Friday, June 3, 2011

Pondering the Pond

For most of the past week temperatures in middle Georgia have been hovering in the triple digit range. On Wednesday, we tied a record for the day set in 1953 of 100 degrees. It's hard to imagine how people survived such heat in those days before air conditioning. Remarkably, there is no mention of the heat wave in O'Connor's letters from 1953 (though the entries from that year in The Habit of Being are relatively few). What I did come across that indirectly relates to all of this are two letters the author wrote to her friends Robert and Sally Fitzgerald where she talks about her mother's decision to construct a pond for the cattle, the one visitors to Andalusia see today. In the first letter (undated: Summer 1953, p. 59-60), Flannery mentions that her mother decided to build a pond for the "cows to lie down in and cool off in the summertime." She goes on to say that the government requirements are such that the pond "has to go down two feet straight to keep from breeding mosquitoes but she don't want it that way for fear the cows will break their legs getting in." It seems Regina O'Connor was quite a worrier. In the second letter (undated: 1953, p. 61) Flannery mentions that the the pond is finished, but her mother "says she's not going to have but four feet of water in it because if anybody drowns she wants to be able to go in and get them out without draining it. Practical."
- Mark

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