A giant has gone to sleep.
Albert Horton Foote, Jr. (March 14, 1916 – March 4, 2009)
Readers, theater-goers, and movie watchers around the world were blessed by Horton Foote's 92 years upon the earth. He wrote his first story as a youngster in Wharton, Texas, sought to become an actor, and soon turned to writing, his home in literature, becoming a playwright.
In Farewell: A Memoir of a Texas Childhood (Scribner, 1999), he opens his narrative with
"I left my home in Wharton at sixteen, but no matter how poor I was, and I was often very poor, I always managed to return for a visit at least once a year, whenever I met with friends or relatives on those visits we inevitably got around to 'Do you remember when,' or 'I wonder whatever happened to ...' "
Though his many plays (Wharton Dance was his first in 1940, The Trip to Bountiful being one of the most popular and The Young Man from Atlanta for which he won the Pulitzer Prize), movies (he wrote the screenplays for To Kill a Mockingbird and Tender Mercies for which he won the Academy Award), and television scripts (he even wrote for the old Rod Serling's Twilight Zone and his Old Man received an Emmy), his work was informed by human relations where he found and passed on inspiration and humanity.
Ever one to engage the audience to wonder, Foote injected questions into Farewell, "I wonder why the boys turned out the way they did?" "Do Holy Rollers have preachers?" "How do you know he died of a broken heart, Auntie?" "Where did they live? Across the tracks with the other black people?" "Do you believe Papa behaved unfairly?" and, at the book's end "What if you have no talent, what if you finish acting school and you can't find a job acting and you have to go back home and work at your father's store the rest of your life?"
If you can't act, well, become a world reknowned playright.
On the edges of my feelings for the volume Farewell, I find William Goyen for his deep intimacy with his rearing, Katherine Porter for her refined craft, though dancing just out of sight of Texas, and Mary Karr for the naively rapscallion nature of childhood recollections.
If you can't go home again, or even Bountful, at least, we can go to theater.
Find the Horton Foote Society at http://www.hortonfootesociety.org/
Read the New York Times obituary http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/05/theater/05foote.html?_r=1
Hear him speak at YouTube's TV Legends channel in several segments
Hello texas - Hiya texas http://cityofwhitneytx.org/originals/objects/cry.php?love=bakv16n7h18zvbgb Thank you! Will Will's Texas Parlor