What We Can Learn from the Summer of 1915


A figure stands looking out of a window at Agee House, home of the writer James Agee in Knoxville, Tenn., in 1962. Ernst Haas—Getty Images

One hundred years ago this month, a 5-year-old boy spread a quilt and lay with his parents on the grass of the backyard of their house in Knoxville, Tenn. On this summer night, he listened to the music of the evening — the murmur of neighbors talking on porches, the clop-clop of horses on the street, the hissing of hoses watering lawns, the rasping of locusts and crickets, and the flopping of a few frogs in the dewy grass. He watched the last fireflies flicker out and wondered who he was.

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