Friday, September 19, 2008

Ahhh, I wish I'd lived in the "good old days." Do you? Really?

By Lonnie Cruse

Ever made that statement about wishing you lived in the good old days, like maybe a hundred years ago? Two hundred? Ever heard someone else make it? I know I've said it. Yet how few of us really have the courage or strength to actually do it? And those who do are often looked on as weird or strange for choosing to forgo all modern conveniences and live as our ancestors once did. There is one woman who created a life set in the 1830's for herself in modern day Vermont. Her wonderful paintings as well as her lifestyle have made her a legend.

In June of this year the world lost that lovely legend when artist Tasha Tudor passed away. Tudor illustrated numerous children's books as well as greeting cards, stationary, and other items. But the most interesting thing to me about Tudor was her love of the 1830's to the point that she actually managed to live in that time. Almost. She spent a good many years without running water or electricity. Tudor's son, Seth, hand built her Vermont farm house the old fashioned way, and she lived there many decades, cooking her meals on a wood burning stove and tending her now-famous garden. She often made her own candles, sewed her 1800's style clothing, and for reasons best known to herself, went barefoot most of the time. She wasn't lonely on that farm, populated with Welsh Corgis, goats, birds, and various other animals. Besides, she was too busy enjoying life to be lonely.

I've been a Tasha Tudor fan since childhood when my step-mom presented me with one of Tudor's wonderful children's books. I still have it, and as an adult I've collected many of her other books, including my favorite, THE DOLLS' CHRISTMAS. I also have TASHA TUDOR'S GARDEN, THE PRIVATE WORLD OF TASHA TUDOR, and TASHA TUDOR'S COOKBOOK, written about or for her by others.

I don't want to be guilty of copyright infringement so rather than post pictures here of Tudor or her art or her wonderful farm, I'll simply share a link to her family's site which will lead you to other sites about her as well.

If you are a fan of Tasha Tudor, you know what an inspiration her life and work were. If you aren't familiar with her but have ever wondered what it would be like to go back in time and live that life, please check out the above website. Or find some of her wonderful books to read or the books written about her. You won't be disappointed.

I hope one day to visit Vermont where Tasha Tudor's farm is located and take the garden tour. Meanwhile, I'm re-reading her biography and enjoying her wonderful art. I do miss knowing that she was alive and well in Vermont but I'm still enjoying "the good old days" through her books. But do I still want to live in those good old days? Nope.


caryn said...

Great link Lonnie. I alos have loved Tasha Tudor books etc, but I did not realize she acctually lived it! Wow, I'm impressed. A couple of summers agao during a thunderstorm, a tree fell onour house. We, along with a half million others in St. Louis, were without power for 8 days. After the second day things started to go down hill fast. By the thrid day I was definitely sure I would not have survived as a pioneer, and by the fourth day I was muttering things about living in a third world country. It was not pretty. Nope, I am definitely not an 1800's gal no matter how much I loved Little House on the Prairie or Tasha Tudor books.

Sandra Parshall said...

Lonnie, I have not once wished I lived in an earlier time. Like Caryn, I begin to deteriorate as soon as the power goes off, and if the outage lasts more than one day I turn into a world-class whiner. After the last three-day outage, we had a generator installed. Yippee!

I think my intolerance for discomfort makes me appreciate history all the more. I admire the pioneers who left everything they knew and struck out for the wilderness to make a new life. That took a kind of courage that I suspect few people today possess.

Lonnie Cruse said...

Caryn and Sandy,

A generator is now on my wish list. Sigh, one or two days does me in.

Anonymous said...

You should check out Bayard and their series of StoryBoxBooks, AdventureBoxBooks and DiscoveryBoxBooks.
There's lots going on too:
This Month Storybox has guest illustrator Helen Oxenbury featured.

There's a Readathon happening in UK and Ireland -
There's a Ghost Drawing competition in AdventureBoxBooks assiciated with the Polka Theatre ( )

Anonymous said...

You made some good points there. I did a search on the topic and found most people will agree with your blog.