Thursday, June 10, 2010

On this day in 1961...

Flannery O'Connor wrote a letter to her friend Betty Hester describing a terrible accident at Andalusia (see The Habit of Being p. 442). A few days earlier Willie "Shot" Manson, a hired farm hand, was sucked into a hay baler up to his elbows. A mechanic had to be summoned to extricate him from the machinery. When they finally got him out he was "pretty badly damaged." The baler "tore out some big gaps of flesh and gave him several third-degree belt burns." As severely injured as Manson was, Regina O'Connor managed to get him into her car and drive him to Baldwin County hospital where he stayed for some time. O'Connor reports that while minor crises were something of a common occurrence out on the farm, this particular incident was a major one.

Major or minor, many of the "crises" O'Connor describes in her letters involve Manson and/or Jack and Louise Hill, the couple he boarded with in the house on the other side of the driveway. It is, therefore, fitting that the next major project at Andalusia is the restoration of the Hill house. Not only did this house serve as an inspiration for some of O'Connor's most memorable stories (e.g. "The Displaced Person"), it is perhaps the oldest structure on the property. Since it is such a significant part of the farm complex at Andalusia, please consider making a designated gift to help us save the Hill house.

- Mark

No comments: