Public performances of “A Christmas Memory” are a holiday tradition, from stage and radio adaptations to small community readings. The semi-autobiographical short story by Truman Capote is available in print at Cobb County Public Library System locations, but you may have to do an extra bit of searching to locate it this time of year.
First published in 1956, the story is about a young boy named Buddy and the very poor elderly woman he calls his best friend. Distant cousins, the pair team up for the annual Christmastime routine of making fruitcakes to send to relatives, acquaintances and strangers, rounding up ingredients and a Christmas tree along the way. The story is set in the 1930s South, much like the Monroeville, Ala., community Capote lived in for a while as a child away from his parents. It’s Buddy’s final Christmas before he is sent to military school.
The Cobb County Public Library System has the story in various collections, including:
A Christmas Memory; One Christmas; The Thanksgiving Visitor is a Modern Library edition with the three stories featuring Buddy and his cousin Sook, who was unnamed in the first story.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s: a short novel and three stories, also a Modern Library collection of Capote stories, that includes A Christmas Memory.
Christmas Stories, edited by Diana Secker Tesdell, includes A Christmas Memory, along with tales from Charles Dickens, O. Henry, Alice Munro, Richard Ford and others.
There are also TV productions of the story, including Hallmark’s Truman Capote’s A Christmas Memory with Patty Duke. More difficult to locate – the Library System has a single VHS tape copy – is the ABC Stage 67 production of the same title featuring Geraldine Page and Donnie Melvin in the 1967 broadcast narrated by the author.
Classic stories are often included in anthologies and collected works editions. Visit the Reference Desk at any Cobb County library location to speak with a librarian about how to track down copies of stories.