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Remembering George

Fans, those who knew him gather to mark 100 years since Perry’s birth
By KEN ESTEN COOKE Reporter Publisher
George Sessions Perry, the storied local author who was never one to shy away from a party, would have loved the good time set up to honor him last Wednesday at the Patterson Civic Center.

Perry Perry Fans of the written word came to salute the author, who would have turned 100 on May 5. The fans enjoyed music, food, a portrayal of Perry chracter Granny Van by Becky Marek, a city proclamation and recollections of Rockdale’s beloved literary export.

Many shared personal remembrances, family connections and a love for a man who brought rural Texas to the national literary scene.

Perry, with his Cinco de Mayo birthday, would also have regaled the folklorico dancers, a group from St. Monica’s Catholic Church in Cameron, who performed as part of the celebration.

His fondness for different cultures was chronicled in a series for the Saturday Evening Post, in which the author introduced 1950s America to different minority families who were trying to live out the American dream.

Three who knew the author share a laugh at remembrances of Perry, as colorful a character as any of his own fictitious creations. From left, his neighbor Lucile Estell, Johnnilyn Brown and Joan Ratliff, who remembered Perry taking them for rides in his car when they were children. Three who knew the author share a laugh at remembrances of Perry, as colorful a character as any of his own fictitious creations. From left, his neighbor Lucile Estell, Johnnilyn Brown and Joan Ratliff, who remembered Perry taking them for rides in his car when they were children. University of Houston history professor Garna Christian read a passage about Perry dealing with Hollywood. Perry had one of his books, “Hold Autumn in Your Hand,” made into a movie — “The Southerner” — and he had a hand in other screenplays.

Despite “The Southerner” being made by reknowned filmmaker Jean Renoir, Perry pronounced it “lousy,” Christian said.

Johnnilyn Brown remembered riding around in Perry’s Cadillac when she was a small girl. Cliff Simms remembered that friend Mike Lee tried to help him negotiate a salary in Hollywood, but aimed too high in the initial letter. Reporter/Ken Esten Cooke
Cliff Simms, a friend of the late author, visits with history professor and Perry biographer Garna Christian (L) and former Rockdale history teacher Mark Brady. Cliff Simms, a friend of the late author, visits with history professor and Perry biographer Garna Christian (L) and former Rockdale history teacher Mark Brady.
Annette Stone put festivities together honoring the late author. She was also instrumental in the Reporter special section, published last week. At right, Becky Marek portrays Granny Van. Below, Bill Cooke (center) looks over display tables with Leona (Lanford) Penney and her son Robert. Perry chronicled her father’s tales in an issue of the Saturday Evening Post. Annette Stone put festivities together honoring the late author. She was also instrumental in the Reporter special section, published last week. At right, Becky Marek portrays Granny Van. Below, Bill Cooke (center) looks over display tables with Leona (Lanford) Penney and her son Robert. Perry chronicled her father’s tales in an issue of the Saturday Evening Post.


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2010-05-13 digital edition



The burn ban for Milam County has been lifted. Burning is always prohibited in the county's municipalities.


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