Truman Capote Exhibit Highlights

 

Bringing Tallulah home for the holidays?
    In a letter dated December 5, 1959, Truman writes to Mary Ida that his holiday visit to Alabama with Tallulah Bankhead would have to be put off because he must go to Hollywood to work on the movie version of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. He writes that Marilyn Monroe will play Holly Golightly in the film. The producers of the film later overruled Capote’s choice and put Audrey Hepburn in the role.
     Truman admits that bringing Tallulah to Mary Ida’s Monroe County farm might be risky at best: “Of course Tallulah is furious with me, as she is very tired and had her heart set on making the trip. I told her I will go with her a little later, but I honestly think it would be a mistake for us to stay right in your house — because Tallulah stays up all night every night and never gets up till five in the afternoon. She is a marvelous woman, and very amusing — but oh so exhausting!”

 

Truman and his parents
Truman’s difficult relationship with his parents finds its way into much of his fiction. The exhibit includes an extensive collection of photographs of him with his parents, including rare shots of a baby Truman in the arms of each parent. In a letter home to his aunt Mary Ida, Truman describes his father as “embarrassing” and “impossible” for using Truman’s fame to help him sell penny scales across the South. The exhibit even includes one of the scales (still in working order) Truman’s father sold to a merchant in Monroeville.

Truman and Sook

In the Faulk household where Truman lived, Nanny Rumbley “Sook” Faulk ran the kitchen with the help of a black cook and took care of Truman. He celebrated his love for Sook in three of his most popular short stories: “A Christmas Memory,” “The Thanksgiving Visitor” and “One Christmas.” She is also the model for the character Dolly Talbo in his novel The Grass Harp. He credits Sook with teaching him to read using the daily “funny papers” when he was only four years old. The exhibit includes many references to Sook, but two items in particular are always favorites of visitors:

Sook’s “Coat of Many Colors” is a faded early 1900s handmade house coat, in the style of a “crazy quilt,” that belonged to Sook. Truman’s first cousin Jennings Faulk Carter recalls that as children, he and Truman never had trouble finding Sook in the darkened house on South Alabama Avenue because they simply looked for the bright colors of her coat.

 

Truman’s Baby Blanket is a “granny square” blanket Sook made for Truman. The blanket became one of Truman’s most cherished possessions, and friends say he was seldom without it — even when traveling. In fact, he took the blanket with him when he flew from New York to Los Angeles to be with Joanne Carson on August 23, 1984. According to Joanne, when he died at her home on August 25, his last words were, “It’s me, it’s Buddy.” Followed by, “I’m cold.” Buddy was Sook’s nickname for him.

© 2018 Monroe County Museum  •  31 North Alabama Ave.  •  Monroeville, AL 36460 •  All rights reserved.

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