On Saturday, August 2, Oklahoma lost one of its most beloved authors, Billie Letts. In her novels, Where the Heart Is, The Honk and Holler Opening Soon, Shoot the Moon and Made in the USA, Billie captured Oklahoma and the ordinary people who live here with honesty, pathos and humor. She created real, often quirky, characters who made our hearts ache and she showed us that family can be created through bonds formed by love and emotional support, even among people not related by blood. She made us cry, but also laugh out loud. Billie was good for the soul.
I first met Billie after her first novel was published. My friend gave me a copy of Where the Heart Is and told me that the author would be at Barnes and Noble in a couple of days for a book discussion. I read the book in two days and loved every minute of it. Not long after hearing Billie at that discussion group my husband and I bid on a dinner with her at a silent auction at a charity event. This could have been an awkward situation—an author forced to spend an evening with a couple she didn’t know. We met her at Camarelli’s on Cherry Street and had one of the most delightful evenings of our lives. She was gracious, humble, kind and charming. She gave us both a big hug at the end of the evening.
I admired Billie’s spunk. More than once I saw her protesting the war on the corner of 41st and Yale. She was a woman who walked the walk. That so much talent and goodness could be contained in such a small package is a wonder. She will be missed by many. If you would like to share your memories of Billie and your experiences with her books please share on the library’s Facebook page.