Monday, December 22, 2014

Young Capote: Miserable in New Orleans one long-ago Christmas

When Truman Capote was no more than a baby, to hear him tell it, his mother and father split up. His mother deposited him in a small Alabama town with her relatives, the Faulks. An elderly cousin named Sook Faulk raised Truman, and it was this woman he loved most in the world. But one Christmas, his father, who lived in New Orleans, managed to wrangle legal custody of the boy for the holidays and young Truman rode the bus south, already missing Sook. He was miserable in New Orleans, but he tried not to let on, as he writes in "One Christmas," which came out in a 1982 boxed, gift edition from Random House.

"The day before Christmas, as we were walking along Canal Street, I stopped dead still, mesmerized by a magical object that I saw in the window of a big toy store. It was a model airplane large enough to sit in and pedal like a bicycle. It was green and had a red propeller. I was convinced that if you pedaled fast enough it would take off and fly! Now wouldn't that be something! I could just see my cousins standing on the ground while I flew about among the clouds. Talk about green! I laughed; and laughed and laughed. It was the first thing I'd done that made my father look confident, even though he didn't know what I thought was so funny."