I cannot help but agree with our illustrious writer. I actually married a Brooke Hill Girl winner, and I have to say she was a real go-getter. And many Brooke Hill graduates who didn’t win the number one prize still swarmed Birmingham with equal energy.
It is not quite yet from the days of yore, but some of you may remember Kate Jackson, star of Charlie’s Angels and The Scarecrow and Mrs. King, a Golden Globe nominee and Brooke Hill alumna.
You can see I photographed my friends, sisters Leigh Corra and Cathy Crenshaw, from one of Birmingham’s first industrial families—appropriately at the Pepper Place complex, during the country’s fourth-prize public farmer’s market, just two of Cathy’s many projects that make this a better place. Leigh is a Southern Progress survivor and my number one Saturday morning confidante. She tells me which girls are crazy, and which ones are just mean, and admonishes me: when will you learn. Leigh and Cathy’s mother is a scream and their dad mixes a mean Scotch. No, I didn’t forget about their other sister who is a beaut, and a sweetheart to boot.
You may remember seeing this one on TV, from another founding Birmingham family, Margaret DeBardeleben Tutwiler, going on as Bush senior’s State Department spokesperson (during the days I fell out of favor as a Cuban impersonator). You thought she was gruff, then along came Dick Cheney. But some say she was true to her roots, as her coal-mining family first broke the unions and bankrolled anti-New Deal propaganda, too.
Which reminds me, all those Brooke Hill girls weren’t chairing the ballet.
There was, for example, one of Brooke Hill’s most accomplished grads, Pulitzer Prize winning author Margaret McWhorter, high school sorority sister of Margaret Tutwiler.
McWhorter grew up in the same circles, and opened her book, Carry Me Home, at the Mountain Brook Club (which got my Menu of Menus vote for best fried chicken in Birmingham) the day some bad white people bombed the black church and fetched a genie out of the bottle that no one could ever put back, even in the most removed bastions of complacency.
And she said when she came back to visit Birmingham and went to lunch at the club after writing her book, “the waiters were glad to see me.”
You see she stirred things up when she wrote about the segregationist system going back to the anti-New Deal and anti-labor movements spawned in what was then a nation-leading industrial city—and worse, she even suggested the Birmingham Club was somehow inferior to Mountain Brook, to cause a commotion.
And she got asked a lot, why do you want to bring up all that stuff from the past. Till she finally came up with an answer, that Birmingham has a real place in history, just like the Civil War. It is the “Gettysburg,” the turning point on Civil Rights.
Can you imagine going to a school with nothing but females? How quaint and anachronistic, yes, and so wellbehaved. Oh well, those were the days.
Our expert on the subject, Carolyn Satterfield, will help Brooke Hill commemorate its 70th anniversary this week. And, since that definitely does date back to days of yore, she promises me she will also share with us in future issues some of the choicer lore.