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Since I am in my late 50s and have spent my entire life living in the South (Florida), I can still remember some of the aspects of the novel that were still alive in the 1960s and 1970s. Schools were still segregated when I first began my education, and there were no black children attending my elementary school. The entire congregation of my church was white-only, and the neighborhood in which I lived was all white. Although the college educated Atticus was nothing like my own father, my dad was also a crack shot with a rifle. My mother died when I was young, and my brother and I grew up in a single parent family. One of my aunts reminded me somewhat of Aunt Alexandra: She and her husband, who loved to fish like Uncle Jimmy, had few similar interests, and she often traveled without him, often for weeks at a time. My aunt also served as a kind of surrogate mother, like Alexandra: She often prepared us dinners and wonderful desserts; and being an excellent seamstress, she made my brother and I shirts and pants from scratch. We had several matronly neighbor ladies (not unlike Miss Maudie, Miss Stephanie and Aunt Rachel) whom we also addressed as "Miss" or "Aunt," and we knew nearly all of the families in our neighborhood. Like Jem and Scout, my brother and I spent much of our time in our treehouse, rarely wore shoes, and often acted out scenarios such as cowboys and Indians. And like Jem and Scout, I also had an Uncle Jack. My Uncle Jack was an attorney, like Atticus, who also was a state legislator (from Orlando). My father was also friendly with the local sheriff, and like the doctor in TKAM, our family physician also made house calls when necessary. Although we had no one in the neighborhood as eccentric as Boo Radley, there were several local characters who provided plenty of gossip for our little world, and there were plenty of old rural families (like the Cunninghams) and even a few poor families that slightly resembled the Ewells.
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