New beginnings

Jan 28, 2024 by Rose O'Keefe

In Out of the Dust, (1998 Newbery) Karen Hesse vividly told the story of Billy Jo Kelby from a strong first-person POV.  Billy Jo, 14, lived during the terrible dust storms in Oklahoma in the 1930s, through the loss of the family farm, an accident that burned her hands, and her mother and brother’s deaths.  She fled, but returned, ready for a new beginning. Gripping!

Rochester Democrat & Chronicle executive editor Michael Killian broke it gently to us last Sunday about changes to the comics. The history of comics gave a wonderful overview of some I’d never hear of and many I had, like “Mutt a & Jeff” -- familiar friends in the sixties. And I remembered in the 1990s when Lynn Johnston gave four weeks in “For Better and For Worse” for teenage Lawrence to accept that he was gay and let his friends know.

What a good obit in The Economist (Jan.20) for Elmore Nickleberry, 92. Nickleberry was a Black sanitation worker who heard Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speak at Mason Temple in Memphis in April 1968, a few weeks before King was murdered. The writer described the filthy conditions that Nickleberry endured. He had served in the army in Korea and anticipated a good future back in the States. The nasty job as a garbage man did not support his wife and family, and like his father, Elmore also picked cotton, did yard work and chopped wood for whites. The picture of him in suit, tie and fedora with a sign “I AM A MAN” in front of the Lorraine Motel was powerful. #e.l.konigsburg; #ViewfromSaturday; #KarenHesse;  #OutoftheDust; #NewberyAwards; #RochesterD&C; #MichaelKillian; #TheEconomist; #ElmoreNickleberry; #MartinLutherKingJr; #Memphis; #dignity;