No longer a well-known writer, Pulitzer-Prize winner Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings deserves more attention. Author of the popular coming-of-age novel, The Yearling (1938), Rawlings immortalized the lives of the rural people of north Florida, often derisively called “Crackers.”
This photo essay grew out of my recent trip to north central Florida, as well as from long-term admiration for Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings’s celebration of the small rural town of Cross Creek. Rawlings lived there on a small farm in her later years, writing, and just plain living. Her cookbook, Cross Creek Cookery, begins with a tribute to this place, located about fifteen miles from Gainesville and the University of Florida, where Rawlings’s papers now reside:
Whenever the Florida weather permits, which is ten or eleven months out of the year, I serve on my broad screened verandah. It faces east, and at breakfast time the sun streams in on us, and the red birds are having breakfast, too, in the feed basket in the crepe myrtle in the front yard. … At dinner time, the sunset is rosy on the tall palm trunks in the orange grove across the yard. We have for perfume the the orange blossoms in season, or the oleanders, or the tea-olive.
The driveway with the barn on the right
The gate to the garden
The kitchen sink
© 2009 C. Bertelsen. All photographs by C. Bertelsen.