"To live in New England in the fall... well, it's just paradise..." Susan Branch
Little posts seem easier these days. Especially when I'd rather spend my morning baking brownies from scratch, cooking garlic shrimp for dinner and roasting acorn squash. Home making ~ the whirl of the dryer, crisp sheets on beds, the sweeping, the organizing, the planning, the dreaming, the vacuuming, the wiping... it's all worth it for this when she walks through the door after school, "what's that wooooonderful smell?!" Oh I could go for days on that!
Yesterday I hightailed it outta my little school and drove through the winding roads and hills of Connecticut. It was 'talk to myself' and 'gasp out loud' beautiful. Sometimes I stopped the car and took a picture. (trying not to get hit)
(pumpkin patch farms around every corner)
But then I looked at what I was capturing and it didn't look anything like what I saw. Not anything.
So I stopped.
Our leaves in Connecticut are at their peak and I didn't want to miss them. So I took a trip; alone. Just an afternoon trip; but it was wooonderful. I still don't understand why my camera couldn't capture the amazing color, the way the light filtered through the leaves, the blue sky as a background, the start of some fluttering down...
I thought to myself. I just won't put up any on the blog. My friends, they'll look at these and think, "that's Connecticut in the fall.... what's the big deal?" Maybe there really just needs to be magic; maybe there really is magic in the air here. Or maybe it's some fairy who sprinkles something you can't see on your lens so no one can 'really' see what you see unless they see it for themselves. I can't be sure, but that's what I'm going with.
It really wasn't just a leaf peeking trip for me. I drove to Westfield MA to hear speak and meet my domestic hero. (after my mom of course) Susan Branch was coming just over 30 minutes from my house; I was not going to miss it.
She spoke in the middle of leaf perfection week (of course) at this 150 year old library.
I walked up these steps and inside.
I still had on my teacher clothes; the classic pumps that click on the old sidewalk, my light pink silk blouse, my pencil skirt, and my rose embroidered sweater and pearls. (just so I can remember)
I was so excited when she walked in the room. And didn't take a single other picture. I just couldn't. I leaned in and concentrated on what she was saying. I should have brought a little notebook. If ever there was an emergency for jotting down notes it was yesterday in that room.
She was just as humble and sweet as can be. She oozed love of home, love of traditions, love of homemaking, love of family, love of leading a good, purposeful, enjoyable, happy, SIMPLE life. Just like I thought she would.
She read from her books that I read and read and read so many times I thought I knew them by heart. But I don't because when she read them I had tears in my eyes. She read from her Autumn book about her home. She read from her "Falling In Love with the English Countryside" book. She told how she and her husband Joe met and fell in love. And she blushed. He said from the side, "it was love at first sight".
She answered questions as if she were sitting in my living room with friends. She was delightful and charming and I was giddy.
There was a line for meeting her and for her to sign books. I didn't really care about her signing my books, so I only brought one.
The first one I ever got. I really cared just about meeting her. Looking at her and telling her this story. I said,
Hi Susan, I'm Tara. (gulp, take a deep breath, she's talking just with you)
I just wanted to tell you how I met you through your books and what they've meant to my life.
This book (I showed her my Christmas book) was given to me in 1996. I was just married and a third grade teacher.
A little boy named Patrick gave it to me. (I showed her how he had written on the inside)
And your books, your books really helped me find my way on my little homemaking journey. The home ideas, the little drawings, the recipes, and just your love for making all things pretty with what you have around you I treasured. And I adore homemaking. All of it.
I have all of your books on a special table in my house and I've been reading your blog since it first began.
It's been 18 years since I was first married and got this book. And Patrick is all grown up. He's a teacher now too. I was able to see him as a teacher in his school. (she starts crying)
I just wanted to thank you for this gift you've given me. For me to love homemaking so dearly. It's something I will pass on to my daughters. Thank you.
And she said,
"Oh now you're making me cry. Thank you for sharing that. It means a lot to me."
I asked her,
"will you sign my first book on the same page that Patrick did?"
Before I left and walked away she told me that my sweater was beautiful, just as "delicate as I was"
Sigh. What a glorious day. And after all that this turned out to be a long post after all. Oh well, when my heart sings...