By Nicole Lemal
Times West Virginian
While strolling through her apartment on Park Avenue in New York City, best-selling author Jeannette Walls realized she was ashamed of her past.
She was ashamed of the poverty-stricken life she led. She was ashamed of her mother, who would rummage through Dumpsters on a daily basis.
“I looked in the mirror and didn’t particularly like the person I saw there,” Walls said as she recalled the day she ignored her mother going through the garbage in New York. “We were always running, and when we weren’t running away from something, we were chasing something.”
Eventually, her shame drove her to confront her past and cultivated a magnitude of success that has her traveling all over the country, including to Fairmont. Title 1 director Jean Hinzman referred to the phrase “go see the elephant” in describing Walls.
“As time went on, that saying became known as to go see the elephant meant you were going to see and do something wonderful, and that’s what we want to happen for you tonight, to have a journey to go see the elephant,” Hinzman told the audience.
On Tuesday evening, Walls spoke at Westchester Village to a room packed with parents, educators and community members. Sharing her story, which later turned into a best-selling memoir called “The Glass Castle,” brings her great joy, she said. At the same time, it invokes a multitude of emotions.
“It brings back great emotions,” she said. “Nothing makes me happier than to be able to share my story with people who might be able to relate to it in some way.”