Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings wrote the Pulitzer Prize winning Novel "The Yearling" while at a typewriter on a hand made table on the front porch of this old batten board house first built in 1884. Marjorie moved into the home in 1928. She renovated the building adding indoor plumbing which was incredibly modern for the day. The home is in Cross Creek which was a several hour drive north of Orlando. The property has a small orange grove, a barn, tenant house, a garden and plenty of chickens and ducks. Terry took the tour while I sketched the 1940 Oldsmobile in the carport. The Yearling was written in 1938 and it was made into a movie staring Gregory Peck in 1946.

One of the women on Terry's tour had been to the Rawlings home before. She thought that the ducks on the property were animatronics since they have no fear of humans.  She decided to step over a duck and one of the caretakers insisted she leave. When the tour reached the south porch, which is in my sketch, the tour guide told the story of the ice man delivering ice for the ice box. He found a snarling raccoon in there and told Marjorie he wouldn't return until she removed the varmint.

The guest bedroom had such distinguished guests as poet Robert Frost, authors Margaret Mitchell and Thornton Wilder, artist N.C. Wyeth and actor Gregory Peck. Marjorie was friends with author Zora Neale Hurston from Eatonville Florida. She visited Marjorie but since Zora was black she couldn't sleep in the house. She had to sleep in the tiny tenant house with the help out in the orange grove.

A bold red rooster lead a brood of hens around the yard and the ducks seemed content to soak up the sun.  Fluffy new born duck chicks bobbed like corks in a small pool near the hen house. Time really feels like it has stood still at the Rawlings home. Marjorie died in 1958. Major restoration to the home was completed in 1996 and preservation work is ongoing.

Terry and I had lunch at the Yearling Restaurant down the road where Willie Green played the blues.  A sparrow seemed intent on getting inside. It flapped its wings and fluttered up and down against the window pane unable to pass through the mysterious glass. The fried green tomatoes and catfish were fried and filling.

“Bless Us", I thought, "the world must be hungry." And so it is. Hungry for food and drink-not so much for the mouth as for the mind; not for the stomach, but for the spirit."”
- Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at analogartistdigitalworld@gmail.com

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