Kentucky native Nancy Culpepper boldly left home to attend school in Massachusetts, married a Yankee, and raised her son in the Northeast. “One day I was feeding chickens and listening to Hank Williams and the next day I was expected to know what wines went with what,” she tells her husband, Jack. Yet no matter where she travels, her rural southern heritage is never far from her thoughts, her habits, and her heart.
Nancy is on a lifelong quest to understand her place in the world. Returning home to the family farm, she searches for photographic evidence of an ancestor bearing her own name. Still in her jeans, she brings home strange ideas and an assertiveness she learned up north. Always adventurous, Nancy travels far and wide–searching, seeking. The narrative sweep of her life traverses the turbulent sixties, the Vietnam War, the eighties and the foreboding death of John Lennon, and finally the new millennium–when a self-assured Nancy finally emerges. These humorous and often touching stories recount her courtship and marriage to Jack, her relationship with her precocious son, and the deep, loving bond between her parents, Spence and Lila Culpepper. Eventually Nancy’s marriage is threatened by a cultural divide that plagued her and Jack from the start. But when she inherits the Culpepper family farm and discovers more pieces of her ancestral puzzle, she realizes that her life is assuming its proper shape. Later, standing on a lonely mountain in England, she sees the world from a surprising perspective.
Bestselling author Bobbie Ann Mason’s prizewinning Nancy Culpepper chronicles have appeared in The New Yorker, The Boston Globe, The Southern Review, and other distinguished literary anthologies. She has compiled these stories into one definitive collection, which includes the novella Spence + Lila, two new, never-before-published stories, and one Pushcart Prize winner. Heartfelt and thought-provoking, Nancy Culpepper is a poignant depiction of change and growth in a modern-day heroine.