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Sela Ward comes home for book signing

By Staff
Editor's Note: The following is an excerpt from Sela Ward's new book, "Homesick: A Memoir." Ward is a Emmy-award winning actress and a native of Meridian.
I want to tell you about my home or homes, really, because as much as I love the South, there's no denying that part of me is also at home in southern California, where I work and live with my husband and children most of the year.
Still, though I'm not in the South most of the time, I am undeniably of the South. Its customs and ways have shaped me as sure as the great Mississippi formed the Delta. And it is to the South I always return when I need comfort, solace, and respite from the rigors of city life.
special to The Star
Known to millions of fans around the world for her Emmy Award-winning performances in "Once and Again" and "Sisters," actress Sela Ward imbues her roles with honesty, warmth and intelligence.
She brings these same qualities to the written page in "Homesick: A Memoir."
In what she terms "the story of a prodigal daughter who finally understood how much she loved her Southern home and needed it to make sense of her life in parts unknown," Ward explores how her life has come full circle.
Ward writes that we have strayed too far from the humble things that endure and given short shrift to the rituals and traditions that give meaning and continuity to people's lives.
A native of Meridian, Ward is the eldest of four children born to Granberry Holland Ward Jr., an electrical engineer, and Annie Kate Ward, a homemaker.
Weaving together nostalgic reminiscences and stories from her childhood, "Homesick" reflects on the charms and rhythms of the small-town life she led surrounded by friends and family.
After graduating from the University of Alabama, where she was a cheerleader for the national championship football team, Ward moved to New York and found work as a model and then an actress.
She achieved critical success with her portrayal of Teddy Reed on "Sisters." Then she met her husband and started a family.
As she contemplated raising her children within the Hollywood lifestyle, one truth came home in a profound way: she needed to re-establish a connection with the world she had left behind.
As part of her desire to provide such a place for others, Ward founded Hope Village for Children a home in Meridian for abused and neglected children.
In "Homesick," Ward shares how growing up amid the older code in which family and friendship were valued above all else helped her to retain focus and perspective through the years.
Comparing that simpler era and place to today's hectic world, she reflects on what has been lost: the emotional solidarity of extended family, the importance of good manners as a moral compass and the luxury of time spent with our children.
In the closing chapters of the book, Ward writes about what began as the worst season of her life and ended with a sense of growth, closure and peace.
It started the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, when she discovered that Chic Burlingame, an old friend of her family, had been captain of the plane that was hijacked by terrorists and crashed into the Pentagon.
Then her mother died in late January 2002, followed by the cancellation of "Once and Again." It was at that low point she felt ready to claim the best parts of her childhood legacy and pass them on to her children.