Sunday, June 22, 2008


Tasha Tudor Passed away this week. I will miss her because knowing she was enjoying her simple life gave me a warm feeling. I knew she was caring for her piece of heaven in Vermont with love and in her simplistic way.

I first “met” this author as a senior when I was working at our hometown library. I was asked to do a bulletin board display for Tasha Tudor’s book, “Becky’s Birthday”. The Librarian told me to look up all I could about Tasha Tudor and go from there. I was amazed to see she illustrated “The Secret Garden”. All I really remember doing for that bulletin board was the pin ribbon that was the border and it looked like the dust jacket of the book. From that day on I was hooked on the talented woman.

As a single mom I picked up one of her book and she became my hero again. She too was a single mom and she did it without electricity and plumbing. Having grown up in “Amish Country” I understood what this meant and I marveled because I had all the conveniences and struggled to get through the day. It was about that time that I began to search to see what simplicity was all about.

I could write a lot but decided the best I can do is share some quotes from the book I have about her called “The Private World of Tasha Tudor”. Her love for gardens and flowers came from her mother and grandmother who were “passionate gardeners. She talks about the name of flowers and how she likes to use their common names because “ The sound of ‘foxglove’ is so much pleasanter than ‘digitalis’ “. (page 41)

I may not agree with her feelings about snakes but loved this paragraph.
“My garden is built in levels with lots of stone walls. The snakes think my walls are Ritz-Carltons. There’s a lovely tame one, which lives in the largest wall just before the house. He was injured when he was tiny. I brought him inside and made a nest of moss and raised him up until he was a foot long. Than I had to let him go because he was getting too big. He would sit curled up in my hand at night when I read. Snakes love warmth, and he would make a perfect circle in my palm. Have you ever studied a snake’s face?-how optimistic they look. They have an eternal smile. I think they’re laughing at man’s folly.” (page 56)
Now I can promise I will never bring a snake in my house and become that intimate with it but it was right for her and so consistent with her life. That is a trait I admire.

On dress…remember she collected vintage clothing and wore them.
“Why do women want to dress like men when they are fortunate enough to be women? Why lose our femininity which is one of our greatest charms? We get much more accomplished by being charming than we would by flaunting around in pants and smoking. I’m very fond of men. I think they are wonderful creatures. I love them dearly. But I don’t want to look like them.
When women gave up their long skirts, they made a grave error. Things half seen are so much more mysterious and delightful; Remember the term “a neatly turned ankle”? Think of the thrill that gentlemen used to get if they caught even a glimpse of one. Now women go around in their union suits. And what a multitude of sins you could cover up with a long skirt if you had piano legs.” (page 63)
I see her wisdom here. Again I look at her with admiration because she did what she believed and did it with great grace. To me she was what a lady is to be….strong but yet gentle.

On life:
“ The past wasn’t as romantic as people seem to think. There were many hardships, especially for women. They usually had families of six to eight; they were pregnant most of the time or nursing when they weren’t. Think of all the spinning and knitting and sewing and cooking and wood gathering. It was constant. No wonder that saying, “Men may work from sun to sun/ but a woman’s work is never done.”
I don’t say they were unhappy, but I think they were tired most of the time. I was tired most of my younger life, with no electricity until my youngest was five, hauling water with a shoulder yoke, and heating irons on the woodstove. But I didn’t know anything different, so it didn’t seem like a hardship to me.” (page 88)

I think that last sentence sums it up for me. We could try to go back in time but all of us know the easy conveniences electricity gives us and to go and live like she did would seem like a hardship in the long run.

The last paragraphs in the book sum her up in a wonderful way.
“ I’m perfectly content. I have no other desires than to live right here with my dogs and my goats and my birds.
I think I’ve done a good job of life, but I have no message to give anyone. If I have a philosophy, it is best expressed by Henry David Thoreau: “if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” That is my credo. It is absolutely true. It is my whole life summed up.”

She died at 92 in her home surrounded by her family and all she loved. She lived life and although she may not have known it she showed us how we are to care for the earth and all God has given us. She cared for all of God’s creation and set a wonderful example of how to do it. It inspires me to do my part in keeping our earth a wonderful clean and beautiful place to be.
I miss knowing she is not in Vermont caring for all she loved. But she taught me a lot by her books and I will be forever grateful!


Lady Dorothy said...

Beautiful tribute!

I, too, will miss just knowing she was out there being her.

hsing3kinder said...

Donna ~
beautifully written!
There is a video called, Take Joy that Tasha made many years ago. (a Christmas one also) If you haven't seen them you'll love them!
We borrowed Take Joy many years ago from the library and that is when I first discovered Tasha.