The gloom of the world is but a shadow. Behind it, yet within our reach, is joy. TAKE JOY! ~Fra Giovanni
WELCOME to the Take Joy Society. We are a group of ladies who first met because of our love of Tasha Tudor's art and lifestyle. We are broadening our focus to include other artists/writers/people of interest who embody Tasha's philosophy to Take Joy in all the good that life has to offer. Here you will find a record of our get-togethers and resources to help you see that the gloom of the world is but a shadow so that you, too, can Take Joy!
Take Joy Society's "theme" this year is to "Advance Confidently in the Direction of Our Dreams." This was Tasha Tudor's "theme" for her life. She said she achieved more than she'd ever dreamed she could. This year the Tasha Tudor Museum commemorated the 100th Anniversary of her birth with an exhibit called. . . .
I visited the exhibit last month while Ken was attending baking classes at King Arthur Flour. It turned out that the wife of another participant was a Tasha Tudor kindred spirit so Ken took her number and I ended up having a wonderful companion for the day. Interestingly, Elizabeth lives on Cape Cod and works at Titcomb's Book Store where Susan Branch holds her book signings. It also turned out that she'd been at the Gladys Tabor Reunion last year for Susan's book signing that I also attended. She had never been to the Tasha Tudor Museum, so I had the added joy of introducing her to it.
Rain had been predicted but the sun greeted us instead as we headed for Brattleboro. We arrived at the Jeremiah Beal House, where the museum is housed, just after 10:00. The gift shop was our first encounter. . . .
On the wall was a map with pins indicating the active Museum Society Chapters as well as the ones on the waiting list. The former Maryland Chapter's pin had not yet been removed. . . .
I was able to purchase The Birdwhistle Journal, the publication that the Springs of Joy museum membership level receive. I also stocked up on Tasha's Welsh blend Tea, bought several packs of cards, and a gift (Tasha's soap) for my neighbor who was looking after my cat at home. . . .
Volunteer, Christel, is calculating Elizabeth's purchases. . . .
There is also a dress-up area for children along with coloring pages. . . .
Then we went into the exhibit area where Christel gave us a guided tour. . . .
The exhibit chronicled Tasha's life starting with her early childhood. Much of this information can be found in her daughter Bethany's book, Drawn From New England. . . .
(Click on all photos to enlarge)
But there were new-to-me photos of her home n Marblehead, MA and her grandmother's apartment on Beacon Hill in Boston. The exhibit's museum guide, Clover Press, noted that she lived in Chevy Chase, Maryland for a short time near the end of WWI while both her parents served the government during the war.
Following her parents' divorce in 1924 Tasha's mother moved to New York City while Tasha stayed with friends in Connecticut during the school year. Then in 1930 her mother bought a house in Redding, CT. It was during this period that her desire to have a farm of her own grew. While still a teenager she fulfilled her dream to write and illustrate a book--a little book called Hitty's Almanac that was never published. . . .
In 1937 she became engaged to Thomas McCready, Jr.. . . .
After Tasha married in 1938, Pumpkin Moonshine, was published--a book she'd written and illustrated about Thomas' niece's visit to their Connecticut farm. She and Thomas set up housekeeping in her mother's house. Their first two children, Bethany and Seth, were born while living there. In 1941 she wrote this article about New England for Horn magazine. The Redding, CT house was recently on the market. This is what it looks like today. . . .
By 1945 Tasha had published several books and with the publication of the highly successful Mother Goose, a Caledecott Honor book, she was able to fulfill her lifelong dream of owning her own farm. . . .
They had a small shop in their house where they sold Tasha's books and cards. This was their brochure and map for the Ginger and Pickles Store. . . .
Tom and Efner were born after their move to New Hampshire. Thomas wrote several books that Tasha illustrated about life on their farm (Biggety Bantam, Pekin White, Mr. Stubbs, Adventures of a Beagle). Tasha depicted their farm on the endpapers of Biggety Bantam. . . .
The house was built in 1790 and very run down by the time the McCreadys bought it. It did not have electricity or running water the first few years they were there. . . .
Yankee Magazine wrote an article about Tasha Tudor's "Story Book Farm" in their October 1957 issue. The day before my visit to the Museum I drove the back roads down through New Hampshire from Norwich, VT, where we were staying. My first stop was Harrisville, which I wrote about HERE--the village Tasha used for inspiration in creating Corgiville. When it was time to head back north, I detoured to Contoocook, the town nearest to where Tasha had lived. The center of town had a cluster of buildings, one of which was this one, built circa 1850. . . .
