She brought the past and our family history back to life for us. I lost my father when I was only four on Christmas Day. After his death, all I had were her stories and my memories. He was from Brookhaven, Mississippi, and they met on a Greyhound bus.
Mother died, and her stories died with her, except for the ones stuck in my memories. Her love for stories, books, and reading taught me to love books and value reading at an early age. She read all the classic fairy tales to me before I started school at five years old, the first grade. Because of her stories, I now write my own. If not for her stories, and her guiding spirit, I doubt I'd ever told any myself. Southern Superstitions began with my mother's words, "The Lord has something better in mind, and the Lord works in mysterious ways." I wrote a short story that came to me from working on a strawberry farm with her while I was still in elementary school and from listening to her words. I titled the short story, "The Lord Had Something Better in Mind," and it won first place in fiction-writing competition at Southeastern Louisiana University. I penned it in my first college creative-writing class. Years later, I developed the short story into my full-length novel, Southern Superstitions.
Mother was full of old wives' tales and superstitions. I expanded my short story into a novel using many of them. With the book, Mother lives on. Her voice rings with the words of the book. She is in essence the woman, Myrtle. She brought humor to many situations, and I know of no one else who can tell stories the way in which she did, including me.
First written April 6, 1999
I've had good reviews on Amazon for the novel, but some readers think of her as a complaining old woman. She was so much more, for she taught me Bible verses among all those old wives' tales and Southern superstitions. And, she taught them to me in a way that would stay with me forever. I used to think she talked in riddles and wondered why she didn't just speak in plain English. It took me years to grow up and understand. I'd never have spent much time thinking about something that she just came right out and told me point blank, but she produced though-provoking riddles that made my mind work and made me think. Some of those old superstitions are included in Southern Superstitions. You might've grown up with some of them, too.
"When I read Barbara Robinson's Last Resort, I thought it can't get any better than this. But, as a southern writer myself, I found myself caught up in this book of superstitions and the power of God. With a strong hand, the writer delivered the goods here. As good as a read from Eudora Welty. I was wrapped in the "pages" from beginning to end. Captivating. Loved the character
of Andy ... Enjoyed the ride, B. J. Robinson."