Maude Pickett Smith | And Now I Have Grown Old: The Autobiography of Annie Maude Pickett Smith

 
BRUSSELS - Nov. 10, 2020 - PRLog -- Born 30 March 1928 on a farm near Magnolia, North Carolina, Maude was introduced to "books" by her mother, a former school teacher. After attending the eleven years offered at Magnolia School, she went to East Carolina Teachers College (Greenville) for a year and then to Miller Motte Business School (Wilmington). She has done varied work in public education (e.g., substitute teacher, teacher's aide, secretary to the principal, head of the library). A volunteer EMT twenty years for the Rescue Squad and Hospice Volunteer of the Year, she was pianist/organist seventy-three years for the Magnolia United Methodist Church, was a caregiver (like Hester), and continues to serve as Town Historian and run two businesses with her sons. In 1999, she began to attend writing institutes and for a time was member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. She also loves woodworking, has made many pieces of furniture, and paints with oils. In 2012, she purchased an historic home that was about to be destroyed. While Maude was working for The Duplin Times, Editor Bob Grady had her write a feature story on the oldest known ex-slave in Duplin County. He did not know that Hester Pearsall was mother to the tenant farmer who was the Picketts' only neighbor, had actually "birthed" Maude, and had a daughter (Hermenia) who was Maude's "pal." At the 1951 interview, Hester was one hundred and seven; Maude, twenty-three. From it eventually came Hester, historical fiction anchored in fact if recreated in imaginative detail. The book and the road to it also offer an unusual and even remarkable account of race relations that, though begun in the awful days of slavery, worked on some level and continue to do so. Ironically, Maude was writing her personal story during the COVID 19 Pandemic. From it, as from her Hester: Historical Fiction About the Life of a Slave, we do not/will not/and cannot stop learning.


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