I crossed the street and found a gift shop called 3 On Main. . . .
I needed to get Ken a birthday card. As I was paying for it something made me want to tell the proprietor that I was exploring Tasha Tudor territory. I said I'd found the house on a previous trip, but wanted to see Contoocook and Webster--the closest towns to her house. This is when I walked into a "Story Book" moment. The owner of the shop perked up at the mention of Tasha Tudor and began to tell me how she lived next door to Tasha! She told me she'd go over there as a young child and Tasha would give her cookies. She made her a doll and gave her a first edition of her current book. As we talked about the house it quickly became apparent that the house I thought was hers--the one I took photographs of and have posted on my web journal--was the WRONG house! Tasha's house was the next house on the left--not the one of the right. The lady told me that a State Senator lived there now. So I went in search of it. It could not be seen from the road very well. . . .
So I brazenly pulled into the drive. I wasn't coming this far without getting a photo. . . .
Once home I took a screenshot of the Bing Map Bird's Eye View. . . .
If you go to Bing Maps and type in 225 Tyler Road, Webster, New Hampshire, and using Bird's Eye View to zoom further out you'll be able to see the Blackwater River where Tasha floated the birthday cake in Becky's Birthday. The barn with the red roof is fairly new. Seth told me a few years ago when I went on one of their house and garden tours that it had burnt down and been rebuilt.
While Tasha had her dream fulfilled of owning a farm, she had really hoped to have it in Vermont, so in the early 1970's her son, Seth, built her a house on property next to his in Marlboro, VT. . . .
She lived the rest of her life there. The house and gardens were depicted in many of her books and Christmas cards such as this one. . . .
Here is a Bird's Eye View of Tasha's Vermont home. . . .
The family conducts several tours of the house and gardens every year. If you sign up for their newsletter you will be notified when the tickets go on sale. They sell out within the first 10 minutes, so act quickly!
The exhibit contained memorabilia from Tasha's long life. . . .
After the tour Elizabeth watched one of the videos about Tasha's life. . . .
Tasha was among many famous authors to have their book signings here. . . .
We were greeted by the book shop cat. . . .
I've been here before so was excited to show it to Elizabeth since she worked at Titcombs. I found several unique and interesting books. . . .
Back in the corner were Tasha's books. . . .
You can see Tasha in this photo through the book shop window arriving for her book signing. Wouldn't it have been wonderful if this picture was taken the day we were there! . . . .
We had a most wonderful morning visiting with Christel at the Museum and with Mary at the book shop in the afternoon. At both places Elizabeth and I felt we were special guests since we were the only guests. We both needed to get back because our husbands would be getting out of their classes and the Charity Restaurant Food Tasting event would be starting soon. We opted for more back roads before realizing the lateness of the hour and the almost-empty gas tank. We made it back just in time and with 8 miles left in the tank! It was, indeed, a day full of joy!
October, in Mary Mason Campbell's book, The New England Butt'ry Shelf Almanac, illustrated by Tasha Tudor, includes stories about Marigolds, Phoebes, and Sherman Pliny Fellows, a village blacksmith. It also has Pumpkin recipes for Chiffon Pie, Custard, Fritters and Cookies. . .
This month in Tasha's A Time to Keep she celebrates Autumn by making apple cider and pumpkin moonshines. . . .
Click on photos to enlarge
Tasha's first book, Pumpkin Moonshine, was the first of her calico books. Sylvie Ann's pumpkin ends up rolling down the hill, terrorizing everyone in its path. But in the end Sylvie Ann gets her Pumpkin Moonshine. . . .
When my boys were still home we made jack-o-lanterns or pumpkin moonshines as Tasha called them. . . .
A few years ago I was feeling nostalgic and decided to invite my boys and spouses to a Pumpkin Carving Contest. . . .
We try to plan a weekend away in Autumn when the leaves have changed. Sometimes we go hiking and other times we just drive along country roads. Last year we visited the Endless Mountains region of Pennsylvania . . . .
This was my post about our trip last year: Endless Mountains We will be going up there again this month. This time we've rented a house, and the whole family will be coming up.
All these activities bring me Joy because not only are all my senses being delighted by all there is to see, feel, smell, hear, and taste this time of year, I'm also spending time with the people I love. To top it off, I get to share it with all of you!