Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Homeplace by Anne Shelby & Illus by Wendy Anderson Halperin

I fully intended to have an amazing array of women's history books for March, but.... that didn't happen. I am a little behind things! 

This book isn't strictly women and it isn't nonfiction, but I love thinking about the women who have come before me. Those farm women on the Canadian shield, the Irish immigrants in 1920's New Jersey, the Scottish potato farmers in New Brunswick.... 

All the amazing things women have done to break down barriers is more important to my everyday life, but the stories of my women is much more personal and deeply felt. 

A little girl learns about her family history from her grandmother. 

All those years ago, this person whose blood runs in your veins conceived of the very house you are living in. The summer before last, I visited the farmhouse all those farm wives lived in on the Canadian shield. I saw the tools and creations used by all those generations and it was incredibly moving. I had expected to be interested, but I hadn't expected to feel so much. 

I think that connection to the past, that rootedness is something we are losing in this global, transient world of ours. Sometimes that is good--we don't want to be stuck in one place just because someone before us couldn't go anywhere else. Yet, I think that feeling of belonging, of a deep connection to a certain place can be very steadying influence in life. Even the pioneers, as they headed west, it was always with the intent of making a new family homestead, a place where future generations would come to. 

There is no denying that history can be a burden at times, but there is something in me that feels nostalgic for that feeling of belonging. Maybe that has something more to do with not having grandparents around when I was little--my mother's parents died when she was young, and my father's grandparents were older and died when I was 3 (grandfather) and 9 (grandmother).  

As the grandmother tells about each generation, we get a sense for what they were doing, how they were living, and what the tools they had. 

I adore this kind of day-to-day history. 

Much more interesting to think about how women cooked 200 years ago than how some men argued and got into wars. 

SHEEP. I also feel very nostalgic about owning sheep. Mostly because my husband thinks sheep are a scourge on the earth. One of these days, I am going to buy some. I am sure he just has confused memories from his childhood year on a sheep farm... 

Family love. This makes my heart happy.

The illustrations are just jammed full of details. So much to look at. And look at again. 

Mother love

Women on tractors

And then to the grandmother's personal life. 

I love the connection between the grandmother and child

And now, here you are, growing like a melon in the patch, like tulips in the springtime of the year, like a young tree coming up from old roots deep down in the ground. 

And those deep roots help you stand strong and tall. 


1 comment:

  1. Love this nastalgia too Bet, love all the sweet influences in our lives!