News from the Tennessee Valley Columnists

Steve Stewart

Capote wrote ‘not a word’ of Lee’s book

With the success of the film "Capote," speculation again rose over whether famed author Truman Capote helped his Monroeville friend, Nelle Harper Lee, write her classic "To Kill a Mockingbird."

A Capote letter surfaced recently as evidence that he didn't, but Ronnie Thomas has even better evidence: He heard it from Capote in person.

During an interview in Florence in the late 1970s, Ronnie asked Capote how much he contributed to Lee's book.

"Not a word," he said. "She called me in New York, told me she was writing a book and was about to have a nervous breakdown. I told her to come stay with me and finish it. She got a job as a telephone operator and kept working on (the book)."


Capote told Ronnie he read the "Mockingbird" manuscript and knew it would be a smash. He took it to his editor, Joseph Fox.

"He called a few days later and told me to come and get it," Capote said. "I asked him what was wrong with it. He replied, 'It isn't marketable.' Can you imagine the egg on his face when it soared to the top of the best-seller list and became a blockbuster movie?"

2 dog legs are enough

Veterinarian Dr. Steve Osborne has every confidence that Lucky, the abused dog whose right front leg he amputated Tuesday, will have a normal life.

Steve told Paul Huggins that about 20 years ago, he amputated both left legs of a dog that belonged to a farmer near Hartselle. The dog had been injured by a mower.

"He could run like crazy," he said, "but he was like a bicycle: When he stopped, he had to lie on his side."

Sticking to it

What did commitment mean to Sarah Smith of the Coxey community?

Holly Hollman says you only have to look at her life to know.

She was a self-trained nurse who worked for Dr. E.G. Norwood in Athens for about 35 years.

Her marriage didn't start easy. Not long after Sarah married Paul Smith Sr., he went off to fight in World War II. She bore their first child while Paul was gone.

They raised four children and helped raise nine grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.

When Sarah died Tuesday, they had been married 62˝ years.

Giovanni's restaurants

Eight-year-old Giovanni Orozco accompanied Susana Salcido and Fernando Salcido of Las Vias Mexican Grill to a photo shoot for Taste of the Valley participants.

The tasty steak, chicken, and Mexican and Italian dishes made him hungry, but he got tired of waiting and went to McDonald's, Patrice Stewart reports.

If he goes to Monday's Taste of the Valley fundraiser at the Decatur Holiday Inn, he'll have to do fine dining, not fast food.

In addition to Las Vias, Giovanni thinks he has a connection to another Hartselle restaurant. Shelly Ross, owner of Giovanni's Italian Grill, said her husband, Rod, told the boy he named Giovanni's for him.

Send stories for You Don't Say to or call Weekend Editor Steve Stewart at 340-2444. Or write P.O. Box 2213, Decatur, AL 35609.

Steve Stewart Steve Stewart
DAILY Weekend Editor

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