It all began with a pair of pants. A pair of pants that was worn by author, Pat Conroy during his years of writing”Beach Music” to be specific. Those pants were donated by Pat to my Author Silent Auction that is held ever year during my annual Pulpwood Queen Book Club Convention we call Girlfriend Weekend to fund literacy endeavors and literary charities. They went for quite a fee, nearly $1,000. An author, by the name of M.L. Malcolm won the final bid. Lucky girl as Pat Conroy’s pants had become famous when his daughter, artist, children’s author and illustrator Melissa Conroy wrote a children’s book about her father’s pants and the grandfather to her children, “Poppy’s Pants” of which the book is of the same name. You see Pat autographed the pants and so did Melissa and M.L. Malcolm’s autograph is in there too. You see M.L. Malcolm gave the pants to me after one Pulpwood Queen Book Club Convention with this to say, “Nobody deserves “Poppy’s Pants” more than you Kathy.” She handed them over and I stood amazed. My favorite author Pat Conroy owned and wore these pants. I immediately upon the end of the weekend ran them to my framer to be shadow boxed along with his book, “My Reading Life”. I would create a shrine to Pat Conroy. I had all his books signed. I had the Wooberry dolls created by Melissa Conroy of Pat Conroy and a Pulpwood Queen one that was fashioned with her loving hands as they were like the characters in her book. I hung the huge shadowbox in my children’s library and have been looking at it many times every day for years. Such a feeling of happiness and warmth comes from those autographed pair of pants because you have heard the saying that “I would give you the shirt off my back”? Well, Pat Conroy when he realized that he did not have anything for the Author Silent Auction we have every year decided to donate his pants. Now that is truly giving my friends, he truly gave it his all and his pants.
Years pass and we all faced the untimely passing of our dear author friend Pat Conroy. In his loving memory of his incredible generosity to other authors and individuals who worshipped the ground he walked on, The Pat Conroy Literary Center was born. What could I do to help? I decided to give all the money from our Author Silent Auction held every year to The Pat Conroy Literary Center. All of us “Scribes” wrote essays in an anthology of our love of Pat Conroy in the recent release of “Our Prince of Scribes” of which I was invited to contribute. Would I ever? And yes I did.
But day after day with my grown children now gone, me all alone in my little cabin in the woods, Murphy’s Law, I stopped one day to truly look at those pants. Here they are for you to see.
As I stared a Pat Conroy’s pants I knew what I had to do. I had to take them to The Pat Conroy Literary Center for all to see them. Rarely in life will you see an author as generous as Pat Conroy. These pants will serve as a reminder that you give with all your heart and he did. So this week I embarked on a Pulpwood Queen Road Trip with the ultimate goal to bring Pat Conroy’s pants to all who come to visit his literary center. Pat Conroy was a giver. M.L. Malcolm was a giver too. I follow their lead and hope you will too.
So on this trip, we began today our goal of taking Pat Conroy’s pants back home to Beaufort, South Carolina visiting as many of my Pulpwood Queen Book Club members and authors along the way. We are a tribe who loved the “Prince of Scribes”. We are putting to action what we value as important in life. Today as road warriors we stopped in Pearl, Mississippi to share a meal with two our Pulpwood Queen Book Club chapters from Jackson, of 16 years, and the newly formed one in Brandon, Mississsippi, an offshoot of our Jackson chapter, the BB Queens joined the Rocking Readers. We had a blast sharing our stories, talking books, authors, and planning our next get together. Here are their beautiful and literary promoting faces.
with Jane Tucker Bond, Diane Ratliff Lisenbe, Merrilee Hall,Karen Lewis Reed, Gigi Moore Sinyard, Jonni R. Webb, Susan Marquez, Leslie Puckett, Tiajuana Anderson Neel, NancyKay Sullivan Wessman and Kathy L. Murphy, Lee Southern Belle.
Next stop, DisneyWorld, follow along on this mission of mine. Stay tuned, back tomorrow with more of our stories on the road!
Tiara Wearing and Book Sharing,
Kathy L. Murphy