Louisa May Alcott’s book “Little Women” is the story of four strong, talented, unique sisters with a strong bond. If you’ve seen the movie or read the book, you’ll remember the warmth and camaraderie between the girls.
That was the feeling at the Farrar home when twins Macye and Bertie talked about the projects that landed them on the Knoxville News-Sentinel’s 20 Under 20 list.
Macye is full of excitement as she talks about the book she wrote as part of her Clinton Strong project last year.
“I was thinking the summer before about writing a book, but I didn’t know if I could,” Macye said. “Then the Clinton Strong project came up and writing a book came up as an option. So I wrote the book.”
Clinton Strong is a program that Clinton Elementary hosts to inspire 6th-graders to pursue a goal that enriches their own lives and that of the community.
Much like Jo March, one of the sisters in “Little Women,” Macye is a spirited, creative girl. The book she wrote for the project is 38 pages. The one she’s writing now is already 111.
“So far,” she makes sure to point out.
Bertie is proud of her, saying that Macye stays up late writing and dreams of new ideas all the time.
And Macye supports Bertie by tasting everything she makes.
“Somebody’s got to do it!” she said.
Bertie operates Bertie Bakes and specializes in amazing cookies and breads.
The Farrar girls are part of a multi-generational group of successful, supportive women. Their mom, Mollie, helps run Hoskins in the Flat with her own sister, Jenky. Like Bertie and Macye, she’s very close to her sisters.
“We don’t function well without each other,” she laughed as she talked about how they occasionally bicker. “We need each other, we’re friends.”
There are more sisters in the Farrar/Bostic/Hoskins family than an outsider can keep up with. Mollie’s mother, Dudley, owns Hoskins Pharmacy with her sister, also named Mollie. The pharmacy has been around for nearly 90 years and is a staple in the community, along with the restaurant inside.
They all kind of look alike, all kind of have the same name, and are all intelligent and creative. Bertie is named after her great-grandmother, who was a special education teacher.
She instilled a lifelong love of reading in Bertie and Macye. In fact, it’s reading that’s a problem in their household, not “screen time,” as is the case in most modern households, according to Mollie.
The girls see technology as a blessing and a curse.
“It benefits us, but makes us a little lazy,” Bertie says. “If your stove breaks down, we can look it up and you can fix it yourself. But the con is that for all the people who repair things like that, that’s not good. And Amazon is putting a lot of small businesses out of business.”
“Yeah, and what about the apocalypse?” Macye jokes. “Nobody will know how to do anything.
Bertie was inspired by her grandmother, Dudley, who she has always helped bake throughout the years. Macye thinks she got her talent for writing from her Aunt Jenky. Her mom told her that Jenky used to write “really good” short stories.
The girls are forever grateful to Clinton Elementary for inspiring them to follow their dreams. Macye wants to be a veterinarian and Bertie wants to be a doctor, but they both hope to continue their hobbies for as long as they can.
Macye credits her teachers — Kimberly O’Dell, Lauren Murphy and Lauren Witt — for encouraging her to reach for the stars. And, of course, their mother.
“My mom helps me so much,” Bertie says. “Without her, this wouldn’t be a thing. With everything.”
Bertie’s baked goods and Macye’s book are available at Hoskins Drug Store. The book is also available on bookemon.com.