spent listening to the stories of her father and observing the curious customs and superstitions of the rural people she grew up with including Thurza, the family cook. Ms. Windham was one of the first women to write for a daily newspaper in Alabama. Since 1967, she's authored more than two dozen books the most famous of which is 13 Ghosts and Jeffrey. Jeffrey is the spirit who inhabits her home in Selma. Since ghost stories have played such an important role in her life, I asked her if she remembered her first ghost story.
Kathryn Tucker Windham is the author of Spit, Scarey Ann, and Sweat Bees: One Thing Leads to Another from NewSouth Books.
You're a teenager from Indiana when World War II breaks out. You've got some musical skill and you want to help the troops. What do you do? Barb Sparkes joined the U-S-O. With her accordion and piano-playing skills, Sparkes entertained American soldiers from Michigan to Berlin. Sparkes is now 82 and lives at Episcopal Place. That's where storyteller Dolores Hydock first heard her story. The two women have teamed up for a unique musical show that tells of Barb Sparkes' adventures in the USO. WBHM's Bradley George recently spoke with Sparkes and Hydock.
Dolores Hydock and Barb Sparkes, speaking with WBHM's Bradley George. The two women appear in Two Suitcases and an Accordion, Sunday July 12 at First Baptist Church of Irondale.
Poetry often gets the short-shrift from popular media. Oh sure, we read the occasional poem on Tapestry...usually during April, which is - here's a surprise - National Poetry Month. But last month, we profiled a Birmingham group called Big Table Poets. They gather regularly to read and critique each other's work. Later in the piece, reporter Andrew Yeager stopped the flow of conversation with an observation. And that got Big Table poet Barry Marks riled up. He offers this poetic retort.
Tinnie Pettway has been writing poetry for years, but she never had a group to share it with. In fact, always got a lot more attention for another artistic talent - her quiltmaking. Pettway is one of the famous Gees Bend Quilters. But now, she's a published writer - with a collection of poems about everything from homemaking to politics. She tells WBHM's Tanya Ott that writing is in her blood.
Tinnie Pettway's writes poems about politics, homemaking and life's lessons in her book Gee's Bend Experience: Poems and Tidbits about Life.
Sometimes a book so completely captures readers' imaginations that the setting for the book becomes inextricably linked to the action in the book. That's the case with one of Alabama's most famous literary works. And as WBHM's Lissa LeGrand reports - the Alabama town where it's set has a love-hate relationship with the novel.
You should be feeling well read by now, so it's time to put down that book (gently, if it's a rare book), get out of the house, and do something. WBHM's Bradley George offers some suggestions in this month's Three to See.
The band Alabama was the most commercially successful country music act in the 1980s. They put out hit after hit, blending traditional country music with southern rock and elements of gospel and pop. Nearly 40 years after they first formed, lead singer and songwriter Randy Owen is still making music. His latest CD is called One on One. And he adds author to the list of accomplishments with a new book called Born Country: How Faith, Family and Music Brought to Home.
Musician Jon Black grew up in Georgia, but he now calls Birmingham home. His musical career started after he quit his day job. Since then he's released four albums and played all over the country. His latest release is Goodbye Golden Age. (AUDIO MONTAGE)
Tapestry is produced by Bradley George and Michael Krall, with help this month from Charles Haines, Emily Jacobs, Lee McAlister, Tanya Ott and Varun Krishnan. We hope you enjoyed this first episode of the hour-long, monthly Tapestry. Ever wonder why English Tudor architecture made it to Birmingham? We'll have your answer next month. I'm Greg Bass. Hope to see you then.
If you've got a story idea for Tapestry, drop us an e-mail.