Saturday, January 9, 2010

Stillmeadow and Sugarbridge







Gladys Taber has been one of my favorite authors for a few years now. Soon after finding her books, I discovered Barbara Webster's Creatures and Contentments-Ruminations of Living in the Country, and fell in love with her, too. These were both authors who I felt kindred to, and who I wished were still alive so I could meet them and have the chance to know them personally. They both wrote about their lives in the countryside; the four seasons; beloved pets and friendship; family, nature, marriage, books. All the things I blog about and know that, if they were alive today, they would be blogging about, too.
I was overjoyed when I discovered that these two favorite authors actually knew each other, were friends, and had compiled a year's worth of letters written to one another in a book! Gladys Taber wrote from her home in Connecticut, 'Stillmeadow,' and Barbara from her home in Pennsylvania, 'Sugarbridge.' Barbara's husband Ed made the illustrations. All three signed the copy that I now treasure, and am reading daily. 
If you click on that last picture, you will get a taste of how these women correspond. Doesn't it sound like a blog entry one of us may have written? 
Here are some beautiful lines from the January letters of 'Stillmeadow and Sugarbridge,' which I hope you will add to your collection and love the way I do:

Barbara:
"Coming back from a ride, and looking down over the brow of the hill, at the small white Pennsylvania farmhouse, which has stood there almost two hundred years, wrapped in its blanket of pines, I am content, and know I could live nowhere else."

Gladys: 
"Do you ever have a moment that is absolutely exquisite? Such moments are rare, they are like holding a pink pearl in your palm. Happiness, I think, is being able to live those moments when they come. I had one going out in the moonlight at bedtime, with three cockers and the Irish taking a last look-around. There was a pale winter mist over the meadows, and the sky was a clear dark wider meadow blossoming with stars. The air was quiet and cold and smelled of woodsmoke. The front lantern shone on the sugar maples, the boughs were very dark, and montionless. I held the moment in my hand."

A few times people have asked me what kinds of books I like to read. I never really know simple way to answer that, since they don't fall into a particular category. I find myself explaining, "I like books by people living in the country, telling about their everyday lives, who revel in the changing seasons, and are honest in their reflections and dreams." 

Other favorite authors of mine whose thoughts and memories I would love to share with you are Hal Borland and Rachel Peden. But more about them some other snowy day....

...wishing you all a rejuvinating weekend with many simple delights, 
xo country girl

p.s. thank you for all of your kind words....i appreciate them, and you, very very much.

12 comments:

  1. Ahh the book sounds delightful,and it is wonderful that your copy is signed. I will have to search for 'Stillmeadow and Sugarbridge' (adore the title) as I am sure that I too would enjoy it very much.
    Enjoy your weekend sweetie
    Love Morwenna xoxo

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  2. Hi Dawn! Susan introduced me to Gladys Taber many years ago & I think she is a really underrated & undervalued writer...her prose & description sing from the page and I adore her. I'd never heard of Barbara before, so will look for her work now too. Thank you so much for writing about them, to give them some of the recognition they so richly deserve. I love the books of Alison Uttley & (harder to find) Mathena Blomfield too, British writers in the same vein...country, home, nature...but slightly further back in time. Enjoy your weekend xoxo Rachel

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  3. Wonderful post!
    I have recently heard about this author and I'm eagerly anticipating reading these.. I have a feeling I will love them! I hope inter-library loan will work. Your new haircut photos are great by the way! :o)

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  4. Thanks for sharing, Dawn! I will have to look both of these authors up. Sounds like the perfect read for a cold winter's day (with a cup of hot chocolate, by the fire, of course:)). And I love the sweet little illustrations! Thanks again:).

    Have a nice weekend!

    Blair

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  5. Dawn...I LOVE Galdys Taber..have several of her books....

    do you have Mrs.Appleyards Year by Louise Andrews Kent pretty cute too....

    I got out my Gladys will be reading some....

    makes me Happy

    more later, dear one

    Love You
    Kary and Buddy
    xxx

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  6. I am shocked to say that I had never heard of either of them. Must see if our library carries any. I love reading about life in the country. Inspiring post!! :) Silke

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  7. Hi again Dawn:).

    So, this sounds like I made it up, but I am actually from Connecticut, but am now living in Massachusetts. I just looked up Gladys Taber and it turns out that her farm is in the town of Southbury, such a beautiful and quaint town in southern CT. Ironically, the (great?) grandfather of a close fried of mine founded that town. What a small world!
    Now I'm even further interested in her writings, since I am familiar with that area. It really is so beautiful. If you ever make it to New England again, take a trip down there. I'm sure you'll love it!

    Blair

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  8. Dear Dawn,

    Here is a quote I love from The Stillmeadow Album by Gladys.

    "A gift book should have, I think, an underlying quality of serenity, it should enlarge our understanding, and leave a deep sense of satisfaction in the reader."

    Were your ears burning tonight? Joe, Sue, Jeff and I all met for an Italian dinner at a local beach town. We had a ball and talked about everything.

    Too bad you won't be here for the February 6th event at Sue's farmstand in Arroyo. It will be fun. She is twisting my arm to set up a table with all my books.

    Love,

    Sharon

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  9. Dear Dawn
    I love Gladys Taber's books and have called my home on the Darling Downs in South East Queensland, Australia, Stillmeadow Cottage. I wanted to let you know about a gorgeous book called Velvet Pears by Susan Southam which I know you would love if your blog is anything to go by.It describes the creation of her garden-Foxgloves Spires- over 25 years and 'celebrates the romance and beauty of a country life'.Very much in the spirit of Gladys Taber I think.
    Thankyou for a lovely blog. I found you purely by chance.
    lizabeth

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  10. Thank you for your comments on Gladys Taber. I collect her books and have continually been reading them . She seems like family and has been and still is a mentor through her writings..Connie

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