The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 95, July 1991 - April, 1992 Page: 370
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
George was always interested in the dreary farm conditions around
him. That interest was brilliantly evident in his second novel, Hold Au-
tumn in Your Hand. It gave more hope to its farm people than did John
Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath, with which some critics compared it,
and it brought its author national attention and won the National
Booksellers award in 1941.
I read Walls Rise Up and Hold Autumn while I was on the news desk of
the Houston Post, and I asked that paper's erudite book editor, Bob
Johnson, to let me write a piece for his book section on this exciting iew
writer. He said all right but on my own time and at my own expense.
George's reply to my request for an interview was immediate: a tele-
gram inviting me to come to his home the next Saturday to visit
My first sight of the big, sad-eyed George Sessions Perry was when he
came through the door of a Rockdale cafe the following Saturday. I
had called the Perry home, and George had answered: "Stay right
there. I'll be down and you can follow me home. That'll be easier than
me telling you how to get here."
That began a wonderful weekend, for both Perrys were hospitable,
warm, and outgoing. It was a new experience for the three of us: It was
my first interview with an accomplished writer whose books had been
reviewed in the New York Tzmes-a sign of success to me-and this was
their first attention from a representative of a large daily newspaper.
Our talks were long and spirited, about books and writing, farming
and hopelessness, and about the Perrys' life in this big, two-story house
in the small Milam County town where George was born May 5, 1910.
Late in that first afternoon, George drove with me around town. His
habit of speeding up, then slowing down, talking all the time, made me
only mildly nervous.
We stopped at several homes where the cocktail hour was being ob-
served. George and I drank from the small bottle of bourbon he car-
ried in a pocket. To each hostess, he explained: "We didn't want to im-
pose on you." And I guessed each would say later: "Just like George
In the business section of town, George pointed out stores that his
father, who died when his only child was very young, had owned and
once operated. We stopped and went into one store that was big and
cavernous. No one was there, but the entire floor was covered with row
on row of army-brown shoes and boots!
George explained that anyone was welcome to come in and get a pair
of shoes for any amount he wanted to leave in a box. Each buyer could
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 95, July 1991 - April, 1992, periodical, 1992; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117153/m1/430/: accessed July 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.