A lifetime of photos from a proud Mississippi mom - in this case, the mom of Grammy winner Marty Stuart - are compiled in a compelling new book.
Hilda Stuart has loved every minute of her 79 years of life in the South. Half of it has been spent in rural Mississippi, with the other half in Nashville.
Those memories are all on film, thanks to a hobby that began at age 14 when her brother said, "you can borrow my camera, if you take a picture of me."
Sixty-five years later, the photography fire still burns.
Many of the photos in her book, Choctaw Gardens, capture the people and family that gave meaning to those rural rough days.
It's her history, taken with a historic camera.
"It's a little bit complicated. You have to do your own lighting. You have to do your own shutter speed," Hilda Stuart said.
In her hands, the equipment worked just fine and caught countless moments that included musician Marty, now a 20-year member of the Grand Ole Opry.
As a youngster, the piano would give way to the guitar, and by the time he was a teenager, he and Lester Flatt were an onstage team.
"It just reminds you of where you really come from," Hilda Stuart said. "And you can take a little trip in the book. You really can."
Merle Haggard said Hilda Stuart's photos come straight from the heart of the American dream. She and her musician son Marty Stuart have a book signing set for Sunday at 2 p.m. at Parnassus Books in Green Hills.
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