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Ever Met One of Your Heroes? I did. Tasha Tudor.

This week Alix and I will share some of our favorite books as part of a book series on Ohdeedoh.  The first question was of course, what was our favorite childrens book growing up. For me it was Tasha Tudor.

My personal favorite Tasha Tudor book was A is for Annabelle. It was about a beautiful doll named Annabelle and we went through her wardrobe alphabetically. I still remember that “L” is for “Locket”. Oh, how I wanted that doll! That doll was the epitome of glamour to me. She even had EARRINGS and (be still my heart) a MUFF! I can thank Tasha Tudor for my undying appreciation of the muff. It’s such an underrated accessory. I think that is why I wanted a winter wedding, so I could incorporate a muff into my wedding ensemble.

But I digress.

Tasha was ahead of her time as far as style–vintage style, that is!  While she grew up in the thirties, she favored wearing clothes from the 1800s!  She was also a single working mom–putting food on the table through her illustrations and writing.  And lived by herself well into her 8os tending her farm and living a very cozy life with her corgis not far from where I had a summer job in college.

And what was my summer job?  Old Sturbridge Village, a living historical museum dedicated to showing rural life in the 1830s.  As an art history major, I had an internship editing a book on antique clocks. And because it was an unpaid internship, I needed a job–so I worked part time as a costumed interpreter.  Yes–I dressed up in clothes from the 1830s milking cows, cooking over an open fire, spending the afternoons embroidering and knitting up a storm. Doing a lot of hand sewing. Wearing a bonnet to go outside. I made the uppers to my shoes. Heck I even dated a shepard for a month. Yup. The whole thing.  I cannot lie. It was a blast.  It wasn’t urban homesteading. It was homesteading! And there are so many stories I could tell you about that I will in another post.

That’s me, rocking the knitting out of the window. Oh yes, wearing my scotch dress. And of course a bonnet. I can’t lie. It was a hoot. The experience gave me a huge appreciation for all things handcrafted–from knitting to baking to gardening.

As I mentioned, Tasha Tudor lived rather close by. As many Tasha Tudor fans know, she loved a world that was older than herself. She had a particular penchant for the 1830s and would come to Old Sturbridge Village (or the Village as we used to call it) to sip a bit of the past. The cooper at the Village used to unload the cords of wood she would order for Tasha and do work on her roof when she needed it. So, he had an in to Tasha and told me that she was planning on stopping by one day.

While I was out chopping wood at the Bixby house I looked up only to see Ms. Tudor watching. She had her hair pulled back in a pink kerchief and was wearing a black sweater. She commented on how she was just doing the same thing the other day at her place. I smiled shyly and chatted with her for a few moments. I was utterly starstruck. Oh, she was so tiny–I could have put her in my pocket. I felt like a giant in comparison to her.

If only.

If only I offered my services to work for her in her garden or doing odds and ends for her. Oh, why didn’t I jump at the chance? If only I wasn’t so darn tongue tied. But I’ll remember her apple core face and wispy white hair. And how she loved what I loved. Or that I loved what she loved. She was berry brown and had quite the impish smile.

If only.

Well, I did run up after her and tell her that she wrote my favorite children’s books and she was amazing and so many other jumbled sentences gushed to her in one fell swoop. So embarrassed. Then I scurried away. Clearly too overwhelmed and awkward for my own good. And she just laughed and said she loved A is for Annabelle too. And had her ears pierced later in life so she could look just like Annabelle. Such a light and feathery laugh. But I didn’t ask her if she ever needed help. After all was planning to go to London for a year and then perhaps I would try to contact her afterwards to see if she needed help. But I didn’t. And instead applied to grad school.

But I’ll always remember this little missed opportunity. So, please everyone–take your opportunities! Fly through the crack in the window.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my sweet cozy life just the way it is (perhaps it could be improved by losing 15 pounds) but overall, I’m very happy. But perhaps I’ll try to bring a bit of Tasha’s wonder into my life and the Peach’s. And remember to not let my shyness/nervousness/fear stand in the way of just going for it!

Has anyone else out there had similar experiences?

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Posted in Real Life : Dottie.


9 Responses

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  1. knitxcore says

    what a sweet little story!

    i had the chance to meet tori amos once.
    i cried and walked away. i didn’t even say anything.
    it was probably better that way.

    • Dottie says

      I have to laugh, because my friend Jen met Robert Smith from the Cure and burst into tears and never forgave herself for it.

  2. Melissa@Julia's Bookbag says

    Well, at the height of ‘The X-Files’ popularity, I met David Duchovny from the X-Files once, BEFORE he was married, and I didn’t ask him to marry me. 🙂

    I can’t believe you met Tasha Tudor! That’s better than David Duchovny!!! That woman is a GENIUS. I love her with all of my being!

  3. Karen says

    I ran up to Vint Cerf and told him how much I loved his work on the internet, but I had to knock Al Gore out of the way to get to him. Perhaps I should have been calmer, but VINT CERF!

  4. Alix says

    This is WONDERFUL! Where to begin? Um, seriously….is that really you leaning out the window?? I LOVE that!!! haha….it’s so perfect that you worked there, my Little House on the Prairie Lovin’ friend!
    We have a place in Flint Michigan that is similar (on a much smaller scale) called Crossroads Village and once a year we would do a class field trip there, We would have to dress up and bring our lunch wrapped in a cloth. I loved it.

    I have been lucky to have met a lot of famous folks thanks to my college experience with the Hasty Pudding and also through my work. But one of the most thrilling (and most stilted) moments was getting to meet Shirley Temple. I ADORED her as a little girl. I watched those movies every Sunday every noon and thought she was amazing. Shirley was doing a book signing at the Harvard Coop I knew I had to go. She was so gracious and sweet, but it was one of those awkward, “I’m just one of many standing in this here line” moments. I was def tongue tied (hard to imagine, i know….seeing what a chatterbox i am now!!). The photo is in an old album somewhere, but I will always remember meeting her!

    LOVED this post.

    • Dottie says

      Girl, you need to write about your Shirley Temple experience!

      I should write about when I met Greg Brady and Doc from the Love Boat. Oh, now THAT is a hilarious story!

      Of course you were in the Hasty Pudding! Oh, I can only imagine the stories… Tee hee!!!

  5. lishyloo says

    oh my god!! this is the best!!

    and alix, shirley temple????

    i too met greg brady. lol! that guy gets around!

  6. Alice Jonsson says

    Holy crap. I love her. What a genius, eccentric, fabulous character.

  7. Alice Jonsson says

    I was just looking at my copy of A is for Annabelle, thinking it’s just about time to start reading it to my daughter.



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