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Truelove & Homegrown Tomatoes
Location(s): Euharlee, Georgia
Era(s): 2nd half 20th century
Truelove and Homegrown Tomatoes is a down-home story celebrating the enormous healing power of the Southern garden. Imogene Lavender, her daughter, Jeanette, and her niece, Loutishie, wage their individual battles with grief and find the answer to many of life’s questions deep in the red-clay dirt of Euharlee, Georgia. After forty-eight years of marriage, Imo’s life is shattered when Silas, her beloved husband dies. She deals with her grief by throwing herself into nurturing both her vegetable garden and her girls. Imo’s concern for Jeanette and Lou supercedes any desires for self-fulfillment, and she determines to go on with the “fever of this life on earth” solely to guide Jeanette and Lou through the perils of adolescence and too many visits to the Dairy Queen. However, the longings of Imo’s lonely heart and the persuasions of well-meaning friends send her off on a man-hunt. After a beautician at the Kuntry Kut’n Kurl transforms Imo into a woman who looks two decades younger than her sixty -four years, Imo cruises the frozen food aisle of the local grocery, looking for single men buying TV dinners. Lou records her aunt’s man-hunt and her love for her vegetable garden in her journal, “Loutishie’s Notebook”. She also ruminates here about her own grief and her all-consuming fear of the Rapture of the Saints and store-bought tomatoes. Her story is about the family’s passage to wholeness and brings us lessons on love, death, disappointment, and acceptance of change. Imo’s search for love leads her on a journey that is sometimes painful, sometimes comical, and always surprising. When life gets too complicated, she turns to her vegetable garden for solace and for distraction. The seasons oflife, death, and love reflect the seasons in her garden, and ultimately, it is the garden that gives Imo a feeling of connection with her departed lovers and hope for the future.
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