By Ally Morrison
“Aunt Sister – a Southern lady who was raised right but overcame it, bless her heart.” Julia Harwell Segars came up with the tagline that brought laughter to many readers of the Talladega Daily Home.
From an anonymous humor column in a small county paper to a well-liked book, Segars has brought light and laughter to many readers.
Segars explained that she had been working for Alabama Power, but it was not offering the creative outlet she craved, and she started thinking about ways to use her writing skills.
“I was playing with the idea for a while and had friends who were editors of the Talladega Daily Home. I pitched the idea of a humor column, and they liked it.”
But she didn’t want the humorous column to interfere with her corporate career in the communication department.
“I had to come up with a pseudonym, so there weren’t any problems,” Segars said. “The only person who knew it was me writing the column was the editor. None of the writers knew who it was.”
When asked how she came up with the name of her column, Segars said it was inspired by family.
“My mother was the youngest of 10 children, and she had a sister who everyone nicknamed, sister,” Segars said. “So, we just called her Aunt Sister.”
Segars’ column gained popularity and eventually was entered into an Alabama Press Association contest for humor writing, after which the column went on to win in its division.
“I had some friends who wanted me to put the columns together as a book and they wanted to produce it,” Segars said. “I assembled all the columns from the paper and added a few to round it out.”
Now with a book out that is sprinkled with humor, joy and wit, Segars loves to speak about the lighthearted columns she wrote under the pseudonym Aunt Sister.
On April 28, the Hoover Service Club will feature Segars as the keynote speaker at its spring fundraiser, being held at Hoover Country Club. The event, Table Inspirations, will feature creative tablescapes, an online silent auction and lunch.
Originally from Hoover, Segars graduated from the University of Alabama with a degree in journalism. While at the university, she was a student writer in the public relations department, focusing mainly on press releases and features.
From there, Segars was hired by the Tuscaloosa News, where she covered crime and local government.
Later, Segars was hired by Alabama Power as a writer in the employee communication group.
According to Segars, her first love has always been writing, but she does have a passion for another form of creativity.
“I came out of the womb creative,” Segars said humorously. “I’m left-handed, so maybe that has something to do with it. I have a minor in art, but I stuck with writing for a while.”
Segars retired in 2017 but made time to travel for book signings and public speaking. Recently, Segars has gotten back into painting and is currently taking oil lessons.
“Oil painting is a frontier I always wanted to conquer, but I never had the time,” Segars said.
Segars is excited to go back to her “old stomping grounds” for the Hoover Service Club event.
“A lot of my parent’s friends are involved in the Hoover Service Club,” Segars said. “They do such good work, and I’m excited to speak. Home is home.”
During the event, Segars plans to display some of the sassy and humorous observations from Aunt Sister and hopes to bring some lighthearted entertainment to the audience.