I was away from the keys all day on Wednesday because I spent most of it in Covington, at the home of Walker and Bunt Percy, which is now the residence of their younger daughter Ann Percy Moores, and her husband John. I drove over today with Nancy Vinci, the Gen. Eisenhower of the Walker Percy Weekend, to sign a contract for some very cool t-shirts we are going to sell at the festival this June 5-7. The Percy family has generously granted us the right to sell t-shirts with Walker Percy’s signature — this, as a fundraiser for the festival and the Julius Freyhan Foundation, an arts and culture organization in our town.
I’ll post an image of the t-shirt design as soon as I have one. Can I tell you, though, how great it is? I’m sure we’re going to be able to sell them online too. If you can’t get here to the festival this year, we’re going to try to make the t-shirts available.
Oh, and if you haven’t bought your tickets yet, now is the time. We have 79 left. When they’re gone, they’re gone. Go to the WPW site to order yours.
It was such a special treat to be welcomed into Walker Percy’s house by his daughter. The Mooreses could not possibly have been more hospitable. When Ann told us that the couches we were sitting on had been in Uncle Will’s place, Nancy and I had a start. They gave us a tour of the house, and showed us the back porch where Walker loved to sit, watching the Bogue Falaya out the back. The photo above John took of us, standing on the patio where Walker loved to sit and drink bourbon and watch the muddy water flow by.
Ann took us into the renovated attic, which was not air conditioned in her and her sister Mary Pratt’s childhood, and in which the girls had to live one summer during the Civil Rights era, after local Klansmen threatened her father with violence for standing up against segregation. A story like that makes you realize how dangerous it was for anybody, black or white, to say or do the right thing back then. He was a great man.
Oh, Ann said that her father was fascinated for years by the Divine Comedy. Did you know this? I did not. Did anybody? Did Percy write anything about it? Tell me if you have answers, please.
I’m still not quite settled this evening from having been in the place where a writer I admire so much lived, and loved, and raised his kids, and wrote his books. It made me so grateful that we at the festival have the opportunity to honor him and his work. On the way out, I saw an old photo of a charming little boy, and asked Ann who it was.
“Daddy,” she said.
Here’s the photo. Here is young Walker Percy. It makes me happy to look upon this face. It’s the eyes: