“Nell! Nell!” The reporters yelled from the crowd. Press conferences weren’t her favorite. But, the USA Women’s Soccer Team were big celebrities. They had a legitimate chance of winning the championship this year. And Nell was their biggest star.
“Okay, one more question, guys.” She hoped one of the millions of cameras in the room didn’t capture an image of her dour expression. “Allison – what ya got?” Nell pointed to a young reporter in the front row and tried to smile.
“Nell – who inspired you to become an athlete?’
“That’s a great question, but there are so many great female athletes out there. It would be hard to name just one.”
An hour later, Nell returned to her hotel room to find To Kill A Mockingbird sitting on the nightstand where she’d left it. She could see the corner of the folded yellowed note sticking out of the torn lining of the battered book. She opened the book and the note fluttered to the floor. It was from her mother, written over 20 years ago.
Nell – I have a feeling you’ll find a kindred spirit in these pages. Love, Mom.
Nell opened the book to her favorite passage and settled under the covers to read all about the adventures of Jean Louise “Scout” Finch, her favorite tomboy.
I was saddened to read of the death of Harper Lee today. I was a little girl with perpetually skinned knees and elbows, pigtails with ribbons that were always coming undone, and grass stains down the front of all of my outfits. I was most at home climbing fences, digging in the dirt and playing imaginary games outdoors with my friends. Scout was the first girl character I’d encountered who liked all those things too, which meant the world to me at a time when I felt the most misunderstood. Ms. Lee may be gone but Scout, Jem and Atticus will live forever.