We love reading essays written by Ann Dorer. She captures the South like no other can. The first time I met Ann was at an afternoon tea at my house that I hosted for my niece Beth. Ann’s daughter, Kate, is friends with Beth and was one of our honored guests. We let the young girls sit in the dining room while we adults gathered around the kitchen table for tea.
Ann and I share a love of beautiful tables, luncheons, teas, and cooking. When we started Southern Lady in 1998, Ann came to my office to interview for the editor position. I knew she wrote children’s books but didn’t know much else about her. She had prepared a sample table of contents as if she were the editor, and it was perfect. But the real deciding factor for me was the article she did on making biscuits. As I read her wonderful written words, I could almost taste those biscuits. Needless to say, she was the first editor of Southern Lady. As the magazine grew with Ann at the helm, she continued to write her magic into the pages of the magazine.
Ann retired to take care of her mother but left a lasting legacy here at Hoffman Media. She captures the essence of a true Southern lady. As Southern Lady readers continue to enjoy her writing, I am happy to share one of her recent essays with you today. Thank you, Ann, for your beautiful words and thoughts. They lead us to admire your work and appreciate the joys in our own lives.
Ann’s essay on “The Importance of Southern Storytelling”
A few weeks ago, I just happened to tell—from my point of view—my 5-year-old granddaughter Maggie about the day she was born. I explained how I saw the nurse place her in a clear plastic crib right beside a viewing window. I told her how I stood there and looked and looked and looked. I said that as friends and family came in, they would join me at the window to see her precious newly born self, but after a while, they moved away to visit with one another. But not me. I stayed there and “looked and looked and looked.” I ended the telling of this little incident with, “Then all of a sudden, you went ‘Achoo!’ So I got to see your very first sneeze.”
Later, Maggie would say to me several times, “Anna, you looked and looked and looked at me when I was born, didn’t you!”
This took my mind back in time to something Southern author Lee Smith told me when I interviewed her for an article I wrote about her for Southern Lady*. I asked what had influenced her to become a writer, and she noted that one influence was her mother. “She was one of those Southern women who can—and did—make a story out of thin air, out of anything: a trip to the drugstore, something somebody said in church . . . ”
I have decided that I will no longer just happen to tell my grandchildren a story.
From now on, I am going to do it on purpose.
What stories do you love to share with loved ones?