First off, as I received a couple of emails congratulating me on my new shop, I just want to be clear that I do not have a new shop. I thought I was being funny and thanking my mom at the same time for a book shop shaped Christmas tree ornament she gave me. I do apologize if I wasn’t clear in the post. My mom is a great lady, but she would never buy me a real book shop. (Would you, Mom?) 😉
I was supposed to visit another bookseller today, about an hour’s drive away. Plans changed at the last minute, and I was left with an open calendar. As it turns out, that was just fine. It’s raining rather hard here today, and rather foggy as well. The fog today is that type of mist that makes the air so still that the sound of the hard heel of one’s shoe on the pavement echoes as one walks outside. Indoors, I put the tea kettle on the stove, pulled out my book-shaped teapot and some Comfort and Joy tea, and decided that I would finish making satin bows to adorn our the Christmas tree.
I decided to watch a video while I did this. A few days ago while on a visit to the public library with Huck, I found a 1998 VHS video biography of Tasha Tudor called Take Joy. Because I enjoy her illustrations, I borrowed the video, unsure as to when I would fit in time to watch it. Something about Tudor’s illustrations make me feel in the Christmas spirit. I don’t know why. I just know that when I see her books my mind thinks “Ah, Christmas!” Although I am familiar with Tudor’s lovely books and illustrations, I knew very little about her life. After watching the video, I now know why I am mysteriously drawn to her.
What you are about to read may not be news to you, because I assume some of you dear readers are book experts and already know all there is to know about Tasha Tudor and her Vermont home, Corgi Cottage. You’ll have to remember that because I have been extremely busy raising small children the past ten years, I have not had time to read the biographies of authors I like. I was fortunate enough to read her books to my children. Anything beyond that was too difficult at the time. I was intrigued to learn that Tudor lives and dresses as if it is the 1830s, her favorite historical period. From her website:
Her home, though only 30 years old, feels as though it was built in the 1830’s, her favorite time period. Seth Tudor, one of Tasha’s four children, built her home using hand tools when Tasha moved to Vermont in the 1970’s. Tasha Tudor lives among period antiques, using them in her daily life. She is quite adept at ‘Heirloom Crafts’, though she detests the term, including candle dipping, weaving, soap making, doll making and knitting. She lived without running water until her youngest child was five years old.
From a young age Tasha Tudor has been interested in the home arts. She excels in cooking, canning, cheese-making, ice cream making and many other home skills. As anyone who has eaten at Tasha Tudor’s would know, her cooking skills are unsurpassed. She collects eggs from her chickens in the evenings, cooks only with fresh goats milk, and uses only fresh or dried herbs from her garden. Tasha Tudor is renowned for her Afternoon Tea parties.
Once summer arrives, Tasha Tudor leaves her art table to spend the season tending her large, beautiful garden which surrounds her home.
Oh my goodness! Can I please go and visit her for tea? I’ll find a way to get to Vermont from California. Tudor is now 92 years old and she is living my fantasy life. There’s a bit of the pioneer woman in her, and like her, I’ve often thought I should have been born in the 1800s. I don’t own any nineteenth century clothing, and would be exceedingly insecure about wearing it if I did. Still, I think it much prettier than many of today’s fashions. And I don’t know how to milk goats or gather eggs from hens, but part of me really, really wants to. My favorite part of the video, in which she gave viewers a tour of her lovely home, is when she says, “I don’t fear anything. I know how to handle a gun and I am self-sufficient here at Corgi Cottage.” There are so many things I want to ask her about her life:
Do you drive a car?
Do you have electricity?
Do you have a washing machine?
Do you ever have to go to the grocery store? Costco?
Do you wear period clothing when you leave Corgi Cottage? (Why would you ever leave beautiful Corgi Cottage?)
Could you teach me how to make candles and soap?
Could you teach me to draw?
Who brings you art supplies, or do you go somewhere and buy them?
Do you use a computer? A telephone?
Would you drink tea with me?
I’ve been looking online and see there are several books about Tudor’s life I will have to borrow from the library and add to my Christmas wish list. (Though I, too, love the 1830s, I do love the modern convenience of being about to learn more about Tasha Tudor from my web browser.)
Thank you, thank you, Tasha Tudor. Today you reminded me to take joy in all that I do, and though my suburban lifestyle means that instead of milking goats I go to Costco and the grocery store (often) and instead of playing musical instruments, I own the eighth wonder of the world, the iPod, I want very much to be a pioneer like you.