Published December 20, 2021 by Neely Tucker
“A Christmas Memory,” Truman Capote’s story about his Alabama childhood with an eccentric elderly cousin, has been one of the nation’s most beloved tales in the holiday canon for more than half a century.
First published in Mademoiselle magazine in the winter of 1956, it starts this way: “Imagine a morning in late November. A coming of winter morning more than twenty years ago. Consider the kitchen of a spreading old house in a country town.”
His cousin, Nanny Rumbley Faulk, soon arises to exclaim, with her sherry-colored eyes, her breath smoking the windowpane, “Oh my! It’s fruitcake weather!”
They were two misfits in a no-nonsense Southern household in the 1920s and ’30s. He called her “Sook.” She called him “Buddy.” They were cheerful co-conspirators at the opposite end of their lives; each delicate, sensitive and adoring of one other.