That heady fragrance of nostalgia still lingers in the atmosphere – or perhaps it only the splendiferous balm of a dewy bouquet making its yearly cheer on the mantle. But even with hearts still warm and gooey from the sentimental orgy of Mother’s Day (which was yesterday, friends), it only takes a handful of days – perhaps hours for some among us – for the recognition of maternal contribution to make it’s dusty march back into keepsake boxes and memory chests. Our electric and latte-fueled lives rush us back to our own busy bubbles of work and worry long before we’ve had time to dwell on the significance of our heritages. But the treasure of one’s own roots and its faceted sheen is far from lost on the mind of Kentucky-raised writer, Sallie Bingham. In her latest book, The Blue Box: Five Lives in Letters, Bingham introduces readers to the life of her four times Great-Grandmother, Margaret Haskins.
Presented through the lens of Haskins’ own written accounts, Bingham’s The Blue Box: Five Lives in Letters re-tells the story of Margaret Haskins’ capture by Shawnee Indians in 1778 and her experiences as a captive of their camp. Based on actual letters that Bingham herself discovered, Bingham goes on to imagine a fictional narrative for Haskins, ending with a reconstruction of Haskins’ life after her release and subsequent return to Virginia. An exploration both of Bingham’s childhood roots in Kentucky and the effect of heritage on her writing, The Blue Box is a marriage of Bingham’s literary talent and personal endeavors.
Bingham, the author of numerous books, plays and short story collections, will present and discuss the creation of The Blue Box: Five Lives in Letters tomorrow night, Tuesday, May 15th at The Filson Historical Society. Starting at 6pm Bingham will read selections, explain her discovery of Haskins’ special box and speak on her roots as a Kentuckian. Turn off your cell, get your head out of the clouds and spend an evening pondering the branches of The Family Tree; perhaps the dustiest corners of your own attic might hold an otherwise unknown heritage.
The event is free but reservations are required. The Filson Historical Society is located at 1310 South Third Street.
Photo: Courtesy of Sallie Bingham’s website www.salliebingham.com