Lauretta Hannon is a Cracker Box
Yesterday we went to the Marietta Museum of History to hear Lauretta Hannon, author of the book THE CRACKER QUEEN.
Anna read THE CRACKER QUEEN sometime back when a friend loaned it to her. By her continued laughter I thought it must be funny. She returned the book to its owner, so I didn’t get to read it. It takes me forever to read a book now days. We bought a copy today for signing.
As usual, at the Museum lecture room at The Kennesaw House we were the first ones to arrive. There we met a perky blond lady that gave us a very warm smile along with a gusty greeting. That was our first meeting of Lauretta Hannon.
Lauretta is a very personable lady, energized and hyper. In her talk she rapidly spoke with clever witty things to say. She told some of her experiences dealing with publishers and editors. One of her gripes was those “New Yawk Yankees” didn’t know beans about the South. They kept telling her “double-wide” was an adjectives, not a noun. Her book is now on CD, read by a Northern reader that didn’t have the Southern dialect. As you know, Coca-Cola is somewhat a sacred drink here in Metro Atlanta. The word Coca Cola is in the book a lot and thus, the paid actress narrator had to pronounce it often. She pronounced it like Count Dracula might have pronounced with his Transylvania accent.
SOUTHERN LIVING magazine was to do an article on Lauretta. She decided to take the magazine reporter around Warner Robbins where she grew up. By what she said in her talk, it was not a pretty sight with little shacks near the railroad, trailers, etc. The reporter did not seem too eager to write any of the stuff down she was seeing. Finally Lauretta asked her what was the problem and in so many words was told, SOUTHERN LIVING magazine was about “the pretty South“. The editors finally decided to submit to her 24 questions for her to answer. Lauretta asked if all the questions and answers would be published? “Absolutely”, they said. They published only 12 of the 24. I guess the remaining 12 answers were not pretty enough.
She had a hell-raising aunt that was arrested around 42 times, with one of the arrests including assaulting a police dog. She described her aunt as a hell raiser one day and trying to feed a starving neighbor family the next, living a life of contradictions.
Lauretta avoided reading some sad hard-time sections of the book. One of the things I appreciated was a story about when she and her mother were out cruising in their car and came across a chain gang. It was her mother’s idea of a good time and what just had to be done was go to the nearest store and buy cartons of cigarettes – not the cheap type but the manly type of cigarettes such as Marlboros, and Camels – to give to the prisoners. They would then return to where the chain gang men were working, and Lauretta, just 4 years old, would fling the packs of cigarettes out the window at the men. Lauretta recounted her memory of the men holding the cigarette packs up with tears in their eyes. God bless them.